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April 4, 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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