Here's a chance to find out a bit more about one of the newest Guild members.
What defines you as an artisan? Oh good, an easy one to start with. ;-) Well, I don’t really consider myself as an artisan, but that’s more to do with me needing to gain more confidence in my work than anything else. I don’t take my work ‘seriously’, it’s just something I enjoy doing, it’s not a real passion. I’m too lazy to get really passionate about too many things. :-D
Where do you live? I live in Eindhoven, a city in the south of the Netherlands. I’m British though, originally from Liverpool – I moved here almost 10 years ago for work.
How does your place of residence influence your crafting? It doesn’t really. I confess that I get a lot of my supplies online, because I can’t always find what I want locally. I do try to support my local craft shops where I can, but I’ve yet to find anywhere nearby that sells sterling silver findings, for example. And I can only find felt in very basic colours – when I want to make a felt aubergine, the colour has to be just right!
How did you get into crafting? I can’t really remember. I know my Nan taught me how to embroider when I was quite young – she used to make outfits for my teddy bear and I would embroider his initial on the front. *shame* I’ve always been more crafty than arty though, I can’t draw or paint at all. I’ve always liked to make things, from embroidery and knitting when I was younger, then some paper crafts like quilling, then cross stitch, and then in the last few years, card-making, jewellery-making, and most recently, making felt toys.
Where did you learn your craft? I am self-taught, apart from the embroidery lessons from my Nan. I would love to follow a course in sewing, or bead jewellery, as I can just about manage brick stitch, but that’s my limit.
Who do you consider your mentor (s)? I don’t really think I have one. Sorry, very boring answer. Wait, let me go and look at the answers previous interviewees have given – be right back….. OK, right. Well, I still don’t think I have a mentor, but as others have said before, I appreciate anyone who gives their time to share their skills, experience and knowledge of their craft. In particular those who take time to make tutorials for others.
What are your views in respect to mentors and mentoring? Another tricky one, I don’t really have views on this topic.
Where do you get your inspiration from? My jewellery inspiration comes either from seeing a piece of jewellery and wanting to make something in a similar style, or from seeing some beads and *needing* to make something from them. As for the felt toys, I am inspired by cartoons, things I see in the supermarket, silly conversations with friends, and other people’s work.
What is your most treasured object in your studio? I guess I can’t say my PC? :-D Then my next treasured item is not a craft item at all, it’s a canvas print which my husband bought for me recently, to decorate my craft room. It’s of a musician I really like, and I love it so much. I don't have any expensive craft tools - yet. I have my eye on a Sizzix Big Shot for cutting felt shapes though.
What do you like best about your studio? Well, at the moment my ‘studio’ is a bit of a mess, and it doubles up as a home office, as well as housing the ironing board. I like the fact that I can switch between computer and work desk easily, and that everything is within reach (even if it’s not immediately visible under the piles of stuff).
What would you change about your studio? Storage space. I need a bigger work desk, the one I have is a small desk which I bought second hand, and it’s really past its best. I want a bigger table so that I can spread out a bit more, and also use my sewing machine more easily. I would also like to be tidier, but I guess we’re only talking about changes, not miracles here, right? ;-)
How do you divide your crafting time? I tend to work in fits and starts, when the mood takes me. I work full time, and I am usually too tired to do much in the evenings, so most of my craft stuff gets done at the weekend. I want to try to get more of a balance between felt stuff and jewellery in my shops, so I should try to make more felt things.
What is your favourite material? Why? I guess it would have to be felt - at the moment, at least. And until I can use my sewing machine more smoothly, hand-sewn felt.
Which material would you never work with? Why? Anything that requires a lot of mess or preparation. Much as I admire people who work with ceramics, glass, pottery etc., it is just too much effort and mess for me.
How did you come across ArtFire? I don’t remember exactly, I think I could have seen something about it on Twitter though.
What role does your family play in your crafting? My husband is my harshest critic. There’s always something, he never says ‘Wow, that’s nice!’ straight away, there’s always a pause while he thoroughly inspects whatever it is. My mum is a fan of my jewellery, but she's not so keen on the felt toys. ;-)
Besides your own craft what other crafts do you admire? I am jealous of anyone who can sew neatly – my stitching is a bit haphazard (to me, at least - I've had no complaints from others). I can knit or crochet (only the basics) so anyone who can do either of those well impresses me.
What other craft would you be interested in learning? Why? I have tried to learn needle and wet felting, and I would love to be a success at it. I love the idea of laying out the different colours of wool, adding some water, and making a piece of art. It’s painting with wool, almost. Maybe I need to take classes in that? *thoughtful*
Why do you think buying handmade is beneficial for society? I think it gives people a chance to go back to the days before mass-produced items, to buy something with a bit of meaning, something made by someone who cares about what they make. And for the artisans themselves, it’s an outlet for creativity, it’s a way to make the world a little more beautiful or joyful, it’s giving something back, it’s sharing.
What are your goals in respect to your craft? I would like to work in a more structured way. Not assembly-line structured, but to get into the habit of making something on a regular basis, instead of whenever I can be bothered. I’ve already mentioned my felting ambitions, so the only other goal would be to reduce Bead Mountain a little.
What has been your most rewarding experience regarding your craft? Mostly it’s been to do with my felt toys – making them as a surprise for someone, and then hearing about how much they love it is a great feeling.
Anything else you'd like to add? Not really, I think I am all typed out now. :-D
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