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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Getting to know you - Nicky of HappySquirrel

Hey all, I'm sorry it's been so long since the last interview. I hope you've missed them? I know I have, but other stuff has sort of taken over lately. ;-) And obviously, it will be a little while until they are really back. But here's on that should do a marvellous job of keepin' us entertained.

Nicky emailed me because she would like to participate in the journal project and before you knew it I had pestered her into starting a blog and letting me interview her (thanks, Nicky!). She's a newbie crafter (he he, couldn't help myself), but looking at the stuff she's made so far, you wouldn't know. I was once, not terribly long ago, a newbie myself and so I thought it was particularly interesting to read Nicky's replies; I found myself nodding in agreement quite a lot!

Enjoy the interview and don't forget to leave a comment for Nicky!

Your name
Nicky, HappySquirrel :: blog ::

Where in the world are you?
Oxfordshire, England

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I am a 35 year old woman living with my partner and working full time. I started sewing 2 months ago and as a beginner I am experimenting and learning by making all sorts of things. I like a variety of styles and I am interested in sewing, patchwork, embroidery, felt and even combining some of them in collage form. It is very liberating to know there are no limits and that the rules are made by oneself. I have no rules!

Who or what inspires you?
Fabrics, blogs, books, films, designs, art, architecture, photography, music, children and children’s stuff, colours, unexpected random things, food, my friends and family. Anything that is creative, that makes me think, wonder, things and people I care about or I am curious about. Anything can sparkle and idea for a new design or creation. Maybe it is something I need or I want to make as a present. What I make can be inspired by the simplicity of a fabric, the amount of fabric available of a specific design, the colours I want to use, a recent purchase...I sometimes dream, or think while I am half asleep of the things I want to make. That state of relaxation brings inspiration.

When / how did you learn?
I only started two months ago! So there is still a lifetime to learn!

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
I love the uniqueness of something made by hand. I like to buy fabric in charity shops, bags of random fabrics, or specifically chosen fabrics for no specific immediate use that I like on the internet or shops. Something made by hand is extra special because one can appreciate the effort that goes into all the steps. When making something for a specific someone, I feel I am giving a lot of love and positivity, and I hope they can get that message when I give it to them as well as liking the final product. To make things by hand also makes me think of the time when people had no other choice but to make things by hand themselves. Right from the beginning of history people were sewing because they needed to, and it then slowly evolved into using those tools for decoration by producing different stitches. And then a variety of types of threads and fabrics became available and were used in different ways, sometimes to show off the power of the people displaying these garments. I would like to spend some time looking into the history of textiles, stitches and fashion through history.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
Create to make you feel good, to develop ideas, to enjoy, to spend time in a useful way. Do not create to produce and put pressure on yourself but just to have lots of fun.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
I accept them! They do annoy me, but I realise it is part of the learning process. Practice makes perfect!

Favourite book(s) or craftbook(s)?
The Crafter's Companion is my favourite. I am waiting for a few books to arrive in the post, so I might have a new favourite soon!

Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
I have a designated craft space in the living room which is terribly messy. My partner is very supportive and puts up with all my bits and pieces. I couldn’t do without this space, since I need to have everything on display to be able to pick up the projects whenever I have time. It could even be as little as half an hour in the morning, and ten minutes here and there. This little slots of time add up and are very useful.

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?
Yes. I have an irrational attraction to notebooks and journals. I have several, but I now mostly use a notebook for jotting down ideas and things to do, and another one for designs and sketches of things I want to make.

Why is crafting good for you?
I am a very active person and feel I always need to be doing something constructive. I need to be focused and use my energy into projects that I have control over. This is a way of occupying my mind and time into something positive.That goes from going to the library and bookshops for inspiration, to searching for fabrics in shops or the web, to designing and finally sewing. To me, it is very therapeutic, soothing, a source of confidence, well being, satisfaction and happiness.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
A huge impact! I was once looking for information on how to make inspirational boards and came across iHanna’s Creative Space. I immediately fell in love with all the lovely things she makes and I started looking at similar blogs and discovered there was an amazing world out there of shared creativity. A community of people from all over the world making beautiful things, showing their creations and supporting each other with useful comments and tutorials. It was an amazing discovery.

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