Friday, April 20, 2012

Interview with Galina of Galafilc

Today we feature an interview from Galina, a talented felted wool artist in Poland.  Her creations are like none we have ever seen before and we are glad she took time out of her schedule to talk to us.  We would like to say a big thank you to Galina for doing the interview and to her son for translating.  We also wanted to note that while we did make some minor edits so that the flow of the interview would seem more natural, we did not change the heart of anything she said.

What is your biggest inspiration?
I observe the nature around me and get inspiration from the combination of
colors, textures, layouts and sizes. I’m constantly learning
how to use new types of wool, combinations of wool and different fibers and fabrics.
Felting allows me to dive into the magical world of
handmade goods--everything is possible here as if by
magic--almost any shape can appear in one’s hands from
formless pieces of wool.

Do you tinker with other forms of art?
Recently I started dyeing wool, silk and finished goods. [I never] stop trying, experimenting and seeking new forms. From time to time I grab water-colour [in an attempt to] display on paper some image from my memory--still life, [rather] than portraits. Moreover, I am life-connected to my camera, and I love making photos.

What is your favorite thing to create and why?
I love to transform a shapeless piece of wool into a delicate flower or poppy field on a bag, mittens, slippers, hats, brooches, or a flexible reptile. But what is most enjoyable for me is making big scarves or complicated seamless clothes. This takes me a lot of time, but the effect is fully worth the effort.

How did you decide to turn your creations into a business and do you feel that this process has changed your art at all?
Everything is business from the beginning to an end. First of all, when You think of some pattern or image You want to place in reality, You think of a possible user--Your daughter or maybe customer from far away Australia. Secondly, business is about Quality of material and it’s price, and [quality service delivery].
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
Of course! I would start my felting journey earlier.

What would you say to young aspiring artists out there?
They know everything they should know. All that I should say is written in my art.

Finally, Where can we find you and your art?
My Etsy shop

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview with Darcie of Synchronic

Today we are featuring an interview with Darcie of Synchronic.  Darcie is a talented fabric artist who creates a variety of eclectic items.  She even made the purse that Hillary currently carries!
First, tell us about your history with arts and crafts. How did they first come in to your life and how did you eventually settle on your current art form?

I was blessed to grow up in an arts and crafts family and was drawn to anything creative from the start. Raised with the idea that I could create anything I imagined without a penny, my first fabric creations were recycled scrap transformed into barbie ballroom dresses. Living in what most would call poverty, my world was always rich with possibilities. That idea grew in me as I matured and influenced every art form I played with. As I began my Etsy shop, my first objective was to Shine the Light of celebrate the idea of enough : )

How has your style developed over the years and what in your life do you think has influenced that?

I was blessed with a school system that encouraged creative expression in the classroom (something we don't see much today). We were given the supplies and an idea, but from there we were expected to use our own creative process. Using our minds in this way, rather than the current paradigm that says "re-create this exact example the best you can" helped me to rely on and trust my creative instincts. This greatest blessing...that trusting, secure feeling has allowed me to approach so many projects with the idea that anything is possible... that I can create anything I can imagine, with the supplies at hand.
Where do you get your inspiration from?

I stand in front of my rather large fabric stash and colors pop out and say "I belong"! Then, based on the shape of the fabric at hand, I connect them into a design that flows. Always, thrift, comfort, and celebration of life : )

Your shop has an eclectic mix of items including purses, table runners, skirts, etc. So many artisans choose to just focus on one or a few items (e.g. "only purses" or "only blouses, skirts and pants"), what led you to featuring a mix of items and how do/did you arrive at the mix you have?

Some fabrics say they want to be something different. Plus, I have too many ideas to be content with just one.

You mentioned in our etsy conversation that you're in the mountains. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

My little family lives with our greater family in the mountains of Montana... a full hour from the city lights and fifteen minutes from the sound of the highway. The stars and moon at night are so bright they cast a shadow. and sky : )
What is your favorite thing in life?

My favorite thing in the universe are those breathtaking moments of synchronicity that allow me to witness the miracle of connection and flow ~

What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

The Infinite Possibilities : )
What would you say to other artists trying to create a business for themselves?

Follow your heart and soul. Create from your center and others will want to be a part of that. Resist creating from a place that asks "What will make money?"

And finally, where can we find you and your art?

You can find many of my creations at I may also be a part of the Great Falls, Montana Saturday Market this year.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Creation Sunday: Easy Tex/Mex dinner

Today Hillary is going to share a quick and easy slow cooker meal with a tex mex flare!

A few weeks ago, we had a concert to go to at 8 on a Tuesday night and I was trying to figure out how to handle dinner because going out would have been difficult, but cooking something involved would leave me pressed for time, especially if I wanted to "get ready" for the show.  As it turns out, that morning a friend of mine posted a recipe to his facebook page that was perfect, Crock Pot Santa Fe chicken: It was easy, flavorful and wouldn't require much supervision or "fuss" throughout the day.

I made a few modification to the recipe based on the tastes in our household:
Instead of a can of chile tomatoes and adding the garlic, etc, separately, I used about half a can of Chile tomatoes and half a can of the garlic flavored tomatoes.  I added no spices other than, salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne.  I will note that a pinch was not enough cayenne, but a whole teaspoon would have left me with a fiery mouth and an empty tummy (although, I'm sure my husband would have been quite happy). 

I also used my awesome separated insert for my crock pot and cooked the vegetables and chicken separately, because my husband is not generally a fan of vegetables being mixed in and he is definitely not a fan of black beans. Instead of what's called for, I used a can of corn, and 2 cans of black beans, with a little of the leftover halves of the aforementioned tomatoes and some salt pepper and cayenne.
The last modification I made was to cook it 8 hrs on low.  I have cooked chicken in the crock pot before and, at least in my crock pot, it is inevitably done before the longest cook time runs out and often burns or gets overcooked when on high. Also, when I put the food in the crock pot, I only had 8 hours and I didn't want burned chicken so...  Luckily, my estimate was right and the chicken was perfectly done at 8 hours (I did shred it a few minutes out like the recipe suggests and I think that that is a big help to making sure all the chicken is all the way done).

Since this recipe is very tex mex, I thought that corn bread would be the perfect accompaniment.  Being the picky, lazy gir... I mean... champion of convenience and variety that I am, I decided to go for a modified mix recipe.  I had heard of people used canned creamed corn in their cornbread so I found this Jiffy Corn Mix Hack.  I followed the recipe to a T including the part about heating up the cast iron and swirling the butter. 

If you don't have a cast iron pan... Well,  you should.  It's an amazing and versatile kitchen tool and sometimes, nothing else will do.  But if you want to make this cornbread RIGHT NOW and don't have a cast iron pan, I would go for a CERAMIC pie plate (or cake pan) if you have one.  If not, glass might work.  I would follow the same directions, but the heating time for glass might need to be a little less (it will also lose heat quicker, so you need to work fast once it comes out of the oven).

Anyways, I digress.  In addition to the sante fe chicken/vegetables and corn bread, I prepared a bag of boil-in-bag rice.  Sure, non-instant rice is more nutritious and, sure, I have a steamer that cooks rice beautifully, but some days, you don't want to be hassled.

Dinner was tremendously good and got a major thumbs up from hubby, even though he didn't get the benefit of the extra flavor of the vegetables and even though I thought he might consider it decidedly mild for his taste. Leftovers have been even more delicious because the flavors have melded even more.  Personally, I am a big fan of putting a little of everything (except cornbread) in a bowl, putting a little "shredded mexican cheese" on top and melting it, but it's totally not necessary.

This is great for a weeknight "put something on and forget about it" dinner and it's extremely tasty.

We hope you enjoy the recipe! Stay tuned for more interviews, recipes, jewelry, and otherwise awesome updates.