Tell me a little about yourself…
My name is Erika “FocsiMama”, pronounced fox-cee mama. I collaborate with my artist husband, J. Phillip to create t-shirt designs featuring woman with natural hair and other things that interest me (e.g. muscle cars and old school Hip Hop), as well as artwork. I screen-print each of the designs by hand, using water-based inks.
We have a children’s book series called Just Miya. The first book is Miya’s Hair Day. There are two additional books being illustrated, and another book in the process of being written. A coloring book is in the works. My husband is on me about selling the accessories I make (upcycled t-shirts necklaces, slouchy hats, and scarves).
How’d you get started, or what prompted you to begin crafting in your genre?
I started crafting, because I just love making things. The creative process is amazing. I learn a lot about myself, other people, and it is fun to see just what I can do.
How long have you been an artist/crafter? When did you first discover your artistic/crafter ability?
I’ve been a crafter all my life. It all started with Girl Scouts when we made dream catchers out of yarn and Popsicle sticks. Then I used to take items I’d find in the dressing room, when I was out shopping with my mom, and I’d make them into earrings.
Where can we check out and buy your work?
What do you think sets you apart from other artists and crafters?
Being able to collaborate with my husband and working together to create the designs makes them pop and stand out more than using standard clip art. Each design is original and unique. We are coming from a place of love and it shows in all that we do
What do you get out of being an artist or crafter?
The satisfaction of creating and making, for instance when I crochet or sew something, I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from taking a jumble of fabric or yarn and making something that I love or having someone see it, then ask me to make them one that they love, too!
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my daughters, from other fabulous women of color I see all around me. I want to share and celebrate that beauty and inner strength and reflect that back to the world.
What’s the weirdest or most astonishing and controversial craft or artwork that you have ever created and how so or why?
Muhammadia, The Hip Hop Muslimah, it’s a piece that I designed and my husband painted of a woman wearing a hijab/headwrap carrying a boombox. We created several other pieces to form a collection of Hip Hop Hijab artwork (a woman holding a skateboard, another doing graffiti, and one wearing headphones). That type of art is not readily available or seen. For the most part it was all love, but there were a few people that weren’t happy about it. What can you do? That’s art!
What do others seem to love about your art?
Generally, people love what we do. They love seeing the images and the artwork, because people often see themselves or women they know in the work. We love that, because that’s our goal. We want people to see the beauty they are reflected in the artwork. Without all that awesomeness Focsi wouldn’t be here.
What is your advice to fellow crafters and artists?
When you love it, others will to. Anything done with love separates itself. Two people can make the same thing, but they will be different, because everyone brings her/his own perspective, skill, talent, and story to all they create.
How would you describe your style, or form of artistry?
Definitely funk eclectic! I love vintage, modern, quirky, unconventional, colorful, and girly.
Do you have any future plans for your artwork or crafts?
I plan to expand the line to include more accessories, as I learn more and get more confident in my creations. I look forward to it. I’ve gotten several requests for hats, and I’m considering it. At the moment I just make them and give them away when someone asks! : ) I would be over the moon to make earrings and bracelets, but we’ll see what the future brings.
Crafting is like reading, you just get lost in the story, which is the creating portion of the thing. Whatever that thing is! You just let it flow through your fingertips out into the world!