Monday 20 January 2014

Spotlight Post ~ Felt Buddies & Co.

Tell us a bit about you:
My name is Leonor but since English-speaking people never get my ‘real’ name right
I just tell them it’s Lenore.
I am a professional needle-felting artist who also dabbles in other crafts -
I am in love with everything handmade and, given the time,
will try about anything I can get my hands on.
I’m 34, Portuguese, have a degree in Psychology and live in London, UK.
I also used to be a body piercer. Working with needles seems to be my thing…

How did you decide on the name for your shop? 
I decided on the name Felt Buddies and Co. because
I wanted people to intuitively know I was making creatures out of felt,
whilst leaving the door open to other mediums as well
(hence the ‘and Co.’ bit – came in very handy when I decided to start selling my notebooks!)
I think calling my creations ‘Buddies’ also lends them an air of harmlessness
that is very useful when I make odd creatures,
like my avatar’s buck-toothed, one-eyed Ninja Bunny.

How long has your shop and blog been open and why did you start? 
Let’s begin with the ‘why,’ shall we?
Like so many artists out there, I’ve been creating all my life.
I’ve drawn, painted, made jewellery and even wrote short stories
and poems ever since I’ve known myself to exist.
My first ever creative endeavour was to make squiggles on a wall with Mum’s
mascara at the age of two – not a very well received effort by the family!
By the time I’d finished college, I pretty much knew I didn’t want to be a Psychologist.
I just wasn’t aware I could be anything else!
My partner suggested I try doing this for a living
after noticing I would felt my day away whenever I got stressed…
My Etsy shop opened to business in April 2013
and my Facebook page a little before that.
I only began blogging a couple of months ago,
so it’s still quite new and exciting to me
(I’m ashamed to say I actually thought the blogging world had died after Facebook… oops.)

What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment?
I was very much in love with my Sloth In a Cup (
but he was adopted during the Xmas season.
I always fall in love with what I make,
especially when I have a whole story in my head about it
(that happens a lot with pet commissions,
I always ask customers about their furry ones to get a better glimpse of their personalities).
Speaking of commissions, the whippet dogs in my shop are a huge success among Treasury makers
 I keep them there to let people know I accept 3D pet commissions,
and they have been featured a lot. T
hat makes me very happy because it was completely unexpected.

What made you start needle felting?
You know the saying ‘when life throws you lemons…’?
Well, it was a lemon sort of thing. I had been unemployed for some months
and was feeling I couldn’t bear working in a corporate world a day longer,
so my partner just kept telling me to start a Facebook page and see what would happen.
The rest is (brief) history, I guess. I still have a long way to go and am learning every day,
but it’s been a wonderful journey.
‘Do what you love the most and you will never work a day in your life’
– Confucius was right indeed!

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Insomnia (seriously), Nature and Fine Arts.
I share my life with a painter who is also obsessed with his art,
so this works out brilliantly for me as we sometimes have completely random
and spontaneous brainstorming sessions that my brain absorbs and,
come night time, processes into something (hopefully) useful.
Insomnia sets in when I have so many ideas I need to put them into some order,
and I can’t sleep until I’ve done so! 
Great credit needs to be given to other artists I admire as well,
because looking at their work, in whatever mediums,
helps me come up with new things to try and make.

What other things do you like to do in your spare time?
‘Spare time,’ I’ve heard of that - isn’t that when you’re supposed to go to bed?...
Now seriously: ever since I’ve turned into a workaholic
who doesn’t quite know how to say no to customers,
I’ve found myself working 12h- and 16h-days for a while.
My 2014 resolution is to be more sensible and actually have spare time.
I’d love to dedicate myself to other textile arts, experiment more with
the sewing machine and fabric printing. Oh, and my new passion, natural dyeing!
Walking in London is also a great pastime, weather permitting, but crafting,
and reading about crafting, would be my favourite things.

What would be the one piece of advice would you give to a new blogger or a person setting up their own shop?
My most important advise would be: please, please, please read all you can about having a small business, and the suggestions on the place you’re setting up shop
(Etsy, for example, has a huge e-library with very useful contents)
and finally, on product photography, before you say your shop isn’t ‘working out’.
I can’t say I’m perfect in any area,
but it’s really sad to see wonderful artists complain about
not selling or not reaching their audiences
on Facebook because they simply don’t understand how those platforms work or how to make things interesting to the public… Be a geek, it will help you out immensely.

What is the best thing to come out of having a handmade business?
Hands down, the people I get to meet! It’s been a true surprise -
I never expected to make new friends, or to feel such love when asking strangers for help
 (such as other artists).
It really is overwhelming to realise there is a lot of wonderful people out there
willing to take their time to help you out with advise,
an answer to a question or just a few words of encouragement.
The other perfect part is, I get to work all day doing what I love,
and there’s no feeling quite like it. I wouldn’t trade it for all the riches in the world :-)

Instagram: coming soon!

Thank you ever so much Leonor!
I love your work and I am so glad you decided not
to go back to the grindstone.
You are an inspiration!
I hope my needle felting gets to even half of how perfect your are.
Your ninja bunny is fantastic. He makes me want to smile.


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