October 1, 2011

Margo Willoughby from "Choose Moose"- Primitive Treasures from Years Gone By

Margo Willoughby- Creator of Choose Moose

Meet Margo Willoughby, artist and creator of “Choose Moose” from Laurel, Delaware.  Sewing with fabric is definitely her first passion and loves to create bowl fillers and ornies.  Margo also enjoys graphic arts, creating primitive hand tags, embroidery and just started assembling bottle caps for necklaces, magnets and hair bows which is a great diversion for her.

How does Margo describe her artist style? “I like the old and vintage look, antique art is my style. I guess that is why I began making primitive ornies and bowl fillers. Making something from new material and then getting them to look old.”

Margo was born and raised in Sussex County, DE and a graduate of Woodbridge High School in Bridgeville, Delaware Class of 1979.  She says her favorite high school memory is “Friday night football games, loved watching the boys you know at that age!”

She discovered the artist in herself in 6Th grade. “I loved art class and there was a contest to paint the glass doors in the front of my school to celebrate Christmas.”  She had to submit their ideas to the teacher and Margo was chosen to paint a scene of The Three Wise Men.  Margo says: “I still can’t believe the art teacher chose me and from that moment I found the creative edge to my being.”

Margo has never had any formal training, no classes, nothing! She learned to sew basically from reading tips on the internet. “I have “Googled” most everything I have learned. Yes, the internet and I have only been sewing for 5 years.” Are you kidding me Margo? Your creations are wonderful.

I have a few questions for Margo to help us learn more about our Delaware artist.

Q:  What is the most significant decision you ever made?

A:  I decided to retire from my job at the age of 44. I had worked in a public school field since graduating at the age of 17. The time arose in my life that I knew it was the right thing and I never looked back. It allowed me to truly explore the creative side that I knew I had and the time in my life to explore it.

Q:  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A:  Definitely from my grandparents. They made items and they recycled/re- purposed items. They hardly threw anything away. My grandparents instilled in me that old things can be good things. I think that is why I have such a passion about antique and vintage items.

Q:  How often do you work?

A:  I try to sew every day. Even when I sneak away to watch the soaps in the afternoon, I tote my sewing with me and hand stuff or hand sew while I’m watching TV. I’m still working!!

Q:  What skills have you found essential in your work?

A:  Organization is such a huge factor. My studio can get very messy and cluttered; I clean it several times a week.  It’s imperative to have a neat and organized work space. I have a lot of bins and storage cabinets to house my fabric, notions and miscellaneous supplies.

Q:  Where do you come up with your ideas for your work?

A:  I create what I like and not the hot item that is currently “In.”  Sure, I will do a special order for customers on occasion, but I make things I enjoy seeing. I love looking through “Create and Decorate” magazine and I am constantly searching the world wide web for inspiration. I work around the seasons... that is, I am currently offering fall items and will soon begin the Christmas season with trees, snowmen, Santa’s, snowflakes and such.

Q:  Where are you currently showing your art pieces?

A:  Ebay and Etsy are the 2 sites I use for selling my wares. I also have my own website www.choosemoose.com that my husband created for me.  I do not travel to shows, working at home truly suits me the best.

Q:  What makes you laugh the most?

A:  Actually, myself. I can be a “Goof” sometimes and I laugh at the smallest things. Laughter is good for the soul. I laugh daily.

Q:  What are your favorite foods to eat?

A:  Pizza, soft pretzels and chicken

Q:  If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

A; First, I would create a very large studio for all of my fabric, sewing machines and supplies with lots of cabinets. Then take my family on a weeklong cruise and have lots of fun with no regrets. Finally, I would donate money to people in need to make their lives a little more pleasant.

Q:  What words of advice would you have for someone starting out?

A:  First, believe in yourself! I researched so much on the internet, especially at first getting my business started. Go to the library and get books about your passion whether it’s sewing, embroidery, knitting etc. Read, read, read and find out what works for others who are starting a business in the art of selling their crafts.  Secondly,practice, practice, practice. I remember when I started my business I thought “Are my things nice enough that someone would want to purchase them.” After that first sale you kind of have that addiction. It feels good to know someone has taken an interest in something you have made with your own hands. I’ve met so many wonderful people out there, some even in other countries.

Margo,  we thank you for sharing your story. Your hard work and dedication is inspiring with in itself.

Patty Sullivan

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