JOHN YDSTIE, host:
Who knew you could make a name for yourself with a sprinkle of glitter and a hot glue gun? Well, that and some Latino flair has helped propel Phoenix craft artist Kathy Cano Murillo's growing success. From member station KJZZ, James Garcia has this profile of the woman known to her fans as the crafty chica.
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Unidentified Woman: Today we're going to be adding a little bit of glitter to just about anything that'll sit still long enough. I'm hanging out with my good friend Kathy Cano Murillo of craftychica.com. Hey, Kathy.
Ms. KATHY CANO MURILLO (Craft Artist): Hello, hi. First what we want to do is take our flower pot...
JAMES GARCIA: As host of a popular Web site and the author of six books, Kathy Cano Murillo is a self-made woman who says she believes life's dreams are what you make of them, though it never hurts to add a well-placed dab of glue or glitter.
Ms. MURILLO: I'm one of those people who proves that if you work hard enough and you're persistent and you use your resources and have a good attitude, anything can happen for you.
GARCIA: And things are happening. Later this month, Cano Murillo was presenting at the so-called Craft and Hobby World's Fair in Anaheim, California. The event draws 20,000 people and features the reigning queen of all things crafty, Martha Stewart. For Murillo, the convention isn't just a place to prove her prowess with a glitter pen; it's a chance to show that Latin-inspired craft art has finally come of age.
Ms. MURILLO: I feel like finally these manufacturers and retailers are noticing that we're a strong presence, and it's my way to deliver the message of not all of us are sewing Quinceanera dresses or using chili peppers on everything. There's nothing against chili peppers, but there's more to it than that.
GARCIA: Murillo's foray into what's become a $32 billion craft market in the U.S. began in the 1990s, but she says things began to take off six years ago when, after cruising the Internet, she discovered that crafting could be cool, so she put up a Web site and picked a catchy nickname.
Ms. MURILLO: And I thought crafty chica. I love that. I was at work, but okay, I'm on break right now, and I went real quick and I bought the url. That weekend I put up the Web site, and it changed my whole life.
GARCIA: Among her latest coups, Cano Murillo lists her appearances this season on the Home and Garden TV Network's "Craft Lab." Jennifer Perkins, who hosts the show, says when deciding on special guests to invite, the crafty chica's infectious smile and a penchant for whipping up Latin-inspired crafts with mainstream appeal came immediately to mind.
Ms. JENNIFER PERKINS ("Craft Lab" Host): She's just one of those people that just can like look at anything and think like, oh, I can make that, or I could make it better with a pinch of glitter or give me a hot-glue gun and some trim, and I could totally trick it out.
GARCIA: Cano Murillo shares some of the tricks of her trade in a national newspaper column, as well as in her latest book, "Art de la Soul." The book is selling well, and not just in communities that claim large Latino populations, says Harper Collins editor Rene Algeria.
Ms. RENE ALEGRIA (Harper Collins): What I think is great about her bringing her Hispanic identity into her craft is that she doesn't just cul-de-sac it to the Hispanic market. She inspires others from other cultures to really bring their own culture to whatever craft they're making.
GARCIA: Alegria says the crafty chica's crossover draw is tied to her knack for adding an edgy twist to old-school Latino arts and crafts. In other words, she brings cool to craft. But besides spreading the word about cool crafting as she did at a recent workshop, the crafty chica isn't afraid to share her personal philosophy that the life of a craft artist can and should be about far more than how well you wield a glue gun.
So do you think that crafting can make you a happier person?
Ms. MURILLO: Yes, because it's a form of self-expression. It's a way of stopping time. It sounds really corny, but you know, we all have glitter inside of us, and by crafting, it's a way to show - show that, a crafty glitter coat.
GARCIA: A life glitter coat.
Ms. MURILLO: Yes. How to bring out your inner glitter.
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GARCIA: For NPR News, I'm James Garcia in Phoenix.
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