I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with ways to make the animals’ extremities and found beads for their legs, ears, noses and eyes. The business grew to a point where most of my sales were to shops, on a wholesale basis. To keep the process interesting, I came up with new designs like this bread and cheese and scallop shell.
In an effort to meet people and to make more for my labor, I became a member of the Christmas Store, a seasonal cooperative in Cambridge and commuted from the Cape to do my work shifts. For a display, I built a fruit and vegetable stand with crates made out of popsicle sticks. Later, I made patterns and wrote directions on how to make the pins for the 1982 Holiday Crafts issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
After about 5 years of mass producing the pins, I moved on to other things, including motherhood. Since then, I’ve had several business ventures, which inevitably reach a point when I’ve had to make a decision to grow or stop all together. I’ve always chosen freedom, never wanting to spend all of my time running a business, even though I see the promotional part as an important element of a creative project. And it’s not as if I walked away from a gold mine. At the wholesale price, I was making so little for my time. Being an artist means coming up with new ideas and making the same thing over and over has therapeutic, although limited appeal. Even the idea of hiring others to do the work made me nervous. I knew that I would be a miserable boss, having to hold others to a high standard of workmanship at low pay. And, I realized that I am happiest while making things myself! I have no exact record of how many pins I made, but it must have been well over a thousand. Throughout, the peapod was a best-seller, which was ironic because it was the simplest and fastest to make of all.