GLAMarquee Artist - Grandma Was a Floozy

Welcome to the debut of my new feature, GLAMarquee Artists, in which I interview creative people whose work I admire. Some will be emerging artists, some will be established, all will be excellent. For my very first interview I chose Evie, the multi-talented force behind the shop Grandma Was a Floozy. Her gorgeous hand-crocheted lace accessories can be dressed up or down, and are a favorite with folks who live and love steampunk, a style that often carries a Goth/Neo-Victorian aesthetic.


The "Grandma" in the name of your shop – does it refer to your Grandma and if yes, how did she inspire you?
My poor grandmother! She would have been quite shocked to find her legacy abused in this way. There was nothing of the floozy about my grandmother, believe me. She spent most of her time in a housecoat, cooking and cleaning in her tiny house in South Philadelphia, watering the tomato plants in the concrete tub out back, and poking her head out the screen door any time she heard a siren.

But she was very handy with a needle, crochet or otherwise. My mother told me that she used to work in a garment factory, doing smocking. I remember her watching soap operas and crocheting baby blankets and little hats for the neighbor's grandkids. I didn't learn to crochet from her, though - I taught myself a few years ago, from a tutorial I found on the web.

How did the word "floozy" come into play?
I was hoping that a funny or clever shop name would help bring people into the store. "Floozy" is such a funny word to begin with, and the concept of a floozy is so quaint and outdated. I started playing around with some phrases, and this one made me giggle, so I went with it.

How and why did lace become your primary medium?
Complexity, intricacy - I'm drawn to them, in lots of different forms. Soon after I learned to knit I started knitting lace, and loved it. (I love making fancy cabled sweaters, too!) One day when I was shopping for yarn, I found a pattern book for the most impossibly fussy and intricate doilies. I knew then that I had to learn how to crochet.

How is your lace made?
I crochet it all using size 20 mercerized cotton, and a 1.5 mm crochet hook. And that's it. That's what I love about it. Something as beautiful and complex as lace comes from nothing but a ball of thread and a little metal hook. It's magical.

Do you have a favorite piece and why?
I love the slip-on lace cuffs, "A Pair of Floozies". I love wearing them. I feel so pretty and feminine and sexy and interesting when I have them on. I also think they put me on the map, so to speak, so I have a particular affection for them.

Your Etsy shop is relatively new – what has been the biggest surprise to you so far?
I think I've been surprised at how supportive the community is as a whole, despite the fact that in theory we're all competing for the same customers. It's so heartwarming. When I was just getting started and sales were very few and far between, a few kind words and a spot in a Treasury went a long way towards convincing me to stick with it. And I'm so glad I did.

What attracted you to the Steampunk movement?
The answer to that would take a lot more room than I have here, and probably a few choice words from my therapist. There's something about clockwork that just draws me in. Again, something magical - a few bits of metal and wood, a spring or a pendulum, no electricity, no computer chips... There's so much power, so much independence in that.

Like a lot of people, I think, I was a steampunk gal long before I knew there was a word for it. I found out about it when I saw the term in the Etsy shop of someone who had hearted my shop. (I wish I could give them a plug, but I can't figure out who it was now.) One Wikipedia entry later, and my life had changed forever. There was a name for it!! There were other people who were into it, too!! Wow.

As an aesthetic movement, I love that Steampunk honors ingenuity and craftsmanship. I love the tactile nature of the materials. But honestly, it's something that hits me on such a deep level that it's really hard to describe.

Do you or your surroundings look like your work?
Not in an over-the-top kind of way. Our furniture is mostly dark wood, some antique and vintage, some not. I would describe it mainly as arts-and-crafts. Like steampunk, our style borrows freely from different periods. My favorite things are our vintage wooden teacher's desk, a heavy oak chair with a pentagonal seat that my aunt salvaged from a church, a Victorian music cabinet with a hand-painted scene of a boat house on the front, and the original 1928 ash kitchen cabinets that my husband restored back to the original wood.

I wear all of my own pieces, but mostly with jeans and very casual, slouchy clothes. I dress like the world's oldest college student, frankly. I'm always afraid that one of my friends will rat me out to a tv makeover show.

If I had known about your work back when I got married I would have begged you to do my wedding – do you have any plans to do garments?
I've been thinking a lot about some small pieces for weddings (a garter, certainly - maybe a hankie, even a veil) But a dress?? Gosh. The problem for me is that the kinds of things I make are incredibly labor intensive. Generally, the larger a piece gets, the harder it becomes for me to make a profit from it. But I love a challenge, and I'm sure the right one will come along.

You're currently shopping a fantasy novel The Mongrel - what is it about?
I think it's best described as epic fantasy, but not so much long walks through the woods, elves, wizards, or armies of warty goblins.

The story is set in a desert city called the Shadar, at the onset of an insurrection by the enslaved Shadari people. The Mongrel is a mercenary hired by the rebels to lead their attack. But when she arrives in the city, her past connections to both the rebels and the ruling faction begin to come to light, and what plays out is ultimately a family drama of abandonment, betrayal - and ultimately, redemption.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the setting is far more topical than I ever intended, or wished. The concept and the plot came long before the Iraq war. But I'm content to leave it up to the reader to make their own connections, or not. Let's hope they get the chance!

Is there a connection between your work as a designer and your work as a writer?
Once again, I think it's the magic of creating something out of nothing. And the love of intricacy is there, too. Weaving all of the threads together, looking for patterns. How it's all connected. Only in my writing, the threads are people's lives.

If you had to choose, lace or lit?
I love the lace, but I don't think I could live without the lit. I know that sounds pretentious, but it's nearly true. I can't sleep when I'm not writing, and I generally just feel awful until I start again. For whatever reason, it seems like something I have to do.

What other skills or talents do you have?
I love to sing Renaissance music with New York's Renaissance Street Singers. I knit and embroider, and I play the Celtic folk harp, when I have time.

Whose work do you admire?
Oh, so many of my fellow Etsians!! I hate to mention some without the others, but at the top of the list are MmeFortuna, BoringSidney, Vaivanat, StaroftheEast, CDChilds, and my new favorite IrregularExpressions. But there's so many more!!!

Most of my favorite authors are from the past. I love Dickens, Thackery, the Brontes, Jane Austen, Dorothy L. Sayers, Thomas Hardy. Somerset Maugham is one of my favorite authors, and Of Human Bondage is probably my favorite book. On the sci fi/fantasy side, I love Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series (please don't be put off by the movie, the books are WONDERFUL!), Tad Williams, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Madeleine L'Engle, what I've read so far of Philip Pulman.

I'm still very attached to the books I read as a child, and re-read them often. That includes the whole Narnia series, and everything by Roald Dahl and Frances Hodgson Burnett.

And for my money, the Farscape, Firefly and new Battlestar Galactica TV series represent some of the best sci fi and fantasy work in any medium.

What is your dream gig as a designer?
I'm already there. I'm making the things I want to make, and people are responding. It's a beautiful thing.

To purchase these pieces visit
As a special bonus, Glamorosi readers receive free shipping from now until June 30, 2008. To take advantage of this offer use the code "FloozyQ" in the "Notes to Seller" section as you go through the Etsy checkout, and your shipping fee will be refunded. Also, many of the items can be customized with your monogram or favorite word - stop by the shop for more details. Cheerio!

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