Polka & Bloom on Etsy

November 7, 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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