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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Getting to know you - Therese of Lena Design

It's another interview! With the very talented Therese of the Lena Design blog. She is German and that is almost as good as being Danish so I like her especially a lot. ;-) Right-o, on with the interview.

Your name

Therese Donnelly :: blog ::

Where in the world are you?

I live in the very controversial but also very beautiful Northern Ireland.


Briefly describe yourself and what you make

I am born and raised in Germany and I would say a true German.

I have studied interior design and have briefly worked in a decorating shop, where I handled a lot fo fabrics. I love design and would like to think that I have a modern and hopefully innovative approach to things. I love to sew and for the last few months also to crochet. Fabrics and felt are my passion and creating things with my hands is a truely exciting process.

I am only new in the handmade department but I am doing some crochet at the moment and also am learning how to hand embroider. Soon I would love to open an online shop with hand sewn and other handmade goods for daily use.


Who or what inspires you?

I come from a very arty and crafty family. My great grandfather on my mother’s side was a weaver and his wife a printer. My grandmother on my father’s side worked a lot with clay and glass and painted also. Both my parents painted a lot. Therefore I think my family is my biggest inspiration. Nowadays I feel also inspired by my daughter.

When / how did you learn?

I learnt to use a sewing machine when I was about 11 years old, in school. I loved it then already, although all I made was a cushion cover. Later, when I was 19 I went to Ireland in the summer time and stayed for six weeks with an old irish lady. She had a lot of old bed linen which was covered in holes. I spent my time in her home ripping them apart and sewing them together. That made me more hooked on the sewing machine. Later when I moved together with my then boyfriend (now husband) I started an art and design course for one year. There I specialised in textiles and fell in love.

I tend to teach myself new skills as I am very impatient with other people. That’s why I learnt how to crochet from books.


Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?

I always made things by hand but I think I only started to really think about it last winter. I was looking for a cafetiere cosy for my mum and couldn’t find a nice one. At that time I didn’t know about Etsy or even Artfire or other similar online places. So the only way out was to make one myself. And now I know that there is no way back.

Handmade things are much more personal and most of the time better made. They are unique and the person behind them has thought long and hard about the design and the process of making them. It makes me happy to give somebody something I made and see their happiness.


What is your craft ”philosophy”?

Don’t steal other people ideas. Create with perfectionism. Use good quality and if possible recycled materials.

Have you always made 'stuff'?

As a child I tried all sorts: painting on silk, painting, weaving, making beaded necklaces. Even in my studies I had to make models by hand and draw rooms.


How do you deal with crafty mistakes?

I don’t like mistakes made by myself. The German in me is very perfectionistic and efficient and making mistake is neither. It means you have to spend extra time on something when I would rather like to start a new project.


Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?

I have a study in our house which was designated for this because of my extensive study materials. We have since renovated it to my needs today and it means a great deal for me to have this room. I am not a very tidy person at times and it is really good to be able to just leave things as they are and come back to them later to finish them off. I feel priviledged to have the space for such a room.

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?

Since I have started to think about opening an online shop I have also started a journal. I write down my ideas with drawings. As a mother I find that I have so many things in my head and in this way I can collect my ideas without ’loosing’ them.


Why is crafting good for you?

As I am a stay-at-home mum most of my day is about either my daughter or the household. Creating things gives me time to myself, time to reflect on things and great satisfaction. It relaxes me after a stressful day and to be honest, it keeps me sane.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?

The internet had a huge impact on my craft. It inspires me and keeps me going. There are so many wonderful people out thereon the web who craft and create. It is a huge motivation to talk to some of them on twitter. And reading blogs and seeing all those beautiful creations makes me wanna go on and not give up with the process of setting up shop. Also I think the online craft community is much more modern and innovative than any local person I would meet.

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scribbled by Carina 11/07/2009 11:56:00 AM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Monday, November 02, 2009

Interview with Kristen of Craftig

Have you heard about Craftig yet? It's a great site where you can find links to loads of crafty stuff, like patterns, tutorials or just inspiration. Kristen, who is behind Craftig, emailed me to introduce me to it a while ago and I just love it. Although I have barely had a chance to use it, but I think it will become a great resource for all of us crafty-ly inclined. :-)

But don't just take my word for it! I asked Kristen a few questions about the site and below you can read what she has to say. Other than Craftig, Kristen also writes a very inspiring blog called Domestifluff, do go have a look overthere too! (The photos in this post are from Domestifluff.)

What is Craftig?

Craftig is a social bookmarking site all about crafts, a sort of Digg for crafters. It's a place where crafters can go to share all of their favorite projects from around the web.


How did Craftig come to be - where did you get the idea?

I try to keep up with a number of craft sites and blogs, but I came the realization that there was so much creativity going on that I might never know about because it would be impossible for one person to keep up with all of the cool projects and inspiration in the craft world. After this realization, I started to think about putting together a site that would allow people from all different walks of craft life to submit their favorite projects and share them with other craft lovers. And, thus, the idea for Craftig was born.


How does it work?

Craftig is driven by user submissions. Anyone who's interested can easily sign up for an account and start posting links to crafts right away. Users will basically need a URL and a short description of the craft for successful submission. After the links are posted, other uses can vote up their favorites and comment on any of the submitted craft links. Users can also save their favorites for later reference.


Are you crafty yourself? What do you make/do?

I do a lot of crafting, though I have to admit that I'm all over the place with the types of crafts that I make. There's so much cool stuff out there, and I want to try it all! Lately, I'm learning to needle felt and am obsessed with embroidery and felt applique. I'm also in the process of learning to screen print and am trying to teach myself to knit.


Do you have a favourite craft?

Paper crafts have always been at the top of my list. I love breaking out the cardstock and X-acto knife and seeing what I can create.

Who designed those cute icons?

I'm so glad that you like them! I actually designed them myself. I've been working on my illustration skills and thought that my style would fit well with the concept that I had for Craftig.


What are your plans/hopes for Craftig?

I would like for Craftig to become a high quality resource for anyone looking for crafty inspiration or a new project idea. I've been amazed by the response and support that I've received from the craft community since I launched the site, and I hope that Craftig continues to grow in the way that it has to this point.

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scribbled by Carina 11/02/2009 01:20:00 PM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Saturday, October 10, 2009

Getting to know you - Maria from Crafty Maria Designs

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, it is another crafty interview. Yay! Maria is very talented with a crochet hook and uses lots of colour - what more can you want? She also lives in my hometown in Denmark, so I am just a little bit jealous of her! ;-)

Let's see what she's got to say:


Your name
Maria of Crafty Maria Design :: blog :: shop :: Twitter

Where in the world are you?
Århus, Denmark

Briefly describe yourself and what you make

I’m 25 years old Polish girl who enjoys experiencing new cultures and travelling more than anything else. This is why I left Poland at 21 and have since lived in several European countries. I also volunteer for www.bewelcome.org – international travellers’ community. I am passionate about conscious living and the impact we have on our environment, both natural and social. Because I have recently finished my studies and got engaged almost at the same time I am only just arranging my “adult life” but I would like to start working for international development charities soon.

My crafting comes from my persistent need to MAKE. I love creating something with my hands and the technique really doesn’t matter. So far I tried painting, sawing, sculpting, jewellery making, beading, knitting and crocheting. If I had to choose my favourite technique it would have to be crochet because I know it best and it is very flexible.

Who or what inspires you?

I love browsing Etsy for other people’s creation! Seeing a beautiful piece motivates me to work and often uncovers new possibilities of a given technique I hadn’t thought about. I am also crazy about colours and an interesting combination can inspire me.


When / how did you learn?

My mom showed me some basics of crocheting and embroidery when I was a child but I was too impatient at the time to really learn something useful. What I know now, I learned from books and the internet.


Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?

It is an urge coming from my heart. I have only started crafting on a more regular basis around a year ago. But all the time before that, there was this urge in me to create and I didn’t know what to do about it.

Besides in the world where everything is uniformed, mechanic and replicated in thousands, there is some special kind of beauty to “one of” items.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?

Philosophy? Wow! How about: Through craft to world peace? How does that sound? Can we achieve world peace by learning about other cultures’ crafts and empowering women in their handwork? I guess this is just a far out dream. But wouldn’t it be great?!


Have you always made 'stuff'?

I always enjoyed MAKING stuff. It started when I was a child and I loved to build castles in my sandbox or create fantastic clay animals. I remember spending days over this great Robinson Crusoe’s island I made out of plasticine. It had this colourful hut and coconut palm tree and colourful birds. And of course Robinson himself. Unfortunately the island got thrown away at some point in time and I lost track of my crafty needs. I would create something every now and then but it was only last year that I took up crocheting more seriously. And now not a day goes by without me doodling over some project.

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?

I think my best kept secret is that I watch American TV series when I work! Don’t tell anyone but I know Friends and West Wing almost by heart!


Why is crafting good for you?

It is a little bit like meditation for me. Not only does it satisfy some part of my soul but it also allows me to concentrate on “here and now”, but also it calms me down and helps to collect my thoughts. And at the same time I get bored when I am not learning new things, when my brain isn’t constantly challenged. So crafting and constantly learning new ways to create is something of an exercise for my head.

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?

I started selling my items on etsy in June this year. I do it for two reasons. First of all, I became really interested in online marketing and communications so selling my craft is sort of a practice field for the knowledge I get from books. And second of all, it is such a great feeling when someone appreciate what you are making to the point where they are willing to pay money for it. I mean wow!


What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?

The internet is my great craft library. I use it a lot to learn new stitches or get ideas of what to make. I also love the feeling of craft community that twitter, ravelry and blog followers can give you. It is great to belong to a group that is so supportive.

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scribbled by Carina 10/10/2009 09:36:00 AM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Getting to know the artisans - VickyVK

The Artfire artisan interview series continues with Vicky who makes some pretty funky bags and jewellery.

Your name
VickyVK :: Artfire shop ::

Where in the world are you?
I currently live in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I am currently a stay at home mom. I have a daughter who is almost 2 and another little one due in June. My husband is a teacher in an elementary school. We have been married for almost 6 years. We have moved quite a bit over the years, but now with the children have decided to settle down for the time being.

I design, make and sell jewelry and handbags. I work with a variety of materials. I especially like to work with stone, wood, bone, and metal. I make casual, hobo style type handbags. Most of my items are one of a kind and are not recreated. I like to create things that give the wearer confidence and allows them to also feel that they are one of a kind!

Who or what inspires you?
What a difficult question! I find my inspiration comes from all over the place. I am always checking out other people's jewelry and handbags as well as what's in stores. I look at fashion and beading magazines. I also just sit and look at my supplies and play around with them until something really clicks. Most of the time I just go into a fabric or beading store and look at the available materials, and allow that to inspire me as I put the pieces together.

When / how did you learn?
I mostly taught myself how to make jewelry. My mom also makes jewelry so she helped me in the beginning, but I spent a lot of time looking at other jewelry, checking out magazines and just fooling around with my supplies.

About a year ago my mom gave me her old sewing machine. I made a few projects with it but it was quite an old machine (she had it from her mother) so it quit on me. I decided that I did enjoy the bit I had done and splurged on a brand new machine. I also decided to take a sewing course at a local college so I could learn the basics. Just like my jewelry making, I have learned a lot by trial and error as well as from tutorials on the internet!

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
My husband and I always wanted me to stay home with our children at least till they were in school, and I consider my 'crafting' as my creative outlet. I really enjoy designing my jewelry and handbags and feel really good when I've created something unique that I can be proud of. I think I would go nuts if I spent my whole day cooking, cleaning and caring for children with nothing else (though I LOVE my daughter). This way I can get fulfillment another way. It also helps us financially, my business helps pay for those 'extras' like holidays in the summer and Christmas gifts.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
Hmmm. I suppose my craft philosophy would be somewhere along the lines that my products must be unique and of good quality. If I make something that I'm not happy with, I want to take the time to make it right, even though someone else may not even notice. I want to know that I did my best to create a super item.

Have you always made 'stuff'?
I suppose I've always been creative, but more so in school and writing. I never really saw myself as a 'crafter' or 'creator'. Now that I have tried it though and found I can be successful doing it, I want to create more and more!

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?
Yes, I sell my jewelry and handbags. My biggest advice on running such a business is to be patient! It takes time to learn the ropes on how to create a quality item as well as to promote it. I have been selling my items now for approximately 2 ½ years and I'm still always learning. Be willing to fail and try again. Be willing to listen to the advice of others, and learn which advice works best for you. Be willing to be critiqued. Most importantly, you must love what you are doing.

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
I would love to design and make my own clothes. I'm not usually happy with what malls and stores have to offer and love to wear something unique. I have bought quite a bit of clothing from other 'crafters' , but would like to be able to make them myself!

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scribbled by Carina 4/28/2009 05:00:00 PM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Getting to know the artisans - Sheila Hendricks

Pretty and colourful jewellery is the work of Sheila Hendricks. This is the fifth part in the Artfire artisan interview series.

Your name
Sheila Hendricks :: Artfire shop :: blog ::

Where in the world are you?
Small rural farming area in Indiana

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I am 38 years old, happily married for 20 years to my high school sweetheart. He spoils me so bad and I know that I am so lucky in that regard. We have 1 son who will be going to college this fall. I work full time outside the homebut my passion is my jewelry making. Right now I do simple stringing but would love to branch out into other techniques although I am not patient enough for weaving stitches. I think that I like the almost instant gratification of the stringing. I can work on a piece for an hour or so and it is done. But with other techniques, it takes many hours. I get to impatient for that...or maybe bored?
Who or what inspires you?
As silly as it sounds, I will be in a bead store or looking on line and see a bead or a finding and think "That is it!" I will take that bead and make something. I also do ceiling fan pulls and rosaries. For me, I can design based on ideas from a person. They can say " can you make something for my daughter for her prom? She likes simple dainty things and her dress is red. " I can do that as well.

When / how did you learn?
I started in the summer of 2007 and am self taught. I was at a store and they had a bracelet finding kits that you just bought the beads and the kit separately. The bracelet findings kit had directions but basical it was the wire with a clasp on the other end. I simply strung the beads, fed the wire through the clamp and it was done. So I bought a few magazines and used those to expanded that concept into necklaces and eventually earrings. Originally the bracelets were a fund raiser for my sister's mission trip that she does every year. But in making that first set of bracelets, I was hooked. My beading addition was born. I am a beadaholic and I know it!
What is your craft "philosophy"?
I think that nice jewelry should be affordable. For me, this is not my only income. So this is about doing it because I enjoy it, because I love it! I hope that I will sell enough to be able to fund the next project. Everyone should be able to afford jewelry that is not one of 5000 that a store sells. Everyone is unique and their jewelry should be too!

Have you always made 'stuff'?
I have always felt the need to make something. I have made baby quilts for all the nieces and nephews. I have tons of material in a tote that I have stored for several years but have not opened in just as many. I should probably find someone to give it to that could use it. I also enjoy writing, but have never been able to complete the first "book". I have the story in my mind and can play it like a movie, but getting all the details to paper is another step. I can't knit or crochet regardless of how much I practice. My dad makes it look so simple. He keeps telling me to just keep the tension even, but it always ends up in tight little bundles! It is not so simple!

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
For me, I am a little all over the place with the creative process. Usually, I just take out beads and start laying them out. If I don't like the combination, I will swap out beads. I continue doing this until I like the initial results. Then I just continue working the piece and eventually it is just done. Sometimes it is easier if I have a color scheme to work from like someone orders red. But sometimes my best pieces has turned out from just randomly working with the beads. I have yet to determine an exact "Style" but I am beginning to think that "Style" is eclectic!

Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
I am luck that I have a spare room that I keep all of my stuff in. It is messy and I don't even attempt to clean it up. I know that it will look just like it is in a very short time. I may eventually get some better storage in there as right now it is just a computer desk that is piled high. Although, when I am working on a piece, I will go get a fold up table and set it up in the living room and actually work in there. For some reason I can't work in the spare room.

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?
To sell at a local antique mall, I had to have a tax id. So in the eye of the State of Indiana, this is a business. However, according to the tax guy, this is just a hobby as I am not making enough money to make it a business. I will still continue to do it as I love it. For me, it is about actually making the jewelry and hopefully, people will see it and love it as much as I do. My only advice is that people should do it because they love it! If they don't love it, then it just becomes a job and I think that not only do they loose something but what they are creating will loose something in the meaning and possible in the quality of the end product.

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scribbled by Carina 4/28/2009 01:00:00 PM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Getting to know the artisans - Shelley K Bossert

Time for the fourth 'instalment' in the Artfire artisan interview series. I hope you're enjoying the company of all these lovely ladies! Today we hear from Shelley who makes bears and jewellery.

Your name
Shelley K. Bossert, the NCTeddyBearLady :: website ::

Where in the world are you?
I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I make miniature teddy bears, bead knitted pouches and an eclectic line of jewelry focusing on gem stones, pearl and even weave beading

Who or what inspires you?
When I am making bears, it is always people who get my creative juices flowing. When I am designing and making pouches or jewelry, it is all about texture and color. I can see a flower, a seed pod or even a spot on my freckle on my grandson’s face and I’m off to turn a shape, pattern or color into something unique and seductive to the touch.

When / how did you learn?
Most of my basic skills came from my grandmother. She is the hero of my young life. After she died when I was 14, I learned from a variety of very talented artists including a Concentration Camp survivor I met in Belgium, her blind neighbor who taught me to assemble knitted garments almost invisibly and a dear friend who has the best eye for color I have ever seen. I took what I learned from these amazing role models and forged a place for myself as an artist by alway choosing ”the path less traveled by”. I work hard to make each of me designs uniquely my own and completely unlike anything I have ever seen before.

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
There is something primal about hand work. Every time I sit down to a new project, if start by touching and examining my palette whether it be yarn, fur or beads for pleasing feel and texture. The feel a kind of siren call as I discover my fingers discover the beauty and texture of beads/fur/fiber. If I were to mass produced my work, I would never feel that spark of excitement that comes with plying my skills to produce something that touches others as it touched me in the making.

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
I start with an idea that grows until I can no longer resist selecting materials to give it life. Once I have my palette before me, I sometimes sketch where I wish to go from there, but more often I just worry the various components of the planned project until I find the starting place. Sometimes that start is a color but most often it is a texture. Once begun, I work in an almost frenzied way putting things together and taking them apart until I have found a combination of color, texture and design elements that please me. My husband often jokes that I take apart a great deal more than I put together, but if I don’t see a magic kind of harmony in the beginning of a piece, I know I will never find it in its completion. So I rip out whatever I have done repeatedly until I hit on the magic combination. Once that happens, I find it difficult to stop until it is done. It is sort of like getting lost reading a particularly good book. You just can’t put it down.

How do you motivate yourself?
I had a friend gave me very good advice years ago when I first talked about opening a crafting business. She told me to set me alarm and get up every morning, shower, dress and get ready to go to work just as if I were driving across town rather than just walking down the hall. I took her advice to heart and find that keeping a regular schedule is all the motivation I need.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
If it truly is a mistake, I take it apart. Sometimes, what looks like a mistake is really a creative opportunity. The hard part is knowing how to tell the difference. If I’m not sure, I set my project aside and come back to it later with new eyes.

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?
Yes, it is a business and has been, non stop, since I was seven. My advice is to be fair and honest in all you do. If you are just starting out, find a mentor and learn everything you can form them. Work regular hours and don’t fail to pay yourself fairly for your time and effort. If you don’t value your own work enough to do that, how can you expect customers to do so?

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scribbled by Carina 4/28/2009 09:00:00 AM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Monday, April 27, 2009

Getting to know the artisans - Joanna

Here's the third 'installment' in the Artfire artisan interview series. Something I don't often feature: photography. Very lovely and beautiful photography by Joanna.


Your name
Joanna :: website :: blog :: Artfire shop ::

Where in the world are you?
Currently I live and create in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
There has always been some type of creating in my life. I have been knitting since I was 7, I have been drawing, crocheting, creating flower arrangements and household decorative accessories. And then, few years back I have discovered photography. Since then I have been taking pictures showing nature, details of plants and flowers,sometimes insects, etc. I like to take pictures of items that have interesting shapes, where light and shadow can create really original looking forms. I try to experiment with my subjects and style- bringing out specific part of the image.

Who or what inspires you?
I find inspiration in almost anything around me. I appreciate everything that surrounds me and try to capture as much as possible of it in photographs. Of course- nature has always been in the center of my attention- I am finding always so much details of interest there.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
I believe in creating what you love the most, of sharing it this way or another. I also believe, that there is always something you can learn, I guess I would call it being student forever. I don’t think there is limit to expanding your horizons, that there is always something new you can implement in your creative process.

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
My creating process start with photo taking. Usually I plan location, but hardly ever happens, that I plan what I am going to shoot, meaning exact look and composition. I take more than needed. Afterwards I usually choose a few pictures from the whole set. To give you an idea about proportions- it’s maybe up to 10 from about 200.

But I never delete the ones I haven’t chosen. It seems, that sometimes it takes time to notice some different qualities, something, that I haven’t noticed before. So there are some images, that have been discovered few months after beeing taken, and there are some, that are still waiting for their discovery.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
The Internet is big part of it. Here I present and sell my photographs, this is how I find out about contests and exhibitions, this is how I promote it too.

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
I think it is really hard to distinguish difference between these two right now. And everyone has different definition for it. Which is fine. I myself would like to think, that I am creating art.

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scribbled by Carina 4/27/2009 06:00:00 PM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Getting to know the artisans - Sonja

Here's the second 'installment' in the Artfire artisan interview series. Sonja, from the US, who makes jewellery.

Your name
Sonja :: website ::

Where in the world are you?
Akron Ohio

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I am a (slightly) older than 40 married mom and I make jewelry.

Who or what inspires you?
Almost anything can inspire me from nature, to color combinations to everyday life. I have a pendant series that was inspired by a painting in a restaurant that we were having dinner at. My husband is very patient when I whip out the pen and start drawing on a napkin lol!

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
Because I love to do it. I have to have something in my hands to do and hand made is good for the environment, generally better made than most mass produced items, made with love and good for my soul.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
Make the best piece that you can, with the best materials that you can afford and never stop learning and improving what you do.

Fondest craft-related memory?
Crayons. I loved crayons as a kid and opening up that big box of colors was opening a world of possibilities every time. I still love a beautiful box of crayons although I color with rocks, glass and metal now.

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?
Yes, and I hope to build it into a full time business and quit my day job. Although I am sure that is still several years away.

Be prepared to work very hard, learn every aspect of your business inside and out and be prepared for it to take some time to get off the ground.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
Without the internet it would have taken me much longer to learn what I know and to start a business. I am not sure that this could be business without the internet since most of my selling takes place on line.

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
A new wedding ring set for myself and my husband. While I could do a simple one now, I would love to make a really complicated but simple set using several techniques and stones that I cut myself. He has been sooo patient with my obsessive need to create and so supportive in letting me try out new things until I found my real passion that I would just love to make something that is a testament to that.

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scribbled by Carina 4/27/2009 02:00:00 PM


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Getting to know the artisans - Michelle Ortiz

This is the first in a series of interviews with fellow Artfire artisans. We kick off with Michelle who makes soaps and other fine products.

Your name
Michelle Ortiz :: blog :: Artfire shop ::

Where in the world are you?
Currently located in Northern VA in the Washington DC area of the US

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
My name is Michelle and I have been making soaps since 2005. Although I work outside the home, I also have my small online soap business part time. I am a very quiet person and pretty much keep to myself most of the time. I don’t have any friends I hang out with or spend time with, I am pretty much a loner. I do have one special friend that I met online several years ago and she has become a very good friend. I love action packed movies, and scary movies. I love playing the Sims 2 game in my spare time and reading. I just recently bought the Wii console game which I love.
Who or what inspires you?
Curiousity inspires me. Why? Because by nature I a very curious person and that inspires me to what to figure things out and look for answers. So that sort of inspired me to venture into the bath and body industry. Just plain ole curiostiy. My husband inspires me to be all I can be as well and he tells me that there are no limits as to what I can do.

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
I have always been the type of person that fixes things by hand. I repair things in my house by hand, I put in a new floor, paint, and did some plumbing myself. I guess making things and doing things myself gave me satisfaction that I can do things myself istead of buying it or having some else do it.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
My craft philosophy that there is never a limit to what I can do and long as i try it. I would have never learnd how to make soap and bath products if I never tried it.

Have you always made 'stuff'?
No I haven’t always made things. I never thought I was good at anything til my husband pointed out to me all the things I have redid in our home. It made me realize that I can do other things if I put my mind to it and just try it. I also make glass pendnats on the side too.

How do you motivate yourself?
When I see how customers acknowledges my products and tell me how wonderful they feel after using them. That motivates me to want to do more and to do what I have to to please my customers.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
Whenever I mess up on something like a bad soap batch, most of the time I won’t sell it, I will just use it myself or give away to family members. I had a soap batch turn this really ugly color and thought no one would want to use this ugly soap LOL. So I would just give it away.

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scribbled by Carina 4/27/2009 10:00:00 AM


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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Getting to know you - Maru

Hola, it is time for another interview. This time with a little twist - the answers are in Spanish. My new friend Maru is very creative, and I wanted to feature her here on the blog. But because she is not so comfortable with writing in English I just told her, don't worry (be happy), just write it in Spanish, it's all good.

So, my apologies to those of you who don't understand any Spanish at all. ;-)

Your name
Mariana Guerra alias ”Maru” :: blog ::

Where in the world are you?
Vivo en Ciudad Jardin,una localidad del Gran Buenos Aires...Argentina

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
Soy una persona muy inquieta y activa, me dedico mucho a mis tres hijos, Manuela,Tomás y Francisco, a mi pareja Carlos y a mis mascotas y casa...pero tambien me dedico a mi profesion, soy tecnica en jardineria, por lo tanto trabajo temporalmente en jardines particulares y en el diseño de los mismos...pero, lo que mas me gusta son las actividades manuales, siempre estoy o tejiendo, cosiendo, pintando o dibujando!!

Who or what inspires you?
No se si tengo una musa inspiradora, pero si se que el estado de animo influye muchisimo para poder iniciar algun proyecto...

Cuando estoy triste ...es dificil que pueda encarar algo...

When / how did you learn?
Yo dibujo y pinto desde muy pequeña,mi papá es dibujante, por lo tanto ...para mi dibujar es como comer o vestirse...y con respecto al crochet y la costura...lo aprendi de mi mamá y de mis tias y de la abuela Matilde...que lo hacia a la perfeccion!!..recuerdo esas tardes de domingo ..tendria 6 años...con mis agujas y ovillos por toda la casa!

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
Soy muy ansiosa y a veces estoy haciendo tres proyectos a la vez..por ejemplo en estos dias estoy tejiendo una bufanda y una funda para el asiento de la bicicleta, estoy trabajando con unos planos de un proyecto paisajistico y tambien pintando macetas...!! por lo tanto lo unico que me preocupa..es terminar!!Y empezar otra cosa!!

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
Creo que hago las cosas para sentirme bien durante el proceso..es la mejor terapia! El resultado? Si,me hace bien, siempre y cuando aquellas cosas que realizo hagan feliz a otra persona.

Fondest craft-related memory?
Uh!!Muchos recuerdos! Desde realizar alhajeros en ceramica y pintarlos!! Coser ropa a la muñeca, tejer agarraderas...hacer figuras de papel mache.

Have you always made 'stuff'?
Siempre...recuerdo de hacer cositas desde pequeña y salir a venderlas con mis vecinas a la vereda! Despues de grande, recien casada y con Tomas muy bebe...empezamos a hacer artesanias en madera con Carlos..tambien tuve que salir a venderlas..pero en la plaza junto a otros artesanos....en la vereda!!

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
No tengo un metodo..pero apenas surgen ganas y una idea ya sea por necesidad o por placer...empiezo y listo!

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
Cuando algo que hago y no me gusta o no me sale, lo deshago y lo empiezo otra vez.

Favourite book(s) or craftbook(s)?
No tengo ninguno en especial, pero si me agrada mucho verlos ..no soy de comprar libros o revistas de artesanias...trato de resolver yo misma la idea.

Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
Mi casa es muy grande pero a pesar de ello no tengo un espacio para mi. Mis cosas estan por todas partes!! En el comedor pinto las macetas...alli esta la mesa ocupada con tarros y pinceles cuatro dias de la semana. Mis lanas y agujas van y vienen.. A veces me gusta acostarme en mi cama y tejer mientras miro mi novela favorita....y otras tejo en el living.

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?
No, no uso..mi cerebro es mi cuaderno

Why is crafting good for you?
Si no hago algo con las manos ..me muero!!

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?
Por ahora todo lo que hago en crochet es para mi o para alguien que quiero..las macetas que pinto si se venden ..y los proyectos de paisajismo, tambien. Me es dificil ponerle un precio a lo que hago no es facil compatibilizar las creaciones con lo economico.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
Y es importante uno encuentra mucha inspiracion alli y gente muy afin a uno.

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
Creo que es muy dificil establecer la diferencia, hay objetos artesanales que son verdaderas obras de arte. Yo creo que a veces el artesano pone de si tanta creacion y transpiracion como un artista.

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
Que haria??? De todo!! Tengo tantas ideas. Me gustaria tener una boutique de plantas, flores y objetos relacionados con el hogar y el jardin....en este momento lo invertiria en eso.

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scribbled by Carina 4/18/2009 02:06:00 PM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Saturday, April 04, 2009

Getting to know you - Mona Ahleman

Here's another interview with a crafty lady from Artfire. Mosaics and beads are not something I've ever felt like working with, but looking at the things Mona makes, I'm feeling mighty inspired! But I better not throw myself at another craft! ;-) Here's what Mona had to say.

Your name
Mona Ahleman aka 3 Peeps :: blog ::

Where in the world are you?
Jacksonville, FL USA but will probably be relocating in the next few months

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I am a WAHM homeschooling 2 kids, married my college sweetheart, am a pet lover and rescuer, and I craft.... I love bead weaving, peyote stitch, and I really enjoy making mosaics, am trying to conquer sewing, stained glass, play with clay, do my own home-improvement, garden, etc.... I will try everything!

Who or what inspires you?
My kids inspire, nature, my pets really inspire me.

When / how did you learn?
I learned mosaics from watching tv and books, I learned bead weaving from books. Most things l learned from books, if not then back in high school art and shop class, or my mom taught me.

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
It relaxes me, keeps me sane, makes me happy, its an outlet, and its also something I can teach my kids.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
I don’t know if I have one... perhaps just give it a try, it doesn’t matter if its ugly or useful or if it will even see the light of day, just create.

Fondest craft-related memory?
I made a pet rock back in kindergarten, gave it to my dad and he still has it next to his bed some 30 years later. We don’t always get along, but he seems to always treasure the things I make for him.

Have you always made 'stuff'?
Yes, always, from coloring on the walls to taking shop class and becoming class assistant over and over – the same with art class. I also like to make stuff for the people in my life rather than buy something.

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
For beading; I do a quick sketch, then transfer the sketch to graph paper, color it in and then transfer it to a computer program, mess around with it some more and then bead it... if it looks good, its done, but if it doesn’t look quite right, I take it apart and do over... if I can’t ”get it” then it goes into one of my craft bins perhaps to be tried again at another time.

How do you motivate yourself?
Lately just reading some of my favorite dog rescue blogs... I want to help raise money to donate to these charities. So I have created my dog portrait series and every so often I come up with a pattern for another breed. This was the main reason I opened my ArtFire shop, to sell my items and be able to donate a share of the proceeds to these different causes. If I feel like I have beader’s block, I do another craft.... I seem to be leaving mosaci stepping stones every where I have lived in the last few years.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
If I can fix it, it goes into a bin for another day, if its beyond saving, it goes in the trash.

Favourite craftbook(s)?
Too many to mention... I have a ton of books, I love books, especially craft books.

Do you have a designated craft space?
What does it mean to you? I have a craft room, but I don’t like it as much as my last house so I usually have my craft stuff out around the house... right now there are sand dollars and mirrors on the dining room table and beads on the coffee table... But it is my one absolutley private space, no one goes in unless its with me or by my request... also, I don’t have to clean it up, it can be as messy as I want to leave it, I have a million things hanging on the walls, etc.

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?
I have binders with page protectors that have most of my sketches... plus a ton of pictures on the computer.

Why is crafting good for you?
It's an outlet... I tend to get noticeably cranky when I don’t have a chance to create.... my husband has learned to just step back and leave me to it.

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?
I am just starting... opened the ArtFire shop in Feb 2009, otherwise I occassionally sold stuff to my family for gifts to other people... mainly jewelry. The best advice I have been given so far is network... I am usually a quiet person, my art speaks for me, but networking is turning out to be a lot of fun, plus I have reconnected with friends from college, high school as well as all the places I have lived.
What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
My stuff is actually getting seen... both thru my blog and my ArtFire shop. I have had to learn how to use Photoshop to make banners, avatars, crop photos, etc.

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
I don’t know.... art you sell and craft you keep??? Or crafting is the process of making art???

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
A mosaic backsplash in the kitchen and bathrooms, without regard to whether or not a future buyer would like it... I hate having to be ”neutral” in my house.

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scribbled by Carina 4/04/2009 10:23:00 AM


Please note: as of December 2009 this blog has moved to carinascraftblog.wardi.dk, and commenting has been disabled on this version of the blog. If you would like to leave a comment please follow the link and use the archive or label links to find the post in its new place. Also, if you have followed a link or bookmark to this post, please update it as this 'old' version may not stay live forever. Thank you.






Saturday, March 28, 2009

Getting to know you - Orin Drake

I've found a bunch of lovely people to interview over on Artfire. Here is the first of them, Orin, who is very aptly named considering she makes some pretty cool beaded dragons! Here is what she has to tell you/us.

Your name
Orin Drake :: site ::

Where in the world are you?
Just outside of Boston, Massachusetts--but outside enough so that going into Boston quite literally feels like another world. *Twilight Zone music*

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I am completely insane and therefore cannot say no to new projects that involve shiny things. Thus far I regularly make beaded, bead woven and chainmaile jewelry, plush critters ("stuffed animals"), crocheted critters (of mostly the geeky variety), clay sculpture, wire sculpture, slightly less regularly make masks and treasure boxes, and right now I am delving into leather work, needle felting and costume making. And perhaps, it fate gets it way, I may be making action figures and puppets some day as well.

Who or what inspires you?
Absolutely everything! I know, it's a terribly cliched answer. I constantly find myself going back to what might actually be my "original inspiration", Jim Henson and his incredibly vivid imagination. I also get an amazing amount of inspiration from video games, in which I proudly participate. Music has always been and always will be a creative inspiration to me. There's also a pretty decent level of "I wonder what would happen if I mixed this with this", which often inspires its own monsters.

When / how did you learn?
My first introduction to crafting was my mother teaching me simple crocheting. I wish I could say that I knew how it all went from there, but I remember ravenously going through crayons, colored pencils, watercolors--whatever I could get my hands on. Art class was always a magnificent thing, being exposed to mediums I still enjoy using like clay and stained glass.

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
I can't imagine not, honestly. It's how I "deal" with my creativity, getting to make things. It's my stress relief, my therapy, and my absolute joy to come to the end of a project and think, "Wow, I did that. I'm not sure I ever want to do that again." Of course I do usually wind up making similar things to what I've done before, but I need that period of forgetting just how difficult something was, first. Er, back to the question--it's just what I do and what I enjoy. And I sort of had to start making things out of the shiny objects I regularly hoard.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
If it makes you happy, do it. I know this doesn't sound like a craft philosophy, but really it is. I hear of a lot of people who really want to try something but get intimidated. Don't let that happen! Honestly, yes, there's a good chance your first try will stink. A lot. But that's what a "demo" is for--then you start learning and doing better.

Fondest craft-related memory?
At least most recently, that would have to be actually finishing Andrew (my first but certainly not last plush dragon). I bought a sewing machine in part to help make him, and wound up using it for maybe 25% of all of the sewing for Andrew's form. The rest was by hand. Entirely. Like the wings. It took days and my hands ached but I was just so proud when I managed to finish him, and I still pet him and say hello every time I walk by. I didn't say it was a good story.

Have you always made 'stuff'?
As far back as I can remember. If it wasn't some really abstract "spirally thing" made of yarn then it's some sculpture taking a month or more. Even when I'm answering e-mail at the computer there's always something off to the side to work on. I'm making "stuff" right now between questions, actually.

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
I never really know how to explain it because I never know what actually happens. Sometimes I have a vague idea, pick up materials and just "go", and other times... the idea isn't there in the beginning at all. There have been times when I've seen a piece of really expensive jewelry and thought, "I can do that"; then I wind up liking my piece better (go figure). I'm sure that I take from things I've seen before, but I can't always identify the sources.

How do you motivate yourself?
I don't think I know how not to be motivated. Yes, there are days when I just plain do not feel like doing anything but relaxing with some video games... but they're pretty rare. I just make things, it's just what I do. I don't think I know any differently.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
A mistake is just an opportunity to see how creative you really are. *grin* There have been mistakes. I have never ever thrown anything out due to a mistake--it just becomes more interesting, or something else. I cannot find any excuse not to make use of a mistake.

Favourite craftbook(s)?
I am but a poor artist, I don't have access to many books at all. But I will say that the book Bazaar Bizarre had me in laugh-tears when I found the "Dirty Pillow: Cherry Pie" cross stitch project. (It's a Warrant joke. Now I feel old.)

Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
Technically, yes; I have over time taken over the whole of the boiler room. It used to be just a desk... "things happened". I've been in the process of rearranging and cleaning it up, which is horrifying to me because it takes away crafting time--but I guess that's okay if I'm actually making it easier to craft. There will still be a necessary sense of chaos in which to work. Generally, though, I can work anywhere. My computer desk is my second craft space and it works out just fine.

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?
Nope, not a thing. If I'm doing a commission and it absolutely requires a sketch, then I'll make one. Otherwise I'll just make a demo with actual beads or something similar. I do not like to plan.

Why is crafting good for you?
It keeps me out of trouble. Really, can you imagine all of this creative energy with no constructive outlet? Not pretty.

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?
Well, I sure am trying. I've been able to afford that sewing machine, as I've said, and have been able to keep up when it comes to supplies... but I doubt I need to mention the slow down in everyone's sales due to the economy. In general I like to try and make affordable, fun things when I can, but I understand how hard it is to spend money on something not absolutely necessary right now. It's tough for everyone, especially those new to selling, and that's really unfortunate.

My advice: you've got to keep doing what you love to do. I swear, the love comes through in your crafts, and people will respond. Not everyone is going to love what you do, but someone will fall in love with what you've put your time and effort into. And don't be timid! Humility is a good thing, but it's okay to know you do good work. Honestly, the technicalities of the business are not as important as what's at the heart of it.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
Well, that's really how I get to share my craft! I haven't found that "regular" craft shows are really worth my time, and though I am attending an anime convention this year as an artisan/seller, really it's the internet wher I can market my crafts.

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
I would say both. There's an art to the craft. I'd say it's all individual interpretation, really, as art is--but to say that there's not art in a craft seems like a ridiculous statement. Of course there's art in it, in the curve of a wire, in the colors selected, in the pose or the poise or the emotion of a piece.

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
A mobile "life-sized" animatronic dragon. Absolutely. Perhaps two stories tall complete with wings, "flesh" and scales, and all of it able to move and be puppeted in a rather Henson-esque way. Who knows? It could happen.

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scribbled by Carina 3/28/2009 01:17:00 PM


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