meker: heather tharp of prettyparis
a big hello to “that crafty mom” and patchwork vendor heather tharp of prettyparis! for today’s maker weekly- heather shows us how to juggle twins, lunches, laundry and turn out a seriously beautiful line of vintage silver table/garden accessories. hope you’re taking notes…
please introduce yourself…
hi, my name is heather tharp. i am the owner of prettyparis. i grew up in two very different places. half my time was spent with my father in southern california, and the other half with my mother in a small town (only one traffic stop light!) in northern california called oakdale. i now live in ladera ranch, california.
what do you make or do?
i make hand-stamped garden markers, wedding forks, spoons, knives, etc., from vintage silver-plated flatware. i also make earrings, rings, and hairpins using my favorite colorful flowers made from molded resin.
where can we find your creations?
you can visit me here.
how long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
i think like a lot of us…we started creating at a very early age. i was always the craft-loving kid on the block. making models from milk cartons, popsicle stick towers, and play-doh sculptures. school and work took over and i spent many years doing just that…and not a whole lot of creating. after my twins were born, i became a stay-at- home mom and the crafting and creating slowly crept back into my life.
i would say my full time job right now is my twins. i am happy to say they both love doing crafts, drawing, and painting. it is a large part of our life here and that thrills me!
my etsy business has done very well this year and has kept me very busy. i also participate in the patchwork shows every year…which i love doing. i feel my business is a very important part of my life. it lets me feel like i am still in the “real world”. it makes me feel like i am still “me”.
when you’re not making things, what do you do?
goodness…what don’t i do as a mom! this will be a thrilling read, lol….i wash clothes, fold clothes, clean, take kids to school, volunteer, pick kids up from school, go to kids parties, throw kids parties, help with homework, give baths, pack lunches….i could go on forever…
i also try to find the time to be a wife and partner (poor hubby) and friend.
i am, however, very proud to be known as “that crafty mom”. the mom who never says no to paper, paint, glue, or glitter and freely lets them use as much as they want. we love to take walks and collect sticks, rocks, and leaves for later creations.
is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
for me…at this time in my life…it is necessity. i feel it makes me whole. as a stay-at- home mom, sometimes i feel lost in the piles of laundry and creativity is the one thing that is all mine. it makes me feel like i am still a person…still me….and not just mom!
what obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
my main obstacle is time. having young children at home can make it difficult to find the time to work at my craft. there can be some guilt involved in that, too.
are the kids spending too much time with grandma so i can finish up my orders? am i not paying enough attention to them? are we not going as many places because i need to work? it is a constant juggling act to balance it all. now that they are in school everyday, it has become a lot easier to balance. i have made a schedule and try my best to stick to it. that way, i’m only working on my etsy orders during their school hours.
did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
my dad is an english teacher and artist. he instilled in me a love for creating, reading, and drawing. he told stories, explored the outdoors with me, and taught me (in my opinion) how to see things differently…how to appreciate flowers and their shapes and how to use my imagination…he let me freely create without ever being told to stay within the lines.
where do you find inspiration?
i love old things. i am a very visual person. i can look at a box of beautiful vintage flatware and see the beauty in it like most people would look at a box of jewels. they are gorgeous to me…the patterns, flowers, and scrolls are so unique. i never thought i could fall in love with vintage flatware…but i have!
i also find inspiration in nature. i love the outdoors and all the shapes and colors. in my spare time, i love to garden. we moved here to ladera ranch to try to get a bit of nature in a very busy southern california.
it is as close as we can get here…but i dream of living in an old farm house surrounded by animals and plants. maybe one day…
if money wasn’t an issue, how would your life change with regards to your art?
i think if money were not an issue, all i would change would be my location. i would travel around to different homes as the seasons changed… have a home where the leaves change all those beautiful colors, a home where the snow piles up outside the door, a home on the beach, and a home in the desert. i think my art would change with my surroundings.
what would be your perfect day off?
my perfect day off would be to go a place where i have never been before. somewhere outdoors with an environment unique to that area. i could show the kids something new…a new place full of new sights…i think that would be pretty perfect.
what inspiring advice would you give to other creatives?
do what you love to do. if you do what makes you happy… you will always be successful.