Great Canadian Artists - FiveForty

>> Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm starting a series of posts featuring my favorite Canadian Etsy Artists! The world deserves to know about the amazing talent in the True North.

I'm so happy to showcase the works of fiveforty, who lives and works in Terrace Bay, Ontario. Her etsy shop is full of her handwoven creations and gemstone jewels that are worth taking a look at. Her marvelous use of colour, texture and recycled materials truly make her one of a kind.

I posed a few questions to fiveforty, so we could get to know her a little bit better.

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.

Who am I? Good question, I ask myself that same question all of the time. I live on the north shore of Lake Superior with my husband, my mom, and our 3 dogs and a cat. I am 50, halfway through my life.I majored in weaving (fibres & fabrics) in college, minored in painting and photography. I was a stay at home mom, my two children are now grown and live away.This second half of my life is about me and my creativity. It is time to follow my heart and my dreams.

2. Outside of your creative life, what else are you up to?

At the moment my creative life is my life! I am trying to build a business so most of the hours in my days are devoted to it.I love cooking, I am a foodie, I try my best to follow the philosophy of slow food.

3. What made you first want to create art?

My dad studied at the Ontario College of Art. He always encouraged us to be creative.

4. What do you offer in your Etsy shop?

I am selling one of a kind, handwoven rag rugs, not your usual rag rug, mine are woven with recycled used textile for both warp and weft. Soft and cushy felted wool, sturdy denim or corduroy. I also make and sell one of a kind beaded beach pebble and gemstone jewelry. I love working with Lake Superior beach pebbles, but also love working with semi precious gemstones, fresh water pearls, and of course colour. I have some felted wool cuff bracelets, recycled from my weaving supplies, I think they are a fun and creative way to use my bits and pieces.I have recently started playing with needle felting, I am very much enjoying it. I will be working some needle felted pieces into my shop.

5. Without giving away any of your trade secrets, what is your creative process?

Colour is a huge part of my creative process. I will talk about my rug weaving for example. I order my used textile (say, wool sweaters) by the 75 lb. bale. My supplier ships it to me by the Greyhound. I have no choice in colour of sweaters, I get what I get. Probably about half of the sweaters will be feltable wool, the other half I have to figure out what to do with, I have bags of them.Once I have the sweaters processed, I lay them out across my living room floor and see what colours speak to me! The next task is the cutting, there are a lot of hours work in the prep for each rug. Loom prep comes next, deciding if the colours really do work with one another, then the weaving. I have to be happy in my heart before a rug is finished.

6. Where do you create?

My loom is in my daughter’s bedroom, sharing space with her things. I do call it MY Loom Room now though. I used to weave in our living room when I first started weaving these rugs, but the dust throughout our living space was terrible.Everything else I create is done in the living room or at the dining room table. I can only imagine how wonderful l it must be to have studio space.

7. If you listen to music while you make your creations, what is the soundtrack?

I love music and my play list is ever changing. Here is a sampling of what I listen to every day. Patty Griffen, Regina Spektor, Ray LaMontagne, The Raconteurs, Neil Young, Mark Berube, Feist, Kristen Hersch, Eddie Vedder, Wilco, Cat Power, Yeah, Yeah,Yeahs, U2, Martha Wainwright & Snow Patrol…….on and on it goes!

8. What are your Crafting Resolutions for 2008?

Hmmm craft resolutions for 2008!! I actually have a couple of them. I bought a 75 lb. bale of men’s shirts to try something, an experiment of sorts. At the moment I don’t want to mention what it is, as it is some thing though labour intensive is something I have never seen anywhere.I would also like to incorporate some smaller priced items in my shop this year, so I will be working on that. Trivets, needle felting……oh and I need to work on my writing skills!!

9. How do you promote your Etsy shop?

I use my blog, business cards, Facebook, and family and friends to promote my Etsy shop.

10. What is your most favorite handmade item that you have made?

The favourite item I have made is a huge tapestry blanket I wove on a large frame in college. I am proud that I actually finished it. It does however now live in a trunk in our basement.

11. What is your most favorite handmade item that someone else has made?

My favourite item made by some one else, is a mask I bought in Brazil. I am in awe of the workmanship, skill and resourcefulness of the artisan. It is a gorgeous piece!

12. What is your favorite purchase from Etsy?

My favourite Etsy purchase, I love each and every one I have bought. They are also different, and unique each piece is a favourite!!

13. What was your best Etsy “moment”?

My best Etsy moment just happened recently! I love building treasuries on Etsy! I of course am very pleased when my treasuries make the front page. My biggest hope in my treasuries is that the artisans in the collection sell their work because of the treasury. A couple of weeks ago, one of my collections made the front page, and six pieces of work from the collection sold, and some had other sales they said were a result of the list.One of these very talented artisans is The Felted Garden. She contacted me to say she wanted to thank me by giving me a scarf. Her shop has been one of my favourites since joining Etsy. I admire her work. I tried a few years ago making felted wool scarves myself, and was not very successful. I appreciate her talent and skill. We messaged back and forth and finally came to an agreement, we traded, I sent her a rug and she sent me a very beautiful scarf.

14. Top 5 list – list your top 5 favorite movies, books, bands, and foods.

I don’t have a top 5 list of anything. I like such a huge variety of all things. I do not like fishy fish, organ meats, sea food and cilantro. I actually hate cilantro, I hate the taste of it. I love coriander the mature plant though.

15. What advice would you like to give to others on Etsy?

Follow your heart and have patience!!

16. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ha!! In ten years I will be 60. I do not want to think of that at the moment. I hope I am settled, in a comfortable place, following my heart…creating!!

17. If you could describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be?

Passionate, creative, introverted, quirky, reliable.

Wonderful words from a wonderful artist. You can visit fiveforty at her etsy shop Thanks, five!!!!


Canadian Rockies Art - Nathalie Girard March 4, 2008 at 11:00 PM  

I absolutely LOVE Five's work - I aim to be able to own one of her wonderful denim rugs one day (soon!).

I think it's wonderful that you have featured her and that you will be featuring more Canadians on your blog. There is a lot of talent in this big country of ours and lots of wonderful warm caring people.

Cheers from Calgary!

Rhonda March 5, 2008 at 9:03 AM  

This is a wonderful interview, thanks so much to both of you for putting it together! I am the proud owner of two of these rugs and they are absolutley the best rugs, ever!

Tiffany Teske March 12, 2008 at 2:28 AM  

I am a big fan of Five's and want to thank her because I know she has featured me in two of her treasuries. I hope to own one of her necklaces someday. Great job, Cy!

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