Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Myra Callan and I currently live and work out of a 1930s home in Salem, Oregon with my husband, Matt, Siberian husky, Indy (named after Indiana Jones) and teal colored parakeet, Kiwi. I love the color mint, compulsively count letters and like to hoard fabrics and trimmings that feel and look pretty.
I earned a master’s in geography with a focus on environmental science because when I was a child, I dreamed of protecting the natural environment. After a short, uninspiring government research position, I yearned to create tangible pieces of art and was further motivated while planning our wedding during lunch breaks. I have one sister, Amy, who also has an Etsy shop and who people often refer to as my look-a-like twin. I’m currently the owner and designer of an expanding accessories and fragrance company, Twigs & Honey.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I’ve been working toward building the business non-stop for three years now, but I do enjoy antique shopping, gardening, eating (I’m a total foodie), running, wistful daydreaming and traveling with my husband. Other random things I do include going to u-pick farms, target shooting and bird watching.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Ah-Ha!: How I Got There, because I’m constantly having those ah-ha moments that have slowly turned into a livelihood.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I gather inspiration from films, magazines, blogs and everything around me. I often find inspiration from unpredictable places. The husband and I spend hours at the book store where I’ll pour over books and publications. I mostly create accessories, but pull inspiration out of just about everything from vintage and new dresses, trees, wild places, and home goods. Unique colors and textures really get me excited and I also love how vintage furniture and clothing age and transform.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade means love, passion and creativity. Perfect imperfections.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
My mom has been the most influential in my craft. When I was young, she used to sew clothes and accessories for me. She also used to create floral arrangements for weddings and churches and I got to tag along with her and experiment with the scraps. I remember mimicking my mom’s floral arrangements on a smaller scale while she worked late until 3 a.m. at church. I have to give my dad credit as well — he taught me how to use tools and work in a shop. He studied architecture when he was younger, started a construction company and is now a CNC programmer. He has influenced how I like to create pieces with balance and structure and also taught me how to execute a project from early drafting/sketching to finished product.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
When I was in grade school, my favorite subject was art. I used to draw and paint pictures for my teachers and would give them file folders full of drawings and miniature clay figurines. Creating was the most gratifying thing I did. I even used to sell my art to kids at Sunday school. When I got older, the consummate, obsessive planner in me began to pursue a more accepted career path, but that completely backfired when I became seriously blue from the sterility of a cubicle existence crunching numbers. Only after that did I realize I was born to create; that discovery and acceptance completely changed my life for the better.
How would you describe your creative process?
I take mental notes almost everyday and everywhere. It’s all about experimentation. I love being inspired by a particular fabric or color and running with it. I dye most of my fabric and feathers and appreciate the control it gives me in creating a final product. I mix and match ideas; sometimes it’s perfect the first time and other times it may require several revisions for the perfect balance and fit.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would love to visit the studio of Ann Wood Handmade. She’s magical. I love the little creatures she makes and imagine she lives in a world of charm and whimsy. She can turn an old, dry rot riddled dress into a one-of-a-kind bird. She builds fantastical floating ships, haunting spiders, and owls with attitude and élan. She collects quirky weathered antiques that have tumbled in the ocean. Who wouldn’t want to visit this lady’s studio?
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I really love my Kate Towers dress. It used to be pure white, but through the years, some of the materials have faded to lovely off-whites and creams. The edges are unfinished so it frays in just the perfect manner to create a very unpredictable softness to the edges.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I tend to have quite an active mind and am constantly thinking up new designs. It’s hard to turn it off. I suppose I’m saying that I don’t get into creative ruts but the bigger problem I experience is when I have time to design something new, I’m overwhelmed with ideas and don’t know where to start.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I’d love to be living out in the country with some acreage so my husband and I can have our own sizeable, edible garden and some livestock. I hope to still be doing what I love for a living, which is creating and working on Twigs & Honey. In terms of the business, I envision having more product lines, a larger workforce and perhaps a brick and mortar. In ten years, I also hope to have learned how to play the accordion. I just think that would be so cool.