Motown Mademoiselle Arts: Megan Ursic Sally Deskins August 29, 2017 On September 3, The Handcrafted Cooperative will host it’s first (free) event at the Morgantown Market Place Pavilion (also known for hosting the Morgantown Farmer’s Market), from 10am to 5pm, featuring curated quality handcrafted items and antique/vintage finds. “Our vendors seek to build relationships, community and quality of life through an in-person buying experience. Our motto is “from our hands to yours.” Here, the founder of the organization, Megan Ursic, shares with Zackquill about moving back to Morgantown after a few years outside, how The Handcrafted Cooperative came about, her favorite things about being a creative in Morgantown, advice to aspiring artists and more! Z: How did you end up in West Virginia? I am proud to say I was born and raised in Morgantown, WV. I grew up surrounded by the beautiful mountains and the friendly community. I did venture out of WV into the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA for a few years with my husband, but we made a decision to move back. There’s just something magical about this state that we were missing. When we decided to return, I set an intention to create something for my hometown that would make a positive impact on the community. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but my intention has manifested itself as The Handcrafted Cooperative. Z: How did this event come about? Why is this important for the Morgantown community? While living in Philadelphia, I was lucky enough to attend several curated handmade events like The Clover Market, Art Star Pop Up Market and The Franklin Flea. These events inspired The Handcrafted Cooperative. While others were shopping and enjoying the markets, I was taking notes on the vendors, booth set up and event logistics. When a maker decides to sell their handmade goods to someone, it is the last step in turning a creative talent into a real business. It means that this person has not only pushed through the creative process, but believed in themselves enough to produce something with their own two hands – then trusting the community will develop a desire to have it in their lives. Communities are becoming more conscious about shopping small, local and handmade these days. I want to give Morgantown residents (and visitors) the opportunity to shop with those values in mind. The event allows circulation of creativity and good business, and is intended for the greater good of all. Z: What is your favorite thing about being an artist/creative/curator in Morgantown? I have two favorites: Morgantown has so many means of inspiration for creatives. My favorite thing is accessibility to nature. Whenever I need a break from my work or I’m stuck on an idea, I head up to Cooper’s Rock to clear my mind and seek guidance from the mountains. I recently joined the local Rising Tide chapter, which is a society of creative entrepreneurs in the Morgantown community that comes together on the second Tuesday of every month (called Tuesdays Together). Since I’ve joined this group, it has opened me to new ideas, goal setting, and creative empowerment. I’ve developed relationships with like-minded people that are interested in seeing me and my business succeed. This group is a great resource for any creative in Morgantown. Z: How did you come to be a maker and the founder/organizer of The Handcrafted Cooperative? I’ve always been creative and artistic, but my maker story begins with the birth of my son, Jackson. While I was pregnant, I taught myself how to sew. I made his bedding, nursery décor and even toys. Anything I imagined, I tried to make. I utilized learnings from highschool and college as a foundation and then tapped into other resources (Youtube, Pinterest, CreativeLive, CreativeBug, books, etc.) to learn new techniques and skills. Once I started to produce quality items, I opened my Etsy shop, Buxy Baby, and started to sell at local craft shows. While selling my handmade products at a few local markets, I found it difficult to sell against the commercially imported vendors (like LuLaRoe, Scentsy, Mary Kay, etc.). My handmade business felt out of place. That’s when I knew my next step would be to create The Handcrafted Cooperative. I believe I’ve always been a maker, but my son came into my life to encourage utilization of my born talents, and to make a difference in my life and community. He inspires me every day to try new things and to let go of any limitation my subconscious may interject. Z: Any advice for young artists in the area? Yes, three things: If you feel a calling to do something, you need to go for it. You will have moments of fear and doubt – recognize them and let them go. Constantly seek for help, resources, feedback and support. Don’t let the fear of “no” or judgement stop you from taking your talent to the next level. You’ll find most people are more than willing to help you. On occasion, you will be rejected. If you do, let it be a lesson for improvement. Many people get stuck on the “how-to” when they have a big vision (not knowing where to start or what to do). Unfortunately, they let that overwhelming feeling prevent them from even trying. There are infinite ways to do something. Set your goal and enjoy the process of figuring it out. Let the feeling of accomplishment guide you along the way. Z: What would people be surprised to know about you? People would probably be surprised to know that my career is project management in the healthcare IT industry. M-F, 8:30- 5:00, you’ll find me managing Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) infrastructure and software deployments in hospitals around the world. My degree is in Interior Design, so you can image the challenges I had when I joined CenTrak in 2012. At nights and on the weekends, I focus on The Handcrafted Cooperative and my own handmade shop Buxy Baby. Utilizing my creative outlets along with my professional skills has enabled me to turn a dream into something tangible and beneficial for the community. It’s truly exciting. – Learn more about The Handcrafted Cooperative at www.thehandcraftedcooperative.com. ~ Sally Deskins is an artist, writer, curator and Exhibits Coordinator for WVU Libraries. She edits Les Femmes Folles, a journal for women in art. Send her ideas to email@example.com.