Thursday, 25 February 2010

This week's Creative Genius is.....

Danni from NelliD!
Danni creates beautiful resin pieces and unique bags.Her creations are brimming with a sense of fantasy. Here she tells Creative Genius what inspires her and how the creative community has helped her to set up her successful business.

Tell us a bit more about yourself and your craft?
I think I have always been obsessed with colour, pattern and design...think it started early on. kind of innate within mum used to I learnt from her.....I studied printed textile design at Saint Martins as a result and my love and obsession has just grown from there.....I also love me it is the best country...cream teas, quaint little villages...obscure weather..beautiful buses...jam packed full of inspiration..I love it. ~Nelli D, is inspired from all of that, and I guess it never really began exists within me.. I have never been or never will be a person who can just sit of an evening..I feel frustrated when I havent got anything to do with my hands.....on a technical note I have been selling for just over a year now but have really been selling my bags for 5 years or so....I taught myself to wrap wire to make jewellery with the aid of books and I took myself off on a road trip one sunday to do a resin course...! (the resin part of nelli D is relatively new....and is growing all the passion at the mo is combining wearable pieces with my bags....a kind of double whammy! Like all real people...I have a day job...I am an art and design teacher...(soon to be in the police) and I fit my work around my spare time...sometimes setting resin before I go to work and before I go to bed....If I think about it I am quite organised...although that rule does not apply to my accounts.! It seems to work well and the fact that I go out each day allows me to think about my business and take a step back...and the kids help...why don't you try this miss or oooo could you make thats great. I have a degree in textile design from Saint Martins so the jewellery side was a little alien to was only when a friends mum convinced me to have a go at making her friend a chunky beaded bracelet that I got into making jewellery..the resin came later. So after buying a few books I learnt the art of wire wrapping techniques and it grew from there......I am a bit of a fig-it and I am always looking for new techniques and different ways to do things....I

What is the favourite item you have ever made?
Oh god I am never satisfied...thats what keeps nelli D alive...I am in a constant battle with myself to make things better... I am however quite happy with my the Alice's tea party bag...which combines the jewellery side of nelli D with the bag side.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?
being totally creative...allowing my imagination to run any direction....I especially love seeing where an idea takes me! sometimes it can be quite different to what I initially had in it keeps me on my toes.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I take inspiration from all sorts of things...a sight a sound a smell, I am a bit of an eccentric old romantic so you will find lots of whimsical love stories mixed up with British patriotism and just for measure a dash of punk rock in my creations. Other than craft, what else do you enjoy? I love visiting different cities ...London being my favourite...I love culture and colour and you get buckets of it in I fill my boots whenever I get to go. I also enjoy...rummaging around bootsales and flea markets...hoping to find something a bit different. my other passions are eating out and horse riding...which makes me feel alive.

What are your views on the handmade community?
I love the handmade community: what with the rise in huge corporate companies taking over the highstreet its a breath of fresh air coming onto these sites and seeing what people still make by hand! I love it, and there is so much talent for very very reasonable prices (too cheap actually) ! I would also like to point out all the help I received when I first started out..people on the forums are more than willing to help with my sometimes daft questions, and it has helped me immensely. When I first started I knew nothing about advertising or even branding, and now I can share what I have learnt with others...its a real university of life, not to mention the friends I have made on there..who are always around for a natter and a virtual cup of tea!

Apart from yourself, who is your favourite handmade artisan? and why? if you would like to find out more about NelliD's favourite artisans click the links below:
Oh Gosh what a question! there are so many shops that I love and that are so different but I am going to say: I am at the moment completely in love with Rob Ryan, he makes intricate paper cuts with the most romantic tales, and fairytale quotes: my lovely other half has just bought me a limited edition paper cut and Rob personalised it for me...throwing in a few extras...I couldn't believe wouldn't get that on the highstreet!!
Here is his etsy shop:

because she has helped me no end and makes brilliant items all hand drawn...very clever!
I also love: Amyorangejuice and have my eye on this piece
I wish I could make things with glass..they are beautiful and sorry I know you asked for 1 but I can't is another artisan that fascinates me:
Lauren ceramics...mostly because once again she produces gorgeous items, that I wish I could make:

If you would like to find out more about Danni and NelliD click the links below:
You can find me on twitter rambling on about this and that, with the occasional discount code thrown in! and if you have a spare minute: here is my blog
you can also find me on: etsy:
and my very own website:

Next week Creative Genius will be interviewing another fantastic artisan.Make sure you don't miss out, click and become a follower now!

Friday, 19 February 2010

This week's Creative Genius is....

Claire from Black Cats Whiskers
Claire spends all her spare time creating beautiful beaded pieces and fabulous jewellery items. Here she tells us about what inspires her and how much she enjoys being part of the creative community.

Firstly, Tell us abit more about yourself and your craft?
I'm Claire aka blackcatswhiskers, I live in Horley near Gatwick with my hubby and 4 cats and I like to think I design fun and affordable jewellery. I didn't begin making jewellery until the end of 2008 (seems such a long time ago) when I saw a beaded watch in a local shop and thought 'I can do that'... and the rest is history. I work full time so have to play at being a designer at the weekends or in any available time that I can find. It is fair to say that my jewellery making is pretty much taking over my life at the moment as I am making frantically for a little gift shop that is going to stock my jewellery and for the craft fairs that start early in March. I do need to try and find a better work, designing, relaxing, doing everything else balance but i'm sure most crafts people can relate to that. Whats that? a 48 hour day? Ooooo yes please.

What is your favourite item you have ever made?

It would have to be this charm bracelet watch. It was one of the first I made and I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately I cannot get the watch faces like this anymore which is a huge shame. If you would like to see more of Claire's favourite piece see the link below

What do you enjoy most about your craft?
I just love the beads, I spend hour upon hour browsing for new ones and I love to sit by my bead boxes picking my random bead selections for my charm bracelets, its great deciding which colours go best together. I have recently started using gorgeous acrylic flowers and butterflies in my designs so I often think of the colours of the flowers in my garden when i'm pulling a piece together. It's great to be able to mix my two passions.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I get my ideas from lots of places, i'm always on the look out for something a bit different and I also get lots of ideas from talking to people and special requests. Other than craft, what else do you enjoy? I love my garden! Before we moved to where we live now we lived in a flat above a high street and I had absolutely no gardening experience but I had to learn fast as we moved to a house with a 70ft garden that was a mess. I had to literally start again, it has been hard work but it has been lovely filling it full of pretty flowers, tonnes of roses and flowers with a gorgeous scent like lavender. My parents have always had a lovely garden so I take alot of my inspiration from them, I often come home with a cutting or something from their garden when I go to visit.

What are your views on the handmade community?
I think its amazing, it astonishes me how much talent there is out there. I just wish sites like folksy where more widely known about, I had certainly never heard of it before I myself started crafting. I think we need to take every opportunity to shout about handmade. Something unique is so much nicer than mass produced.

Who is your favourite handmade artisan?

This is a really tough question because I have bought some amazing things since joining folksy in December 09 from people like cinnamon jewellery, mollimoo, digtheearth, pussy galore, sweetscentedsoy and rubyanddig. At the moment though my favourite would have to be sugarmiceSarah is amazing, and is currently making me some specially requested charms for my jewellery, I can't wait to get them. Nothing seems like too much trouble, I can only imagine how much time it takes her to perfect all those little cupcakes she makes! .Take a look at

Is there anything else you wish to say?
Just a big thank you to everyone on folksy, I am a relative newcomer to crafts and to folksy but I have never been made to feel as though I don't have a worthwhile contribution to make which is really nice x

If you would like to find out more about Claire and Black Cats Whiskers follow the links below:
My little shop link is
My blog is (please come follow me! x )

Next week Creative Genius will be interviewing another fantastic artisan.Make sure you don't miss out, click and become a follower now!

Friday, 12 February 2010

This weeks Creative Genius is..............

Victoria Baker from Little Wren Pottery!
Victoria is the creative force behind the gorgeous handthrown stoneware pieces that are available from Little Wren Pottery.Here she tells us about her life and what pottery means to her and also gives her opinion on the wonderful world of the handmade community.

So, Victoria, Tell us abit more about yourself and your craft?
I began practicing wheel thrown pottery about two years ago, which in the grand scheme of a potters life is a very short time. I started off at a local night class and in no time at all I was creating useable objects.

A lot of my skill is down to my Dad who I always used to watch throwing pots on the wheel when I was a little girl. He would give me lumps of clay to make pottery animals. From an early age I got the feel for clay and its consistency but it wasn't until later in life I started actually making anything with it.

At the moment my throwing has to be fitted in around my job usually on an evening, I try to do all my throwing on a Friday night so I can wind down for the weekend.

What is your favourite item you have ever made?
My favourite item is probably my teapot, at the moment its not for sale. Unless I get a good offer of course! Teapots are one of the most difficult things to make because they combine all the skills of a potter.

Throwing a body and a spout, creating a lid, making a handle. Then you have to wait until all the pieces are leather hard so you can attach them all to the body of the teapot. It took several sittings to create the teapot but I learnt a lot in the process. I hope to make another, hopefully better one in the future.
If you would like to have a closer look at Victoria's teapot go to:

What do you enjoy most about your craft?
I spend a lot of time on computers due to my job, I create graphics for the web but you'll never actually be able to touch them. The tactility of pottery is something very appealing and very 'real'.

When I did fine art sculptors would talk about how the material willed itself to be turned into a particular shape. I find that idea fascinating and it often applies to pottery. It feels like your creating something out of nothing and sometimes that lump of clay just doesn't want to be a bowl!

I'm also the sort of person who worries a lot but once I get sat down behind the wheel you have to let all that go. If you start thinking about other things you instantly loose focus.

Tell us abit about where your inspiration comes from?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the natural world, our neighbourhood has a very active bird population everything from Owls to Robins. Every summer we have a feisty little wren who comes into our garden which is where Little Wren Pottery gets its name.

I get inspired looking at the work of other potters too and I really enjoy going to museums to see old pottery pieces which are often very different from our contemporary aesthetics.

Other than craft, what else do you enjoy?
I am a massive heavy metal fan. I love everything from the early bluesy sounds of Black Sabbath to the intense brutality of Norwegian Black Metal. I actually run another website, Ragnarok Radio, which is a heavy metal podcast where we interview metal stars from all round the world.
My favourite band is Tarot fronted by the very handsome Marco Hietala, hes also a really great guy and I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing him.

What are your views on the handmade community?
Its friendly but at the same time incredibly competitive. You need something really different to make you stand out from everyone else selling similar items.

With something like pottery its difficult to make the sale because why buy handmade when you can go to Ikea and buy a pack of cheap mugs? However I do think handmade is becoming more popular because of the human touch and the uniqueness it provides.

If people don't support crafting then culturally we've lost something and those skills are gone forever with no one to pass them on. I've known a few older potters with a lifetime of skill who have children my age who aren't interested in pottery, which is a real shame.

Apart from yourself, who is your favourite handmade artisan?

My favourite artisan is Shoji Hamada, a Japanese Potter. He was deemed a 'National Living Treasure' by the Japanese government and his skill was tremendous. You can see some videos of him throwing on youtube and I also love his slip trail calligraphy.

Japanese pottery is totally different, imperfections are seen as part of the character of the object rather being perceived negatively. Sometimes I get hung up with something not being 'perfect' but I'm a person not a machine, beautiful Japanese aesthetics help me to remember that.
To find out more about Shoji Hamada head over to:

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I recently started doing custom orders, I've completed one so far and the second is on the way. Its actually quite a nerve wracking but really satisfying, I just hope my items are well received!

Thank you Victoria for that wonderful insight into the world of Little Wren Pottery.If you would like to find out more about Victoria and her fabulous creations follow the links below:
Little wren pottery site >
Twitter >
Folksy shop >
Etsy shop >

Next week Creative Genius will be interviewing another fantastic artisan.Make sure you don't miss out, click and become a follower now!