With the major changes the pandemic has brought about, many creatives have switched gears, started new businesses, and developed new skills. Toronto, Canada based makeup artist Melissa Nicholl channeled her creativity into a new craft, macrame, and used her business skills to launch Mystical Twists. We talked with her about the new endeavor and gained some insight into the new ways people are creating and living.
How did Mystical Twists come about?
Melissa Nicholl : I had made macrame friendship bracelets as a kid, but never delved any further than that. Spring of 2020, my friend in Berlin mentioned she attended a macrame workshop and really loved it. Since I was already lock-downed at home (and going a bit stir crazy trying to find something to keep me busy) I was inspired to try out macrame again. Just on a bigger scale this time.
What was the process of taking Mystical Twists from an idea to a creative venture?
MN : I began making plant hangers for myself and posting them on social media. Soon friends were asking about getting plant hangers of their own. That’s when I realized I could make a business out of this craft. I also knew from having my own freelance makeup business, that having a registered business would make it a lot easier for me to still claim self employment sales, and have business expenses since my makeup business was on hold indefinitely, thanks to Covid.
Where do you look for ideas and inspiration for Mystical Twists?
MN : Nature is always the first place I pull inspiration from. Whether it’s in the colors, overall aesthetic, or the actual item I’m creating. I research a lot for tutorials for ideas for new items. I recently moved across the city to “The Beach” and have found great inspiration in my new surroundings.
What is your home decor aesthetic?
MN : I’m not sure I could really fit my home decor into one category. I think the best description would be “eclectically witchy, maximalist boho chic”. I am a lover of all design styles; from neo-gothic to art deco, mid century modern to mission style, and beyond. I truly appreciate it all in various forms.
How does macrame fit into it?
MN : Because the macrame I create tends to be a bit more modern and sometimes a bit witchy, it fits well into my eclectic decor. There is currently a rotating assortment of plant hangers in various colors and styles, as well as a couple wall hangings scattered around my house.
What have you gotten out of starting Mystical Twists?
MN : I have found great joy in developing and creating new macrame items. I find it very meditative and calming and feel as though the rope is guiding me into the next knot. It’s opened up a whole new exciting world of fibre art that I had no idea even existed. I am also a HUGE plant fanatic and have over 50 plants in and around my house. This was the original reason for even owning a macrame plant hanger. I still have the first one I ever bought years ago at Honest Ed’s (RIP).
Do you know or have you followed any other creatives that started craft focused projects in 2020?
MN : Yes! Another friend of mine has also started doing macrame and other fibre arts and getting involved in this art form has connected to so many people across the globe. Many of them clearly picked up this hobby while on lockdown and it’s been a wonderful, positive side effect of this global pandemic.
What advice would you offer to someone who wanted to get into a new craft? And to someone who wanted to develop their craft into a business?
MN : YouTube and Pinterest are such wealths of information and have fantastic tutorials, whether you prefer a video or step-by-step photos, so much can be learned from just those two platforms. As far as making that craft into a business, I think it’s really important to do a lot of research. Know your market and what your ideal clientele is and what they want. I have found that even in a saturated craft landscape, as long as you are making unique well made items, you will have sales and a growing clientele.
About a year later, what does the current state of your creative endeavors and Mystical Twists look like?
MN : Although my business is still in its fledging stages, business is pretty steady and growing at a comfortable pace.
Do you think the focus on creative projects and crafts that 2020 allowed will have long lasting impact?
MN : Yes, I do. I think this “great pause” has enabled so many of us to really take stock of what is important and what truly brings us joy. In both our personal and professional lives. Being able make art and create beautiful things that affect other people in positive ways, brings me so much joy.
What are your goals for Mystical Twists over the next year? Over the next few years?
MN : I hope to continue to grow my business over the next year and hopefully add actual collections and eventually start selling unique supplies to help others create unique and beautiful artworks. In a year of doing this, I have realized how difficult it is to find certain quality items suitable for macrame projects. I would love to eventually become a one-stop shop for other fibre artists.
Visit Mystical Twists’ Etsy store and keep reading with more articles about creatives adapting to the pandemic.