Kristen McCole began making what are now known as Compliment Coins about four years ago, as a very small endeavor. Now, with help from Generator’s laser cutter, Kristen has expanded her unique business to sell at Burlington’s Thirty-Odd gift shop and other local markets.
Path to Generator
Kristen began her creative journey at Generator about a year and a half ago, when she began to seek ways to speed up her coin-making process. Kristen’s compliments coins are wooden tokens engraved on each side with an adorable animal character and a heart-warming compliment. “When I was first making the coins, I was hand burning each individual one, which was taking a very long time to do,” she says. Looking to expand her business, Kristen was suggested to try out a laser cutter. Not long after, Kristen became a Generator member. “I had a mind-blown moment where I realized that I could really take what I was making to the next level. And it has worked out that way, which is very exciting.”
Kristen is now a studio member, and often comes to Generator early in the morning to work on one of our three Epilog lasers.
Inspiration and Human Connection
Kristen enjoys finding beauty in many different places. “The thing that I hold most dear is the art of connecting people – with each other and even with themselves, says Kristen. “I think that the true creative moment is when somebody finds a piece that they want to give to somebody and it feels perfect for them, or I’ve had people buy a coin and put it in their pocket for themselves.” Kristen draws inspiration from cute and quirky pieces of art, such as Richard Scarry. She also appreciates the whimsy of children’s books.
Advice to Makers
In addition to Compliment Coins, Kristen is excited to explore other Generator workshops, such as the jewelry studio. “I think sometimes just exposing yourself to different mediums can unlock something that you didn’t know you had inside of you, which is something that makes the Generator so wonderful,” she says. “If you’re a member, you can tinker around with all these different possibilities.”
Kristen’s advice to new members? “I would say don’t pigeonhole yourself into only one thing. I’ve had people come up to me and say ‘ I love what you make, but I would love to do something like this.I am just not creative’ My advice is to try different things and see if anything really resonates with you.”