Q. Welcome Kit! Please tell us how you started your journey creating such colorful and unique items and your collaboration with Joy Troyer.
A. Coming from a military family with 4 kids, I taught myself to sew early to satisfy my lust for clothes "just like the other kids." From age 14 on, I made most of my own clothes.
Then I married and we had a daughter, a dramatic clothes horse from the start, and an extremely fast growing son (now 6' 6"). This continued to be a creative solution to a limited budget.
Prom Season was a big challenge since our daughter went to many dances with her drama buddies. My most daunting project ever was the "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" Marilyn Monroe dress!
In 2003, my husband and I left Baltimore and moved to California for him to attend school for his second career. The economy had already tanked in California so there were no jobs in the Non-Profit Early Childhood field to be had. So in the best "lemons to lemonade" tradition, I took out my sewing machine and started sewing and going to art fairs.
Luckily, I met Joy Troyer of dyeingarts.com, Batik Artist and illustrator of The Everything Seed. and Wind. She became my mentor, encouraging and guiding me with business advice, website and photography assistance, and invitations to art fairs.
Kit's Karma Creations was born and Joy and I became best friends and business partners.
At first, my creations were mainly quilted and embellished liturgical stoles and tote bags . Soon hand-beading and embroidery, and applique nature scenes followed. The beautiful scenery in California inspired scenes with ocean, sun and mountains of golden brown and deep hunter green. And I fell in love with the many ethnic fabrics and batiks available which lead to a period of Asia influenced bags and stained glass stoles.
With our return to the East came a change in the colors and scenery- bright Autumn leaves, rolling emerald green hills, and sand and ocean. Maryland has much of the natural beauty I loved in California and Massachusetts in another color palette!
In 2006, we found that we could print Joy's batik images on fabric. Joy’s spiritual batik images combined with my creative designs, gift for color and sewing magic created a winning line of art bags, jackets, and stoles. Like quilting, it was more then the sum of the parts- magic. In 2009, we debuted our latest collaboration, Karma Quilts (quilted wall art).
Even though now we live 3000 miles apart, Joy and I continue our BFF and Art partner status with the help of Internet, Southwest Airlines, and many phone calls and emails a week. Joy is still in California and I live on the Maryland Eastern Shore near Salisbury.
Q. Please tell us about your exciting design a bag option for your customers.
A. Since any of Joy Troyer's images can be printed on fabric, all can be turned into a Karma Bag. No two bags are alike and are made to order. Just choose your favorite batik print image, color preferences, and the type of bag: Bitty Bag, Love Knot Bag, or Everything "Green" Bag.
Joy's images can be (and have been) made into wall art or stoles too.
I also have a line of Design a Bag Karma Bags with a music theme, Flaming Chalices, or the Happy Humanist logo.
I am happy to make custom bags upon request and have done special orders with dogs (Labs), dancing cats, and peace doves so far.
Q. You have so much variety in your work, Kit, and there seems to be a central theme surrounding every piece. We are all interested in what inspires you the most when you are designing and creating for your shop.
A. One of the great things about teaching Preschool for 30 years was witnessing the daily wonder and magic that children see. Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes a color combination or an interesting shape catches my eye or it is a gorgeous bit of nature. A bill board, a stretch of sand and ocean, an article of clothing, stained glass, a trip to some place new or simply the magic of new light on something familiar... all can spark a picture.
Many times a custom order or an interesting fabric will take me in a new creative direction. A recent request for an ordination stole with a water theme had me experimenting with shiny transparent fabrics in blues and green trying to collage a shimmery water at sunrise effect. That lead to the butterfly bag, another custom order.
Another custom order request for a knitting/craft bag leads me to design a new extra large Love knot bag with specialized pockets for knitting needles and supplies.
And so it goes...
Q. Balance is a crucial element for all of us in life. As an artist and business owner, how do you achieve balance in your day to day life.
A. Balance is really a challenge for all of us. I am not sure I do achieve balance on a daily basis, but perhaps, I do overall. I tend to work intensely and best when under pressure. I create furiously when I get an inspiration or have a time limit. And I rest and regroup after a big event or fair season.
Fortunately since I have some control over my time, my day happens so organically that I don't notice the "plan". I usually work as hard and fast as I can until I get tired then I change gears and work on something else.
And I have a patient, low key, and encouraging husband who accepts that the week before a fair or in heavy special orders season, I may be just a tiny bit "crazy-girl" and he enjoys grilled cheese or makes dinner.