Today’s interview is with the NaturalKids team member, Beneath the Rowan Tree. Rowan’s lovely silks and toys are all hand dyed and hand painted and she has a wonderful eye for color. Come meet her….
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when did you get started with arts and crafts?
I always felt like the ugly duckling in my family! Thank goodness my grandmother was naturally crafty and saw the spark in me~ this forged a deep relationship between us and strong connection in a family of non-crafty types.
I have always loved to make things with my hands and to give them to others. Over the years I taught myself numerous crafts: knitting, cross stitching, sewing, scrapbooking and quilting to name a few.
With quilting my love of color and texture really began to blossom. For me the best part about quilting was wandering through the fabric store without a plan, just heaping on bolts of fabric until a vision emerged.
After my daughter was born, I dove into dyeing and painting clothing out of frustration about clothing available for kids. It turns out I *could* paint~ which was a real shock! Dyeing satisfies the need for color and adds the element of surprise and chaos which keeps me centered and reminds me that beauty emerges when we don’t try to control every outcome!
Most recently, drawn by the gorgeous colors and textures of fibers, I began needle felting and I am hooked~ it just resonates with me and draws together all of the satisfying and challenging aspects of craft and has pushed me along towards seeing myself as an artist.
What is the main thing you make and sell in your store? What else do you make and/or sell?
My core product has been my hand dyed and painted clothing for babies and toddlers, although with the holidays approaching and my mercurial interests, I am working much more on my natural toy offerings: wood, wool and lots of silk.
Who if anyone has been instrumental in helping you hone your craft?
I tend to be self-taught and a real grazer~ gathering tidbits of information here and there and generally running off half informed to work it out myself. I appreciate the needle felting forums and community for direction, challenge and inspiration.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere, my child, the skies (every skyline calls out for a flat felted landscape these days!), the seasons. I try to remain open (and keep notes). Since my crafting business is my ‘sideline’ to my full time vocation/ work I allow myself the freedom to follow my whims and do what I like.
What are your favorite materials?
Wool and silk. So pretty, so versatile, so dyeable!
What advice would you give to beginners in your main craft?
If you are dyeing, use quality chemicals, practice safety precautions, keep a clean work space and dye everything and anything you can to learn about color and fabric and results. Expect surprises. Be bold. You can always re-dye something, until you hit black, and then you bleach! Just kidding!
What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?