Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet Liesan from Ignis Fatuus

We already did an interview with some members a while ago but since we changed the questions we decided to start over.

Today: meet Liesan from Ignis Fatuus

What defines you as an artisan?
Ignis fatuus does :). But seriously, crafting, doing art it is just what I do, it is my life not in the sense that it ‘fills my whole life’ but… well it’s like this: I also cook food and that is also my life, I fold clean clothes and that is also my life, I cycle and that is my life, I brood and that is my life, I teach and that is my life, I make love and that is my life, I love and cry and laugh and hurt and that is my life etc… and it is all chasing shadows, following lights that lead me into swamps instead of safe little houses. But I happen to like swamps…
I know this may sound complicated and I planned to say something in the line of ‘there is no special definition for me as an artisan’ but that just isn’t true, there is just no way to define me ‘as an artisan’ without defining me ‘as a human being’ and that incorporates everything I do.

Where do you live?
In The Netherlands, Nieuwegein a place very close to Utrecht

How does your place of residence influence your crafting?
Not a whole lot I think, it is a quite uninspiring and boring place to be. The circumstances though influence what I do a lot, I am fortunate to live with a partner who generously can and is more than willing to provide for both of us and with no kids around the housekeeping is not that demanding so I get a lot of room for doing what I love most.

How did you get into crafting?
I attended a Waldorf type school all of my youth, sometimes it seemed like arts and crafts made out a greater part of the curriculum than any language, math or history lessons did so I think the seed that must have been in me since birth got room to flourish there.

Where did you learn your craft?
At the previously mentioned school I made my first book, after that I learned most from books and the internet. I learn better by myself, figuring things out the hard way is what works best for me.
I will start a 2 year formal bookbinding education either this year or next year September (depending on how much room there is and if I can afford it)

Who do you consider your mentor (s)?
Well I suppose the teacher who showed me how to make my first book, besides him many authors whom I have never met in person.

What are your views in respect to mentors and mentoring?
I do not have views, I just know that to me it doesn’t mean a whole lot and to others it does. I do immensely appreciate and respect someone who knows more than me and is willing to share his/her skill but that is the extend of it.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Anywhere, everywhere, I really can’t answer this because I just don’t know.

What is your most treasured object in your studio?
Well that was sold ages ago :) But from what I have now my ‘Royal Blue’ is special to me, it was the first book I made when I moved in with my partner after a long long time of not having been able to do much due to personal issues. I do want to sell it but secretly I’m glad it has been allowed to stay with me for such a long time.

What do you like best about your studio?
The flexibility and the easy way of listing things. Since the fusion studio’s aired I kind of like the lay-out as well

What would you change about your studio?
I would like (and will make) a better banner and avatar. Something that reflects my work better. I would also like it when thumbnails of all my product pictures would be somehow visible instead of people having to scroll through them.
I am still ambivalent about my name, it has meaning to me and my approach to doing arts and crafts but that is a very personal, spiritual and even somewhat religious (although not at all in the traditional sense) matter and I have noticed people don’t understand Latin and get confused. From a business point of view it may not have been the best choice.

How do you divide your crafting time?
I don’t, or in the most chaotic manner thinkable and that actually works for me, chaos to some degree is excellent for creating things.

What is your favorite material? Why?
Paper! And I have no idea why it is not a rational matter I just love paper, making it folding it painting on it writing on it cutting and tearing it etc…

Which material would you never work with?Why?
I think there is nothing I wouldn’t work with, of I could have the tools and the space I’d probably do anything I could think of. But sewing fabric and me is not a good combination, I always imagine how much fun it’s going to be but am disappointed by the lack of quality my work has.

How did you come across ArtFire?
I think it was a link on the Etsy forums. I don’t even remember why I jumped in when I did but I’m very glad of it.

What role does your family play in your crafting?
Well my partner gives me all the room I need and my mother is a great supporter, that’s about it I think.

Besides your own craft what other crafts do you admire?
I humbly bow to those who are skilled wood- and bone carvers, and I love pottery but that I am quite good at myself (need room for a turntable though)

What other craft would you be interested in learning? Why?
All thinkable crafts, but as far as crafts that I don’t expect to be able to teach myself to some degree go I think I’d love to learn to work with glass and precious metals.

Why do you think buying handmade is beneficial for society?
For me it is first of all a personal thing, I just love to know that especially the luxury goods I have are made by people who wanted to make it because they love what they do instead of by people who are pressed to produce and get underpaid for it. My attitude might be beneficial for society but as stated it is a personal matter.
I try not to get involved too deeply in larger scale social matters because the sheer volume of suffering and wrongness makes me apathetic and deeply depressed and no-one is served by that.

What are your goals in respect to your craft?
First of all I’d like to become good at it, really very good and confidant, and I dream of the day that I can earn some real money of it, maybe even sustain myself if needed but that’s a far away dream.

What has been your most rewarding experience regarding your craft?
Just the fact that a stack of paper, some thread and glue and some binders board put together make a new product that actually makes sense makes me happy every single time, no matter how simple or complicated the process.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Not really no, I’ve already said more than I normaly would.

Oh yes well maybe this: besides my own handywork you'll find sweet felt friends in my studio, those were not made by me but by my 86 year old grandmother.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

I have learned from experience that the greater part
of our happiness or misery depends on our
dispositions and not on our circumstances.
- Martha Washington

Wishing you all a happy and content Sunday

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Come see some items by our newest members

Europe Artfire Guild is always growing so it is only fair to introduce some of our newest members - and how better to do that than with a selection of items from their studios...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Item of the Day

Today's item is a fun pair of earrings from The Sheriff's Daughter - "Chameleons & Oranges."

Here's something you don't see every day (well, not in Edinburgh, at any rate) - a pair of tiny chameleons sitting perched on top of a pair of juicy oranges.

These are for those days when you just feel like doing something different - not life-changing or earth-shattering - just not the "safe" pearl studs again!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Item of the Day: June Pearls

While I do love working with silver, I also have a soft spot for beautifully antiqued brass. While you might think all antiqued brass is the same, there are subtle and sometimes not so subtle differences. It often has quite a greenish hue or the finish is a little rough. What drew me to the brass filigree I used in this bracelet was the lovely golden sheen and beautifully smooth finish. I gently shaped it to fit the curve of the wrist and then added small but perfectly formed pearls as a finishing touch.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Item of the Day-Baby Quilt

When my boys were babies, I liked nothing more than to lay a quilt out on the floor for them to play on, or to cover them in the pram. I just thought this mouse family was a cute addition to a baby quilt

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Item of the day : recycled vinyl

Sometimes it just happens , life gets in the way a bit and things change .
That's what's been happening to me lately and along with life's changes I've also had some changes in my creative spirit. Items are becoming bolder and more outspoken perhaps.
Here's a recycled vinyl record album that I've combined with freshwater pearls .

Monday, June 22, 2009

Item of the day: Wire crochet Bollywood cuff

"Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jaana Sanam ...." This way one of my favorite Bollywood songs from one of my favorite Bollywood movies begins.

Beautiful sarees, colorful Salwar Kameez - can't you just imagine this wide cuff going with it? Or maybe you would like to enhance the look of a simple shirt and a pair of jeans with this color kick?
The cuff is hand crocheted from orange metallic colored copper wire with silver lined glass beads in red, yellow, orange and clear colors worked in.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quote of the day

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in
your own way -- Anonymous

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Europe trivia - Midsummers Eve in Sweden

Today we celebrate midsummer in Sweden - one of the most popular hollidays besides Chrismas and Easter. In a country where the sun hardly raises during the winter, the light nights of the summer are magical and has a very strong inflict on the swedish spirit. So ofcourse we celebrate the brightest night of them all.

Someone who checks her calendar can ofcourse object that the sun isn't on the highest until Sunday 21. Yes, that goes for Sweden too. But at some point the government decided that Midsummer was to be celebrated on the friday closest to the 21st. And so we do.

Not only does Midsummer take a central place in the hearts and souls of the swedish people, but it's also surrounded by a lot of traditions and a lot of mystique.

There's the food. SOS - Sill, Ost och Snaps (pickled herring, cheese and schnaps) is to be found on every dinner table today, along with new potatoes and, for dessert, fresh, swedish strawberries and cream. Historicly, Midsummer was often the time for the first harvest of strawberries and potatoes, and though we can get this almost all year round now (wich BTW is really weird!), these foods are absolutely cruical on Midsummer.

And than the traditions. One of the most popular images of Sweden is probably the raising of and dancing around the Midsummer pole.

It's a very high cross, dressed in leaves and flowers that is an ancient symbol for the fertility of the field. A pledge to the God of harvest. The pole is traditionally dressed by women and children and raised by the men in the village. Then we dance dances like Små grodorna (little frogs), Så går vi runt kring ett enebärssnår (Thus we walk around the junpiper bush) and Vi äro musikanter (we are musicians).

Midsummer is also a big day for folklore and mystique. The most common tradition in this is that the girls, before they go to bed, shall pick seven kinds of flower under absolute silence. The flowers are placed under the pillow and if you've done it all right you should dream of the man you will marry.

This tradition are in some places even more complicated as you are to walk backwards, seven times, around a well or jump over seven fences. All in complete silence!

In some parts of the country it was said that if you by midnight sat down where three roads meet, and kept absolutely silent, you could see your future. Mostly it would be your future husband coming down the road. But if you were out of luck you could se your own death.

A girl could eat "Dream porridge" - a very salty porridge before going to bed. The man that in the dreams handed her a glass of water was her future husband. She could also sit silent beside a well during the night to see that face of her future husband in its surface.

The nature and the flowers had extra magical forces during this night. The fern would blossom. The dew at Midsommar could cure desises, make bread taste better, make the animals stronger and the love life better.

I hope you all have a lovely Midsummers eve!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Newly listed - On a rainy day!

In Sweden, the rain has been pouring for two weeks now. So what do you do on a rainy day?

Buy a warming necklace?
Send someone a card?
Write a book?
Embellish something?
Put new buttons in an old sweater?
Cuddle something fury?
Wish for the sun?
Wear something warm?
Have a lovely, hot bath?

Greate idea!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Newly listed..something new, something blue

The month of June is the start of the wedding season.
so if you're looking for...

something old,
something new
something borrowed
something blue

Then Artfire can help you with the something new and blue for that special bride

Here are some newly listed items that would make any bride smile.

Blue felt Grabable by iheartcrafts

Little Window ring by Leelabejou

Visit our studios for more excellent handmade products for any occasion.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Item of the Day-Girl's Shoulder Bags

Little girls just love to be like mum and have their own bags, so I knitted one especially. Then what big sister has, little sister has to have too. Now everyone can go out happy.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Quote of the day

You only live once - but if you work it right, once is enough -- Joe Lewis

Sounds like a good advice to me!

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Item of the day: Tie Bead necklace

For all the men out there who likes jewellery (or the women who thinks their men should like jewellery...):

Tie Bead necklace

This bead and necklace is designed for men. The shape of the bead is to remind of that of a tie. It sits on a thick (3 mm) black leather cord that closes with a lobster clasp.

Do read other swedish bloggers view on , ,

Spotlight - Gifts for our men

With father's day only a few short weeks away; (June 21st in the UK) I thought I'd look for our more manly gifts on Artfire. I found lots. I'm sure you could find more.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Item of the Day

prom queen2

This one of a kind pendant has all the elements of a prom night: lacy material, a flirty ribbon bow, black tulle, a tiny seed bead and pink , but more towards magenta for contemporary spirits.

For more details click on the post heading

The Grimm brothers are everywhere!

Yesterday we heard about Selkies and now you probably wonder what I want to tell you with my post title.
Did you enjoy yesterday's post? Do you like fairy tales? How did they make you feel as a child? Did they scare you, teach you, make you laugh or frown? We had a book at home with selected stories from the tales the Grimm brothers collected. I loved it dearly until it almost fell apart. Actually I loved it so much I had to buy the exact same edition when I was a grown-up!
Not only the Grimms influenced my life, but also Andersen (whom I adore), Tales of 1001 Nights (that book I also loved to death) and many foreign fairy tales. There was a whole shelf of them at my local library and I read them before going to sleep, I read them aloud to my little brother and there are still sentences we remember.

I don't know if the following artisans have been influenced, too. I know, though, that their beautiful pieces that I selected for this article match some tales and this inspired me to a little glance back into my past.

The star money / Sterntaler

A little girl gives all she has to other people and in the end is rewarded with a rain of falling stars that turn to gold. Jenny Karlsson might not have gold stars on this beautiful bag, but stars nonetheless.

The owl / Die Eule

An owl in a house scares everyone off that goes inside, in the end the people decide to burn the house with the suspected monster (fairy tales are not always nice, oh no!). Nobody would be scared of Buttercup. Eddy's Pressies introduces you to this knitted beauty.

The sun brings it to light / Die klare Sonne bringt's an den Tag

A murder is revealed by the light of the sun. This sun pin by neki desu is designed not to reveal gruesome mysteries, but to delight you with its fresh colors and happy aura.
The three little birds / De drei Vügelkens

Each time the queen has a child her two mean sisters steal it from her and throw it into the river whereupon a singing bird flies up. A fisherman during the years finds all of the three babies and takes them home. Of course the children find their way home when they are old enough. Is the bird on this card made by The Spotted Sparrow one of the singing birds?

The singing bone / Der singende Knochen

There is some more singing now, but not from a bird. Two brothers go out hunting to earn the hand of the king's daughter. One kills the terrible boar, but the other brother in turn kills him for the fame and fortune and buries him underneath a bridge. Years later a shepherd finds a bone and carves a flute from it that starts to sing the truth to him. In the end the man is buried in the graveyard and the murderous brother gets punished. No happy ending for any of them! Babs Beads and Design has made this cute and not at all gory set of skull and bones, if they sing I do not know. Find out yourself!

Hopefully I could take you back to your own childhood a little, a time when we thought singing bones and speaking dragons, dancing shoes and talking bears not impossible. These artisans and all the others of our guild that I could not mention this time have kept their fantasies and turn them into beautiful pieces to share with you.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Europe Trivia - Folklore

The "Ladies of the Guild" suggested that it would be good to look at the myths, legends and fairytale creatures of Europe. Our countries abound with tales of magic and little folk, faeries and bogles. Their influence can be found in our Artfire studios too.

Coming from the "chilly North" (well, Scotland), I looked at the tales of Selkies that are found in Scottish, Irish, Icelandic and Faroese mythology. Selkies are creatures that can transform themselves from seals to humans. They do so by shedding their skins to assume human form and become seals again when they put them back on. Many of the tales are romantic tragedies - in some tales the man or woman does not know their lover is a selkie and wakes to find them gone; sometimes the human will hide the selkie's skin, stopping them from returning to the sea.

It is said that a selkie can only make contact with one particular human for a short time before they must return to the sea. They cannot make contact with that person again for seven years, unless of course, their skin is hidden -

Male selkies in human form are extremely handsome and have great powers of seduction over human women (I may have met one once, but that's another story...) Female selkies make good human wives, but always yearn for the sea, and will return if they can.

Selkies are not always faithless lovers - despite the Shetland Islands tales of them luring hapless islanders into the sea at midsummer, never to be seen on dry land again - for there is a tale of one fisherman who married a selkie and, against her wishes, set sail late in the season. He became trapped in a terrible storm and could not get back to shore. His selkie wife assumed her seal form and saved him, for she loved him deeply - even though this meant that she could never thereafter return to her human form.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Little bit o' wisdom

Bag no. 199. Freehand embroidery by Jenny Karlsson Design:
"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.
Think not about your frustrations but about your unfulfilled potential.
Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what it is still possible for you to do."
(Pope John XXII)