Today, March 20th, 2017, is Scarlet Elfcup's 3-year anniversary. Things have been very quiet here for a long time. Life has taken it's full course and has demanded more than 100% of my time. But, I'm still here. I assure you.
An anniversary is a time to celebrate, to acknowledge the start of something good and happy and to reflect upon the road by which things have taken it's course. This week, I'd like to celebrate with you by sharing:
1.) a wee bit more about me, the maker. I realize I haven't quite made my face or much of my personal life available. I'm a bit shy around cameras and even more shy around the internet.
2.) my journey, thus far, in the world of handmade fiber arts and the things I've learned along the way.
3.) my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who are here with me now and who have been on this journey all along.
Where to begin?...Perhaps, "Hello." My name is Young. I am the maker behind Scarlet Elfcup. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with the love of my life and my two little hearts.
It seems that this would be an appropriate time for me to reintroduce myself and Scarlet Elfcup. In line with this, I think it's time I ought to show my mug publicly for the first time in the three years since Scarlet Elfcup came to life. I'd like to preface this with the notion that I am a very private and very camera-shy person. In my personal life, particularly since becoming a mother, I try very hard to leave as little footprints as possible on the internet. I don't own a personal twitter, facebook or instagram account. I think this is in part due to my on-going journey into mindfulness and being 'present'. But, I also think it is in part due to the fact that I am very much an introvert. I am better with up-close-and-personal, one-on-one than I am via the worldwide web or in large group settings.
With that said, you...and I, myself, may wonder, "Why, then, did I start a business which requires a strong social media presence, a business by which all human contact is via the web...intangible, sometimes impersonal. It's a good question and an appropriate one to contemplate on this day.
To begin, let me take a few steps back and give you some background on how I arrived here. After all, I've learned over the last three years of growing with Scarlet Elfcup, that try as I might to separate my personal life from Scarlet Elfcup, it is quite impossible to. Hence, past, present and future, my life ties deeply to the work that I create through Scarlet Elfcup. As a result, it is only appropriate for me to take you back in time a bit and introduce you to my background.
I'd like to introduce you to me before motherhood...the me I still know and understand to the core. Growing up, I always knew I would land in the field of science and math. These were my forte. Never in my life did I ever envision involvement in the arts, in the world of creativity, imagination, sewing, knitting, crafting handmade wonders. These were not my areas of interest nor expertise. I have an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and a graduate degree in Math and Physics Education. I worked in both fields for a number of years until a life in the Peace Corps changed my entire perspective on what I would do for the rest of my life.
Peace Corps. "The toughest job you'll ever love." Tis true.
After completing my stint in the Peace Corps serving as a secondary school math and physics teacher in a small village in Kenya, I knew a life of travel, exploring different cultures and being in the great outdoors climbing rocks and mountains are the things that make me happiest, that ground me and inspire in me the highest passion for life. There wasn't much else that mattered more than this...that is...until the love of my life and my children came along.
Climbing..."It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves."
"Not all those who wander are lost." Travel is what kept me grounded and happy.
It has been 6 years into the journey of parenthood. I have many days when I still ask who is it that stares back at me from a mirror. After the birth of my first child, I chose to sidestep my career. Since then, I've been on a journey to discover who it is that I've become, what it is that I'm striving for or moving toward next. My passion for travel and climbing has never died. But, the reality of life as a parent keeps me from drifting too far or too high from home. I always knew that if I had children I would want to be at home for them, to always be there for them. I adore my children and I love being home with them. But, I needed an outlet, a balancing act that would keep me on my toes.
Enter the world of handmade baby goods. Being a new mom inspired me to take to a life of less buying and more making. It began with teaching myself how to sew baby blankets. Then, learning how to crochet baby blankets. And then, an exploration into knitting made me fall hard in love with handmade things. From there, I discovered the world of handmade natural fiber dolls. It stemmed from Brandy Fortune's "Just Like Me Knits." I picked up this sweet knit book for it's adorable idea of knitting up cute matching clothes for little ones and their dollies. What I discovered took me far beyond anything I bargained for.
Upon the back pages of the book was a list of resources naming a few independent doll makers. One of these doll makers would become the pivotal influence that would bring Scarlet Elfcup to life. Her name is Fabiola Perez, maker and shaker behind the famous Fig & Me doll production. If you know of Fig & Me, you understand how beautiful Fabiola's creations are. But, do you want to know what I learned from Fabiola? I learned what it meant to have an imagination. I learned what it is like to play with dolls. Through reading her blog posts which contained endless encounters with characters small and big, wild and wondrous, beautiful and charming, naughty and daring, I was caught up in a world of magic and whimsy, a world I never knew existed in childhood nor adulthood. Also, through her blog posts, I was mesmerized by her journey in the world of doll making. Call it spellbinding or whatever it may be named, I was enchanted. I didn't grow up playing with dolls. I'm what you might label as a tomboy. I was never a doll collector and I'm still not a collector. But, oddly enough, I love the idea of creating these woolen souls. And Fabiola's dolls are so filled with life and magic and wonder. I did end up lucky enough to get my hands on one of her earlier works...a sweet little gal by the name of Celia and her itty-bitty hand knitted teddy bear.
Fabiola's work sparked a flame inside me that I never knew existed. And, still to this day, I'll never know what possessed me to pull together enough courage to dive headlong into a project I knew nothing about and have absolutely no experience in. But, forward I went, diving blind into bringing Scarlet Elfcup to life.
Stay tuned...In my next blog post, I'll share my journey thus far and the challenges as well as the joys that have come with it.
Thank you for stopping by and thank you for being here to celebrate 3-years in the making of Scarlet Elfcup.
Good night and sweet dreams. The next anniversary blog post will be up on Wednesday, March 22nd. I hope you come back to read on.