Melissa Dorsey is an artist who is self-taught. She creates handmade products such as jewelry, handbags, cosmetic bags, shaving kit bags, hats and sandals.

Dorsey sews, crochets, knits, and manipulates leather into her artful pieces. Many of her goods are from acquiring scraps and repurposing them. She also makes lotions and soaps, which are food grade. Both Dorsey and her husband, Patrick Sean, are creative, artistic people. They both prefer to use recyclable materials and turn those materials into usable items.

One challenge Melissa faced came when she learned to crochet. Dorsey is left-handed and most manuals and videos are made for those who are right-handed, but challenges are what she is use to. Dorsey has been in a wheelchair for 12 years.

“My arts and crafts are what help me to deal with life,” she said. “I don’t like to use the term ‘disabled.’ “Yes, I am limited by my mobility, but I am able to do many things.”

Another challenge for her was sewing, since she cannot use the foot pedal, which is the most common way a sewing machine is operated.

“I purchased a sewing machine that allows me to operate the machine by hand,” Dorsey said. “It has a speed function which enables me to start off slow and gradually work up my speed.

“This has made it possible for me to sew on a machine and not just by hand, which saves a lot of time when I’m making leather accented purses and cosmetic cases.”

Initially, Dorsey began her arts and crafts as a hobby, and eventually found that there were people who wanted to purchase her products. The leather earrings she makes are unique and inspired by her own design.

“Sometimes I get ideas from Pinterest, but mostly it is just an idea that pops into my head,” Dorsey said.

Reading books on sewing and other arts and craft projects is one of her favorite ways to pass the time, but she said she also enjoys fictional books. Dorsey said one of her favorite writers is Sydney Sheldon.

Her wares can be seen at Boom Town Makers Market at 324 Gault Ave. N Fort Payne and at the Farmer’s Market in Mentone on Saturdays located at the corner of 117 and County Road 89.

Melissa’s Motto: “Always strive for peace, hope and happiness.”

— Marla Ballard’s Who’s Who appears in the Times-Journal weekday editions

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