The crocheted horse heads have been put in beds, the painted and glittered fish have been gutted and left as a message, the rubber cement shoes have been poured. And the Long Beach Craft Mafia is proud to introduce three of their newest members! That old cliche is true--the only thing that is constant in life is change. Past members move forward with increasingly busy lives; the group evolves and grows, wishing them well and welcoming the eager newbies that show up to join the ranks of Long Beach's super-talented group of indie artists and crafters.
First up, Janice Sprenger of WanderLove. A stay at home mom of three children, Janice also teaches a flexibility class at Brazilian Top Team School in Long Beach. About her full-time mom status, Janice shares, "Family is what makes you strong and makes you crazy."
OC Weekly: You're in the process of starting WanderLove, a line of hands-free
utility bags. without giving too much away, tell us what sparked the idea for these bags.
Janice Sprenger: Fanny packs are a great idea when you do not want to carry a purse, but still need to carry a few items. I find a bag on my waist gets in the way of walking. A bag on the leg, like a holster, allows for more mobility and is just sexier.
OCW: Are there any stories to share in the planning stages of this?
JS: I have made many types; it has been a task to get it right. There have been many early renditions that fell down while running somewhere, or lipstick falling out. It's very frustrating at times because I have been forced to think mechanically.
OCW: How do you get past the frustrations?
JS: I take a break and then go back to it - sometimes weeks at a time.
OCW: When can we expect to see WanderLove bags on Etsy?
JS: I would like to get local word of mouth first, and then take over the world.
OCW: In the meantime, what other crafty fun do you participate in? What's
your favorite kind of crafting currently?
JS: I like embarassing my children with crocheted hats, and while pregnant, I made a lot of crocheted fish.
On the next page, we get the details on Marc Anthony Coronado of Ain Soph Aur.
Marc Anthony Coronado is unique in that he's the first dude to join Long Beach Craft Mafia. Like a few of the members, he was recently laid off - a blessing in that it gives so much extra time to work on his clothing line Ain Soph Aur. (But a curse when it comes time to pay the bills - ouch!)
OC Weekly: Tell us about Ain Soph Aur - what does that name mean?
Marc Anthony Coronado: It's a Hebrew phrase; it means limitless light.
OCW: How did you pick that name to represent your clothing line?
MAC: I think it picked me, actually. I'm really big into mysticism and stuff like that and I don't remember when or how but I must have seen the word in one of the boks I was reading and something about it just clicked, instantaneously. It rang true with me, like it was the word to be aligned with. Everything changed after that. Words can be very powerful.
OCW: Did you go to school for fashion design? Tell us a little bit about that.
MAC: Yeah, I went to school at Brooks College. It's the same as any other for-profit school. I'm in major debt but I think the purpose of being there was to learn about myself and what direction I wanted to head into with my work.
OCW: What are some of the best things about having your own clothing line?
MAC: It's pretty awesome because I get to create. That feeling is pretty much unmatched with anything else. The whole conceptual process is thrilling.
OCW: Any bad things about it?
MAC: Well, it's only me doing everything so it can be hard trying to figure out how to pattern draft what you see in your head and actually having to sew it yourself; it can be a little daunting sometimes. I look forward to the day someone else can do that stuff for me hehe.
OCW: How long have you been working on Ain Soph Aur? What have some of your successes been?
MAC: 3 years, ever since I adopted the name. haha financial success? Nothing. I won the avant-garde award at a CalMart show I did for my graduating collection and then got to be in the Apparel News for it. It was pretty rad. I have some collaborations in progress with artists and friends that I really respect: photography, multi-media, theater design, and jewelry. That's success to me: being able to have people that you admire trust you enough to merge.
OCW: Is there an overall theme to your pieces?
MAC: I guess, if there could be an overall theme (it just occurred to me), it would be abstract in nature but beyond that: just pure expression, the need to create and the fact that you really can do anything you want. Like Madonna said, Express Yourself!
Next up, meet Jennifer Martin of RadCo and check out her superfun funky jewelry!
You may have met Jennifer Martin if you've paid a visit to 4th Street's Retro Row in Long Beach. (Retro Row, if you don't know, is a group of ultra-awesome vintage and gift shops on 4th between Junipero and Cherry.) A part-time employee at Meow Vintage, Jen makes bright colored, unusually futuristic, sparkly jewelry under the name Real Actual Design Co. (aka RadCo). She loves collecting records, attending lectures, book signings, county fairs and short walks on the beach.
OC Weekly: How did you come to start RadCo? Was there any significant moment that made this something you wanted to pursue?
Jen Martin: After working for a couple apparel and accessories companies, I realized I wanted something different and to work in an industry that was more geared towards social service. Speech Pathology has always interested me. So, I abandoned my love for making things, and began taking classes towards becoming an Audiologist. I went a couple years without sewing or making jewelry, until I felt the urge to hand make a friend's birthday gift. I wanted to call it quits, but it had been too late. Pandora's Box had been re-opened and the ideas started to flood. With the support of my friends and family, I opened up an Etsy store (www.radness.etsy.com) and gradually people began buying my pieces.
OCW: There's so many awesome funky bits in your work - how do you get your inspirations for your pieces?
JM: I really enjoy going to old rundown places and looking at their old stock beads and trims. The best experience is coming across limited numbers of beads and rhinestones from the 1920's to 1990's, and then mixing them all together for a futuristic yet nostalgic feel.
OCW: Any recommendations for shopping adventures?
JM: Shopping adventures, hmmm. I'm more of an adventurous food kind of a gal, but I'll share a couple of each.
Shopping destination 1. 4th street Long Beach. Seriously, the entire street is lined with vintage stores filled with fantastic finds. 4th street and Junipero, Long Beach CA
Shopping destination 2. Santee Alley in Downtown L.A. or "the Callejon" as my grandmother calls it. There you will find everything from handmade jewelry, fuzzy Virgin Mary blankets, baby turtles, nail polish at 12 for $5, and blank t-shirts. The Alley is truly one of my favorite places in Los Angeles.
Ultimate food destination 1: Phillipes in Downtown L.A. This historic sandwich place has been at its location since the 1920s. My mom took me there as a kid, and her mom before her. I've always ordered a roast beef double dip sandwich with American cheese, a bowl of "chili straight", a side pickle and lemonade. Then for a sweet treat, I walk over to Olvera Street and purchase a caramel-filled churro at Mr. Churro (the shop located across from the fountain, behind the glass blowing guy).
Ultimate food destination 2: Mashti Malones on La Brea & Sunset Blvd. Featuring handmade Persian ice cream shop with a wonderful array of unique flavors. I enjoy the fadullah rice noodle, lavender, and saffron flavors. Oh, and remember to get a stamp card!!!
OCW: Do you have on piece of jewelry you've designed that's your all time fave?
JM: The most favorite piece of jewelry I've ever made is my rhinestone "Mouse Heaven" bib necklace. Inspired by Kenneth Anger's film Mouse Heaven, the necklace is made up of approximately 60 tiny filigree Mickie mouses linked together in a big cluster formation, sprinkled with emerald cut Swarovski crystals. I've only made two because they take forever to make. One necklace I've kept for myself, the other I presented to Kenneth Anger in a blue crushed velvet shadow box! He was floored, and even gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek. A pretty grand gesture, because they don't call him "Anger" for nothing!
OCW: What are your hopes and dreams for RadCo's future?
JM: I don't really have super big plans for RadCo. The craft show circuit is pretty neat. It's fun meeting and connecting with other creatives. I've met a lot of interesting people such as the ladies of Long Beach Craft Mafia. I'm mostly happy that people enjoy wearing my pieces -- that is more than awesomely hopeful and magically dreamy.
OCW: Will you buy me a pony?
JM: How about I make you a necklace with a life-sized pony charm with braided hair?
OCW: What's coming up in RadCo's near future?
JM: I'm working on some gold filled and silver pieces for next spring. Necklaces and earrings inspired by deco silhouettes, but mixed with early comic book ink inspired colored glass.
For more information on Janice Sprenger and WanderLove, send her an e-mail.
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For more information on RadCo, visit the Etsy site.
Don't miss Long Beach Craft Mafia's first trunk show on Saturday, December 12 from 10:30am - 7pm. Details can be found at www.longbeachcraftmafia.com.