Because Mall is a Four Letter Word

Made & Found Spotlight: Once Again Sam


Sarah Mandell from Once Again Sam

Describe your style, and what you plan to bring. What are your bestsellers?:
My full collection of handmade jewelry and fiber art will be available at Made & Found! The jewelry is all very affordable ($32 and under) and is made from upcycled leather, laser cut acrylic, and hand painted wood. I’ll have splatter painted acrylic dangle earrings, leather earrings, laser etched wooden pendants, adjustable rings, and my best selling series – landscape pendants. These are my original paintings that are cut down and framed as pendants, so no two are alike. I have so many different scenes to choose from but the mountains at night and mountains in autumn are always outselling the others!

The other side of my handmade biz is the fiber art. I work in wool, primarily dyed needle felted sheep and alpaca fiber. My 3D work ranges from realistic-looking succulents, to Christmas ornaments and practical things like dryer balls. My 2D work is where I’ve been focusing lately, and these flat landscape “paintings” are created entirely of fiber. I enjoy making landscapes that showcase scenes from all over the Carolinas.

Regardless of trends, who are your style muses, how do they influence you?:
I’m inspired by nature, pattern, and all things quirky. It may sound overly simple but I’m influenced by what I see daily. There are patterns everywhere – both in nature and the man-made environment, and I study them and incorporate them into my designs. I’m also easily distracted by animals so if I see a heron while I’m out for a run, or a chipmunk visits my back deck, it has a pretty good chance of making it’s way into my work that day.

As far as my felted landscapes go – those are often made from my own photos and travel memories of places I’ve visited.

What are the things customers seek you out for?:
My laser etched wooden pendants have always been popular because I have over a hundred different designs. Whether you’re into cats, Sasquatch, travel, insects, or local landmarks – I have just the pendant for you! And…I’ll let you in on a little secret…I’m planning a buy one get one half off sale on pendants at the Made & Found Market so you can get some Christmas shopping done and treat yourself at the same time!

Although my 2D needle felted landscapes are still relatively new (I’ve only been making these for the last 2 years thought I’ve been in business for nearly 11), they’re quickly becoming a best selling item. From a distance, they are often mistaken for traditional paintings, but once you step closer and gently touch the soft material, then the piece gets a lot more interesting because it’s clear it’s made up of tiny colored fibers.

How did you learn your craft or business?:
Although I went to art school and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, all of the work I do today is pretty much self-taught. I have always enjoyed working with my hands, I’m not afraid to experiment with materials, and as it turns out, I really enjoy running a business!

What is your favorite way to put yourself in the mood for creativity or business mode?:
I prefer to create alone but I always have music, an audio book or podcast playing to keep me company. My studio(s) are in my home and I have things split up – the basement is where I do all of the dirty work like laser cutting, painting, sanding, etc. Then I move upstairs to my cleaner studio where I do the finishing touches, photograph, and pack. Some of my favorite music for studio time is from Noah Gundersen, Greta Van Fleet, and Family of the Year. Some podcasts I’m into right now are Forever 35 and Creature Feature.

What advice would you give to an artist or business just starting out and/or what is the best advice you have received for your art or business?:
Don’t be afraid to go for it, but don’t quit your day job just yet! I started Once Again Sam in 2009 as a little side hobby, just making things for fun, and sold them in order to by more art supplies. It was all just for the pleasure of making. By the 4th year, I was earning way more in my side hustle than at my full time career, so I switched gears and went part time in my interior design career, and nearly full time at Once Again Sam. I still roll with that exact same model today, many years later, and it’s so great to have financial stability and some variety in my day. Even if I have a bad week with online sales or don’t get into a certain craft show, I still have an income, so I don’t nearly as much pressure as I would if I was completely on my own. Even though I’m about 75-80% self employed through my handmade business, I like having something else to do a few days a week – it’s nice to have the extra income, get out of the studio, and use the other side of my brain for while. I find I’m way more inspired in both areas – my handmade work and my interior design work – when I spend time doing the other thing for awhile.

Follow Once Again Sam:


For and all the details you’ll ever need about the Made & Found go here, for the vendor map see here, and come see us November 9th!

Also join our facebook event so you can easily invite your friends. See you there!

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