Sunday, June 08, 2008

Featured Crafter : MJ's A Lit'l Bit Country and Primitive

Marcy Lamper

Please tell us about yourself Marcy:
New Hampshire is my home state, born and raised in a small country town just 20 minutes from the seacoast. I live here with the light of my life, my husband David. We have been together for 19 years, just recently celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. We have 6 children, 3 his, 3 mine (now ours) and 7 grandchildren. My only hobbies are going to craft shows, checking out antique and second hand shops as well as finding and checking out as many country and primitive shops as I can. I am a collector of 'junk' says my husband but to me everything that I find is a 'treasure', a treasure that I see potential in. As they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I am a designer of country and primitive beauty.

How long have you had you online business?
I started my online business just this year. I was looking for a way to sell my designs and not have to incur the expense of having to travel and pay booth fees at craft fairs. Starting a website was the way to go. My daughter helped me to get started. She set it all up for me and showed me how to get my pictures and graphics on the site and away I went.

How long have you been creating patterns?
I am new at designing. Painting was always the medium that I enjoyed and this is really a sharp turn for me. I never gave designing a thought until I had purchased patterns from other designers and realized that I could do this myself and that is how I got started. It was so easy to make items from muslin with a coffee and/or tea stain, I couldn't believe it. It was just amazing to me and I fell in love with the whole idea of creating my own designs. The next step for me was the realization that 'yes', I could do this myself and didn't have to purchase patterns to make the designs that I have always enjoyed. I have always been able to draw and sketch, a trait inherited from my father and grandmother, but a trait that I was never comfortable with until now.

What or who is your inspiration for your pattern designs?
My inspiration to design really comes from just wanting to be able to make something that other people will enjoy. I couldn't imagine that anyone would want to make something that I designed but when I saw that my patterns were selling it just inspired me to continue. It just amazes me that I can make something new look old and I can make a pattern from the finished product. What could be better than that.

What is your favorite kind of pattern to make?
If I had to pick a favorite kind of pattern it would be my Extreme Primitive Santa and Uncle Sam. I enjoy making the larger patterns because I guess they seem almost life like when you see them. There is quite a bit of work involved in making items this size and then designing the pattern to go along with it but the outcome is just fun-ominal.

Do you also sell your patterns on Etsy or any other pattern site?
You can find some of my patterns
Create-a-prim ( ),
and Prim Sisters Talk Radio, ( ).
I am always looking for sites where I can advertise my designs and sell them at the same time.

What programs do you use to make your E-patterns?
All of my patterns are hand drawn, and scanned onto my computer. I then type the pattern directions onto Word and add my scanned pattern pieces. After all of this is completed I then transfer the completed pattern to PDF format.

Approximately how long does it take you from start to finish to create a pattern?
It can sometimes take me up to 2 weeks to create a pattern from start to finish. I work a full time job so all my designing is done on nights and weekends. I start from a sketch, sometimes changing it 10 or 12 times, till it looks just right. Then I draw out my design on large poster board, cut it out and trace it onto my muslin and from there it's a piece of cake. The hard part is actually typing the pattern design in a way that the customer can understand it. I find that I do a lot of typing and deleting then retyping. It's definitely a work in progress from beginning to end. It's also a process that I really enjoy.

Do you sell your patterns wholesale?
I do plan to sell my patterns wholesale in the near future. However, I just haven't had the time to work out the logistics as yet. Getting my patterns on the market and out to pattern shops would be an added bonus but all in good time.

Have you ever sold your paper patterns at a craft show? How successful was that for you?
I haven't had the opportunity to sell my patterns at craft shows but this is definitely something that I am working toward. Where I am just starting out as a designer I don't feel that I have the product line that I would want to bring to a show. I have found that the more product you display the more shoppers will stop and pick thru because they want to see what you have, the less product you have the more walk bys. So until I have the product that I feel is necessary for me to attend a show, I will just continue to design. My goal is to start doing shows next year in 2009.

What seems to be your best pattern sellers?
Surprisingly my best seller has been my Extreme Primitive Uncle Sam Pattern. I made this pattern as a 'brother' pattern to my Extreme Primitive Santa Pattern. I couldn't resist, Sam is actually my favorite pattern out of all the patterns that I have designed. After making him and hanging him, I couldn't believe the way that he came out. I couldn't stop looking at him. Unfortunately, he has been sold so I don't have the pleasure of looking at him anymore but he's gone to a good home. I just hope that I can continue to make patterns that make me feel the same accomplishment that I did when Sam was completed.

What other types of crafting do you enjoy?
I actually was a painter before I started designing patterns. I would paint designs on wood, glass, and what ever else I could find and every year I would attend craft shows. After doing this for many years, I decided to open a small country and primitive shop where local crafters like myself could display and sell their items to the public. After two years in business I was forced to close the shop because of town ordinances, but I do believe that everything in life happens for a reason and if I didn't close the shop I wouldn't have started designing patterns.

What types of products do you sell?
At the moment I just sell my patterns. I will be expanding my product line to include what I call 'necessaries', these items are the bits and pieces that you need to complete an item. For instance, bells, tags, berries and so much more.

What methods of advertising do you use to promote your shoppe?
At the moment, I use other websites like Primitive Times Magazine, for instance to help me advertise. And word of mouth. It's amazing how many sales you can derive from someone who purchased an item, enjoyed it so much that they told other's and they in turn purchased that same item from you. Word of mouth is a great sales tool.

Do you have a blog that you use to help promote your shoppe?
At the present I do not have a blog. This is also an item on the agenda for the near future.

Do you sell in other venues?
My home is filling up with items that I have designed and I have decided that for right now consignment is the way to go in order to make room for more. We have many local shoppes in the area that accept items on consignment and I have found that this is a great way to advertise as well.

How many hours per week would you say you spend on your website and crafting?
I don't keep track of the hours that I spend on any one item or time spent on my website but if I had to make a guess, it would be 6 to 10 hours during the week in the evenings and 12 to 18 hours on the weekends. I do this by myself and it takes time, a lot of time to design, find the 'necessaries' needed to complete the project and then make the finished item. And after the project is made you need to find the time to complete the pattern, put it on your website and distribute it to the other sites that you advertise on. I wish there were more hours in the day because there are times when I just don't want to stop. I get so excited about some of my designs that time isn't important, I just want to get it done so that I can see it finished.

In closing I would like to add, that I am lucky to have the talent to do what I do and to be able to share what I do with others. I didn't start designing on a whim, it has taken me many years to get to this point in my life because I had to find something that really worked for me. Crafting has always been a passion for me and it's always been in different mediums but whether it be painting on wood (which I always enjoyed, and still do) or designing patterns, you never get over the feeling you get when someone purchases one of your paintings or one of your patterns. It's a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling that you have finally made it. What a wonderful feeling. Don't ever say you can't do something, because I strongly believe you can do anything that you set your mind to if you believe in yourself, and I do believe in you!
Here is just a sampling of the many patterns Marcy has designed, which are for sale on her website

Click on banner to visit Marcy's website

**Be sure to look for the July issue of Primitive Times Magazine, where Marcy has kindly donated one of her patterns for readers, coming out the first week of July**


  1. As always very nice interview. I love learning about the masterminds behind the crafts.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed Marcy's interview Gettysburg - thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment - much appreciated! *Ü*