You can’t just pop in to a big box store and find delicate shrimp-shaped hair bows for Shrimpfest, bows that look like your child’s favorite princess, or personalized holiday hair accessories.
But fortunately for Fernandina Beach and the surrounding area, there is an artist in our midst – a hair bow artist who hand-designs creative, beautiful hair accessories when she needs a little “mommy alone time” at home (and who doesn’t need that sometimes?!).
Meet local school teacher, mom and artist Heather Stefanski:
Mamamelia: How did you get started making hair bows?
I started making hair bows when I saw a sculpture bow in a boutique and thought…”I bet I could make that…” So, I gave it a shot. I have a 6 year old son, Elias, and twin almost two-year old girls, Tenisen and Jesien. Jesien has a lot of hair and she loves hair bows. I thought I’d make her a few. Then, I realized it was kind of fun and I was good at it. I made a few more for gifts. Eventually I started selling them to friends and family. Then decided I could make a nice little side business–I could close the door to my craft room and I didn’t feel guilty about having time to myself because I was also making money. I started the business in January of this year. I began with sculpture bows. I love the art–making ribbon sculpture. I have branched into boutique bows, combining them with sculpture bows.
My hair bow art has been a work in progress and trial and error. I learned that cheap ribbon makes shoddy products; so, I only use quality grosgrain. I do use some accent ribbon that is sheer or woven, and even incorporate feather boa, but grosgrain is more durable and gives the best finish. I also use jewels, charms, hemp fibers, metal beads, buttons, embroidery embellishments and other unusual elements to add texture to some of the sculptures — like the witch’s hat and broom–which is one of my favorites. I try to make my bows with quality materials that are fun and artistic.
I am a full-time teacher at Fernandina Beach Middle School. I have been there for 16 years! I teach 7th and 8th grade Language Arts. I earned my undergraduate degree at FSU and my Masters at UNF. I am applying for the doctoral program at UF this fall, which would start in the spring of 2016. I am originally from Tallahassee and I landed my very first teaching job here, at FBMS. Basically, I opened a map of Florida and sat down with my dad. We discussed possible counties and locations that might be a good fit for me. I had never been to Fernandina, but after one trip, which was my interview, I knew it was home. I have been here ever since.