Crafty couple Jessica and Karl Schaefer, aka theBird+theBeard, are based out of Pittsburgh and have been together for 8 years but have only been working in their handmade business for 4 years. In 2013, they launched their line of chemistry-themed geeky greeting cards based on the Periodic Table of the Elements that feature sayings from classy and traditional to sassy and youthful. They’ve expanded their academic themes to include BASIC computer programming, binary code, and math equations.
We asked Jess and Karl more about how their creative journey started together, how they play off one another and crafty projects they are most proud of….
– How long have you been together.
Jess: Almost 8 years, we’ll be married for 5 years this May.
– How did you meet?
Karl: We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party. I was trying to talk with Jess all night, but we couldn’t really connect. A few weeks later our friend invited Jess out for drinks and arranged for me to arrive a few minutes later. Our friend quickly bailed to go on a date, leaving Jess and I on our own date.
– What roles do you each play in the company?
Jess: Our roles are constantly evolving. I started off managing all designs and production, with Karl handling logistics, shipping, and any issues that arose. As the business grew, Karl became more involved with designing cards – and for a long while he was the sole creative force behind theBird+theBeard, as my time was filled with production, marketing, and customer service. We’ve since fallen into a nice groove, with the design work more evenly distributed, as well as the more tedious tasks of sleeving cards and filing taxes.
– How do you build off each other’s strength’s? Karl: We compliment each other well. We are able to be critical of one another’s work in a constructive way, without friction. Jess: Karl can see the bigger picture. I might get caught up with a tiny design detail that halts the creative process, or a custom request might really be stressing me out, and Karl can help me step outside of the issue for clarity so I can keep moving forward.
– Name one thing you really like about your partner, in life or in work. Karl: I like that Jess has the bravery to pursue her dreams and the courage to be her own woman. Jess: I like the way Karl takes care of me. In life, he does the both the little things like washing the dishes, and the big things, like fixing the shower when (OMG!) the water won’t shut off. In work, it’s all the little things, like finding the best food to eat at a craft show and bringing me coffee!
– Do you a crafty project that you are most proud of?
Jess: I remember the night we conceived our greeting cards was (the day we celebrated) my birthday. After drinking a good amount of wine, I went to bed and Karl later woke me up to tell me you could spell BaCK ThAt AsS UP with the Periodic Table.
A new year brings new goals and personal resolutions come in many forms. Perhaps you wish to make healthier eating habits, learn a new language or unplug from social media.
While I do not fancy myself a resolution person… I enjoy my daily dose of caffeine, laced with sugar and accompanied with heavy dairy. I shall continue to binge watch with a late night snack, with little remorse. What I do crave, other than those cookies calling my name in the cupboard, is a taste for crafts.
Dabbling your way through a new workshop offers so much more than the task set out before you. The sense of accomplishment in completing a workshop and being able to carry that knowledge to your next project is as rewarding as the finished project itself. Reflecting on the results of your trials and errors throughout the creative process keeps the brain active. Recent articles state that knitting can be linked to maintaining a healthy mind, weight loss and better overall wellness. So why not take the leap of faith that DIY classes and craft in all it’s glory may have similar effects.
Displaying the finished product for your own enjoyment can remind you, for years to come, where your were in that period of your life. Perhaps you are willing to pay this object forward to a friend or loved one. Passing it on with the knowledge you gained and the funny, you had to be there moments associated to the hands on process makes that item more precious to the recipient.
DIY classes can add a new skill into your handmade tool box. Whether you are wishing to step back into an old hobby, learn some advanced techniques used in your existing handmade work or try a new medium you’ve always wanted to attempt.
Workshops can also offer up a social component. Signing up for a class with a friend can strengthen the craft thread between you. Individuals with an introverted tendency, can take solace that DIY is just that, for you and by you. Attending an event solo has the added benefit of bonding over the creative process set out before you with new peers. The bond of this new learned skill can be the ultimate ice breaker and create new,lasting friendships.
Regardless of your reasons, the city of Columbus has no shortage of sessions, classes, workshops or seminars to keep you engaged, crafty and DIY-ing your way to a craftier you. Here are a few places around town to keep those idle hands occupied.
Follow the link at the bottom of the page to submit your own DIY workshops. What handmade techniques are you excited about learning this year?
All classes are rated on it’s level of difficulty
(1 -5) 1 button being beginner – 5 buttons being advanced
I have always had a desire to create my own capsule wardrobe, but I have very little experience with garment sewing so I knew I needed a simple pattern to build my confidence. I read many reviews about The Scout Tee by Grainline Studio, and the ease and versatility of their pattern, so I was convinced I could give it a shot.
You have the option to purchase a paper pattern or a PDF, the paper pattern is available from your favorite independent fabric shop (If you are local to Columbus you can pick it up from Sew To Speak), or you can purchase the PDF from Grainline Studio’s website. I have the PDF version and it was simple to print and put together, only 18 pages to print with just 4 pattern pieces.
I purchased all of my fabric at Sew To Speak and I got great advice from an employee who had made a Scout Tee herself. She advised me on fabric choices and let me know that the pattern runs a little short, which was critical information considering I’m almost six feet tall. There really is no substitution for first hand knowledge at your local fabric shop!
With loads of unearned optimism, I decided to start by cutting and sewing 3 shirts at a time. I made 2 regular shirts and then I decided to try a version I had seen on Pinterest, my first garment pattern hack!
I put everything together and added about three inches where the instructions indicated, that’s why my pattern looks a little chopped up in the middle. I also made the measurements and adjustments for a color blocked version.
The pattern itself is well written with simple illustrations, the most difficult step for me (the bias neckline) also has a link to a great photo tutorial on their website that was extremely helpful.
Overall I am thrilled with all three of my new shirts, they are loose fitting, comfortable and versatile. It’s the perfect pattern for a beginner garment sewer and has a lot of opportunity to customize to fit your needs and style.
Mallory Hill has been sewing since she was young but didn’t pick it up seriously until she was out of college. That’s when she first started working in the fabric and sewing industry and her passion has grown as she continued to work for various textile companies for the past 10 years. She has two daughters and has recently re-located back to her home state of Ohio.
I have the best job in the world. Season after season, year after year I have the pleasure of hosting a party which celebrates the best of the handmade community. It comes with stress, high blood pressure and a constantly full inbox. The reward and the payoff of sustaining craft talent and our creative entrepreneurs from around the Midwest is a privilege and I love every stressful moment of the event planning process.
It’s hard to choose just a few and I should state that EVERY sponsor that supports Craftin’ Outlaws should be praised. They keep our event running year after year and I encourage you to visit their booths and shops.
Here are a few vendors who keep me motivated and inspire me daily…
The Hoop and Needle – I saw them across the craft aisle at an out of town show in Bloomington but never spoke to them because introverts don’t announce their presence. We have created an everlasting bond and they’ve been one of my favorite Outlaws both online and in person. They also crafted these DIY embroidery kits for our early birds.
Itty Bitty … one of our longest vendors under the name Sugar Kitty Corsets has created a line of clothes for those patriotic dolls my 8 year old won’t shut up about. Her doll line of clothing is in keeping to the Outlaws spirit and all little girls should have their dolls be a badass.
Logan Schmitt Illustrations… our 2016 poster designer makes decay a beautiful thing. He’s a stand up guy and an amazing artist. Collaborations should always be this easy.
Joe Ryckebosch Art… Thrift store art remade with colorful duct tape. I purchased one a few years back and I need to add to my collection.
The last few years we’ve chosen Best in Show winners, where we recognize Outlaws who’s booths, products and presence continue to capture the embodiment of our events. That distinction went to AJW Creations, who returns as our 2015 Best in Show vendor. We love having Adam join us year after year.
Macabee Metals… finely forged blades and knives define craftsmenship and you can thank me when you strike up a conversation with Matt and get to know the man behind the steel.
Mary Ann Crago not only has sculptures that captures souls but she herself is a someone I would welcome a cup of coffee to pick her brain. Her work is gentile and powerful and embodies feminist ideals. Her work is on my to buy list for sure.
Craftin’ Outlaws returns this Saturday December 10th at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The Columbus Diaper coalition was born out of a need within the community. Upon learning that diapers were not covered by Ohio Works First, SNAP Benefits, or other social-service organizations in the state of Ohio, the founders of the Columbus Diaper Coalition began to put the wheels in motion to start a diaper bank.
Our non-profit sponsor and friends join us again THIS Saturday to share a few of their favorite Outlaws.
The Columbus Diaper Coalition joins us on December 10th with a diaper drive, hosting their beloved raffles and take in crafts of the googly eyed variety.
Pattycake Bakery handcrafts sweets as delicious as they are virtuous, always from scratch, using the finest primarily organic, all vegan, and 100% natural ingredients. Using fresh produce from local farmers, use recycled and biodegradable packaging, choose to pedal deliveries by bike to coffee houses and groceries throughout the city, and operate collaboratively as Columbus’ premier worker-owned co-operative.
Our favorite bakery shares a few of their favorite Outlaws!
Cynthia Vardhan Ceramics
Pattycake Bakery can be found in Clinnville crafting away the tastiest, vegan goods in town. Find your favorite online at www.craftinoutlaws.com and in person on December 10th at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Printers gotta print and no one knows that better than Alison and Nick of Alison Rose.
Alison Rose started as a love affair in their college days and has grown to a retail space in Clintonville to their new production space located outside of Downtown. The nicest couple on earth continues to dress Columbus in highly fashioned and well crafted designs.
Our favorite in-house printer, Nick and Alison share a few of their favorite Outlaws.
Eliza Dot Design
Alison Rose joins December 10th for our 11th annual Craftin’ Outlaws.
Igloo is a small but mighty letterpress and bookbinding studio, retail shop and commercial printer in central Ohio.
Their roots are steeped in history by using their extensive collection of wood and metal type and beautiful vintage image cuts. As a modern letterpress printer Igloo Letterpress thrive on pushing the envelope and experimenting with the best of digital and analog techniques. To visit their studio is to receive an education in not only the 600-year history of printing, but to get a glimpse of where it is going and why it is an always changing, vibrant, and exciting craft.
The staff at Igloo share a a few of their favorite Outlaws!
Heartell Press letterpress greeting cards are printed with hand-carved woodblocks on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Artist and printmaker Rachel Kroh, who recently relocated from Brooklyn, New York to Fort Wayne, Indiana, began making cards in 2012 when she had trouble finding the kind of warm, sincere sympathy cards she wanted to send to family and friends who were experiencing hard times. Heartell Press launched online in 2014 and the collection now includes cards for all kinds of occasions, as well as art prints and boxed note cards–perfect gifts for the holidays!
Igloo joins on December 10th with the wide assortment of letterpress items. Find your favorite Outlaws at www.craftinoutlaws.com.
Outlaws assistant Mallory Hill Designs has been working behind the scenes. The show could not go on with out her! One of the perks of the job is getting to see all the talent before the general public. Mallory shares a few of the Outlaws she’s been cherishing since applications first opened.
My favorite art prints – strawberry luna & Naterdoodles – two different styles but countless items for everyone on your gift list.
strawberryluna is a small, wife & husband studio creating bright, happy silkscreen artwork for all ages. Our hand pulled process is a a labor intensive one, but we think it’s the bee’s knees!
Equal parts sappy and snarky, Natterdoodle’s handlettered art prints and paper goods bring a little love and humor to your life. Dozens of fun, quirky and inspirational prints and greeting cards, with a hint of whimsy and local pride, Natterdoodle uses handlettering, watercolor and vintage, upcycled ephemera to create pieces for your home or work space.
My favorite apparel – Megan Lee Designs – great designs, super soft tees, what more do you need!
My favorite bags – Branch Line Leather – I make bags myself so I am always on the lookout for well crafted bags and accessories, these will not disappoint.
My favorite local shops – Igloo Letterpress, The Smithery and Wholly Craft – I’ve been to each of these shops for workshops, tours, movie nights and, of course, shopping!
Igloo is a small but mighty letterpress and bookbinding studio, retail shop and commercial printer in central Ohio. Our roots are steeped in history. We are passionate about using our extensive collection of wood and metal type and beautiful vintage image cuts.
With 40 crafty vendors, met at local fairs and online through discussion boards and this brand new website (still in beta!) called Etsy, Wholly Craft became a hidden gem for people looking to find the perfect, unique gift for their loved ones. As word of mouth spread, the tiny shop was quickly busting at the seams and soon expanded next door, tripling in size.
Columbus Diaper Coalition – A special shout out to this amazing group that is working to bring diapers to each and every baby in the city. Stop by their booth to find out how you can support this very important mission.
Mallory will continue her role making the magic happen during Craftin’ Outlaws and will also be set up selling her handbags and treasures.