Felting intrigues me. I don't do it, but I always love to see when it's done and done well. Rachel does a beautiful job of creating felted art. Her shop, Secret Snow Bird, is full of amazing items that would look great in any home.
I browse her shop all the time and decided I should take the opportunity of getting to know her better. She so graciously accepted so here is the interview. Rachel has also agreed to provide a prize for one lucky commenter. So at the end of this post, please answer the three questions in a comment to be entered in the drawing.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I'm Rachel Koniar, living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the day I teach art at two different schools, a middle school in Wayzata, and a charter school in Minneapolis. My charter school, Watershed, is a bit of a treat, since I get to teach textiles, sewing and knitting.
What inspires you to your craft/artistry?
I'm lucky to live in a neighborhood that's saturated with art. The Walker is down the street, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art is a mile away. When I need a big dose of inspiration, I duck into the MIA for an hour or two, usually spending some time with Chinese landscape paintings, and American folk art. Also, I love the combinations of colors that the fashion industry pumps out. My sketchbook has swatches of colors from clothing catalogs that often become the basis for my sculptures.
How do you promote your items?
I promote by word of mouth a lot, I never leave the house without my business cards. Also, follow up with potential customers is key. A follow up email or call can keep your artwork fresh in a buyer's mind, it also establishes a relationship.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to new artists?
Make a regular space in your day, and home for your art. Don't wait for the muse, make art daily, even if you'll throw it out tomorrow. Artists aren't different than musicians or athletes, you must stay in practice no matter what your natural talent is.
How do you see yourself evolving in the next 5-10 years?
I'd like to balance teaching with creating, to be a professional artist half the day, and teaching the other half. Also, I'm curious about the meeting of practical arts and decorative arts. I'd like to explore that tension more in my work. In an epic battle between painting and quilting who would win out? I might stage it in my living room.
What are some of your favorite things?
I love gardening, local food, camping, reading nonfiction, burritos, blogs.
Favorite books that I read recently: Omnivore's Dilemma, In Praise of Slowness, and Better Off.
Movies: Sunset Boulevard, Howl's Moving Castle, Pan's Labyrinth.
I can't stop listening to the Decemberists, old Modest Mouse, and I have to plug my fav Minnesota boy: Mason Jennings.
What is your favorite quote?
Those of you who are scattered,
Simplify your worrying lives.
There is one righteousness:
water the fruit trees,
and don't water the thornes.
1 - Where else can you find Secret Snow Bird besides her Etsy Shop?
2 - What is your favorite item in Secret Snow Bird's shop?
3 - What struck you most in this interview?
Leave a comment with the answers to these questions for a chance to win a special prize from Secret Snow Bird's shop. Make sure to leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.
Winners will be announced here on Thursday, February 26, 2009!