Gettin' Made: Oldies but Not Moldies

I'm so excited to share today's indie crafter with you–Cathy Callahan from Cathy of California has been such a crafty inspiration! She gets a lot of ideas from vintage 60s and 70s crafting techniques, but always executes them in a way that feels fresh.

Plus, she's been on the Martha Stewart show! OMG! So come along with us – after the jump, we meet and get to know Cathy, and ask the hard-hitting questions. (Basically, is Martha crazy?)


OC Weekly: Ok, tell us about you – what's your life like?

Cathy Callahan: For my  “day job” I am a merchandiser and window dresser, and since I freelance it gives me the flexibility with my time to do crafty stuff – doing shows , teaching , etc. I worked full time in retail for many years and am very happy to now have other ways to earn a living.  With the economy the way it is you have to have a lot of different things going on.

My current crafty pursuits really grew out of the props I was making for clients a few years ago. The props I was making for retail stores always had a crafty element of some sort. I was always kind of frustrated that they were only in use for a month or so. I then discovered all of the indy craft fairs going on and was so excited that I could start making and selling things. I started doing shows (Bazaar Bizarre, Felt Club, Renegade Craft Fair) and was so happy to meet so many like minded people.

OCW: You are pretty much the queen of all crafts vintage – what are some of your favorite crafts to do?

CC: Why thanks.  I do all kinds of crafts and am very inspired by the stuff I find in books from the 60s and 70s. I love papier mache, and have been experimenting with using different kinds of materials on the flower looms. I am also currently working on some fabric flowers.

OCW: As the queen of vintagey crafting, you recently went on the Martha Stewart show – what did you demo on the show, and is there a link to the video you can share?

CC: Martha and I made some flowers using a vintage flower loom; you can see the video here.

One bittersweet note to this is that I taped the show just one day short of the first anniversary of my mother's passing. Fran was not much of a fan of Martha (and by that I mean she was not into reading craft magazines or watching how-to shows) – she preferred to do her own thing and come up with her own craft projects. So I'm not too sure what she would have thought of this whole thing (other than telling me not to wear all black and to hold my stomach in) but I think deep down inside she would have been proud that her kid was going to appear on television and make some crafts.

OCW: Spill it… what was it like meeting Martha Stewart?

CC: Totally cool. She was very nice to me. When you are on the show you are only with her while your segment is taping – so it's not like you go out and have cocktails after the show. The day before the taping I worked with the art department in the craft room.  It's floor to ceiling shelves filled with plastic bins containing every craft supply known to man. It was really amazing.  I didn't take any photos because I was too shy to ask and thought they would say no anyway.

OCW: Was she crazy?

CC: Saw no evidence of that but I'm sure she has her moments. Everyone who works for her was very nice. I was expecting to see a lot of people running around all freaked out and nervous like they had just been yelled at – but it was quite the opposite. They are all very organized, professional and seem to enjoy what they do.

Sorry to say that I have no behind the scenes dirt! The only thing I probably wasn't supposed to see was Martha doing yoga in her office (the shades were not all the way). My big thrill was when Francesca and Sharkey (her dogs) came into my dressing room to say hi.

OCW: Will she give me 10,000 dollars? I'm pretty sure she has the extra cash just lying around in a bathtub somewhere.

CC: I am sure she would love to! Just give her a call and while you're at it get an extra 10 grand for me too.

OCW: So the vintage flowers you made on her show – can people still get those kits?

CC: Of course – in my Etsy shop.

OCW: You teach classes, too – tell us a little about what you teach and where people can sign up.

CC: I am so sad that The Craft Kitchen has closed. I had so much fun teaching there!
But I continue to teach at Home Ec in Silver Lake (which is not really that far for all of you Orange County people). I often teach papier mache jewelry and  how to use a flower loom. I am currently developing some other classes for holiday gift making.

Later this month I am teaching  the “Recycled Retro Kitty” class – which is a cat made out of recycled magazines.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Cathy! If you'd like to visit Cathy online, check out her blog, website, and Facebook page. Cathy was featured on the CraftyPod podcast, you can listen in here. She has also been featured on the Craft magazine and Craftstylish sites, showcasing her vintage flower looms.

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