Marikio is an eclectic gathering of art and crafts offered by artist Mary Keough. What often pops up in the shop often comes from a design idea for a gift that Mary has made for someone. Rather than having one primary focus, such as jewelry, or knitted items, etc she prefers an ever-changing line-up that may at any time include collage, painting, pendants, cards, knitted items, photography, and who knows what else. Mary took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with us for a moment.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I've been enjoying crafts for as long as I can remember. I learned by watching my mom knit, sew, embroider, and paint. When I was a pre-teen she subscribed to a wonderful craft magazine. I don't recall its name, but it was full of interesting and unusual projects unlike anything else I'd seen at the time and led me off into all kinds of new ideas - wood carving (an emergency room visit came from that one!), plant dyes (messy but fun), papier mache jewelry, and much more .

Mom didn't have a lot of free time with six children, but now and again on a Sunday afternoon she would take me to a park or the beach and we would paint together - those were sweet times. She is in her 90's now and still paints quite well. So...I had a good start and a wonderful example to follow.

I did very little artsy stuff while raising my son and daughter, until I had a small business selling scrapbooking supplies and teaching workshops. That was a lot of fun and I was quite good at it but it wasn't enough. In 2003 I went back to school for a second degree. My majors were art and environmental studies and in this program I was free to explore whatever and pretty much however I wanted. It was the best learning experience of my life and it was there that I set my intention to make art a regular part of my life which it has been ever since.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
If it were ONE thing - I'd say it is exploring the mountains and deserts here in New Mexico. I love being in nature, it inspires me and feeds my soul. When I am hiking/wandering I almost always have my camera, a sketch pad, and, in season, what I need for herb gathering. I study herbal medicine and collect and prepare most of my own remedies. The counterpoint to being out in the wild world, is that when I come back home I go to my studio (known to some in my house as the laundry room) and play. Somehow the two go together for me, like opposite sides of a coin - different faces, same thing.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your shop?
Since I work full time outside home and have two rambunctious dogs who demand a lot of attention, without a doubt the greatest challenge is finding time not only to create what I offer in my shop, which is obviously the joyful challenge, but also taking the photos, uploading, writing descriptions, keeping in touch with others via the forums and other networking, and keeping good records. Organization is not my strong suit!

What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
Right now, it would be this painting, but it's a hard call. It's on my wall right now, so it feels like I've given it to myself already. When it's sold, I'll miss it, but .... that would give me incentive to get back to work again. This one would be another choice if I hadn't already sold it. The fact is, I like everything in my shop - that's why I make it. All a labor of love.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Oh.... brain surgeon, international spy, Nancy Drew, ballerina ... I gave them all serious consideration, but none of those panned out. I never really gave much thought being an artist when I grew up, because I was always told that I was one. That was a great gift!

What other shops out there do you love?
I love Etsy. I think the variety is astounding and my favorites are many. Here are a few:
Capistrano Fiber Arts
Las LopezLas
Blonde Chicken

Secret Lentil

Ellen Morrow Arts
The Art of Jennifer Lommers

I could go on and on and I've barely begun to scratch the surface of Etsy let alone all the other handcrafting/art much to do, so little time!

What does your future hold?
I'm aiming for good health, happiness, and the ability to bring joy and beauty into people's lives through my art. If I could make a living at it, that would be the icing on the cake of a very good life.

Visit Marikio on Etsy today to see what fabulous new things Mary is up to today! Mention this blog post when you place an order, and for a limited time she has agreed to give readers 10% off. Thanks Mary!