In my quest to learn more about yo yo crafts, I was fortunate enough to come across Tefi Designs. I will say yo yo crafts are definitely not the only thing Tefi (nickname for Stephanie) creates but it is what initially attracted me to her work. The colors she uses are so vibrant and the pieces modern and unique. I started looking more into this woman and everything from her site, her creations, and how she founded Etsy Dallas amazed me. I knew I had to connect with her and find out more about her.
Name, age, location:
Stephanie Hindall (nickname – Tefi), 35, Dallas TX
Is this a full time business for you?
Tefi Designs a little side business run out of my bedroom studio in Dallas. My real career is a professional grant writer and fundraiser for a local non-profit serving young homeless children.
Tea Garden-fabric sculpture necklace
What made you start creating jewelry?
Back in the late 90′s when I graduated from college, I moved back in with my folks for a year to help pay off some college debt. As a way to express myself creatively while trying to come to grips with “the real world,” I started beading simple necklaces and earrings. People loved them, so I made more. Then I started selling online, then at shows, and here I am today.
How do you begin a “theme” for one of your pieces?
Oh, I don’t. I just make whatever design is in my head with the items I have at hand. Every piece I make, I try to do so with what materials I have at the time. I don’t go out and buy materials expressly for a design I have in mind.
Where do you collect the materials for your work?
The fabric I use comes from both regular commercial resources, as well as friends who sew larger items and sell or donate their scraps to me. I also have a friend who is a furniture designer by day and brings me new factory samples that were destined for the dump. I’d say about 85% of the fabric I use was repurposed from scraps or vintage fabric I find at estate sales and online. My beads and pendants come from all over the world. I’ve been amassing a giant collection of jewelry supplies over the past 13 years. It would be impossible to name all the places I’ve purchased from.
Fabric Wall Art
Do you ever feel “artist’s block”, and if so how do you overcome it?
Oh yes, but I don’t try to overcome. I just let it be and it eventually passes on its own. There are times when I don’t create for weeks, and that’s okay. If I try to push it, it ends in an exercise in futility and ugly necklaces.
How would you describe your style?
Quirky, modern, rare, colorful, different, loud, assertive. (wait, are we talking about me or my designs? LOL)
I love yo yo crafts now after seeing your pieces, why do you love them so?
I’m not really sure. I saw my first yoyo necklace in a craft book and just fell in love with it. For exactly one year since that first exposure to yoyos I worked on creating and perfecting my own designs before unveiling them to the public. There’s something about round items, circles and balls that attracts me. You’ll see it in the beads I choose and the felted ball necklaces I make using 100% natural wool.
Prep School Nerd-fabric sculpture necklace and brooch combo
Who are some of your favorite artists and sites?
I love the work of my fellow Etsy Dallas members. We’re all hand-picked to be on the team, which I founded back in 2007 as the FIRST city team in Texas. The talent on our team is incredible. My crafty BFF’s are Pamela of www.dowdystudio.etsy.com and Cheyne (shay-nah) of www.cutoutandcollect.etsy.com. We keep each other sane on a daily basis via emails and chats.
What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
My 2 year old, Ian, dancing to Kris Kross’s “Jump”. He has some crazy musical and rhythm skills. I’ve already got him pegged for Julliard.
What’s your must have in your closet?
At least 45 cardigans in various styles, colors and patterns. I’m cardigan-obsessed.
I write a lot about notebooks and orginization, Do you have a favorite planner, binder, anything you use daily?
Belle and Sebastian Calendar
One of my best skills is organization. That said, I don’t actually use a hard copy planner. It’s all in my head or on my plain desk calendar at work. At home, we have a family calendar hanging in our kitchen. This year it’s Belle and Sebastian’s “Write About Love” wall calendar: http://www.belleandsebastianshop.com/product/_write_about_love_2011_calendar/
With all the fun pieces of yours, you must have a lot of fun hobbies are interests, any you can tell me about?
I’m obsessed with BBC productions – movies, TV series, period pieces. It’s ridiculous. But now that I’m a mom, most other hobbies have flown out the window. I work, I craft, I watch my telly stories – everything else is all about Ian.
What is Etsy Dallas and how did it begin?
Etsy Dallas is the first city Etsy team in Texas, which I founded back in 2007 as a response to a lack of a collective in the area for local artists and crafters to gather, share and sell. We started off as 10 crafters selling at the world’s smallest trunk show. Today, we host the leading art/craft shows in Texas – possibly the Southwest (with exception to the new Renegade Austin – those guys are our craft show heroes). In the spring we hold the Spring Bash, and in November the Jingle Bash. These shows are HUGE parties – so much fun – selling our work, free make & take crafts, DJ, booze, FUN. In addition to putting on these shows, which are organized by me and Pam and a handful of veteran ED members, the team holds members-only meet-ups and parties, supplies sales, craft parties, and so much more! www.etsydallas.com
Hothouse Flowers-embroidered fabric hoop art
Any small ideas you can include to help others create something small and from the heart to start out with?
I say, work with what you’ve already got around you (fabric, paper, buttons). Start off small, don’t be afraid of your ideas, and expect to make something ugly. Why? Not everything we make is a work of art. Seriously, you should see the junk I was making 13 years ago! But without mistakes, we can’t grow. If I hadn’t have gone through trial-and-error, I never would have made it this far.
I like to always include the artist’s creative space. Can you send me a picture of your creative space or describe it?
It’s basically an IKEA table covered in supplies, my laptop and my TV. Nearby are several shelves where I store everything rather efficiently – I’m obsessive like that. Attached are a couple of photoes, but they aren’t great since my bedroom studio never gets really great light – I live in a beautifully wooded area of Dallas. Lots of shade trees = very little natural light. But I can’t complain; life is good.
Thanks again Tefi!
Read more about Tefi Designs here: Tefi Designs
And Etsy Dallas here: www.etsydallas.com
And their big art/craft shows here: www.handmadebash.com