Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Interview Series: Week 23 – Cat’s Wire

So I’m a little on the air-headed side today, as it’s Tuesday and I didn’t get this done sooner.  Oops!
I’ve had a bit on my plate this week, or rather in the past month.  Two weeks ago I mentioned all the stuff about my website and getting things ready for Black Friday and the start of the Holiday Season.  I’m not sure if I mentioned anything that happened at HOME…

Well, we had a small catastrophe or two.  One, the front right burner on our stove decided about a month ago that Nope, it was done. Stopped working, with a very nasty display of snapping its coils.  After cleaning up the mess it left, we blocked it up and turned it into a trivet, since it was the large burner out of the four.  A week or so later, the back burner, through some mischief, died in a…. well, let’s say a very interesting way.  Somehow, one of the plastic butter-dishes we have was left ON said burner.  The burner was cold, but being the back right burner, it also serves as the oven-vent.  We don’t know if it was my sister or me, but someone turned on the oven and didn’t realize that dish was there.  Melted Plastic City… and anything cooked in the oven had a slightly plastic-y taste and smell.

Mom said it was a Sign.  … to get the range she WANTED instead of the piece of junk that came with the house.  That will be delivered .. tomorrow, as you read this on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.  We’ve been scrambling to make sure that furniture is moved, and the kitchen scoured so installation will be quick and easy when the folks from Lowes get here.

After working on that all day, I came into my room to get started on this… and read my email.  “Junk.. Junk.. You have received payment from… WHAT?!”  A sale. … A .. Sale?  What sold?!  And lo and behold, one of my Elemental Earwrap/Earcuff sets sold – Fire. So I contacted the buyer to see if they needed gift packaging/wrap, and to make sure it was okay that it will be shipped Friday, yadda, yadda, get the invoice typed up awaiting further instructions… cook dinner, and then get started HERE.

I wasn’t going to miss this week because the stuff this lady makes is stunning, intricate and just plain awe-inspiringly gorgeous!

Meet Catrin, of Cat’s Wire on Zibbet, a member from Germany!  I would say more, as her story is interesting, but I’ll let her do the talking instead!

Name: Catrin
Craft: I create jewelry and little sculptures using different techniques, mostly wire crochet, wire knit (done with a crochet hook) and bead looming at the moment
Favorite material (or medium, whatever you want to call it!): Wire, both silver and copper, cabochons, stones and beads of all kind are the materials I use most, but I also dabble in polymer clay every, now and then and I'll use anything else that I find and seem fit for a design
Most Popular Seller (whether it be online or at shows you attend): That's impossible to answer, there isn't a particular seller I admire because there are so many talented people out there doing so many different things

2989175-original[1]Bead loomed ladybug cuff – Coccinellula
I can’t imagine how much time this took, and it is absolutely admirable – and adorable!

Mine-ICON What got you into your craft?

CatsWire Actually it was a TV news show about all kinds of things that have to do with computers or the internet. I happened to catch the part about Etsy, got curious and had a look. There I stumbled upon a wire crochet piece that fascinated me. I came back again and again until I finally decided to get myself a book. I looked at the pictures once, I tried to learn the paragraph about wire gauges, then I bought some wire at the bead store, took my only crochet hook and jumped into the cold water

Mine-ICON How did you learn your craft?

CatsWire I'm pretty much self taught because I love to experiment and because I am too impatient for tutorials. Of the three tutorials I own I read the first few sentences and then went for it. This is not to say the tutorials weren't any good, it's me who is not good with them, I'm afraid

2829991-original[1]Silver wire knit earrings with faux amber cabochons
These struck me as stunning for their simple look, but complicated wire-detail.

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

CatsWire Oh dear. I am from Southern Germany and my name is Catrin, but many of my friends call me Cat which is perfect since I'm a crazy cat lady, meaning both that I'm a crazy lady and that my cats are crazy, all four of them. There's also a crazy bunny and four very busy gerbils - I can hear them, they are probably moving furniture ...

Originally I'm a librarian at a university, due to health reasons I am working part-time. The rest of my time is spent on crafting, DVDs, books, online activities and the critters ... not necessarily in that order.

I am blessed with a vivid imagination and my brain often works overtime, like last night when I dreamed that a cheetah felt the urge to lick my face in the street, then a bear got ready to attack afterwards, but I got away because I needed to pick up my monkey from the cellar. Then again it sometimes does come up with really cool stuff that I am proud of!

2127572-original[1] Silver wire crochet pendant with moonstones - Mary had a little lamb
At first I saw a beautiful cluster of Moonstones.  Then I looked again, and squealed at the cuteness!

Mine-ICON What is a typical "working" day for you? How does it usually start and end? How many hours do you spend crafting? How many hours do you spend on other things? What about distractions? I know we all have them! Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?

CatsWire The first three days of the week belong to my day job. I have a long day and when I come home, my cats need attention, so there's not much with creating or promoting. The other days are not that structured, either. Of course I never accomplish all I wanted to. If I feel I'm really getting behind on things, I make a to-do list to get me back into the routine, but usually I don't organize my day that much. I'm organized at my day job and I rather go with the flow on the other days, even if I have vague plans, like taking pictures the next day or listing pieces that have been lying around for a bit.

I'm also volunteering at a club, so that takes up time as well, then there's my family that I visit at least once a week, my cats, friends ...

Mine-ICON What happens when you Oops? Everyone gets one sometime or another! Do you get frustrated and destroy/start over, or do you go with the flow and see what comes out in the end?

CatsWire That depends. I have my UFOs lying around and my WIPs. Sometimes I tear a piece up, sometimes it turns into something totally different which can just be as much fun.

3115166-original[1] Wire crochet Christmas wreath earrings and necklace
I have seen Trees, Snowmen, Candles, Gifts… But never wreaths.  This set is gorgeous!

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

CatsWire If it's a wire project that I'm working in, I more often than not jump into it without much planning. Some items I fiddle with forever, maybe because just one loop isn't the way I want it to be, some items just go perfectly from start to end. The bead loomed pieces obviously have to be planned as I need a pattern, but even they can change during crafting because I might add a 3D accent in the end or a fringe or something else.

2958398-original[1] Golden wire knit collar with beads - Egyptian dream
I can’t imagine the time spend for the detail of this.  The result is breathtaking…

Mine-ICON 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? Broken needle? Jump ring jumping out of your pliers? Thread knots? Cats? Dogs? The family hedgehog rolled about in your yarn basket?

CatsWire My brain, my eyes and my hands. There are times, usually when I am too exhausted to crawl out of the hole, when I try to make something, but I can feel my brain working against me. The only thing to do then is drop everything and do something else. That doesn't happen very often, though, because I have learned to recognize it before I even start.

I am wearing glasses and with the age and all the work on the computer and with little beads, my eyes tire more easily than they used to. I hate if I really want to finish something, but my eyes kind of start blurring up.

Wire crochet and knit is not all that easy on hands and wrists, so it can happen that they are simply hurting too much to go on.

The rest I can deal with - cats spilling beads or trying to steal stuff, components jumping through the room, whatever ... that's just part of the game.

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

CatsWire I don't have a real formula, but I am absolutely convinced that my work justifies my prices. There are a lot of hours in most of my pieces, probably much more than people see. Then there's the time I need to take and edit pictures, to list the pieces. And not to forget, there is a big part of me, of my soul, of my thoughts and feelings, in every piece. It may sound cheesy, but that's the way it is, and it is what makes handmade special - that does not just go for me.
Many of my pieces are one of a kind and have their own little story of inspiration.

Of course I have made things that I later found to not be good enough or too simple because over the time I improved my skills. I have donated many of those pieces, and sometimes they do get ripped up eventually.

2495034-original[1] Wire crochet turtle sculpture - Sam Toitle
This little guy made me squee. I could go on about the detail and intricacy, but I’m too busy squeeing “Turtle!!”

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

CatsWire My brain is pretty empty at the moment, but you can follow me on Facebook or my blog to be there when I have something to say!


Something in this minnerview called out to me as I finished posting, and I’d like to add a little here.  One thing I’ve not touched on was exactly what Cat said: A part of the soul, thoughts and feelings, a piece of the artist themselves goes into each and every piece they create.
It may not have occurred to me before because I had been doing some basic things, but now that I have sold my first One of a Kind items… I understand more than ever.  I loved my Fire Earwrap/Cuff Set.  I even did wear it once or twice, hoping to get some attention.  It seems one of the folks who saw it, bought it after I gave them my card.

The Elemental Earwrap/Cuff series was one of the most intricate bits of work I’ve ever done, and was one of the very first works of wearable art that I have produced that can not be duplicated later on.  They are truly one of a kind, not just unique.  It will not stop me from making another Fire wrap and cuff, but it will never be the same as the first, no matter if I try to shape the wire similarly or use the same colors.  Nothing will make it anything like the first one.

A part of my soul will be nestled into that box with the pretty organza covering.  It will leave me, and go to someone else.  I just hope and pray that whoever next slips Fire onto their ear will know that there is a part of me there, and I hope it brings them as much joy to wear as it brought me to make.

Thanks for reading to one and all, as always! Until next time!