Femi Cachola
Dish garden landscaper, and all-around craftsperson, Femi Cachola.

We had seen Femi’s work at previous 10A Alabama Craft Fairs, and her felted items have always carried a delightful touch of whimsy.  She brings this with her as she designs dish gardens with us this month!  Get to know her, and make sure to register for her class to make your very own succulent dish garden!

How long have you been crafting? What got you started?
I guess I just really love making things with my hands. “Create” is my favorite word. I started when I was still a kid. I would make paper dolls and design their clothes with colored papers. I also made stickers out of magazine cutouts and sold them to my playmates.

What’s your favorite medium? Why?
I have so many favorites. I love paint. You can spruce up so many objects with just a dab of paint.
I love felt. It’s susceptible to pilling or “himulmol”, It allows me to create different shapes with the smallest of details. I can make accessories and toys! I looove plants. I consider gardening an art form. Plants are interesting and I get a thrill out of seeing them grow and bloom.

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Tell us about your favorite projects.
Early this year, I had an exhibit with my friend Karen Capino. We created succulent dish gardens inspired by icons of arts and literature. My pots were influenced by my favorite artists, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, and Salvador Dali. Karen’s arrangement reflects the writings of Nick Joaquin, Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Dr. Seuss and Sylvia Plath. It was fun! We didn’t expect people would appreciate as much as they did. We hope we could do more of this.

What’s the one crafting skill you’ve always wanted to master/learn?
Pottery! I want to make nice pots for my plants. It would also be awesome if I could make nice ceramics that are worthy of being put in a museum.

What are you currently working on?
I’m now hooked on painting pots with quirky designs and making dish gardens. I painted pots with cute and funny faces and it was a hit! The first batch got sold out in just a week. I called them Pot Heads. I am working on my second batch now.

Adding a small painted stone makes a dish garden more personalized.
Adding a small painted stone makes a dish garden more personalized.

What’s your dream project? What have you done to make it happen so far?
I want to have another exhibit soon. For now, I am experimenting with different mediums to explore the different sides of my passion.

Aside from crafting what else do you do?
I have a day job, working as a video editor. I animate graphics and edit videos to produce TV commercials that are aired in Japan. The way I see it, it’s like art on TV. It’s quite fun.

How does creativity influence the other areas in your life?
Creativity has always been a part of everything I do. It’s problem solving. It makes everything more fun, an icing on the cake. I always try to use it like a secret ingredient in everything. In my work- I have to create attractive graphics and creative concepts to make the advertisement effective. In food- I love making cute shapes and mix colorful veggies for my bento. In gardening- I sow a little story to my arrangements to make it more interesting. In the clothes I wear, I make plush pins with cute designs to jazz up my outfit. In the gifts I give- I make hand-written messages because it is more personalized… and the list goes on.

Propagating succulents is serious business.
Propagating succulents is serious business.

Any advice for other aspiring crafters?
Do what you love! Experiment. Learn more about your craft but create your own style. That is how you see the different possibilities. Have fun. Go crazy! Research! Google is your friend.

What do you do to beat a ‘creative block’?
I eat and I sleep. And then I’ll realize what Pablo Picasso once said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” so I go back to what I’m doing or just shift to something else. I noticed that I usually come up with really ideas when I’m multi-tasking and super excited about things.

Give us 3 crafting essentials you must have in your toolbox at all times.
Scissors, paint brush and pencil.

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Why should people get their hands busy (and start crafting)?
There is so much joy in creating something with your own hands! It’s good stress relief. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Try planting! Grow a garden or just make nice things and let your ideas go out into the world. You will see that it’s very rewarding.

Where can we find your work?
I regularly join the 10a Alabama Art Fair. You can also check my happy creations thru my Facebook page www.facebook.com/gawanifemihandmade and our dish gardens at www.facebook.com/FKARTLetsGarden.