Friday, October 6, 2023

Homemade jewelry a labor of love for Windham resident

By Masha Yurkevich

From food to gifts, some things just don’t get any better than homemade. Knowing that something was made with love, care, and passion is exactly what Maire Trombley of Catmint Crafts values when she makes her homemade jewelry by hand.

Maire Trombley of Windham makes polymer
clay and embroidered jewelry, primarily
3D hand-sculpted miniature foods and
floral embroidered earrings.
Maire Trombley, crafter/owner/artisan behind Catmint Crafts, is originally from New Hampshire. She came to Maine to study at Saint Joseph’s College in 2004. She and her husband, Michael, got married in college and stayed in southern Maine, moving back to the Windham area in 2018.

Trombley formerly was a classroom teacher in Scarborough for 14 years while the couple raised their three kids, but in 2022, she switched to working as an educational technician in special education at Windham High School for more of a work/life balance.

“Last summer, at the encouragement of my husband, I decided to get a table at the Windham Farmer’s Market,” says Trombley. “I had always been a crafter and enjoyed making things with and for my children, students, and friends. I dabbled in lots of different art but that was my first time selling my work. From going to markets and starting to sell my work at some local stores, Catmint Crafts took off.”

Trombley makes her own polymer clay and embroidered jewelry, primarily 3D hand-sculpted miniature foods and floral embroidered earrings. She has also done some wheel-thrown pottery, growing, drying, and arranging flowers and hand-sewn home decor.

“I have always loved making things since I was a child,” she says. “I’ve been embroidering since about age of 10, played around with jewelry making among other hobbies and collected craft supplies and vintage fabrics or piece work once I knew what went into them. I started specifically making food jewelry just for fun after seeing some French fry earrings but not buying them,” she said. “I seriously regretted that for months and then got clay the next Christmas and immediately made a burger and fries. As a teacher, it was a fun way to surprise and connect with the kids and there was a definite Mrs. Frizzle vibe to my earrings, so I loved wearing and sharing them, and people started noticing.”

Her colleagues, family and friends have encouraged Trombley to keep going in her work of jewelry. Her inspirations are food, holidays or seasons, doll house miniatures and beautiful old fabrics and fiber arts, as well as seeing what other people can create.
“Honestly, I just have always loved giving and receiving homemade gifts and have always appreciated women’s handiwork, so much was made by hand out of necessity but there is an art to it as well,” she says. “I love putting my own spin on this tradition and making my own pieces one at a time by hand.”

During the summer, Trombley often sells her work at the Portland Farmer’s Market or First Friday Art Walk in person along with seasonal craft fairs in the area.

If people want to try their hand at miniature clay pieces, Trombley teaches polymer clay classes, and she has one coming up at the MEow Lounge in Westbrook in September.

She says that she absolutely loves what she does and encourages everyone to have fun at making whatever they choose, even if clay isn’t your thing.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect or even purposeful. There is value in creating just because and so much joy to be had in knowing it’s been handmade,” she says. “And if you aren’t feeling like a maker, you should always go and support local artists and value that time they put in to make beautiful work.” <

No comments:

Post a Comment