Four years ago, I spent a year in New Orleans. This past February, since I had begun working at Etsy, I decided to try to meet all the Etsy sellers of New Orleans, and see how they were spending their Mardis Gras. It was great to be back there to see how the city was doing. I hadn’t been back there since Katrina, and now, just after the anniversary of the storm, I’ve revisited some of my New Orleans video footage. I’ll be sharing those here on The Storque as a series. You can catch up on my trip by viewing Part 1 and Part 2 in The Storque.
When I lived in New Orleans, I thought the signs on the businesses’ doors that said “Closed, due to Parades” were so funny! I found out they should be heeded – nothing much gets done during Mardis Gras that isn’t directly related to the celebration.
One day, on my way to Micha’s studo (aka BakingwithMedusa), I was thwarted by a very popular parade called Endymion. It turned a corner that blocked me on two sides and the river took care of the third side. There was nothing to do but turn around and go home until the next day.
The next day, when I finally did get to Micha’s studio, I found it was well-worth the wait. The ambience there was parade-like – as if the whole operation were storing their things in her little space. Everything was well organized. The flowers, glitter, trinkets, colorful fabric scraps, egg crates and Micha’s creations all seemed to be competing for a place in the roughly 12 foot square room. Micha doesn’t throw anything away – other people’s discards become charming and useful in her hands. As an art student, she studied printmaking. She still makes woodblock prints of Bette Davis and other old Hollywood folks, but now she also uses her studio to make costumes (such as the bride of Frankenstein featured in this video), purses and the occasional Russian Music box ferris wheel sculpture.
Micha and her family have a long history in Louisiana.
She told me a lovely story about the origins of her creativity. Her mother and aunts all sewed as they were growing up. During her parent’s generation, teenagers wanted to buy store bought clothes, but her grandfather had a different idea. He wanted his daughters to be self-sufficient and not to lose traditions that had been passed on before. He told his girls that if they would make their own clothes, he would buy them all the beautiful fabrics they wanted. So they did. Now today, a generation later, Micha makes costumes and clothes and the very well crafted purses that she sells in her Etsy shop.
To highlight all the do-it-your-self endeavors in her family’s history, Micha is soliciting for stories about other families with a handmade history on her blog, Handmade Family. If you’re interested, take a look!