I don’t have any upcoming shows until fall (I don’t like trying to sell wool stuff in summertime) but I didn’t think that should stop me from doing a fellow artisan post, so here is Queenie Best, of queenie’s cards, whom I met at the 2013 Danforth East Arts Fair when she came by with her daughter and picked up some dryer balls. We have kept in contact, doing some of the same shows and more recently I introduced Queenie and a friend of hers to needle felting. Queenie’s work is full of humour and pun, brightness and charm.
Products: Greeting Cards, Art Prints, Notebooks, Pinback Buttons, Magnets, Keychains, Tote Bags (more to come!)
Price Range: $3.00-$20.00
How did this all begin?
I unofficially launched queenie’s cards in 2008, but it wasn’t until I was on my mat leave in 2012 that I realized it was my true passion and I wanted to make it a full-time business. I quit my 6-year long position as a graphic designer/photographer at a children’s toy company and queenie’s cards became official in January 2014.
What inspires new products?
What’s the most challenging part of your work?
Not having enough time in a day to go through my to do list
What’s the most fun part of your work?
Compliments from customers 🙂
What are your best hours (when you are most attentive, most focussed, most creative, work the best) in the day? Do you work during those?
My work hours are when my daughter is in preschool. From 8am to 3pm is when I’m the most productive because I get the house to myself, which is where my office is based. However, I’m the most creative at night when I’m supposed to be sleeping.
Tell us a little about your creative process.
When an idea hits me, I write it down right away so I don’t forget. My designs are inspired randomly, there’s no process, really – it just happens!
What do you do when you’re not creating?
Running, rock climbing, playing with my daughter, walking the dog, brushing the cats, reading or eating ice cream.
What do you wish you knew when you got started?
File every single document neatly and in an organized folder! Also, trust your gut.
What’s the best art show tip you’ve received?
“Don’t forget to eat.”
My friend Rozanne Lopez has a blog <rozannelopez.com> and this month she is hosting a creative challenge (if you follow my Instagram feed, you’ll have seen some of these) called mayBE 2015. She asked if I could do a guest post, which is up today! I wanted to re-blog it here, but for some reason I can’t, so I’m posting it below. To find out what MayBE is, check out her blog post. For this post on Rozanne’s blog: mayBE 2015: seven. and here are all the mayBE 2015 posts on the blog. One more thing, take a look at the growing Instagram feed with #may_be2015 hashtag, and think about joining us!
Today I have a guest post from my good friend Lynn who is also a local artisan. After knowing Lynn for a number of years now, I have watched her make and create. Actually, whenever I am with her, she is always making or thinking about her newest project. She makes handmade wool products and you can see more of her wares on her shop, Lynn’s Lids.
A techie before becoming a full-time homeschooling mom, I spent my 20s and most of my 30s not involved in creative endeavours (other than programming, which is creative, but not B2B programming). Then I picked up knitting in late 2008 and after making a few scarves for my family, I decided I would try a felted hat for myself. I figured if I could keep myself in hats, I’d save a bunch of money.
Friends started asking for hats, and slowly Lynn’s Lids was born. I also got into needle felting, which I love to teach. Now I create with wool wherever I go and have recently started carrying a sketchbook with me for inspired moments.
I create when I have a few moments to spare; I need to (orders!); an idea comes to me; I just need something to keep my hands busy; or when I need to get out of a bad/sad mood. (See below – it worked!)
My life is mostly centred around my home and family. We eat food prepared from scratch, so there is creativity in the kitchen. This year I have taken my eldest to a local cafe and gallery with our sketchbooks in hand to try to emulate or be inspired by the artist of the month whose work covers the walls while we enjoy a treat together.
Here we are at a the local café, my eldest with his sketchbook and me working on a bespoke jellyfish toque. I love custom orders. It is so much fun working with other people’s ideas and passions and illustrating them (on a hat, iPad sleeve, or tea/coffee cozy).
When I am in a creatively stuck, I hit the books in the library, I hit the gallery cafés with my son, I hit the internet, I meditate, I do zentangles, I get out to the woods or the beach, I ask friends and family for ideas or about their passions, I take my camera and go for a walk, I search out galleries or films and just try to soak it all in. Sometimes I just pick up a personal knitting project and forget about it. Let someone else lead for a bit. The emotions associated with being in a creative rut? I suppose ennui and perhaps frustration. However all is forgotten once the creative juices get flowing again.
These came from being bored of making the same 2 ornaments. I took a ball and thought, “What could I make from a ball?” As it turns out, you can make a lot of different things with a wool ball.
When I was a child I went to a day camp where we could choose our activities. I remember really enjoying the magic of the darkroom and the pottery wheel. I still enjoy photography and a couple of years ago my brother gave me back my first little pottery wheel project. That warped little bowl is where I keep my wristwatch at night.
My creative process for designing new patterns actually involves a lot of math and some guesswork. Failures are a part of the process, but I feel good about the fact that my failures can usually be used in some other capacity (my first attempt at a cadet cap was trimmed down to be our tea cosy for several years, pillbox hat attempts that were too small have become bowls, etc). It’s nice to see less failed attempts as time goes on and the guesswork is brought to a minimum by experience. I think creating a new pattern from something I’ve seen or been inspired by is totally thrilling. From my imagination to my fingers.
Don’t be hindered by… well, anything. Creativity is beyond constraints. Dream it, feel it, try it.
I love zentangle. In fact I wish I’d known about it when I was going through cancer treatment as it has gotten me through a few tense moments. One of those brought this beautiful piece about. Three families had just gone through some struggles with our kids and we just needed to get past it and enjoy our evening. So I pulled out a piece of paper, a fineliner, and a green marker and started one section of the zentangle and passed it onto the adult next to me and just said, “Fill a section with a pattern.” He did, and passed it on until we adults had filled it. We all felt better.
Zentangle as a movement takes itself very seriously and there are rules and such, but really, here’s what you should do:
Take a small piece of note paper and divide it into a few sections by letting your pen roam and loop here and there over the paper. Then start to fill each section with a different repetitive pattern. That’s it. Try it!