Joining us again this year is heritage crafter, Ellie Willingham, of Frontier Furs. She reminds us that the first makers were those who crafted items from the natural world to make clothing, utilitarian accessories like bags and blankets, as well as art.
Her work inspires, fascinates and sometimes creates controversy, but her trade is valuable and the skill and artistry evident in her craft, is unmistakable. We asked her to tell us a bit more about her work.
GCMC: What do you make?
EW: I make stuff out of fur! Including traditional styled hats and crafts, and also more modern costuming and cosplay accessories, as well as some taxidermy.
GCMC: Why do you make it?
EW: Working with fur has always been a passion of mine. I love being able to preserve the beauty of an animal in a way that will last forever and also have practical usage. My fur hats and scarves, for instance, are some of the warmest things you could wear in the winter! No synthetic materials can compare to the warmth and softness of natural fur.
GCMC: Why might others be interested in what you make?
EW: My craft isn’t something that many get to see too often anymore, so I think it is great
for people to learn about it firsthand. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding the fur industry so I like to help teach people what it’s really all about. That we aren’t cruel, that in fact fur is actually a very ecologically friendly material.
It is all natural, biodegradable, and entirely renewable, unlike the synthetic alternatives. I will have examples at my booth about how all parts of the animals can be utilized – including the fur, bones, and even meat. The samples of raccoon and coyote jerky I brought last year were actually quite popular!
GCMC: What do you hope to take away from Gulf Coast MakerCon?
EW: I like to come back from events like MakerCon with new ideas and new inspirations for future projects!
GCMC: Why do you think Gulf Coast MakerCon is important?
EW: It’s an incredibly diverse event that encourages visitors to ask questions, think creatively, learn, explore new concepts and experience traditional ones!
We completely agree and can’t wait to see Frontier Furs and all our other great Heritage Makers at Gulf Coast MakerCon 2016!