Midwest Mermaid is a small business in Columbus. Owner, Angela Stiftar, creates prints by hand in her Ohio-based studio. We love the whimsical nature of her designs. We interviewed Angela to learn more about her background and her creative process. Meet Midwest Mermiad on June 3 at our Summer Maker Mart!
Tell us about your Ohio-made business.
I am Angela Stiftar, the founder of Midwest Mermaid. From a young age I have been infatuated with all things creative: drawing, painting, poetry, theatre, dance, photography, you name it. I believe inspiration is everywhere and world travel is my favorite source. My whimsical love of mermaids symbolizes beauty, courage, adventure, and folklore. The midwest to me signifies friendliness and family, plus it is where I proudly call home. Mix these values together, and there you have it – Midwest Mermaid was born!
What drew you to your craft?
Drawing and painting have always been a hobby, but unfortunately one that was constantly pushed aside due to long hours in agency life. Once I started freelancing, I finally had the creative energy to pursue my fine art again, and my newfound love of print making emerged. The therapeutic process of carving the blocks is my favorite part; not having an easy ⌘Z (undo button) forces me to slow down and enjoy the creativity.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
My favorite piece I have carved to date is my “SAVE THE BEES” print! Making things that look pretty AND serve a purpose that you are passionate about always hold a special place in your heart. Fifty percent of each sale is donated to the Center for Honeybee Research in Asheville NC, who offers education programs for the general public/beekeepers & conduct research on how to save this ever so important creature.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Well, it changed a lot but the most consistent dream was to be an architect. Architecture is still a love of mine, especially historical buildings.
What is your creative process?
My creative process includes more steps than I would like to admit. I’ve always been a planner but I wish I could be more spontaneous so I could spend more time carving and less time doing everything else. But for now, once I come up with an idea, my process is: research, finding inspiration images, sketching, scanning, computer tweaking, printing, transferring, then FINALLY carving.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago? Ten years ago?
Woah. I was a freshman in College stressing INSANELY about getting an A in my color theory class + about 15 other credit hours. I would say ENJOY the process, ENJOY the learning, ENJOY the art & stop worrying about ONLY the final product.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
In an era where ANYTHING is available on Amazon, it is important to remember that there is a person behind every product. But with local artists & makers, you know that person! You see their face! You see them doing what they love and loving to share it with you! Supporting local helps your neighbors, your community, and LITERALLY brings a smile to someone’s face when you purchase their product.
Why do you love doing what you do?
I primarily carve for the process, for myself! My brain moves a million miles a minute but while carving I have to focus on one thing (otherwise I will lose a finger) and I think it is as close as I will ever be to meditating.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?
Stick to it! If you do what you love, (and don’t mess up things during tax season) you will be a success!
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
I love finding things equally as cool or cooler in Ohio as other states & countries I have visited! I beam like a proud mama when I find something AWESOME and get to tell people about it because “Ohio Rules” and everyone should know that!