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 riet, for our first international interview ...
Please introduce yourself …
Riet Baird, born in 1952 in Sittard in the Netherlands, where after 58 years I’m still around. Married to a Scotsman for 40 years and proud mum of 2 children and 2 grandchildren. How would you describe your work / style?
My work is autodidactic, of course I do like to follow workshops to learn new methods, but just once and then it turns into my own kind of working method.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Everything and nothing! Strawling around, looking at everything, people, nature, books, but most of all children, and especially the works of children. They are without borders, they just make what they want to make and in one or other way they always manage to do so.
Do you sell your work? If so, what helped you decide to start selling your work?
Occasionally I sell my work on markets and exhibitions, like 3 or 4 times a year.
I started selling on request of the organisation of an art market in Sittard, never thought of selling before, but I like it. All the stuff you make, you can’t keep it yourself, so now I can go on creating. The only thing I don’t like to do is make felt “on order”, then it does not feel like creating.Do you have a website or blog address?
www.vilterietjes.blogspot.com, I don’t have a website, everything I want to publish, I can do on my blog.
How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
I learned it a couple of years ago during a workshop. It was a birthday present from my best friend Patty. I was so fond of felting, I couldn’t stop. Took a couple of workshops after that, even on holiday in Scotland, I went to the ‘hat in the cat’ in Perth to learn to make hats. It is a lovely shop, run by two very inspiring ladies, who are great teachers and hostesses
Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I’d love to learn spinning, but one of the bloggers I follow, and who lives very near to me, is willing to teach me this summer. I’m looking forward to do so..Anything exciting planned for 2011 you’d like to share?
This year I’m joining a kind of competition to research wool. 30 people each research a kind of sheep and the results will be published on the German blog www.fasertausch2011.blogspot.com. I’ll do the Shetland sheep. Up till now the only thing I did was: buying the wool. The last 4 weeks I’m not able to do any feltwork or research. Last December I got an artificial knee and that went very well, so I started felting a lot of walking and doing things I couldn’t do for a long time. Now my knee is infected and I have to rest a lot, which is very boring. I hope to get to normal very soon, so my research can go on.Have you had any work featured in magazines/books/galleries?
No, but the results of my research will be published in Viltcontact, a Dutch magazine for feltmakers.
Has your work won any prizes/competitions?
No, but I’m not intending to enter competitions, I like to make my work for myself and if someone likes to buy it: great! If not, I like to keep it myself.
If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be …
I have no idea hihi, my whole life I did things as they came, and I love it that way.
I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for …
If I had a full time job, I couldn’t do this. At this moment I don’t have a job, but when I’m working it’s for 20 hours a week. 1 day a week I look after my grandson, but this will be the last year, because he will go to school next year.Describe your perfect day.
Sunshine, 20-25 degrees and being in Scotland at the east coast with my hubby in the campervan.
Describe your proudest moment.
When my first nunoscarve was finished! I was so proud, I could show it to the whole world!
What do you do to relax?
Read a book. You can wake me up for a good thriller and I will read the whole night.Marmite … love it or hate it?
I only eat marmite with a lot of butter on spaghetti, Nigella’s recipe.
What animal would you be, and why?
Would love to be a deer, because then I would always be in Scotland.
How do you keep motivated?
I don’t have to be kept motivated, I’m always motivated.
What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
I whish I would have known that felting was addictive, but than again I love to be addicted!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Take time to work, don’t hurry.What question did you hope to be asked but didn’t?
Are you a happy and content person?
What would your answer have been?
thanks for taking the time to chat riet, i hope your knee is on the mend soon - have you considered needle felting in the meantime? it's not as vigorous as wet felting and you can do it sitting down. glad to hear you enjoyed your workshop at 'hat in the cat', i had my first workshop there a couple of months ago and loved it. will follow your research with interest :)