Otter Creations‘ name is a homage to my mother’s side of the family, but I wouldn’t have chosen it if I hadn’t been utterly (otterly?) charmed by the critters’ playful antics.
Otters are nimble on solid ground, as comfortable as fish in water, cuddly and protective of their young, and they seem to have a wicked and chaotic sense of humor.
The Otter brand started long before the business came about… but that’s another story. I may tell it some day. You’ll just have to stay in touch.
No surprise, then, that Otter Creations is deeply influenced by tradition. Otter’s designs are inspired by Russian folklore, primarily the folk tales, but also legends and beliefs, the nature spirits surrounding the traditional villages, the magnificent epic heroes, and the art decorating everyday objects, houses, and clothing.
Otter Creations is also about the natural (or at least the recycled and sustainable) and the handmade. I always preferred natural fibers to man-made ones, and my favorite childhood craft project was a doll house made of repurposed and recycled components.
And now, Otter Creations wishes to bring into your life the joyful whimsy of book illustrations that inspired my childhood dreams and my adult imagination. With childlike abandon I turn to a very mixed choice of media, from a basic needle and some embroidery thread, to computer graphics, in order to convey my vision of Russian folk stories, beliefs, and imagination.
To complement the folk-art inspired designs, Otter Creations offers some basic e-courses on Russian culture and language at RUSSOLOGY.
Masha Holl, the owner of Otter Creations, was born in Paris (France) in the Russian émigré community. She grew up speaking two languages and navigating two cultures, so when fate brought her to America she didn’t find it too difficult to add a third language and culture to her repertoire (it did help that she’d been studying English since 6th grade). Now well-rooted in South Texas, she occasionally looks back and wonders what her younger self might have thought if she’d been told what fate had in store for her. Check out her blog on her personal page.