By Scott Christiansen
Crafters know stuff about duct tape the rest of us don’t. It doesn’t just come in colors. It comes in sheets, too. That’s helpful if person wants to cut custom panels and build, say, a purse or a skirt. Shala Kerrigan, an artist and crafter, from Anchorage’s Hillside neighborhood knows this stuff. These are not secrets. Kerrigan freely shares crafty knowledge on her blog, Don’t Eat the Paste. The big news in Kerrigan’s world this week is one of her designs is coming soon to a duct-tape roll near you.
The makers of Duck brand duct tape selected her pattern of high colorful owls, called “Retro Owls” for a new role of tape. It will join more than 150 other colors and patterns made by Duck, the company said in a press release. We have not seen an actually roll of the Retro Owls tape, but it’s going to be pretty cool looking, at least judging by the image Duck brands sent in the email. The violet background and the brown branches are somewhat muted. The owl eyes are mesmerizing, especially on the owl with fluorescent green wings. You can imagine it as border in a kitchen or bathroom.
If you’ve ever been surprised by the variety of colors duct tape in the stores, you’re probably not a crafter. When we called Kerrigan, she talked matter-of-factly about tape makers responding to the demands of the crafting market. “As more and more crafters started using duct tape, they made it more decorative,” Kerrigan said. She submitted nine designs to the Duck brand contest. And crafters like duct tape for the same reason it’s popular for repairing stuff. “Because it is reinforced with the threads it is a lot sturdier (than other tapes),” Kerrigan said.
Incidentally Kerrigan’s blog is pretty well known among crafters. Don’t Eat the Paste was founded in 2009 and Kerrigan says it gets about 100,000 visits a month, with enough advertising revenue to allow her to make art and blog fulltime. On the site, crafters will find crafting advice and download-able patterns for projects such as printable boxes, crochet projects and recycled art projects. Kerrigan’s writing is enthusiastic and sometimes tongue-in-cheek.
If you ask, she’ll tell you she has blogged under different banners before, going back to 1997, but this became her professional blog because it had the right mix of themes and it grows traffic steadily. “It was finally exactly what I wanted,” Kerrigan said “I wanted to have a craft blog where I could also share photos from Alaska.”
Kerrigan is married and a mother of two children. Her life isn’t always at the computer keyboard or draft table. She said taking the photos of Alaska helps get her out of the house, important for anyone who works at home. Even though she gives arts and crafts advice on line, she said she has never been an art teacher. Being read has some rewards, some of which might be cooler than having your design on a roll of duct tape.
“Some have been used by museums for their kids programs and by teachers all over the world,” Kerrigan said. “Some of my crochet patterns have been use for charity work and that has helped make me feel as if I am making a difference.”