Interview with Primitive Decor Crafter: Gina Cooper of Cat Nap Inn Primitives
For primitive crafter Gina Cooper, the patina of age makes a huge difference in the attraction of any item. “I love antiques and anything vintage, that feeling of something worn, used and loved” she says. She recreates that feeling in the primitive craft dolls, wooden plates, embroidered towels and pillows, candle mats and other crafts she sells, through her Cat Nap Inn Primitives shop on Etsy as well as at fairs.
Gina first discovered the primitive and country-style crafting in the late 80s and “I was hooked” she says. “I should have been born 100 years ago. I love the pioneer days and the simplicity of it all… like watching the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie.” She tries to imbue each handcrafted primitive creation not only of the simplicity of vanished eras, but with health-conscious purity, nothing on her Etsy site that her wares emerge from a smoke-free, pet-free environment.
Halloween provides a huge, year-round source of inspiration for Gina’s crafting. “You can really be creative with your Halloween items as it can look worn and falling apart..or have a ton of cob webs on it..and it’s primitive. I love Christmas, too,” she says, “but for some reason, Halloween just tickles me.” Her tickle spot holiday has yielded such unique and charming primitive craft wares as an embroidered pillow depicting a witch picking mushrooms by moonlight accompanied by her black cat, primitive witch dolls, and a felted pumpkin adorned with a black cat.
The crafting world of fairs, bazaars and farmer’s markets is not only a source of income for Gina but a vital social meeting place. “My best friend and I met doing a show together. We’re two peas in a pod, partners in crime; we started out doing the gift show circuit together.” Gina encourages other crafters who want to begin selling their wares to take a two-pronged approach. Local craft culture events like swap meets, fairs, etc, she notes, permit customers to take advantage of the very important “touchy-feely” aspect of crafting. However, she also urges novice professional crafters to join the burgeoning online craft world. “Start out by selling on Etsy or EBay to see if you have items folks want. Start a blog (check out Gina’s blog here), that way you can talk and show the things you are making and folks will ask if you sell your items trust me, blogging has opened up sooo many avenues.”