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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Etsy Shop Feature - Feltmates

I am a lover of all things felt.  I love the felt food, the felt bags, the felt name it.  When I came across this particular Etsy shop, I automatically marked it as a favorite.  I collect pincushions so needless to say, I fell in love with her pincushions.

Then I saw her measuring tapes....

I seriously want one of each.  And if that wasn't enough, check out the details in her designs.  It is just amazing.

She even makes adorable felted bags...

You can check out ALL of her fabulous items by visitng her Etsy shop.

Now that I have sufficiently made you ooooh and ahhhh over these gorgeous items, let me share some info about Feltmates and the designer behind it:

1. Please tell us about your business (i.e., how long you have been doing it, how did you get started, etc...)?

I’m Yoko Nomura and I have my etsy shop Feltmates. I create humorous felted animals, I call feltmates, colorful felted fashions and fun, yet functional, crafting supplies. Most of my pieces are made of 100% wool. I choose bright and cheerful colors of wool to give my felt work a contemporary appeal. I work using both the wet felting and the needle felting methods.

In 2000, I met a wonderful felt artist on a trip to my hometown, Kyoto, Japan. I fell in love with her work and at the same time I fell in love with the felt material and the process. When I returned to the USA, I soon started making my own handmade felt.

2. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan. I studied fine art in college and then designed hand bags for several Japanese fashion designers for about 10 years. I met my husband, who is from Detroit, in Kyoto in 1992. We got married 5 years later and decided to move to the United States. Now, my husband and I live in a small town of the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin with our dog Otto.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?

I am inspired by traditional folk art and crafts, especially Japanese folk art. I get a lot of inspiration when I see their wonderful work and their palette of colors.

Also new inspiration comes during the process of making my work. The ideas seem to come about more when I am busy felting than when I am just staring at a blank sketchbook.

4. Is there a favorite product of yours that you would like to share?

Recently I’ve been making my lovebird pincushions for Valentine’s Day and I’ve been enjoying working with the red, pink and white wool.

5. Do you sell on other venues other than Etsy?

During the holiday season, I sell my work at some great craft shows we have near here.

6. Any advice for other designers and crafters out there who are looking to start their own business?

I think that most important thing is that you have to enjoy yourself. If you start your own business, it is very exciting and fun but sometimes it is very hard. If you like and enjoy what you are doing, it is easier and happier to continue your business. On a practical level, you might want to consider getting a Post Office box and always package your artwork nicely as the customer will feel happy when they open your package like it was a present from a friend.

A big thank you to Yoko for sharing her beautiful work with us.  Now everyone go shop and tell her I sent ya!  Also, leave me a comment and let me know your favorite item!  I am still trying to decide if I want to buy a pincushion first or one of her tape measures.  Decisions, decisions......