I hope you are all enjoying these interviews as much as I am. I find it so interesting to learn about what drives other artisans and their process.
Especially true with this next artist... a FELT artist! For those of you who have known me a while, you probably remember how much I enjoy needle felting. However, I'm quite the novice... I really am happy to have this opportunity to get to know an artist who creates beautiful felted pieces such as this...
Photo from Felt Fusion on Etsy
Beautiful! The detail that goes into these needle felted pieces is amazing. What follows is my interview with Shadow, the artist of this amazing piece!
How long have you been creating your art?
Just over a year, I started around Christmas 2007, very slow until I built up confidence and explored new techniques.
Where do you sell your art?
On Etsy [http://feltfusion.etsy.com], Hyenacart [http://hyenacart.com/feltfusion/], Misi, and Folksy (latter two are are UK sites), also by word of mouth on a UK forum.
How do you market/advertise your store?
By chatting on forums, posting on Flickr, and also by word of mouth although to a lesser extent. I can't cope with cold selling, nor do I understand sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
At what point did you decide to sell your art?
I started selling officially in October 2008, but sold a little here and there previously. As I got more confident and having sent little items out to online friends and receiving their feedback I decided to go for it! Being flooded with orders in the run up to the holidays gave me a huge boost in confidence to keep at it.
Photo from Felt Fusion on HyenacartWhat advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
Network. Find forums of people indulging in the same craft as you, look up tutorials, ask questions. Not only will you learn so much more, you'll meet a great bunch of people with at least one similar interest!
What inspires you?
Myths and legends, nature, the ideal of peace on earth and general ecology, my children. Sometimes just the fibre in front of me tells me what it wants to be.
Every artist experiences "creative block" -- a creative dry spell -- how do you deal with creative block?
I put my work down and mull things over subconsciously for however long it takes. Ideas will form over time and when intuition says go for it, I'll get a strong urge to pick it up again.
How did you choose the medium you work with?
I'd been considering felt for a while having tried many crafts and found I was pretty useless at them. Chatting on a forum and seeing a fibre artist there whose work was amazing, she gave me the courage to have a go. Intially I thought I'd wait until my children were all at school particularly with wet felting as it can get messy and hard to leave in the middle of it, but once my youngest started playschool I was ready to get on with something. My older two boys have both had a go with me!
photo from Felt Fusion on Etsy
How do you wish to be remembered?
I've never thought about it! I guess I'd like my children to grow up being good, honest people and to be remembered through them. Otherwise, once I'm gone, I'm gone -- get on with your lives!
Who are your favorite artists (living and deceased)?
I'm completely ignorant when it comes to artists. I guess Dali was a favourite as a teen and having visited his home town in Spain his work is pretty awe inspiring, but I wouldn't say there's any influence from artists in my work as such.
What blogs do you visit on a regular basis?
My absolute favourite is http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com and I regularly dip into blogs of several people I've met through a forum for people with Cystic Fibrosis, and their carers. My youngest son has CF and I find it helpful and inspiring to read about the experiences of adults with CF although it can be tough to read at times.
For anyone who might be reading, what shops would you recommend that they visit right now?
For fibre shops I'd say my favourites are all on Etsy - Probably FeltStudioUK, followed more recently by LimeGreenJelly and WonderfulWool. I also like Shunklies and Vampy and more I use less simply because they are abroad. Otherwise I usually buy a lot of handmade items for my family, clothes, eco-friendly household items, toys, etc. from www.Hyenacart.com many, many fabulous vendors who are far too numerous to mention and a lovely community vibe there too.
Any final thoughts?
Thank you, Shadow, for your time... it was great getting to know you!!!