Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Artist of the Week!!!

Meet Mirka, the very talented artist behind not one, but two shops on Etsy. Mirka.etsy.com features her adorable fabric creations. Stuffed animals abound in loads of fabrics and unique shapes, along side cute little purses and wallets. FinnFactor Arts is Mirkah's other shop featuring her truly amazing art work. Her animal prints are almost life-like.
I hope you will enjoy reading her interview, I know I did!
Name Mirka Hokkanen-Kim
Shops Mirka.etsy.com for crafts and www.finnfactorarts.etsy.com for art.

About my crazy self: In the beginning I was just making gifts and giving them away to friends. The Etsy-site came along at the right moment for me, because I had ran out of people to give things to and it was a logical step to start selling my handworks. I am not looking to make a living producing arts and crafts, so it keeps me free to create what I want.
As far as making things is concerned I am all over the place which led me to divide my creations into two sections- art and craft. On one hand I work as a printmaker and illustrator, and have an artist website, blog and shop. On the other hand on my free time I like to sew, knit, crochet and felt for which I have a craft blog and a shop set up. It all sounds like a lot of work, but I love every minute of it. I am constantly moving around working on something. My inspiration is from nature and almost everything I do features some kind of an animal. I was born and raised in Finland, so I like to draw inspiration from my culture as well.

1. What brought you into your chosen craft or art?
I have been drawing and crafting little things for as long as I can remember. My mother always supplied me with pencils and paper, and my grandmother had an easy access scrap fabric bin on the bottom shelf of a closet. I do a little of everything and switch around with different materials and techniques as inspiration strikes. (This is also my Achilles heel.) I think what dictates my work now is moving around with a husband in the military. I have to choose small projects, that don’t take a lot of equipment or storage space.

2. Do you have a favorite piece that you have created?
I’m always infatuated with the newest creations, with the feeling wearing off and re-directing itself to the next critter that is completed. Currently I love my two little teddies that were crocheted a couple of weeks ago. The same usually goes for my artworks, but I am much more thoughtful and critical about that side of me- so it’s harder to like my prints. I think the crafts are freer and less meditated, so they have more of a whimsical and lovable side to them.

3. What would you tell someone who would like to venture into creating?
If you are not sure, start doing it on the side. Don’t be afraid of trying, learning and picking up new things. Nobody is perfect when they try something for the first time and unless you try you’ll never know what you like.
Search your local community centers, colleges, art centers etc. for craft classes. When you start looking, you might be amazed at the variety of craft instruction that is available and the nice thing is that you don’t have to invest in your own equipment only to find out you don’t like the technique.
If you live in a more rural area where no classes are available, search for local artists, most of them would probably be happy to give instruction for a small fee. See your local library for craft books. (free!!) The internet is also a great resource. You can find lots of tutorials, forums, blogs and artists who share their knowledge. Don’t be afraid to email and ask for advice, people love to talk and you will most likely get lots of friendly help.
I have listed some great resources on my craft blog www.finnfactor.blogspot.com and here are a handful of sites that might be helpful for beginners:
www.instructables.com an unbeatable resource of tutorials
http://getcrafty.com/ crafting forum
http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/ tutorials
http://sewing.patternreview.com/ support for those who want to sew

Thanks Mirka for sharing a glimpse into your life and your art! And thank you, reader for taking the time to learn about and visit Mirka!

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