Monday, February 21

meet a maker

being the inquisitive little feltmaker that i am, i thought it might be interesting to hear about other maker's stories. if you would like to be featured, please leave me a comment and i'll get in touch with some questions for you.

so, grab a cuppa, put your feet up and lets meet aileen from the sunroom ...

Please introduce yourself …
Hi I’m the Sunroom and my name is Aileen.

How would you describe your work / style?
Textiles based mainly at this moment in time crochet biased but I hope exploratory and innovative.

Who, or what, inspires you?
In the main I’m a self motivator so the answer would be me. On a more realistic level I don’t live in a vacuum and so ideas and thoughts in everyday life surroundings and interactions can all be ripe for the picking. Sometimes it’s a visual stimulus other times it’s just thinking about how or why things are the way they are. Other times it’s a case of what if, or why hasn’t that been tried.
bluebell granny blanket

Do you sell your work? If so, what helped you decide to start selling your work?
Yes I do sell my work. The decision for that is twofold 1. Necessity if I sell things then I can make more things. 2. It seems, to me, an utterly selfish occupation to spend time making things to then hoard them. Conversely, I do give away a fair amount of what I make and produce a plethora of free patterns and do create for charities too so that must be my altruistic side.

Where can I buy your work?
Directly from me, by commission or from the sunroom etsy shop

love heart rag rug

Do you have a website or blog address?
Yes quite a few
The main one –
The arty one –
The experimental one –

On this site we are actively looking for fellow creative people to become contributors. The concept being a communal blog for crafty/arty folks to have a blogged dialogue regarding the creative process. If anyone would like to join as a contributor then please email me at

How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
This is a difficult one – I guess the majority of ‘creative inquisitiveness’ would have been nurtured by my mum at a very early age. Certainly all the basic skills of knitting and crochet were leaned aged 4 or 5. Hand & machine sewing within the next couple of years. I was exceptionally lucky in attending a primary school whose overwhelming priority was arts and expression and it was a fine environment for me. It would probably be likened to a Montessori school nowadays.

I then went onto college to do art where we covered everything from textiles, life drawing, graphics, photography, art history etc. I finally ended up going to Hull University to study Fine Art. Since then I went on to study with the Open University for 4 years (none Arts) and then went and did a degree in Psychology/Sociology in Edinburgh after that. So to answer the question I’ve been creating for many years.

Rag Rug featured in 'Making Gifts' Magazine November 2010

Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I think that the more that you actively engage with the creative process the more you learn and at times it takes you off in new directions. I don’t think there are many things I haven’t done and I’m not intimidated by learning a new skill – it’s down to practice and mastering it and making it your own.

My photography is diabolical but that’s down to eyesight as much as lack of my own interest. I prefer to use my hands.

Anything exciting planned for 2011 you’d like to share?
Createablogdialogue as mentioned previously.

I would like to get my work exhibited in more places.
Currently working on the thing-a-day project which may be of interest to fellow crafties and artists

‘Exploring Fibre with Innovation’ Project funded by Scottish Arts Council via Fife Council.

There are 2 other projects that I’m working on which are cloak and dagger – need to know basis – at the moment.

I’m also in the embryonic stages of writing a Crochet Rag Rug book.

Have you had any work featured in magazines/books/galleries?
Not really. I managed to get one of my photographs into the Liverpool Tate - Wall of Colour, which was fabulous. I haven’t actively attempted to get coverage as yet.

I’ve also made some sample rag rugs, wholly recycled howies garments and fabrics for and have had initial talks about selling them in their Carnaby Street Store, London.

Has your work won any prizes/competitions?
No it’s not something I’ve entered into.
Oh I did win the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Award

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be …
Doing this in a warm place or a place that is more culturally accepting of Art and Crafts.

Freeform Piece for International Freeform Guild Exhibition 2010 - Somewhere in my world

I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for …
My life and experience to date – bad answer I know.

Any funny stories you’d like to share?
Nothing springs to mind I must just be dull or too serous.

Describe your perfect day.
Sunshine and brightness and new inspiration/ideas probably in the south of France.

Describe your proudest moment.
On a selfish level getting my academic degree and proving to me I had a brain. Having been always encouraged and nurtured in creativity I wasn’t sure I had a brain. I think I confused things a bit up to that point, if that makes sense.

Altruistic moment – having 3 healthy babies my way.

What do you do to relax?
Epsom Salt Baths, Sleep, Garden, Create, Nurture, brain numbing TV when I want my brain to stop imagining/creating and wine.

Marmite … love it or hate it?
Bad answer again – I can take it or leave it.

What animal would you be, and why?
I like frogs and cows asthetically but probably a cat.

What’s your weakness?
Consumerism – it’s the plague of our time. Wanting things that I don’t need especially lots and lots of new yarns. I am actively trying to lose my consumerism.

How do you keep motivated?
It’s not difficult when you love what you do. My biggest problem is trying to hone my focus – too many ideas too little time.

What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
Life isn’t always fair and patience isn’t my virtue. I might have organised things better.

Pandora's Cushion - Featured article Inside Crochet Issue 13 January, 2011

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Find what you love and keep doing it until you don’t love it anymore and then find something else to fall truly, madly, deeply into.

On a practical note – there is a need to understand that nowadays you can’t just produce your art, there are a multiplicity of roles you will need to undertake:

Self Publicist, PA, Marketing, Salesperson, Photographer, Administration, Blogging, Web development work, Fundraiser, documentation, researcher, follower of other blogs, becoming an active member of various organisations, participating in forums and so the list goes on.

What question did you hope to be asked but didn’t?
Something political.

What would your answer have been?
Let’s stop talking the talk and get on with walking the walk.

You can also find me on:

thanks so much for taking the time to chat aileen, i totally know what you mean about having so many ideas and not enough time! it's a good dilemma to have though :)

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