12 March, 2013

Guest Post #2 - Smudge Yarns

Without further a do (and a teeny bit late), let me welcome the lovely Sara from Smudge Yarns! A talented crafter / artist originally from the US of A but now settled in the wonderful county of Cork.



Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself 
My name is Sara Breitenfeldt and I am originally from Wisconsin, but relocated to Ireland in 2010. I studied Irish History at university, and even went to Irish College in the Gaelteacht and struggled through learning Irish Gaelic! I'm now settled in Cork with my Irish partner. I have always been a crafty person, and have been knitting for years. I was wanting to get into spinning my own yarn, but a spinning wheel was always financially out of reach. However, thanks to the crowd funding site Kickstarter.com I was able to raise funds to fulfill one of my dreams – to spin yarn out of real Irish wool.

What do you make, how do you make it and what materials do you use?
I buy wool fleeces from sheep farmers around Ireland. Farmers are paid very little for wool, and after the shearer is paid, there is virtually no profit left. I strive to pay the farmers a price that I feel is fair. I wash these fleeces myself, and card them, dye them, and spin them into yarn. Most of the items I sell are carded wool or spun yarn, but sometimes I use this yarn to weave shawls or make other knitted items.

Tell us about your creative process
Much of my inspiration for color palettes comes from nature: green and yellow lichen growing on a grey rock, or a field of colorful flowers.

Tell us about your creative space
At the moment my creative space is my kitchen. This is not a great arrangement as there is always yarn hanging up to dry, or wool being carded on the kitchen table. I will, however, be moving house soon and will have a dedicated wool space, which I am really excited about!

Do you create full time or part time?
I create full time at the moment. I turned to craft during a time of unemployment, so I have effectively dedicated my life to wool! Each day is mix of mundane activities (like wool carding) and creative activities (like dyeing).

What and who inspires you?
Most of my inspiration comes from the Irish landscape. Ireland has a very different texture to it, compared to where I grew up. Ireland is stone and moss and mist; not the wood and prairie of Wisconsin.

How do you stay motivated?
This is a tough one. It can be hard to stay motivated when working from home, especially when it is time to do the hard and unpleasant tasks. It is much easier to daudle away the time on the internet. But luckily, my partner is a manufacturing engineer and he has shared some tricks with me. I use a Gantt Chart to keep myself on track and force myself to meet deadlines.

How does art enhance your life?
Art allows me to be creative and use my imagination. I have previously worked in sectors that place a huge emphasis on conformity and regulation. My craft hobbies have always allowed me achieve balance by introducing some right-brain activities into my life.

Best piece of crafty / life advice you ever received
Being a leader means stepping up and taking on the jobs that no one else is willing to tackle. I often think of this when faced with a task that seems difficult or not enjoyable.

The fun stuff – five words to describe you
Engaged, Distractable, Diffident, Antiquarian, Zymurgist.

Favourite places, food and song
Since I am far from home, I would say one of my favorite places is my hometown, Milwaukee. And no trip to Milwaukee would be complete without some Bratwurst! At the moment I would say one of my favourite songs is “Pack it Up” by Pokey LaFarge.









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