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Conversations with Nicole Orchard

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Orchard.

Hi Nicole, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
So I’ve always been interested in painting, sewing, and creating things in general as long as I can remember. I’ve always explored different medias/avenues of making tangible objects that people can wear or hang on their walls, and still am learning new things all of the time. I am in my 30’s now and have been actively sharing my projects/pieces that are available for purchase on social media through my little Instagram page: @droolball…I started this page back in September of 2016, making granny panties from my own patterns for all ages and sizes with trippy sayings/designs on them. Then I moved on to t-shirts or modified vintage pieces that I’d also put my own designs or what have you onto. I got really into getting yards of PVC heat press vinyl, then using that to cut out my own intricate original designs or my favorite sayings/movie quotes and heat pressing them onto whatever t-shirt or handmade thing I thought it might pair well with. I have explored the beginnings of just screen printing these instead of going through the longer process of handcutting vinyl or even just getting multiples of my designs printed onto shirts, I’m still open to maybe doing that someday, but I liked the “one of a kind” aspect, I liked not tracing and having each thing I made truly be one of a kind, even if I made multiples of something. I was very lucky to have sold hundreds of things in my first couple of years through apps like Depop or Etsy. But in the last year now, being someone who lost a full-time job due to the covid pandemic, I turned my open schedule into learning a new trade that I’ve always been curious about: leather carving, sewing, and tooling. I’ve now made everything from bolo ties to handmade purses using this method and have had the time to really put all of my ideas and effort into getting better and better at it all of the time. I’ve also started my own website: where you can shop some older Droolball works, but mostly my current leather works.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
…It certainly has not been. I’ve been through deaths in my family, mental health illnesses, job losses, designs of mine getting stolen, etc. but who hasn’t been through a struggle of some kind in life? I’m grateful that I have my artwork throughout the years to keep me distracted and fulfilled during times of stress or sadness.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I work with only leather tooling, sewing, carving, painting these days. I’m most proud of how much I’ve been able to teach myself in the way of carving and tooling leather in the last year of being without a full-time job. I’m glad that I have been fortunate enough to teach myself an entirely new art form in the last scary year we’ve all had due to this pandemic, etc… I think what sets me apart is that my work often changes and evolves, I hope that it keeps viewers wanting to see what I’ll come up with next and keeps me wanting to keep on keepin’ on with making new things as long as I’m breathing 🙂

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Visit my website or check me out on Instagram: @droolball. Feel free to shoot me a message on either site if your interested in collaborating with me, want to commission me for an idea you’ve got, or maybe even let me sell my stuff in your collective, store, or webstore! I’m always open-minded to this and love looking for new opportunities!

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