Midcoast Entrepreneurs

If there’s a mouse in the house, Kathleen Maseychik is behind it

Wed, 01/19/2022 - 8:15am

    JACKSON—Last week, we did a story on the off-the-beaten-path Marsh River Cooperative in Brooks and its special space for local artisans and crafters. Kathleen Maseychik is one of those crafters whose tiny, handmade felt mice grace 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 business, Mouse Hole Workshop. She credits the author Beatrix Potter and The Tale of Peter Rabbit for influencing her small animal creations.

    “I still get people who come by my table at craft fairs and say, ‘My mother bought me one of your mice when I was a child 30 years ago,’ ” she said.

    Maseychik started making her one-of-a-kind hand-sewn mice when her children were little and she wanted to make some money on the side.

    “I did all sorts of crafts, but the 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 nursery school and continued to make mice for her students to play with.

    With 60 different styles, she makes each one by hand, cutting patterns out of wool felt and stitching them up on a sewing machine. She sews their tiny outfits as well. The mice all have professions, hobbies, or specific roles, ranging from school teachers and doctors and nurses to golfer and backpackers to Irish pub hoppers. Seasonally, she offers Christmas mice, Valentine’s Day mice, and St. Patrick Day mice among others—but her best-sellers are bride and groom mice.

    The school teacher is popular right now because of how valuable this profession has been during the pandemic, as well as her doctor and nurse mice, for the same reasons.

    “I’ve been doing these for so long, I could make them in my sleep,” she said.

    In the past, when it was her main income, Maseychik could turn out 12 mice in a day. And at one 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 bane,” she said. She was under the gun to get them all in on a Christmas order, which she did, again, the very next year with a Santa Claus mouse.

    “But now, I’ve slowed down a lot and I do it part-time. I sell them on Etsy and at craft fairs,” she said.

    Custom orders still come in such as the football mouse from Texas A&M University, which prompts her to research the colors and costumes. Creating little outfits with different colors and patterns is still, one of her favorite things to make.

    Check out her mice at the Marsh River Cooperative in person or visit her Etsy store online.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com