Welcome to our B.O.C. blog. Learn about the world of handcrafted ceramic beads, buttons, pendants & components from our talented and knowledgeable Artisans.
A PEEK INTO THE MINDS OF ARTISTS WHO CREATE WITH BEADS (or in this case, buttons) OF CLAY...
This week's artist is Sheila Saxon from Felted Fantasies. Sheila's creativity is certainly deserving of some special recognition. I spend oodles of time talking about beads with my interviews. I would now like to take today to recognize one of the many uses of ceramic buttons! Check it out.....
What a very cool designer!
Could you tell us how you got started with this form of art?
Felting is one of the oldest fiber crafts dating back as far as 6300 BC. The art of needle felting is relatively new but needlefelting has been used in manufacturing since the 1980’s. I started needlefelting on my purses after being inspired by a local felted hat artist, Nancy Dean, who needlefelts birds on her hats. Her work is exquisite and she has encouraged me to pursue the art on my purses.
What a variety in designs! Please tell us, in general, the process that goes into creating these bags?
First, I hand knit the purses of 100% wool yarn. I create my own designs that are chosen for the artwork that I plan on creating on them after they are felted. Felting is the process of shrinking the wool purse to create a firm product. It is then stuffed with plastic bags for shaping and left to dry. After it is dry, I begin creating the artwork with loose wool fibers and sharp barbed needles that tangle the wool from the inside. It is like painting with wool. Wool fibers create texture and depth.
I noticed that you often use ceramic buttons as closures for your bags. What is it that you like about combining ceramics into your creations?
I love handmade crafts and there are many Etsy shops with beautiful buttons that only make my bags more unique. Sometimes the artwork on the front is even inspired by the button itself. I also use magnetic snaps but I feel that buttons are more classy.
It seems as though each of your ceramic buttons works perfectly for the design. How do you go about matching buttons with bags?
That’s a funny question. When I am finished with the purse I pick out 4 or 5 buttons from my stash that I think will look good and then I take them to my husband. He picks out the button that he likes the best and I almost always go with his choice. Yea for the feminine side of men! (He is a wood turner and has a shop on Etsy also. BOWLEDEAGLE
Are there other venues that you sell through besides Etsy.
If not, do you think there will be in your future?
Yes, I sell my bags at our local Anacortes Farmer’s Market and also at many ART SHOWS here in Washington State throughout the spring ,summer, and fall seasons. My next show is THE BEST OF THE NORTHWEST FALL SHOW at Pier 91 –Smith Cove in Seattle Nov.12,13,14.
I know that many people on Etsy were affected by the drop in economy. With what seems to be a better outlook for our country's future, have you also seen an increase compared to what was happening a year ago?
I haven’t really noticed a change in my Etsy sales because of the economy. I think that positive feedback from customers gives more confidence to women that they will receive a quality purchase;.therefore my sales have increased.
There is such a variety of color. Are there certain colors that you like to create with and are there certain colors that seem more popular than others.
I moved to Washington 6 years ago from South Florida. I was, and am influenced by the vivid colors of the tropics and love those same colors in the blooming trees and flowers here in the Pacific Northwest. The most popular colors seem to be the purples and greens ,although my most sought after totes are the Great Blue Herons. But I think that it is the elegant bird more than the colors that attract everyone.
Lastly, if there is something that you would like to share with our blog readers, please do so.
I would like to share the importance of finding a passion. I retired in 2004 after 30 years in the teaching/counseling profession. I wondered what I would do in retirement. I had always loved to knit so that was a natural, but I never thought I would fall in love so with creating art on purses. The dogs and cats faces stare out at me with personality; the chipmunks and squirrels look mischivious; the deer looks tender and kind; and of course the flowers and birds burst with color. Find something in your life that you are passionate about whether it be creating, reading, volunteering or helping others and go for it. Passion makes life fun and adventuresome no matter what your age.
Thank-you, Sheila for a peek into your artistic talent!