Jennifer Mahoney always thought working for a charity would be fabulous. What could be more fun than helping people for a living?
The bubble burst when she became Eliza DoLittle Society executive director a year ago.
The charity provides food to people in need.
“I quickly realised I couldn’t help everyone,” said the 48-year-old. “I never imagined the scale of the hunger problem in Bermuda. And I was shocked at the people I saw walking through our doors asking for help.
“You can’t help everyone, and that can be really stressful.”
To decompress after a long day, she tried baking cakes, but found the kitchen too hot.
She turned to crafts instead.
“My mother, Ann Perinchief was always making crafts when I was growing up,” she said. “And both my daughters, Shannon, 19, and Kayla, 17, are artsy. I thought making crafts would be something we could do together.”
The trio started a small crafting business, Twisted Creations, named to reflect their slightly warped sense of humour.
They make everything from wreathes to abstract paintings, cards and cow houses.
That’s right, they make cow houses. They look suspiciously like bird houses and even have a little perch, but are meant for cows.
“When we sell them at Harbour Nights the tourists sometimes look a little puzzled,” said Mrs Mahoney. “Sometimes they ask me ‘can you fit a cow in there?’ I say, ‘yes, if she’s teeny tiny’.”
Cows are a theme with Twisted Creations. Their logo is an upside down cow which is usually pink, but sometimes black.
“I like cows,” said Mrs Mahoney. “The cow in our logo isn’t dead. She’s just hanging out there.”
Twisted Creations tagline is “Unique Products Made our Way”.
But Mrs Mahoney admitted the crafters do not always agree on what “our way” is.
“When we sit down to craft together we argue a lot,” laughed Mrs Mahoney. “There is lots of competition going on over supplies.
“We are all very different in our tastes, so we don’t always agree on what will sell. Shannon said ‘mom, there’s no way you are going to sell those cow houses’ but they are actually very good sellers.”
And Shannon and Kayla take different approaches to their art, according to their mother. Kayla likes glitter, but believes a little bit goes a long way. Shannon is not so fond of glitter, but believes if you are going to use it, go heavy on it.
Kayla is in her last year at Mount St Agnes Academy, and Shannon is studying commerce at St Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
This Christmas, Twisted Creations has a popular line of Christmas tree ornaments dipped in fluid acrylic to create bizarre patterns.
“It adds a flair to them,” Mrs Mahoney said. “But they were extremely frustrating to make. I tried putting the paint in the ball, but that didn’t work at all. Then we tried dipping them in fluid acrylics. That worked better. Then I glazed them with strong bonding Gorilla Glue. That stops the paint from chipping off.”
One of Mrs Mahoney’s challenges has been finding space for all their craft materials.
“I have a craft cupboard that houses supplies,” she said. “I also have a small office that houses supplies. Those supplies have now walked into the bedroom as well. They take up a lot of space.”
Twisted Creations sell at Harbour Nights, at the Bermuda Arts Centre in Dockyard, and Sousa’s Pop Up Store in the Washington Mall.
They will also have a stall at the Home Grown Alternatives show tomorrow at St Paul’s Christian Centre in Paget from 10am to 4pm.
For more information, see Home Grown Alternatives on Facebook or hga.bm or contact Twisted Creations by emailing JenniferMahoney69@hotmail.com.