When a Grammy winning musician gave a social media nod to a local textile artist last month, the ensuing frenzy was fun and fulfilling.
When they found out about the share by Mraz who has 938,000 Instagram followers, West and Moran took to the couch, staring at the screen that seemed to come alive — the power of social media and fame combined.
“It was so exciting,” said Moran. “It was an internet frenzy. We sat there refreshing…”
Within five seconds, over 1,000 people followed Mraz’s lead, liking the necklace, not for sale. It’s one of Moran’s own pieces. Within 24 hours, almost 18,000 people liked the photo and over 500 people started following the textile artist online. There were comments totaling 203.
“It was awesome,” said Moran. “If nothing else, we had the excitement of being seen by so many people.”
More than anything, the credibility of such recognition gives Moran an extra incentive to keep crafting.
A Sarnia, Ontario native, Moran started out making galvanized steel jewelry eight years ago while travelling throughout the United States, Mexico and further down into Central America aboard the school bus where she lived. Now nearing 26-years-old, she laughed talking about that time in her life.
Today, a Nelson girl for almost four years, her line has expanded to include a variety of products from felted hats, clothing made from reclaimed wool sweaters and macramé jewelry that she describes as “friendship bracelets on steroids.”
Learning most of her skills from online tutorials and practice, her creations are all about letting them become what they want to be.
“I can never really make what I think I am going to make,” she said of her macramé jewelry. “I just keep going until the flow makes sense.”
Some plans are deliberate, however. Moran originally met Mraz many years ago.
She’d hoped to see him in concert in Jamaica and had made him a macramé bracelet of mostly pinks because it was around the time his 2006 single “Geek in the Pink” came out.
Moran returned home to Sarnia with braids and a sunburn — as well as the bracelet because the promoter cancelled the concert. A frustrated young woman wrote the musician a letter scolding him for not appearing.
“The next time he met me, he remembered,” she said with a smile.
It was shortly after her 18th birthday and Moran caught up with Mraz in Detroit. Today, the internationally best-selling musician who has his own clothing line, Blend Apparel, has two of Moran’s bracelets and three felted hats.
“I was going to gift the hats to him but he insisted on paying me for them,” said Moran. “He wanted to support my art.”
He was adamant on paying Moran a price similar to that of a hat he’d recently purchased at Barneys, an American chain of luxury department stores selling designer clothes. For Moran, it felt rewarding to have her craft measured among top designs.
Tucked away out of the fashion forefront, Nelson has been a wonderful place for Moran’s creativity to flourish with the support of partner West, a musician understanding of her starving artist days. Working out of their home, four 10 to 12 hour days on a piece is the norm.
“Then I wait for that special person to come and find it,” she said.
Moran sells her textiles at the Wednesday Downtown Markets in Nelson as well as on etsy at bykatemoran.etsy.com