Welcome Featured Artist
I am SO VERY excited to be FINALLY, after much laziness on my part, be sharing with you my wonderful, talented, beautiful, funny, kind and oh-SO patient friend, Michelle!! Michelle is a ridiculously talented fashion designer who has an incredible and beautiful vision. Her clothes are chic, sexy and sophisticated with a punch of FUN!!
Her designs are eco-chic, and often made with recycled fabrics. Her new Spring Line absolutely blows me away and leaves me WISHING I had every single piece hanging in MY closet!!! I had the hardest time selecting pictures for this interview! Like I said, I LOVE everything in her shop, and I think I have managed to put just about everything from her shop into this interview! LOL!
There is not much I really need to say to intrduce this amazing lady. You will see what I love when you look at her pieces. She has written for us all a wonderful, fun, perfect interview! A little ol' blogging gal like myself couldn't ask for more! :)
Thank you Michelle for sharing so very much of yourself with us!
1. Who are you? Where are you from, how old are you? Tell us about yourself.
Hi - I'm Michelle and am originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba which is.. pretty much in the middle of Canada - not too far from Minnesota for all you stateside readers! Actually, before the move to Winnipeg came - I was from a small french town about 45 minutes outside of Manitoba's capital city. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere which probably affected my imagination in ways I never thought of before. Hmmmm... Anyway, about 5 years ago I made a life changing decision to pack up my life and move to the east coast in search of.. well, MORE! So, here i am living in Montreal, Quebec and freezing my butt off - just as much as I was in Manitoba. What was I thinking?! All joking aside it turns out it was a really good decision, minus the freezing my bits off part.
2. How long have you been an artist and how did you learn about art?
I have been keeping my hands busy and making "stuff" since I was a little one. I couldn't tell you when it started but I do remember my grandmother (also known as my "memere" ) letting me dig into her crafty things. She had these amazing paints in tubes and heat transfer 'clip art' that you would paint onto aprons, napkins or whatever.. it was SO much fun. At some point I moved on to making little outfits for my cabbage patch kids and barbies (which.... I unfortunately chopped the hair off of). I guess that's when I figured out I loved to make clothes and that maybe I was a little 'arty'.
3. What does your Business name mean?
My official business name is under "Pyxus Passion Project". Pyxus was my original business name when I was a Winnipeg resident and is pretty much formed after the original version of the word - pyxis which is basically a constellation of stars. Mariners used to use this constellation to find their way when they were lost at sea, much like a compass. The business was something I needed to create so I could find my way and to help others find their way when they get lost in their wardrobe and need a little direction.
Simone's Rose is my first and new label under the Pyxus umbrella. It's named after my 'memere' who inspired me to do what I love.. she was a rock and if it wasn't for her - I'm not sure I would have ever made that first sale in junior high.
4. When did you decide to make the leap from hobby to Profession? Tell us about your first sale.
I first realized I could turn my crafty skills into cold hard cash when I was in junior high or middle school. After moving on from dolls and barbies I of course turned to chopping my own hair off and **gulp** dressing myself. Turns out those handy paints my memere eventually gave me came in handy. I had painted some of my t-shirts and jeans with some crazy Madonna worshiping phrases and portraits and along came my friends and schoolmates wanting me to paint their jean jackets with all kinds of nonsense. I'm talking beer mugs, band logos and more Madonna insignia. CHA ching! There was my first sale. Many years of practice and some years of schooling followed – eventually I set up a legitimate business and got really busy making lots of different types of clothing.
5. Explain your process a bit.
Now that I am back to working as an independent fashion designer I'm slowly but surely developing my process again. You see, I've also spent the last 5 years or so working for someone else.. Did I say working? I meant slaving. Yes, slaving - this happens a lot in the fashion industry. Now that I've come to my senses and decided to work for myself I'm breaking old habits and forming new ones like creating my own trends, researching sustainable processes and supplies and simply taking the time to create beautiful things. My process usually involves picking an inspiring fabric or sad looking garment, throwing it on my dress form and imagining it in a different form. Out come the scissors, pins and needles and **fingers crossed** something worthy of being out in the world is developed.
6. INSPIRATION. Anything, everything. What inspires you?
.The process is inspiring, art and visual influences all around are inspiring, “freaks” on the street are inspiring, old men at the thrift store are inspiring, musicians are inspiring, friends are inspiring. Inspiration really comes from life and everything in it. Sometimes it’s more specific like the collection I’m working on now which is somewhat inspired by silks and vintage Japanese fabrics but really it’s all the combined influences of life that make the end product what it is. I guess at the end of the day I’m mostly inspired by the materials that I use… silks (vintage, eco friendly, fair trade and recycled), other vintage garments and fabrics as well as some new fabrics. Sometimes you just fall in love with a textured fabric or color – as long as I’m supporting a local business by making this purchase, I’m okay with that.
7. What are your goals and dreams, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I hope to have a thriving and successful business with different fashion brands - all of which will use sustainable business practices. My hope is that in 10 years it won't be as difficult to source fabrics and supplies that are actually GOOD for the planet. I also hope that 2010 will be the beginning of a trend for consumers to really think about their purchasing power. Just think what we can do by 2020 if everyone decides to spend their hard earned dollars on local businesses, independent artisans or at the very least on companies that have some kind of morals and sustainable business practices. If we can work together on this, I might even see myself swimming in an ocean in 10 years.. one that is not filled with a millions of plastics. I know folks, it's just a dream!
8. Anything and everything else about yourself that you would like to share.
What else can I share with you? I love to eat, I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years (I'll keep you guessing about my age), I love taking trips back home to be with my friends and family (especially my 3 year old niece) and I love to travel.
9. Where can you be found?
Check out my etsy boutique:
I'm also working on a seasonal/monthly newsletter so shoot me an email if you'd like to be on the mailing list! firstname.lastname@example.org
I know that you have fallen in love with Michelle as much as I have! Please, show your support by stopping by her shop and leaving a comment below, letting her know what your favorite item is!!