Speaking of felting . . . and we were in the previous post . . . let's get to know Chrissie, one of our Boomers from beyond the pond. [Ed. note: Reader beware: British spelling follows.]
What is the name of your shop? makeyourpresentsfelt
How long have you been engaged in your art/craft? I learnt to felt just over a year ago, but I have been a crafter for half a century.
Do you consider yourself a hobbyist or a professional craftsperson? I take a professional pride and care in all I make, but I do not rely on my crafts to earn a living.
What inspires you? I don’t know how to answer this – I don't think I've tried to analyse it before. I know that I depend on and am enriched by the natural world around me, literature, music, simplicity, love and friendship and I suppose all those things are bound up in my desire to create.
Please share with us what a typical day is like in your workshop or studio? There is no such thing for me, as my crafting has to fit around so many other things in my life. If I'm lucky enough to be able to devote the day to felting, then I'll spend a little while playing with wool roving, getting some ideas, work at the kitchen sink for a couple of hours felting with hot water and soap and rub-a-dub-dubbing to 'full' the article. While it's drying I'll perhaps take some photos and list something in my Etsy shop and catch up with what everyone else is doing. I'll probably do some hand-sewing or embroidery or experiment with something completely different and then make sure I've cleaned up in the kitchen so that my husband doesn't come home to the smell of damp sheep!
What keeps you company while you’re working on a project? Ideally, the radio commentary on England playing an international cricket test match! Or a CD with some lively music, so that I can 'sing' or jiggle about while I'm felting. As my husband plays the bagpipes I often get jigs and reels for company, whether I like it or not!
What is your favorite 'task' related to your art/craft? I love every aspect of felting: it's a magical process that turns raw wool into just about anything you like.
What is your least favorite 'task' related to your art/craft? Got to be getting rid of the soap scum from the sink and vacuuming up all the wool fluff off the kitchen floor.
What are some of the venues you use to promote your shop? Besides my Etsy shop, I post photographs to various Flickr groups, and I belong to BBEST. I am teetering on the verge of starting to blog, I shyly hand out MOO business cards occasionally, and sometimes wear my felt jewellery if I think it might attract attention. So, you see, I'm fairly hopeless on the marketing front! I do sell quite a lot of stuff outside of Etsy, by word of mouth and at my friend's country restaurant, where I occasionally have a craft table. I have also been asked to make some felt vessels for an exhibition – in 2010!
Related to your craft, tell us about a funny, strange or unusual situation you found yourself. Recently I was asked by a Native American artist to swap some of my felt 'pebbles' for a handful of the real article from a beach on his island home in Puget Sound in the NW of USA. I was so taken with the way the request was made, that I sent off a parcel without a second thought and it has led to a really lovely online friendship. My DH has decided we need to go and visit that beautiful area and has almost got his suitcase packed - I can't believe that this stemmed from a few woolly rocks!
What’s your favorite book and why, favorite movie and why, favorite kind of music? You can't make me narrow it down to one!! I love any movie that can make me laugh out loud and weep buckets and doesn't feature a car-chase. Favourite book might have to be A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, illustrated by E.H. Shepherd. It's loaded with pathos, wit and wisdom and Shepherd's simple drawings capture the feel of the stories so beautifully.
Music is the hardest to narrow down – I love all kinds of music, depending on my mood. Stuck on a desert island I might want a young Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter. Sublime voice singing tremendously clever lyrics to fantastic tunes – and I know most of the words, so I could sing along!
Would you care to share any 'words of wisdom' with other aspiring artists or crafters? Just do it.
Please be sure to leave comments for Chrissie, now that you know her a little better!