Birds that won’t poop all over your house
After picking up my first copy of Venus Zine back in high school, I became aware of the cute culture that surrounded do-it-yourself designs. However, it wasn’t until the first time I saw one of my favorite films, “The Science of Sleep”—arguably Michel Gondry’s greatest film—that I became utterly intrigued by the crafting culture which bonded Stéphane (Gael García Bernal) and Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Perhaps it’s my own awkwardness that attracts me to such a lovely, awkward film, but all sentiments aside, I was simply fascinated by the quirky forms created.
Estela Ramanos, a former apparel merchandising major who now studies marketing at OSU, creates little felt designs that aren’t a far departure from those made by Stéphanie in “The Science of Sleep.”
Ramanos is behind a little known company called Stelabird, headquartered on the outskirts of OSU’s campus in a one-bedroom craft haven, which she and her felt birds call home. That’s where we sat down to discuss her crafting business as her boyfriend Riley Janzten (of Mayola) DJ’d out some Broken Social Scene from her computer while tweaking some graphic designs for an upcoming Stelabird event.
This Friday at the Centennial Bash, Sophie Zine will be featuring her work, and her crafts will be available for sale.
SOPHIE ZINE: Can you describe what Stelabird is?
STELA: Stelabird is everything handcrafted by me. I make bird plushes, owl plushes, owl pillows and paint little owls. I make reproduced rings and necklaces, too.
SOPHIE ZINE: Why did you originally start Stelabird?
STELA: There are so many reasons why I started Stelabird. First off, I wanted some more bird decor, and I couldn’t find any. Here in Stillwater, all they really had was cheesey bird stuff. That’s how it started.. just making birds for myself. I didn’t intend for it to be something I’d sell.
SOPHIE ZINE: Why did you decide you wanted to start selling your birds?
STELA: I had friends who would come over and would say, “Oh, you should sell that!,” or “Oh, I want want one!” So, I made a myspace for it, and it went off from there.
SOPHIE ZINE: How long have you been doing this now?
STELA: I started the myspace in July, but I started making them this past April.
SOPHIE ZINE: Did you already know how to sew before you started making your crafts, or was it something you picked up in the process?
STELA: I hadn’t made a bird before, but I did know how to sew because I used to be an apparel design major. It was a long process. My very first ones look pretty weird!
SOPHIE ZINE: You are marketing major, so do you consider yourself more of an entrepreneur or more of a crafter?
STELA: I think a little bit of both. I’ve had to market myself, and it’s a business I’m doing. You have to have the creative side though to keep it new and fresh.
SOPHIE ZINE: How do you fit into to the do-it-yourself culture? How you are different?
STELA: When I’ve researched felt birds, I’ve noticed mine are really different from other crafters, even the owls, they don’t look the same. When I started crafting, I didn’t realize how big it was.
SOPHIE ZINE: How do you market yourself?
STELA: Myspace, that’s the best free advertising thing ever. You have all these friends, bulletins and blogs, so that’s all my marketing.
SOPHIE ZINE: Where do you sell your stuff?
STELA: Beyond the myspace account, I also have an etsy shop. I sell at Blue Seven in Oklahoma City and Dwelling Spaces in Tulsa. I have two other places that aren’t for sure just yet, too. After the Centennial Bash, I’ll have some at Third Place for a while as well.
SOPHIE ZINE: What craft shows have you been in?
STELA: My first craft show was Indie Emporium this past month. That was my first event.
SOPHIE ZINE: Can you describe what a craft show is like?
STELA: Before, when you thought of a craft show, you thought of like a grandma’s craft show. Newer ones have more of a rock alternative feel to them. It’s hipper stuff.
SOPHIE ZINE: Who are some of your other favorite local crafters?
STELA: I have become really good friends with some of my favorite designers. The Knit Owl is a great Tulsa company, and so is the Hyper Bunny in Oklahoma City. New Spun Apparel has cool natural clothing for both men and women. This candle is from Scents of Style… I don’t want to leave anyone out! Gosh, there’s so many.
SOPHIE ZINE: How do you think the whole crafting thing fits into alternative culture in general?
STELA: Right now, people don’t want the mass produced stuff, they want one of kind. When you buy handmade stuff, you are getting one of kind.
SOPHIE ZINE: How do people usually put the Stelabird items to use that they purchase?
STELA: My birds come with a string, so they can be hung. I have mine above my lamp and above my computer. I have them on my bookshelf and in front of my window. They are pretty much just there for show or to cuddle with!
SOPHIE ZINE: Do you do custom orders?
STELA: Yes, I do that a lot! There’s been a lot of times when people have wanted a bird one color with a certain color of wings. Also, I do custom orders with the paintings.
SOPHIE ZINE: Where do you see Stelabird going from here?
STELA: When I graduate, I want to do this full time. This is my passion, and I don’t really see myself doing anything else.