Today we’d like to introduce you to Melina Bernhardt.
Hi Melina, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
When I was twenty-two, I started working at Lambspun of Colorado, a yarn and fiber store in Fort Collins. I had just come from France a year before for my Modern Applied Language studies. I fell in love with a Coloradoan and started working in this amazing store. My mom had taught me to knit and crochet when I was twelve.
At Lambspun I learnt a lot of other fiber arts such as weaving, spinning, felting, dyeing…In my twenties, I started beading and sewing with fabric and leather. My grandma had taught me a few sewing tricks and patterns. –and doing leatherwork. I would make myself a leather purse, necklaces… and my friends would comment that they loved them and would buy them. A seed was planted.
After working almost fifteen years for Lambspun I was ready to fly with my own wings, opening my business in 2016. I now sell my fiber arts (woven scarves, blankets and shawls, felted neck warmers,..), my leatherwork and jewelry. My work can be found at several local Fort Collins retail businesses and I participate in a lot of makers markets. I teach all of these crafts to children and adults. I love making art and sharing my passion.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It is interesting because I have been meeting with a business coach and she has made me realize that I need to structure and organize my business. I am very much in a flowing and somewhat random and disorganized work mode. This works for me when I make art. My work can be spontaneous, I transform mistakes into some of my best pieces because I am not strict, picky or will not abandon a project for that reason. However that energy and mode don’t work for the business and client aspect of my small enterprise. I would say not managing my business with a certain rigor has been a challenge. Realizing this, I think will help me be more successful.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
A jack of all trades, a renaissance woman and a popcorn artist are some of the words that have been used to describe me. I weave – tapestry and weaving – knit, spin, crochet, felt – wet and needle – do leatherwork, jewelry – beading and other, basketweave and sew. I teach all of the above.
I would say that my specialty and passion are weaving, creating fiber arts with several of these different mediums and teaching.
People reach out to me to sew for them, fix jewelry and teach them knitting, sewing…
It’s hard to say but I think that what sets me apart is my patience and creativity in color and texture.
Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
A big passion in my business is sustainability and activism. I chose not to be silent in my business and that is why my business card reads “craftivist”. Supporting local businesses myself, buying supplies locally, not buying new material or supplies made outside the US but reusing packaging instead those are important for me.
- $15 – $65 earrings
- $135 leather clutches and pouches.
- $95 – $150 neck warmers
- $200 – $250 scarves
- $350 – $500 shawls and blankets
- Website: www.melinabe.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melina_._be/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelinaBeArt
Sunshine Lady Photography