Welcome to my blog, Clippings in the Shed. Glad to have you here, especially because it’s Friday–interview day! Each week, I’ll introduce you to a cool, kickass woman who lives life well beyond going through the motions. This week: Richela Fabian Morgan, one of the “craftiest” people I know.
Five Questions With Richela Fabian Morgan
Richela Fabian Morgan is one of the most extraordinary people I know. Not only is she a dominatrix of duct tape, she’s an insanely crafty all-purpose re-purposer. Oh… and she also has a wicked sense of humor and enjoys wine from a juice box. Really, what’s not to like? Some people send their kids to summer camp. Richela spent one entire month of summer vacation with her kids making New York City their camp. Not just Manhattan–all the boroughs. Famous places, holes in the wall. By train, by subway, by car. Read all about it here: Mommy Summer Camp. Just amazing.
Richela’s creative mind knows no limits. She has amazing vision, and she is able to see amazing things even beyond the raising of her two fun and fabulous kids–and even bring them along for the ride. As a fellow mother and fellow creative, I am in awe. You will be, too. Read on!
1. This is not a question, but you are by far one of the most creative and talented people I know. This is a question: Have you always been so artsy – or is this the person you’ve evolved into?
C’mon! Now that is a lie because we know some of the same people. But I appreciate the compliment. Artsy is probably not something I would have called myself when I was a kid or a young adult. I loved art but I can’t draw well or with any originality. But I’ve always been crafty. I liked making all sorts of stuff. Since I couldn’t necessarily create something that had a deeper meaning (i.e. art) I tended to make stuff that was useful. But it really started to take off when I had kids. We would play/create with anything and everything in the house: paper towel rolls, magazine paper, bottle caps, broken crayons. And we loved all kinds of tape, from regular scotch tape to duct tape. When my kids both went off to elementary school, I had a little too much time on my hands! I thought about getting a 9 to 5 job, but then I realized that my skill set had changed. I suddenly had all these crafting skills that didn’t fit into a normal job description. So I created job for myself. I became a crafter and a writer.
2. Very excited about your new book, TAPE IT & MAKE IT! Can you tell us how it came to be?
Someone asked me if I could come up with 101 duct tape craft projects. At first I balked—101?? That seemed like an awful lot. But then it occurred to me that I might have made that many or more different duct tape crafts in the past. So I decided to write them all down and in less than 15 minutes I had 101. And about the process of creating 101 crafts with duct tape? I photographed set-up shots while making each craft. This actually slowed down my usual tempo of crafting because I had to think about the next step. Then when the craft was completed I reviewed each shot and wrote accompanying instructions. It worked well.
3. Duct tape isn’t the only incredibly creative medium you’ve used to make beautiful things. Can you tell us about some of the other clever things you’ve done with milk cartons and other re-purposed materials?
I also love working with brown paper bags, half-gallon cartons, and other paper goods bound for the recycle bin. And maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but I tend to make a lot of bags and wallets. Also about your other books? I wrote a book called THE GREEN CRAFTER (Citadel), which contains 52 projects using materials found in and around the home. And I recently contributed a craft to the forthcoming book ALL THINGS PAPER (Tuttle Publishing). It’s a tote bag made from brown grocery bag handles. Yes, it’s a brown bag…bag!
4. What advice can you give a person looking to craft with re-purposed materials?
First, make sure you clean all your materials well whether it’s bits of food or dirt or adhesive. And make sure you have the right tools to work with your material. If you aren’t sure what kind of tools you need, bring the material with you and visit your local hardware store. Tell a knowledgeable salesperson what you intend to do and then ask what type of tools you will need. You might need to go to a craft store, but the salespeople are not as knowledgeable about tools. I guess because what we do is more DIY, but the smaller hardware stores—that’s where you’ll find the most hands-on salespeople—cannot carry a big inventory. Big craft stores can.
5. So what’s next for “Crafty Richela” the Queen of all Duct Tape?
Currently I’m doing library and independent bookstore events in New York. And as I mentioned before, I contributed a brown bag paper craft to the upcoming book ALL THINGS PAPER. It’s due out in the Spring of 2013. I’m also teaching eco crafts at Sheldrake Environmental Center in Larchmont (NY). I’d love to write another craft book and have some ideas that might be great…or not! We shall see.
BONUS QUESTION: After our books take off like rockets, where should we plan to “summer” next year? The Rockaways? The Hamptons? The South of France? (And who’s bringing the juice-box wine?)
The Rockaways, baby! I spent a month there last summer and soaked up the scene (surfers, tacos, fish sandwiches, Italian ices, HIPSTERS!). And guess what? Juice-box wines are a-plenty! No need to bring it.
ANOTHER BONUS! If you’re permitted, can you share a craft from your book here?
Click here to come to my website and I’ll teach you how to make this:
The hair feather project is one of the easier ones in my book. But don’t be fooled by the simplistic instructions. The resulting duct tape feathers are quite sophisticated. They can be worn in your hair, but they can also be attached to bags and belts for a George-Clinton-funk-meets-Sex-Pistols-punk look that will have heads turning.
Thanks for sharing your time and talent, Richela, and thank you reader for joining us for the ride. Please follow this blog for more fun and games and connect with me: on Facebook and Twitter, and learn more about me at www.francinelasala.com.
See you next time!