I love embroidered things. My favorite blanket as a child was an embroidered clown blanket done in all the oranges, yellows, browns, and greens that were popular in the late seventies. I used to run my finger over the stitching and it soothed me. When it came time to pick out my wedding dress, I specifically sought out a dress that had embroidered flowers on it. While my heart was pounding as I waited to be walked down the aisle towards my soon to be husband, I ran my fingertips over the stitching on the dress. While embroidered things always drew my attention (and touch), I never felt like I could actually produce something like that. It seemed too….complicated? Too much tangled thread, or pokes with a needle, or time sitting still…I don’t know. I finally had a go at it when my sister got married I couldn’t find the. perfect. gift. I clumsily attempted a little heart in a tree with their initials in it, and it didn’t turn out half bad! My material puckered, and my stitches weren’t anywhere near even or perfect, but it was there. And it was so calming to sit and stitch! I had children running around me, dogs racing around on the lawn, phones ringing, dinner cooking…but it was settling. And it was fun! And I can’t wait to find the time to do it again! Meet a girl who has taken her ability to produce gifts for friends, and turned it into a business that meets her needs. Meet Shana!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Shana Lee Hampton. I grew up just outside of Chicago, with an incredibly creative mom who I disappointed daily by showing no interest in making things, and a very patient dad. I made things here and there but it wasn’t until about 15 years ago that I realized that I absolutely needed to. Now, I live in Portland, OR with my husband, where we both make things daily.
What do you make or do?
I embroider anything and everything. It was a skill that had been in my craft tool kit for years but had really reserved it for gifts for friends. Then I had an idea and went for it. The ideas just kept coming. It’s really nice because previously I was making jewelry and that was getting boring for me. After seven years of selling jewelry successfully online, in shops and at shows, my sales and creativity flat-lined. It was depressing. The work I’m doing now invigorates me and people are responding to it in the most amazing ways.
Where can we find your creations?
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business?
In my previous life, I worked with this totally grumpy Russian man. He and I would butt heads on a regular basis, while totally having each others’ backs. He had dozens of weird expressions and one morning he came into my office and said, “Cookoo.” I said “WHAT? Are you calling me crazy?” He said “No, it’s a Russian thing. Cookoo, cookoo, cookoorikoo, like a boy chicken.” “A boy chicken,” I said, “You mean a rooster? You mean cockadoodledo?” “YES!” he answered, “Cookoorikoo.” I was completely and inexplicably charmed. I wrote it down on a post it and carried that note around with me for years. Once it was time to come up with a business name, it seemed obvious – to me at least. I’ve thought about changing it more than once but I can’t seem to come up with anything better.
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
I have a large vegetable garden and am totally a crazy plant lady. A friend loves it when we’re walking through the neighborhood and I feel the need to fondle peoples’ plants and flowers. I also tap dance and am currently fantasizing about doing singing and dancing telegrams, totally inspired by the movie Clue. I am also writing a short series of young adult novels about a girl with many pen pals and doppelgängers. I am a letter writer and a big fan of mail.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
A necessity. I feel like my days aren’t fully complete unless I’ve made something. Making things has gotten me through a number of rough patches in my life and kept me sane. Absolutely a necessity.
Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
My mom was a big inspiration, as was my grandma. My friend Teena gave me a refresher course in sewing about 10 years ago and honestly, my life was never the same.
Where do you find inspiration?
Anywhere and everywhere. Art nouveau illustrations, literature, pictures of the cosmos, dictionaries, song lyrics, television and movies, my garden…
Who are the makers that inspire you?
Kirsten Moore embarked on a bird-a-day project last year, drawing and posting a bird every day for a year, in addition to her successful accessory line and developing a lingerie and corset line. https://www.etsy.com/shop/piperewan
Bettie Newell takes the most amazing pictures of people. I feel like I know them even if we haven’t met. https://bettienewellphoto.com/
Since I’ve already picked three friends, I might as well mention my husband, Shawn Hampton, aka Shampton. He makes pixellated art and jewelry inspired by old school video games, which is cool, but he’s also a musician who claims he doesn’t write songs. Yet, he wrote a song for the marching band he is in, Lovebomb GoGo, and he is always making up songs – about me, about people we know, about cooking breakfast and going to the post office.