MAKERS MONDAY: Melanie Mitchell Bath & Beauty by Melanie Mitchell

Hello, my name is Melanie Mitchell. I was born and raised in Miramichi, New Brunswick. In 2003, anxiety and depression led me on a desperate search to find myself and satisfy my creative personality. I studied for 5 years at the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design and graduated in 2008 with diplomas in Textiles/Surface Design and Fashion Design. Following graduation, I taught at NBCCD for 7 years in both the Textile and Fashion studios. To keep busy during the summers and weekends, in addition to teaching silk painting workshops, (and to be quite honest, supplement my lip balm addiction) I started experimenting with bath and beauty products. In 2015, when my husband’s job relocated us to Cold Lake, Alberta, the lack of textile and fashion jobs in that area lead me to expand on my bath and beauty business.  

Long story short, another relocation in 2017 brought me to the wonderful world of Regina and my serendipitous introduction to Red Fox Creative Studio. I am now blessed to indulge in BOTH of my passions: Textiles and Bath!

I have two creative outlets: creating colourful textures on silk with dye and making bath & beauty products. For Silk Painting I use cool marbles, stretchy elastics, hard wood, metal clamps and colourful dyes to create eye-pleasing pattens on smooth silk. For Bath & Beauty I use luscious oils, fine sugars, rich butters, enticing fragrance and essential oils to create luxurious products that pamper and soothe the body and mind. Though their mediums are very different, the final products from both are meant to indulge the senses.

Why do you create?: From an early age, thanks to a quilt made for my by my Grammie, I fell in love with texture as a means of self soothing. Silky fabrics, smooth rocks, warm sands, creamy custards, spicy cloves, tart limes and velvety lotions are all things that make me swoon. The things I create now all contain materials and ingredients that transform into products with textures that makes me feel good. *Fun fact: I still have that quilt! I've carried it around with me from city to city and lost and found it too many times to count. It's in scraps now, held together by an old school metal diaper pin!

How has your art practice evolved since you first started?: I used to try and do ALL THE THINGS! Everything I enjoyed making, I would add to my product line and sell at markets. It became too much and I realized that my business was certainly colourful but it really had no identity. So I came up with a philosophy and weeded out the items that didn’t fit. Not to say that I don’t still try new things, (just take a look at my studio and all the projects I WILL finish!) I just make them for myself now :-)

How much time do you spend on your art practice? Is it enough? : I am a wonderful dreamer and a terrible procrastinator. I can sit for hours being inspired by the internet and thinking up grand ideas that mostly stay in my head. But, as a wise instructor once told me, the mental research is just as important as the making!

What is the most rewarding part of creating?: I’m not going to lie, I love when my work is adored by other people... that throwback feeling of being a little girl and having my work hung on the fridge. But I also love to adore others and praise them for their accomplishments…that’s why I teach!

Do you have a creative philosophy?: Be unabashedly self-indulgent! I believe everyone deserves a little pampering and self indulgence in their lives and should not feel bad about it! Taking care of yourself first means that you can then be mentally free to take care of other important things in your life, wholeheartedly, without resentment.