*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Originally I'm from the Chicago area - Park Ridge, IL. I now live in Champaign, IL because my husband and I both attended the University of Illinois here in Champaign and stayed because we love it here. I am a stay-at-home mom to five kids and my husband is a high school math and physics teacher. Besides taking care of my kids and designing and making things, I am involved in my church and I teach a few Community Education courses at my local community college.
*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
"Handmade by Anne Potter" is a way to sum up the many different pieces I make from several different media. I knit, quilt, crochet, sew, paint, embroider, bead, needlepoint, etc. so I chose this name because it makes an array of products into one cohesive collection. I definitely have a certain aesthetic that defines my pieces. I started selling pieces on etsy because it was an easy way to produce without taking away from my first job of taking care of my children. I use naps and bedtime to work on my business demands.
*What got you started in recycling?
Thankfully, recycling is in my blood. Though I was embarrassed by it at the time, my mother furnished my childhood home with beautiful antiques that she found curbside on her morning walks. To me, recycling makes sense: so many materials have a lot of good use in them still - I just need the creativity to figure out how it best use it!
*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
(Great question!) I have a lot: Quality calico, acrylic paint, random shiny beads, sewing sundries at garage sales, and sweaters made from bulky yarn (to reknit), and Mexican milagros. I love finding someone's vintage or foreign sewing supplies at a garage sales, also - anything that I can't buy at the craft store.
*What motivates or inspires you to create?
I am inspired by travel most of all. I live in a constant state of wanderlust and making an Indian piece of jewelry or Danish hair stick cures that in me. I'm inspired by nature - the colors of an Illinois sunset are breath-taking - and also the design that has come before me, like the dragon buttresses on Norwegian stavekirkes (churches) -they're enchanting.
*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
Probably my Lake Louise Knit Rug because it was so gratifying to produce a piece that matched the idea in my head - that doesn't always happen!
*What is your favorite shop that uses recycled materials, and/or your favorite blog about recycling?
I love to see what's at Ten Thousand Villages, a cool store that prioritizes fair trade, offering opportunities for third world artisans to support themselves through craft. The creative ingenuity I see there is inspiring. This store is after my own heart as well: I donate half of all proceeds from my Etsy shop to missions.