Describe your shop. How would you describe your style?
I'd like to imagine my shop, Iris & Rose Designs, has a flower shop vibe but instead of offering plants, I sell fiber based creations like flower brooches, luxurious scarves, pillows, lampshades, wreaths, wall hangings... - all reminiscent of the outdoors adorning your home and adding luxurious beauty to your wardrobe and home. I try to have an organic vibe by adding real flowers (when doing shows), lots of little adornments for hair and felted jewelry. I'd like to add original watercolors to this in the future as I was a painter prior to discovering fiber " painting" and that would bring my love of art full circle.
My style of work is heavily influenced by a combination of nature, its elements (air, water, land) and art. I draw inspiration from both to decide on a theme for my work. I’m currently shifting my approach from “make it/sell it” instant to a more scheduled organized collection offered twice a year, with a specific color palette and theme. Currently I’m working to have a collection of @150+ pieces due out in mid-June. It’s a big switch that requires a lot of control; from staying with the color palette and theme across the items I’m making to managing the schedule of rolling something like that out. I find that it helps me to stay more focused and better organized. Here’s a link to my prior collection.
The topic of style is interesting to me and I'm starting a blog series on "Adventures in Real Life Personal Style," where I chat with many different women on their style. Style is fluid as much as our lives are and rediscovering or finding an authentic style is a reflection of being in touch. It's an eye opener to talk about this with others as what we wear is such a mental conversation for most of us. I hope you can join me for that series, starting soon on my website, which is under construction currently; so please check back soon.
I've always loved art but that took a backseat a few years back to raising a family which was life changing on many levels as we moms know! - but was even more so for us due to severe food allergies. I had to learn how to cook and bake in a new way altogether and make sure I had control over the ingredients at all times.. After several years of throwing myself into that experience I was very much spent and stressed and was yearning for a way to find relaxation and also something that I alone enjoyed. I found that voice through a dear neighbor who showed me how to nuno-felt. I truly fell head over heels with the ability to create practical wearable art and my art therapy has continued now for several years, with good results!
When I try to make sense of why what I do is so important to me and why I’m so passionate about it, I realize that I finally had the courage to own up to myself that making art for me is intrinsic to who I am, how I relate to the world around me, and how I heal. My grandma was a seamstress who supported herself through two world wars that way, my mother is a lace fanatic and a crafter and here I am connecting with fabric and fiber that continuum of handmade work.
What are your favorite pieces to make?
If we step back, what really fascinates me about working with fibers is the ability to make something two or three dimensional out of it! Felting and working with fibers is 5000+ years old technique so I ask myself ‘what can I make that’s new out of this old medium?’ I’m driven to find new applications to this medium and yes I started with scarves and embellishments, which is how a lot of people get introduced into it, but now I’m constantly trying to find ways to use it in unlikely ways. That is what makes is challenging and fun for me.
Currently I’m working on more home accents and special projects for specific clients. I’m loving making felted projects on big scale and over Easter make a cross shroud for my church that started as 17 feet long and felted to 13 feet long. It was so big that I had to rinse it in my bathtub! I’m collaborating to make more pieces for them based on symbolic holiday colors of the religious calendar. I love the idea of being able to marry color with spirituality and to bring that beauty to enhance and honor that experience.
What inspires you?
Children, Adele’s music, nature and its’ melody through birds, texture of fibers, amazing and real to-the-bone women I’m graced to know in my life, baking, and a cup of great hot-steaming coffee!
Where would you like your shop to be 5 years from now?
When I launched my Etsy shop a year or so ago, I was so naive and wanting things right away. In this past year I’ve been humbled by the amount of work and the learning curve that goes into a creative enterprise. My goal for Iris & Rose Designs in five years is to be a “well-oiled creative machine” and what I mean by that is that by then I have all the non-creative parts of running an online biz figured out so I can be creating, going to more events, being published in magazines and being enjoyed by people out there.
How do you spend your time when you're not creating?
Running a household, teaching classes, watching “New Girl”, having get togethers with friends once in awhile and working on home projects.
What does your workspace look like?
I’m blessed to have the perfect space - a sunroom - to use for my workspace. It has wall to wall windows on two sides, views of trees, water and sky and I love, love, being there all the time. This space is not very orderly though as most of the family loves to sketch, sew or paint there so I just try to clean it up as best as I can. I have two big tables to work on and good lighting and a space dedicated for picture taking. In the future I’d like to get more cabinets to organize it better and make window shades for it.
What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?
Oatmeal bar - I make a batch of oatmeal, and set up bunch of bowls with toppings (brown sugar, coconut, granola, cocoa nibs, sprinkles) for us to have. Everyone in my family loves it, including me!
Where else can we find your work? Are you doing any craft fairs this year?
My work can be seen at my Etsy store or in the near future on my website. You can find a catalogue of my work in Issuu.com or just click on the “Lookbooks” tab on my website. I am checking in on Facebook and would love more fans! In person you can see it at the gift shop at the Blue Line Arts Gallery in Roseville, CA. I recently joined in The Tin Thimble’s five year anniversary student show too; the yellow and pink scarves are mine and are available on Etsy; I really appreciate Tin Thimble’s welcoming atmosphere and the amazing international teachers that they are able to attract.
I am hoping to do Crocker Holiday Festival in Sacramento and the Bella Vista Craft Fair, they are reasonably small and short duration shows. I am looking to doing more East Bay shows (Danville, Walnut Creek, etc) or even maybe SF Renegade show, if not this year then for sure next year. Because these shows require more investment in time and money I would love to break into them with another person to split the bill to test what the reception is like. Anyone else in the same boat? If so please contact me. I would love in the future to do bigger shows on the East Coast, like Country Living Fair. Ahhh, but that’s dreaming...
Where can we learn more about you? (blog address, other articles/profiles you'd like to link to)
Right now, you can read more about me at Etsy and my blog. In the summer, you’ll be able to learn more about me through Blue Line Arts Gallery as I’ll be teaching a “Fiber Fun” class there in August!