If there’s a mouse in the house, Kathleen Maseychik is behind it
JACKSON—Last week we did a story off the beaten path Marsh River Cooperative at Brooks and its special space for local artisans. Kathleen Maseychik is one of those artisans whose tiny handmade felt mice adorn a dollhouse in the center of the store. Her creations, which she has been making for 53 years, are under the banner of her nano company, Mouse Hole Workshop. She credits author Beatrix Potter and The Tale of Peter Rabbit for influencing his creations of small animals.
“I still get people coming up to my table at craft fairs and saying, ‘My mom bought me one of your mice when I was a kid 30 years ago,'” she said.
Maseychik started making her unique hand-sewn mice when her kids were little and she wanted to earn money on the side.
“I did all kinds of crafts, but mice were the only things that sold,” she said.
Later, when she and her husband moved to England so her husband could teach at university, she taught at a kindergarten and continued to make mice for her students to play with.
With 60 different styles, she makes them by hand, cutting patterns out of wool felt and sewing them on a sewing machine. She also sews their little outfits. Mice all have specific professions, hobbies or roles, ranging from school teachers, doctors and nurses to golfers and backpackers to Irish pub hoppers. Seasonally, it offers Christmas mice, Valentine’s mice, and St. Patrick’s mice, among others, but its bestsellers are the bride and groom mice.
The schoolteacher is popular right now because of the value of this profession during the pandemic, as well as her doctor and nurse mice, for the same reasons.
“I’ve been doing them for so long I could do them in my sleep,” she said.
In the past, when it was his main income, Maseychik could produce 12 mice a day. And at some point in the 1980s, Neiman Marcus, a luxury department store, ordered 2,500 Scrooge mice for its Christmas catalog “which was a boon and a curse”, she said. She was under pressure to get them all on a Christmas order, which she did, again, the following year with a Santa Mouse.
“But now I’ve slowed down a lot and I’m doing it part-time. I sell them on Etsy and at craft fairs,” she said.
Custom orders are still coming in, like the Texas A&M University football mouse, prompting him to research the colors and costumes. Creating little outfits with different colors and patterns is still one of her favorite activities.
Kay Stephens can be reached at [email protected]