Christmas is still a few months away, but the lone elf at Oddish, in Barataria, is excited about starting production on orders from her customers. Ashley Delzin-Percival has been operating the online craft store on a part-time basis from her home since November 2019, and is looking forward to seeing what requests the Yuletide season will bring.
“I do handmade items out of resin, both for everyday use and decorative purposes. I do things like coasters, trays, pen holders, domino sets. Resin is a very versatile material so there are a lot of ideas that can come out of it,” 34-year-old Delzin-Percival told WMN. Her customers have the options of pick-up or delivery.
A graphic designer by profession, she said she has always been artistic and her work with resin is just an extension of her love affair with art.
“I’ve always loved art and craft, it’s part of what keeps me grounded. I saw something made out of resin online one day and I found it very interesting. I told myself ‘hey, I can do this.’ I watched tutorials, got supplies and got started.”
She scoured the online community for inspiration and with a little trial and error here and there, she said she began creating useful and everyday items that people can actually use.
“At first it was just a hobby and the items I made were just for myself and family, but one day my mother-in-law suggested that I start selling them. I always had great support from my family and friends so I started with them as my base, and right there and then my hobby started paying for itself.”
She said a girlfriend encouraged her to set up an Instagram page, and by Christmas that year she began selling her hand-painted resin Christmas ornaments and wall hangings online. Eventually, she said, she added other items to her inventory and people outside of her usual circle began placing orders, with many of them requesting customised items.
“I added some new items like candle holders, cupcake stands, key chains because people like to customise their keychains. Letter keychains are very popular now. I also do wine glasses. I add resin to the base, whatever colour the customers wants, and I sometimes add hand-painted elements to the actual bowl of the glass. I also do a decorative ‘Home’ sign that can come with or without lights, to hang or put standing. That’s one of my most popular items. I also did a limited edition of storage containers.” She also does gift baskets for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day.
Delzin-Percival said before she began working with resin, she did mainly drawing and mixed media artwork. With the resin, she still gets to incorporate some of that into her new creations.
“Resin is a two-part liquid that you have to combine and you can add whatever you want to it – colour, glitter, flowers. I usually do some drawings, and in between I would like to do some more mixed media. Now, I basically embed them in the resin. I love the fact that I can be so versatile with it. I’m always thinking ‘what else can I make with it?’”
Another advantage to working with that particular medium, she said, is the fact that it doesn’t take too long to set.
She said she tries to do all her prep work beforehand, and because her volume of orders isn’t very high right now it’s easy to “squeeze in” some work after she comes home from her full-time job, or on weekends in between her duties as the mother of an active seven-year-old boy and a wife.
“I cannot say that I like to cook. I feel if I say ‘yes’ my husband will watch me cross-eyed," she laughed. "But he’s been super-duper supportive, because my arts and crafts supplies has taken over the house and he’s cool about it.”
Delzin-Percival said for the Christmas season she is planning on making her traditional tree ornaments, but she will not stock up on too many ready-made items because “I know people will be looking for customised gift items. The ready-made ones will suit the last-minute shoppers.”
An avid fiction reader and a “home body,” she told WMN her long-term dream for Oddish is a studio by a beach overlooking a cove where she can work full-time and manage an actual online store and a website.
“I love the beach and I must go into the water whenever I go to the beach. It calms and resettles me. This covid has put a wrench in it, but we all have to do our part to keep it in check.”
But for now, she will settle for adding new items to her inventory and she is planning to launch an online catalogue next month.
“One of my immediate plan is to take Oddish into the wedding community doing things like preserving bouquets, because people are doing that now.”
For more information, follow Oddish on Facebook and Instagram at @oddishcrafts