Passing through cobwebs, brushing ears and vita, and hunting from long-abandoned boxes has been Rachel Rob’s favorite pastime over the weekend.
During the first nationwide search, she had an idea of delivering industrial supplies to people trapped at home.
Two years later he runs Splatter, an industrial business with five employees.
Rob has a background in teaching arts and crafts to people with disabilities, which gave her insight into how difficult it can be to stop.
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“I thought there were people out there, and they needed fun, and especially those who are highly autistic whose parents have nuts at home.”
Rob joined his young daughter and they created online handicraft videos.
The innovative couple used the videos to advertise their decorative bags made of Paris plaster ready for painting.
“It really brings in a lot of money. We don’t know if the demand was so great. We put the Paris mold plaster well in the early hours of the morning to prepare for the next day’s orders. It was crazy.”
When her whole living room was full of industry, Rob knew he had to take his business to the next level, so he opened a shop.
Splatter offers beginners dishes, music, glass fusion (jewelry making), and painting cups, plates, tiles and ornaments made from mold, and body-positive skin workshops.
“We have a lot of genitals and limbs around here,” Rob said with a smile, pointing to the genital warts, bob vases, and limb taco holders.
They also run children’s craft parties, crochet lessons, creative carpentry, and expand the supply of their craft bags.
The philosophy behind Splatter is for classes that are open to everyone.
“We have a lot of people who come with special needs. Workshops are for everyone.”
Rob has his own experience of disability, about five years ago having blood in his diabetic eyes, which initially left him blind in one eye and reduced vision in the other.
“I spent a lot of years blind, unable to see. At first I needed to use a stick.
Her eyesight has improved after successful surgeries, and she is adapting to living with poor eyesight.
Doing business during the global epidemic poses additional challenges, and supply chain issues mean that creativity extends beyond the classroom to the source of supplies.
At one time Rob’s business had taken over the entire Basque square in New Zealand, which led him to build it himself.
“We were really at a point where we thought we would close because we didn’t have enough produce. Then Sarah [employee] Came to the board and decided to make it.
From there they started buying ceramic molds from people’s garages.
“We started climbing out of people’s garages and covered them in cobwebs with earrings and Vita.
“Often this is what they have inherited. Their grandmother is dead and they are gone. And my God, the garage is just full of these white boxes.”
In search of retro, weird molds, the team at Splatter is always excited about what they’ll find and return to life from someone’s garage.
They found Siamese cat molds, dancing dolphins, a retro bed and a reef pan.
At the top of Rob’s wish list is Crown Lane Swan Mold.
“But of course we won’t whitewash them. We’ll paint them any color under the sun.”
Most of the molds rescued from the garages come from the 1970s and ’80s, and Rob is looking for ways to preserve them by making replicas.
“It’s a dead art. It would be like in the 80s everyone knew how to do it. The knowledge behind it was lost, so we try to figure it out from the beginning.”
Rob also works with Blueprint, the library Makerspace, and their vacuum packer machine users make craft molds.
After moving to her new location in Princess St., Robb said it was her team that she was most passionate about running the business.
One of her employees is her ex-husband and best friend Clayton, who donated the money for the new furnace.
He wants to get more teachers and develop the arts he teaches, especially special or unusual, or industries that are not currently popular.
Running a business has its ups and downs, but overall Rob won’t have it any other way.
“It was a little touch and go there for a while. We’re like, are we doing the right thing? But that’s the right thing to do.”
Sonia Holm is a journalism student at Mississippi University.