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February 1, 2021

Maker of the Month: Amy Ploss-Samson

Amy Ploss-Samson is the epitome of a modern-day renaissance woman. From commercial photography to sewing, woodworking to running a vintage storefront, she truly does it all (and did we mention she’s a mom, too?). We’re so excited for you to learn more about Amy, how she got started in her creative career, and what’s next for her and her family.

 

We know you for your adorable felt plants, but you’re also a photographer, maker, shop owner, mother, and overall multi-talented human—can you share a little more about the different media you use to create and the path your career has taken?

Art and more specifically "making" has always been a part of my life. I have been fortunate to have grown up in a family of makers. My childhood was spent in woodshops, garages, darkrooms, behind a sewing machine, covered in glue, glitter, sawdust, grease, and the occasional hot glue string.

This upbringing led to my decision to attend Savannah College of Art and Design. In college, I found ways to incorporate my other skills into my photography projects. When commercial photography became my career in 2004, I turned to fine art photography, sewing, and woodworking as creative outlets and hobbies.

I find that I mostly "make" because it's something I want, that I haven't been able to find. I used to make my own clothes or modify existing clothing for this reason. I create a lot of my artwork because it's what I want to see in my own home. It's not the most in-depth "artist statement," but it's honest. 

Favor Maker of the Month Amy Ploss-SamsonFavor Maker of the Month Amy Ploss-Samson

A woman holding three small Everlasting CactusesA woman holding three small Everlasting Cactuses
A faux plant made from felt hanging above a wooden shelfA faux plant made from felt hanging above a wooden shelf

A faux fiddle leaf fig tree made from green felt with light green stitching detailsA faux fiddle leaf fig tree made from green felt with light green stitching details

Two everlasting cactuses made from green felt in tan and black striped basketsTwo everlasting cactuses made from green felt in tan and black striped baskets

Your cheerful felt cacti and plants are so unique (not to mention child-friendly and fun!). How did you get started working with felt to make faux plants?

I started making faux plants and cacti when my nephew Bennett was born. My sister was setting up her bedroom to also serve as a nursery and wanted help decorating it in a way that would work for her and be sweet for him.

At the time, the "southwest desert" design vibe was just becoming popular, so I chose that, but looked for ways to make it kid-friendly. I couldn't put a real cactus in a nursery for safety reasons, so I designed one that looked real enough at first glance, but was safe for a child to be around. Since then, I have created new patterns, and I'm always working on new ideas. 

 

“I find that I mostly "make" because it's something I want, that I haven't been able to find...it's not the most in-depth "artist statement," but it's honest.”

 

You recently opened a small shop full of curated vintage and handmade goods in Jacksonville. What has that experience been like for you?

In October of 2020, I opened a retail space for curated vintage (as a fourth-generation vintage and antique peddler) and makers' market with two of my friends. This had been a dream of mine for some time—a place where I could combine two of my loves: handmade goods and cool vintage!

It can be a real hustle as a small-batch maker. Running a photography business, being a mom and wife, and still finding time to craft was hard enough. Finding the time to actually market and sell those things I made was nearly impossible. So when we opened Shop Temporium, it was important to me to make sure other makers had a place where they could sell their merchandise easily, without having to drag their wares from market to market to market. (Side note, I love makers' markets! So I mean no disrespect. However, I know it can be a real grind on the makers, so we just wanted to provide another option for them.)

We are now going into our fifth month of business, and it's been great! The community has been amazingly supportive and loves that we sell merchandise from local artists. We love being able to pair great handmade items with beautiful and interesting vintage decor and clothing!

 

You and your family recently made a big move to Japan! How has living in a new country inspired you so far, and what excites you most about this new adventure?

So the only downside to opening my dream store, is that I had to leave it. My husband was offered a job in Japan, and we couldn't turn down the opportunity for such an amazing adventure. We only arrived here a few weeks ago, so I haven't had much of a chance to explore and experience the culture yet, but I am anxious to get out there and learn and be inspired.

When I design and make my felt cacti/plants, I start with the overall design concept. From there, I figure out the structure within that will keep the design upright. Next, I draw out and test the fabric pattern to see what works and looks right. Then comes the execution: sewing, embroidery, construction of the structure, and putting all the pieces together.

I look forward to seeing what new skills and elements may be incorporated into this process or what creative inspiration I can draw upon from the culture and my new surroundings. I may try to put my spin on some Japanese-inspired plants or start something completely different! 

A faux snake plant made from green felt with blue and yellow stitching detailsA faux snake plant made from green felt with blue and yellow stitching details

An Everlasting Cactus and Everlasting Snake Plant styled on a shelf An Everlasting Cactus and Everlasting Snake Plant styled on a shelf

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