Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interview Series: Week 22 – Enchanted Craft

Ever have a week where you’ve gotten so used to quiet and then all of a sudden BAM! Everything you’ve been waiting on is suddenly in your face, on your doorstep, or falling on the floor, off the plate that had once been empty but is now overfull?
That’s me!

The To-Do list has grown in the past few days, to the point of wanting about 6 more pairs of hands, 4 more heads, and another 10 pairs of feet.  Sadly, this would make me look ridiculous, and wouldn’t help much because the feet would be moving in 11 different directions, my hands would be trying to accomplish 7 tasks at once with only one computer and one set of jewelry tools, and my heads would all be aching from trying to pay attention to 5 different tasks.
But I would look very funny in the process!

As everyone knows, Winter Holiday Shopping Season begins this coming Friday (if it hasn’t already begun for many of you – I know that I shop all year to avoid the crazy insanity of the Rush!), and I am driving myself to be prepared.  In the past week and a half, I have taken over 1,000 photographs, coded several web pages (with my Uber Awesome Boyfriend, more commonly known as UAB on my Facebook Page coding more of them FOR me), edited 50-60 photographs, argued with UAB’s web host (he set up a “live” beta site that we can both work on) for being down for more than 2 weeks, resulting in the two of us crossing wires in some coding, and set up a new shop on Goodsmiths, restocked my Etsy store, relisted some things on Zibbet and MadeItMyself, and I am still working so everything is LIVE on Thursday Night!

But before I get back to photo-editing… I have something more important to share with you all!

I got a reply, at last!

Today, the artist I bring to you touches something in my soul, because I am indeed a gamer, and love fantasy.  The pretties I offer up today are all things I personally thought to myself “ooh, I want one!”, and there is in fact, one item that might find its way into my home, but I’ll share it anyway!

Meet another pair of artists contributing to Enchanted Craft of Zibbet, and be enchanted by their excellent work, and wide selection for any fantasy lover!

Nicole and Gigi Angell
Each of us has our own special area in crafting. I (Nick) am the painter, sculptor, jewelry maker, and seamstress. Gigi (mom) is the knitter, crocheter and stitcher. I like to call Gigi the fiber artist of our team.
Favorite material (or medium, whatever you want to call it!):
I think the easiest way to put this is... “My favorite medium is whatever medium I am working in right this second.” So it can vary from oil paint to poly clay from one day to the next. Gigi loves the look and feel of beautiful yarns and threads. We both would love to have a room filled with scraps of colorful scraps of fabric and fibers. To us they look like a bright spring flower garden.
Most Popular Seller (whether it be online or at shows you attend):
We really have a couple of ‘best sellers’. The R2-D2 hat both in Fleece and knitted are amazing sellers. Our Doctor Who Tardis fingerless gloves are also very popular. We make them in fleece and in a knitted version.


2794831-original[1]Hand Knitted tARDis beanie Hat inspired by Dr Who
The gloves are mentioned above, but I would totally wear the hat too!

Mine-ICON What got you into your craft?

enchantedcraft I can safely say I was born wanting to create. Lucky for me both my parents encouraged me to ‘try it all’. My Mom taught me how to sew, knit, crochet, and just plain be creative. My Dad was happy to let me use every tool in the garage and woodshop. They both deserve the credit for who I am.

Mine-ICON How did you learn your craft?

enchantedcraft Trial and error! Except for sewing, knitting, and crocheting I taught myself all of my other skills. I had some really great ‘art’ teachers in high school that just gave me the keys to the storeroom with instructions of ‘go teach yourself something’ so I did! Pottery, casting statues, silk screening, sculpting, metalwork, printing are just some of the things I ‘learned’ from exploring those storerooms in high school.


1309211-original[1] "Just Hanging Around" Painting of a happy froggy
This is adorable.  My mother LOVES frogs, and I think she would be “cuted out” by this!

Mine-ICON What about YOU? Who is the artist behind those wonderful items?

enchantedcraft An insane person. Really. I am that person you know that always has a new project happening and can explain anything to you. My ability to teach means that when I taught science and English for 3 years the kids got more than just ‘those subjects’. I would hop from the science right to the ‘art’ found within the subject. The kids would ask me the strangest questions- knowing (or wishing) that I would have the answer. They were right- I am very well rounded… so I could answer in a knowledgeable way. Insane? Oh yea. Live bugs in my desk, eating lichen off a tree, or having the kids do the ‘earthquake dance’ (don’t ask)- they never knew what to expect. I don’t teach now- but the other teachers around me still come for lessons, explanations, and posters for their rooms.

I’m a nut hat home too- when things go right I have a happy dance. I walk my cat on a leash. Anything that could be painted gets a paint job. I have chickens that are cuddled at a drop of hat. Being a nut keeps me and my mom healthy and happy.


1001030-original[1] Hand painted egg- 'Other World Egg- Pegasus in the Night- on a permanent stand
These eggs are absolutely amazing! The detail is eggquisite!

Mine-ICON What is a typical "working" day for you?

enchantedcraft A typical day begins with a quick look online for orders. I pack and ship usually around 7:20 am. After that in summer I do all the outdoor chores until lunchtime. Then it is crafting time. Winter is the opposite- I’ll craft/create in the morning and do the chore in the afternoon. Evenings are for a few hours of TV- but while we watch our science fiction or science shows both Mom and I are working. I sew, paint, bead, or make jewelry while Gigi knits or crochets. Neither one of use can just ‘sit and watch TV’.

Mine-ICON How many hours do you spend crafting?

enchantedcraft Anywhere from 2-8 hrs a day.


Mine-ICON How many hours do you spend on other things?

enchantedcraft All the rest!

Mine-ICON What about distractions? Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?

enchantedcraft There are never enough hours in a day to finish everything I want to do! Distractions… Instructables, Google +, and Facebook eat up some time each day. Also sometimes I just get wrapped up in a project and ignore everything else. I know we all have them!


1874811-original[1] OPENING Salazar Slytherin's LOCKET Horocrux recreated from the book cover Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
When I saw this, I know I gasped as my jaw dropped.  This is utterly amazing work, and for any Harry Potter fan, a must have!

Mine-ICON What happens when you Oops?

enchantedcraft Ah the horrible and yet wonderful screw ups. Unlike when I was young and often ‘overworked’ a project until it was ruined- I just don’t do that anymore. Now I usually can tell when a project is ‘just not working’ and stop. I have piles of screw-ups or almost screw-ups in every medium. They just sit around until the eureka moment when they finally become a finished item. Sometimes it takes years before I figure out what was wrong, other times I ‘fix’ it within a few days.

Mine-ICON What is your design process like? How many tries does it take to be happy with the final product?

enchantedcraft You know that hour or so when you are trying to go to sleep at night?

Well, that is when about 90% of my ideas get developed. I attempt to work out all the steps and problems I will encounter while just laying there trying to go to sleep. Anything you see build or painted in my household was built or painted at least 20 times in my mind before I start. Kinda annoying really. Like everyone I don’t always get it right in my mind- but 80% of the time I have anticipated correctly. 15% of the time I missed a few details and fight my way through the process. Then there is the 5% of the time I just can’t make reality fit my imagination no matter what.
What is your greatest roadblock, be it government regulation or that little frustrating thing that just likes to sneak up and stop you in your tracks? The greatest roadblock it space… I end up with just so much created that just sits and waits for the perfect person to come along and buy that OOAK item. I actually make deals with myself ‘ok- you can’t make anything new until 3 things sell out of your shops’. The problem is the really creative things I do don’t really sell. Check out some of my paintings, the things that really take some time, they just sit there longing for a new home. While something I am bored to death making over and over continues to sell. I remind myself of one of my little sayings ‘there are things you create for fun- and then there are the things that make money’. My other roadblock is… losing track of where I put a specific material or tool. It is hard to create the perfect item- when the perfect tool is just plain missing in action.

2227484-original[1] hand painted White Tree of Gondor small bag- for the fan of Lord of the Rings
I am most certainly a fan.  No matter where it is, the White Tree is always an uplifting sight.

Mine-ICON All important pricing... Do you have a formula? Do you wing it? Do you feel your work justifies your prices?

enchantedcraft Ah pricing- my worst nightmare. I have a formula that was taught to me by a wonderful florist. It is (cost of materials x 2) + (time x wages per hour) = item price. It was the standard method of pricing floral work- at least back in the 90’s. I use it as a general guide- but usually things don’t get priced that way. I look at what the market will bear and wing it. I can safely say I am cheating myself wages 90% of the time. Sigh.

831184-original[1] World Of Warcraft HORDE Box- get your name on it
As a primarily Horde player since 199-something (When did Orcs vs Humans come out?), this item may just find its way onto my dresser, since the crest is already the ‘screen saver’ on my phone.  Lok’tar Ogar! Victory or Death!

Mine-ICON And of course, is there anything else you'd like to say to our "viewers at home"?

enchantedcraft Creating is the best therapy- create something new, share it with others, and then treasure the smiles it brings. Buy handmade and make a difference in the life of those who create and those who receive. Sure a hat from a big box store will warm your head- but one made by hand will warm a heart (or 3).


I can’t agree with that last line more.  Big Box stores may have cheap prices, but often because the things themselves are cheap.  With Handmade, you know that someone worked from start to finish with love for what they do, and know that the item you get as a gift for yourself or someone else was made with love, given with love, or found with love.

Thank you, Nicole for sharing your story and your awesome work and your mother’s.

Find Nicole and her mother’s work in lots of places!  Just check out their Facebook Page for information!

Until next time! Thanks, as always, for reading!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

All Good Things…

… it seems must end some time.

This blog has been empty for several weeks.

I am very sad I have not gotten any further replies to the questionnaires I have sent out, nor have I gotten more interest in the interview series I had started.

Especially since it is going to be Holiday Shopping Season soon, I am very sad I will have no one to feature.

Next week, I will post my own answers to my own questionnaire, and I will see if there is any further interest.  I do hope to continue the series, as I really enjoy sharing other stories that are behind the crafts people so lovingly make.

For now, I will send a huge, deeply heart-felt “Thank you” to everyone who has participated, suggested, or asked about my series.

Until next week…