Today I want you to meet a wonderful Etsy artist, Emily Kircher. I stumbled across her shop, Emily Kircher Recycling Artist when she purchased some T shirt scraps from me. She makes amazing items from recycled fabric including bowls, baskets and rugs. I love seeing her new rugs come across my Facebook feed. They are simple in design, yet so unique. I was also fascinated by her biography and thought we shared a bit of history in changing the direction of our career paths from science to creating!
Please enjoy getting to know Emily:
I loved reading your bio on your Etsy shop. You and I share a similar history. I studied Chemical Engineering with hopes of one day becoming a doctor. I changed my mind about junior year in college. I was never really happy in my career choice, considered teaching for a while, but ended up as a busy mom. I was always a “maker”, as you say, and find it so fulfilling to create with my hands.
What was the reaction you received when you told people you were no longer going to pursue a PhD?
Everyone except those who were really close to me was really surprised and kept saying the same thing, “But you only have a few more years!” and “Are you really going to throw all that schooling away?” The people who were close to me, like my boyfriend (now husband) and parents and brother, were all very supportive and told me they thought it was best to do something that would make me happy.
How long have you been creating rugs?
I started making rugs in 2002 as a hobby while I was in graduate school. I lived in a tiny studio apartment by myself with my cat, so I didn’t need many rugs and I gave them away to friends and family as I made them.
Who taught you to crochet?
What inspired you to create using T shirts? Do you use other fabrics?
When I started making rugs, I used mainly old clothes of any type. There was a thrift store in town that sold clothes by the pound and I would go there and buy things based on color and pattern. Soon after that, I discovered the magic of bed sheets. They were also abundant and inexpensive and offered a lot more fabric and far less cutting. When my husband and I moved from Madison, WI to Carbondale, IL, I found myself in a town without many thrift stores and had to find new places to get my recycled fabric. One place I looked was Etsy, to see if people were selling their scraps. I found Krista Lawhon (www.kristalawhon.etsy.com) who makes t-shirt blankets and was willing to ship me her scraps and a new friendship and fabric source was found!
I love your nautical creations. Where do these ideas spring from?
When I was young, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I even spent a summer on a sailing research vessel when I was in collegel! I still love the ocean and ocean life and bring that love into my work.
Where do you work? Do you have a dedicated craft room?
I work at home and I do have a dedicated craft room, but I use that mostly just for storage. I prefer to do my actual crocheting in the living room with the TV and ipod speakers.
Do you enjoy other hobbies?
Running my business is really a full time job, and by full time I mean, ALL time. But, sometimes I get out and love to go to concerts with my husband.
What is your family/home life like?
I live with my husband, our two cats, and 4 birds in Carbondale, Il.
Are you a small town or big city girl?
I think ideally I would like to live in a small city. Big enough that there are a lot of diverse restaurants and that it is a tour stop for bands, but small enough that I don’t feel completely lost in the crowd.
Cadbury Mini Eggs, yum!
What helps you when you are in a bad mood?
It might sound weird, but making myself smile helps. I read somewhere that your brain registers that your smile muscles are being engaged and so it helps to lift your mood. It really does work for me. Other things that help are talking a walk or playing with my cats.
Thank you Emily! I enjoyed getting to know the person behind these wonderful creations. Check out Emily’s shop for an amazing feast for the eyes!