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Friday, March 6, 2009

Interview with Nicola of Clasheen

Nicola is a super-felter! Her felt designs are so creative and imaginative.
And she teaches others to felt! To see more visit her blog, Clasheen, and her flickr. If you can't get enough, you can score some of her awesome felted items at her Etsy shop!

SwapDex: Tell us a bit about you.

Nicola: My name is Nicola Brown, I am 44 years of age and a self confessed wet felting addict! I was introduced to felting in August of 2007 when a local artist, Carmen Sanchez held some felt making workshops at a sustainable festival that I was involved in organizing. Years previously I had admired some felt that a friend had made during art college and I jumped at the chance to try my hand at it myself. My first experience was very exciting. I found it amazing how the fibres just seemed to melt together and I understood that at last I might have found an artistic medium that I would be able to respond to and a way in which I could express myself. Over the winter of 2007 I organized for Carmen to come to my house and teach a group of us felting in the evenings, now we are great friends and felt together at least twice every week. Since the Autumn of 2008 I am felting and setting up blogs for other artists and craftspeople full time. The area where I am living is a very rural part of Southern Ireland, the address is Clasheen, Ballybrack, Borris, Co. Carlow if any of you are in the area! The scenery is mountainous, fields are not big and most of them are bounded by beautiful stone walls, you can check out a few pictures of my old farmhouse on my Flickr account. My partner Alan is the local Green Party public representative, I have no children but 2 dogs Biba and Rex.

SD: How long have you been swapping?

N: I started swapping last Autumn when I discovered the possibilities through joining several Flickr groups. Since then I have been organising my own swap, Clasheen Crafty Swap through my blog, recently I have made it a group on Flickr as I think that it is easier to manage things that way.
My first swap was with the Flickr group 'Bag Lady Swaps', it was great fun and I got bitten by the bug! Since then I have joined various other swaps which I found via Swapdex, as well as swapping with more groups on Flickr. I have also swapped with just one person, they were looking for glittery felt so I made some and got some great handmade gift labels in return. I have now also signed up to barter products, check out my blog for details.

SD: What's your favorite type of swap or favorite swap you've ever been in or hosted?

N: Because I am a feltmaker (I am useless at sewing!) above everything else I like to participate in swaps where we exchange either finished items (not necessarily felt) or else where we swap things like buttons, beads, fibre, ribbons, anything in fact that I can use in my work.

SD:Do you have a signature style for your swaps?

N: If I have a signature style when swapping I suppose it would be the fact that regardless of the swap I always include something that I have personally made from felt. I also pay careful attention to the likes and dislikes of my partner and hope that I send a package of items that they will be happy to receive. I also try and include a nice card and never forget to put my own business card in the package as well!

SD: What's you favorite type of package to get in the mail?

N: I LOVE getting any package in the mail and have never been disappointed with a swap, if someone goes to all that trouble how could I not like it? Obviously there may sometimes be items that I wouldn't have chosen myself but that is part of the fun and I am sure to be teamed up with another buddy at some stage who will love whatever it is! One of the best items that I have ever got was a large wash bag made by a swap buddy in England, we had totally different tastes so the whole experience was an enormous challenge for both of us. The bag I received was made from the most amazing patchwork that she had bought on E-bay from an estate sale and the lining was a recycled shopping bag, GREAT! My most disappointing swap was before Christmas. I was actually involved in sending two separate swap packages to the same partner and never heard a dicky bird back as to whether she got either of them, liked them or anything. I had gone to a lot of effort especially with one of the swaps and felt a bit let down so for any newbies please give feedback!

SD: What do you think is the most challenging part of hosting a swap?

N: For me the most challenging part of any swap that I have organised is the paperwork, a nightmare if I am not careful. Of swaps that I have participated in the most essential part is getting the package out on time.

Thanks for participating, Nicola! Loved hearing about your swapping experiences!

1 comment:

Clasheen said...

Hi Zenna, Thanks a million for posting the interview! Nicola