Each week we invite a different Etsy seller to visit us at our home: The House of Mouse, where all the mice live. This weeks guest is UK based fiber artist Melanie Green from feltmeupdesigns.etsy.com
Mel and I wander down one of the many paths in The House of Mouse garden eventually finding ourselves at the old pond surrounded by trees, twisting vines and the tumbledown remains of a potting shed. Mel’s little birds are happily playing splashing games in the shallow end of the pond, letting out little squawks and twitters of joy. Our mice scamper around their feet and dance up and down the vines, they are so happy to have new friends to play with. The mice were a little weary of Mel’s owls at first, but they are so sweet and gentile that all fears are soon forgotten. We sit ourselves down on the old wooden bench (well out of splashing range). Mel watches the merriment while I locate my notes.
Ahhh, here they are! Welcome to our home Mel. Thank you so much for talking to us today.
Thanks Anna, Thanks mice! I brought you some homemade fudge to share with the mice... I hope they like chocolate... it's my malteser fudge which I make for special occasions, very chocolatey and yummy but very sweet so they'll have to remember to clean their teeth before bedtime!
Ohh that sounds delicious! I am sure they will love it. (All the mice scurry over and start tucking in, silence follows, punctuated with a few appreciative squeaks)
We'd like to begin by asking you a little bit about your Etsy store and what it means to you: when telling someone about your shop for the first time, what do you say about it?
I'm get very shy talking about my shop to people (mice of course are another story, it's very easy to open up to a mouse... I think it's probably the whiskers!) I don't know why I get so bashful about it... here goes then!
I make needlefelted birds, I call them Tweets because that's what they call themselves! Needle felting is a process where you take pile of fluff and turn it into something wonderful using only a barbed needle, big foam pad and your imagination! I make all sort of birds from little tweets with love hearts on their bellies right up to the owls which are much more complex.
Would you share a memory with us of when you first fell in love with your craft?
I started out doing a wet felting course at my local community centre and the teacher mentioned needlefelting… I tried it and didn’t like it at first, so my needles returned to their box and stayed there for over a year, then when I moved house I found them again and decided to have another go. After making a few bunnies and aliens I decided to try my hand at making a bird and the first tweet was born! I fell in love with him straight away he was a little skinny blue tweet with pink spots on his belly. The basic design hasn’t changed much since then… it’s just got more complicated as I have started making real bird portraits!
I adore your shop name, it is so clever and easy to remember. How did you come up with it?
I wish I could remember! Me and a friend came up with it one night after sharing a few glasses of wine… and it just kinda stuck!
I have watched your designs become more and more complex over the last few years, is it important to you to continue challenging yourself as an artist?
Most definitely, I have the world’s shortest attention span so I need to keep it interesting for my self and keep developing my designs. It has to be fun, I always said the minute it stops being fun I’ll stop… I still love every minute of it tho!
How do you plan for a new item in your Etsy Shop, if at all? Do you know how something will look before you start?
I tend to work in lots of different ways; sometimes it’s just a case of putting colours together and seeing what works. When I make the owls and real birds it’s a different process though. I watch a lot of nature documentaries for inspiration and when I find a bird I like I research its markings and shape so as to get it as close as possible… the hardest part is working out what to leave out so the tweet will still look like its real life counterpart! I only have a vague idea what they will look like when I start, they tend to take shape under the needle.
We do hope that you're a keen Etsy buyer as well as seller. What are some of your favourite shops on Etsy and why?
Thehouseofmouse… of course… gotta love those mices!
I love Alibalijewellery http://www.etsy.com/shop/AliBaliJewellery I met Ali on a weekend away with some of the etsy girls and watched her make some speckled sparrow earring, her work is so beautiful.
Kitlane makes the cutest Jacabobs and Jacabunnies http://www.etsy.com/shop/KitLane she an inspiring needlefelter... Her creations have real character.
We'd love to get a little snippet of your home life, please describe your home in just 5 words.
Ooo… hard question! Leaking? I live in an attic flat with slopping ceilings and lots of quirky corners so:
Quirky, cosy, felt covered loft!
Värmod the Viking Mouse loves a midnight snack. If he were to raid your refrigerator right now, what treats might he find there?
Cheese… lots and lots of cheese… so he’ll have crazy cheese dreams.
If you were a mouse living in The House of Mouse, which one would you be and why?
I’d be the devil mouse because I have a wicked sense of humour!
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us, Mel. Please let us know how we can find you on the internet by sharing some links.
Thanks Anna, thanks mice… I had a great time, I love your garden! I’ll leave you the rest of the fudge… oh wait… the mice ate it all!
My Felty shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/feltmeupdesigns
My Inky shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/inkmeup
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