Welcome Jamie Chatterton and Francisco Castro of 1 Plus 2 Equals LOVE to the Pop Shop America Blog. These makers are regular vendors at our events and we just LOVE them! They sell unique, handcrafted journals and pencils alongside handmade goodies like bowls and spinning tops. They’ve had a long, interesting journey to get to where they are today. Let’s learn more about this joyous family-oriented team!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your artistic background. Where are you from? Where are you now?
I grew up in WA and went to college in CA. I studied archaeology and geology in college. After college I moved to AK with my then future husband, Francisco. I worked at an elementary school as a special education teacher’s assistant until I had my kids. Francisco worked in the oil industry and 5 years ago he was transferred to Texas.
While I was pregnant with my twins, I taught myself to knit and my first items that I sold were knit hats. It wasn’t until after I moved to Texas that I started making handmade journals.
What’s your process like?
Sometimes when I create a journal, I think about which event it’s for and what might sell there. I do local comic cons so I have many journals that are comic-themed. I pay attention to trends in popular colors and themes and create journals to fit those trends.
I challenge myself to try a new book binding technique every year. Recently I’ve been exploring different patterns that I can create by combining various binding stitches.
What’s your work-space like?
I’ve converted our small dining room into my work space. I have a bench table with drawers underneath and shelves and a cabinet to hold my supplies. It gets pretty cramped sometimes but it works for me. It’s also nice because I’m not closed off from my family.
What are your favorite art supplies? Is there any media that intimidate you?
I like to use sustainable materials in my books. The main paper I use is a sugar cane paper. I also have hemp, banana, and mango papers. The more unique a paper is, the more I’m drawn to it. I also like to search eBay for vintage items that I can use to create book covers. I’ve used old playing cards, postcards, children’s sewing cards, vintage wrapping paper, etc.
I know that your husband’s craft also plays a part in the business. May you tell us a little bit more about his woodworking (is that what it’s called)?
Francisco first learned wood turning from my father and has really taken off in his skill. He draws inspiration from the shapes of traditional Mexican and Meso-American pottery. He creates bowls and vases and decorates them with both pyrography and ink.
By now, your family are professional vendors! Do you have any advice for people just starting out or considering selling at markets and pop-up craft fairs?
My best advice is to first visit the markets that you are interested in participating. See if it is a good fit for the items you want to sell and your style. Talk to the other vendors, make note of who is attending. Create what you love and what makes you happy but also pay attention to current trends.
As a family, we have to be flexible. My kids enjoy going to markets and I love that they are growing up around so many creative people. Not all markets are kid-friendly, so one of us will go and the other will stay home with the kids. We’ve always enjoyed how kid-friendly all the Houston Pop Shop events are.
What keeps you coming back to the bi-annual Houston Pop Shop Festival?
I’ve participated in every Houston Pop Shop Festival except one. I enjoy doing them because they are well-organized and advertised. The other vendors are always friendly and we have developed a sort of community, everyone is always ready to help each other out. The people that attend the festivals are always appreciative of handmade items and what goes into creating them.
What makes you happiest in life?
My kids and my husband make me the happiest. Having a small business allows me to spend more time with my kids and I hope that by watching Francisco and me create things, my kids will be encouraged to follow their own passions.