Meet the Maker - Geri-Ellen Huntington

Meet the Maker - Geri-Ellen Huntington

Geri-Ellen Huntington

Meet Geri, the Maker behind Dancin' Beads

I am an artisan crafter - my philosophy is to create products through useful leisure. This is a term I borrowed from Victorian times, when upper-class women were encouraged to spend a portion of their time making items that had a purpose, or "use". I realized that this concept held a great appeal to me, and this guided me to cultivate a product line where each item that I make serves a function for its owner. 

Read her story below


How’d you get your start? 

Typical of the 1960s, I crafted my way through childhood and teen years. Creating through arts and crafts always made me feel happy, and many hours were spent crocheting, needlepointing, embroidering, and rug hooking. When I moved to Boulder, CO in my 20's, I connected with the owners of a little bead shop while looking for embroidery floss. They turned me onto beading, and I traded my fibers in for beads. I was able to turn my hobbies into employment, and although I still taught anyone who wanted to learn, I was able to actually make money from something I loved to do.   In the last 10 years, I moved a bit out of beads and back into fiber, and I love exploring all the "useful" items I can create with hooks and needles. Youtube has made this easier than ever, and I discovered a world of yarn "hookers" to talk shop with. Of course, last year I had to  make tons of masks for friends and family. Now, I'm moving into sewing projects using leftover scraps - and I can't wait to showcase them at MADE!


“I love to meet other Makers, and chat about "making" with them.” 


What gets your creative juices flowing?

For me, the joy of making things is threefold. The quest to find new items to make, new materials to use, and new techniques to try is magical. I love when people send me pictures they find on Pinterest or Etsy - although I've said a few times 'I'd need to take a year off to make that'. My mother-in-law sends me the best ideas, and conquering a new technique or pattern brings me joy. I crave trying something I have never made. I don't get defeated or angry when I can't do it right the first, second, fifth time.
I've always believed that you learn more from doing something wrong than if you just get it 100% right the first time. Doing it wrong and having to take it apart is way more informative than not. It shows you how it actually goes together, the mechanics of the task. In knitting, the term for taking it apart is called "TINK", which is knit spelled backwards.

Describe your day at home or in your workspace? 

I have a Mon-Fri 9-5 office job, so my crafting runs in spurts and short time periods on weekends and occasional evenings. I spend a fair amount of time choosing new items and learning how to make them. I want my work to have structural integrity, since it is going to be used for something. The best way to accomplish this is to make a few test items and let friends and family "road test" them. A good friend or family member is the best source for brutally honest reviews, which is what I'm looking for and I need to be able to bring quality products to market. I always try to have at least one project with me when I leave the house - broken computers at work or delayed airline flights are my best friends.


“I can pretty much knit anywhere, although I have to make sure my yarn balls don't go rolling away.”


What does your workspace look like?

I have a huge old fashioned desk I use as a work table in the middle of the living room, a cabinet filled to the brim (neatly) with supplies, and storage tubbies all stacked about the house. I don't have a dedicated room for leaving out all my works in progress, which I would love, but I can also knit in bed, in the car, even in a train station in a foreign country.


“I know if my husband says "no one will ever buy that" - that it most likely will be a sell-out at MADE.”


How do you envision your brand growing in the future?

I hope to be able to go to events again, and resume that part of life which was cut from us. I would also love to try to host craft parties where I could teach a skill and have guests make an item. For Dancin' Beads as a company, I'm looking forward to more sales and possibly needing some trained employees to help me keep up! For now, I'll just be happy to keep expanding the line and perfecting my designs.