Maker: Kathi of The League of Crafty Canines
Being a dog lover, it’s my pleasure to introduce you today to Kathy of The League of Crafty Canines. The story behind the name is amazing, and you can just picture how fun it was to come up with. Meet Kathi!
Please introduce yourself.
Hi, I’m Kathi Encinas – Originally from The Dalles, Oregon not too far from Portland. I grew up wanting to work at Disneyland in some creative capacity which I finally did as an adult. I had a great nine year run at Disneyland as a Theme Park Decorator and I’m grateful for all the things I learned there and getting to work with new materials, try new tools and techniques from the other creative people in the department that I may not have tried before. When I made another major move, this time to the Central Coast of California (Pacific Grove) I began the work that became The League of Crafty Canines.
What do you make or do?
My husband Jef & I have come up with a growing catalog of doggie products which include baking dog treats, Miss Valentine’s Tasty Treats (all natural & gluten free), dog beds made with antique feed and flour sacks, bandanas, toys, paw salve and dry shampoo. We work together on the graphics and packaging.
Where can we find your creations?
We’re currently found throughout the Monterey Bay area in about 20 shops – Including Whole Foods Markets, independent gift shops and pet stores, such as Diggidy Dog, Wishbone Pet Food, and Stone’s Pet. Our goodies are also available online via our website https://leagueofcraftycanines.com , our etsy shop, facebook store.
Is there a story behind the name of your business?
The name of our business is The League of Crafty Canines. I think we were laughing about the lives dogs would lead if they could. We have a Jack Russell Terrier named Valentine and a West Highland Terrier named Paisley that have a lot of energy and always seem to be up to something and we wondered what jobs would suit them if they could work for themselves. Valentine is very food motivated and we figured she’d bake her own treats if she could just access the kitchen and Paisley is always testing the limits of toys so we thought she’d be her own toy maker. They’d both probably gang up with like-minded dogs who had other talents such as sewing – Lucy the Dachshund that makes comfy pet beds, Violet the Apawthecary Fairy is a Borzoi that makes dry shampoo, paw salve, Oliver the French Bulldog is a tailor that makes dog bandanas and will soon make leashes and collars, there may be more creative dogs added but that’s the gang for now. They’d all form their own club which was dubbed The League of Crafty Canines. We are merely helping the dogs live out their dreams (LOL) so we work for them. It’s been fun fleshing out each of their back stories and creating their world at the same time using all our creative skills.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
Creativity is both a luxury and a necessity. I feel fortunate to have a craft room that’s my zone where I can sew, decoupage, paint, etc. while listening to audiobooks or music. Whenever something is bugging me I always feel better after making something with my hands. The dreaded saying around our house when growing up was ‘busy hands are happy hands’. My mom would say it when we were bored and that was our clue to find something productive to do. I now know she was just trying to get us to engage our creative brains instead of just sit idle.
Did someone inspire you along the way?
My sewing teacher in high school, Mrs. Smith, was so patient teaching me to sew. It was quite frustrating trying to figure how to make patterns for projects, thinking inside out and the mental gymnastics you go through to complete a sewing project. She helped me with the basics that helped form the confidence to go for it on other projects I may not have tried. Sewing was my “gateway craft” to other creative outlets.