Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Weekly Win It-Rik Rak!!!

This week I'm sooooo excited to welcome the Weekly Win It Etsian for a few reasons! First, she was the Etsy featured seller yesterday (what timing!). Second, she makes sustainable items using repurposed fabrics (perfect for Earthday Week!) and third, I am the lucky owner of one of her fabulous pieces so I can speak from first-hand knowledge when I tell you how terrific her items are. Please help me welcome Kristal from Rik Rak!

I absolutely love Kristal's colorful and graphic designs and her sewn pieces are beautiful...the stitching is perfect and so neat and tailored (trust me!). I love the creativity she seems to have in spades and it seems that her son has taken after her as well! Kristal uses repurposed fabrics to create new, one-of-a-kind wallets, clutches, bibs, blankets, cards, the list goes on and on...Let's get to know Kristal a little bit better, shall we?

How did you learn your craft and how long have you been sewing? My wonderful grandmother was a master quilter & craftsperson, so I was always surrounded by her beautiful work when visiting her as a child & young adult. I'd count her careful construction of materials as the seed for my own work. When she passed away several years ago, the fabric I inherited from her collection became the first materials I used for my early rikrak projects, and really helped me to push my sewing - which I had been doing on and off for the past few years - into a wonderful new realm.

Where do you do your crafting? How much fabric do you have “collected”? Oh, my poor husband! Our home is seemingly lined with shelves stuffed abundantly full of vintage fabrics and crafting gear. I work from home, when my son's away at school, and I also spend many evenings a week with my sewing machine at the dining room table, designing and creating while my wonderful husband reads books aloud for us both to enjoy!

You have such a great eye for fun and bright colors as well as composition and design in your shop as a whole…tell us about your background? Thanks so much! As I mentioned, my grandmother's traditional work was really my initial inspiration, sort of a blueprint for how a quilter - or craft maker - works. So, I suppose my designs come out of a respect for an old-fashioned sensibility, but mix in my love of simple lines and bright flashes of colour that I’ve long loved in Scandinavian and Japanese design in particular. I just love being able to showcase the amazing, historical fabrics that I’ve come across in fun & functional wares for everyday use! Seems to me that a tiny, well-place detail will always mean more in a design than a complex pattern. And I think beautiful vintage fabrics lend themselves so well to that!

My artistic background was fostered from a young age by my fabulous & amazing parents. They taught me a wonderful appreciation for handicraft (they cherished antiques & the stories behind handicrafts) and making things ourselves. I’m so thankful that they gave me the room to experiement with my own creativity and space to think & problem solve creatively.

You use a lot of vintage fabrics in your designs, what do you like best about vintage fabric and how do you find these fabulous patterns? (I’m not asking for sources…just how you came to be interested in using them and how you search them out!) By being steeped in old crafting traditions, I came to really respect the wonderful age-old ideal of repurposing, re-using, and re-inventing materials born once upon a time out of economic need, but now used as more of a kind of ethical statement, I suppose, on the value of respecting where we've come from, and where our materials have come from. This sense of history and nostalgia is important for me in my work, and it allows me to apply older materials and historical methods to new designs and new aesthetic approaches. I am lucky to have friends and family who keep an eye out for great vintage fabrics, maybe their aunt’s apron, or a nostalgic bedsheet – and send them my way! Thanks, nicies! Sometimes folks that I create custom works for will actually have special, nostalgic fabric that they’d like me to incorporate into a project for them. I just adore doing that!

I absolutely LOVE the photographic cards featuring photos taken by your already talented 3 year old! He takes better photos than most adults! Tell us a little about them... Thanks so much, JLC! He just loves taking photos! From a very young age, he seemed particularly interested in using the camera and being careful with it. My husband and I are both keen photographers, so the fact that we always have a camera on us seemed to encourage his avid love of it! Since he is so little, his wonderful, unique angles, and the objects he was interested in recording were of great fascination to me. I just love seeing his fun ideas and what appeals to his own artistic eye! And since digital is so prevalent – he can take 100s of photos with such minimal cost, so he can experiment and play with the camera for hours! I think it’s safe to say that his fun angles & look on life have inspired me in my own creative photography!

What is your favorite item to make and what is your best selling item? I really love making a wonderful range of quilted items. I think doing a broad range of projects is that part I love most! I’d have to say that my best selling items seem to be seasonally dependant. I’m lucky to also sell to over 40 brick and mortar stores now, and in general, I’d say my quilted vintage bibs, my quilted vintage wallets and my custom-designed baby playmats are my most popular items. And for the Holidays, certainly my rikrak felt stockings are my best sellers. It’s an exciting mystery for me what might come next!

I love it!! I absolutely love her fabulous pieces and highly recommend anything that she offers in her shop! Kristal has graciously offered one of her Sustainable Quilty Wallets in an array of fabric choices for one lucky JLC Studio reader to win!

I own one of these and, let me tell ya, they're absolutely gorgeous and the perfect size to hold business cards or that extra change floating around in the bottom of your bag!! The winner will get to choose their fabric from the group of available fabrics in her listing. As always, shipping will be free to winners in North America, international winners will have to pay a small fee...Please check here for contest rules and regulations!

Thank you so much Kristal for your fabulous interview and great give-away prize!! You have been soo nice to get to know!!


Patti said...

The attention to detail and the vibrant colors make this work spectacular!

Casey said...

All of her stuff is so bright and beautiful! I love it, and I hope I win. :)

My husband can totally sympathize with her husband about being overrun with craft supplies!


GumballGrenade said...

I love how she carries the quilted theme throughout her pieces.

l.m. glam said...

Oooh! Me! Me! I want one! Cute stuff!!

Jane said...

These are very beautiful, and I'm looking for a new wallet!


RedMarionette said...

I love all of her stuff! Unique fabrics and cute designs! Congrats to her for the featured seller spot!
Red Marionette

Artsy Momma said...

This was a great interview. Thank you so much!

Jen said...

I've been looking for something like this for the longest time!

Bejeweled said...

Great interview!

Love the fabrics she uses - just so fun and fresh!!

southernscraps said...

Great interview and awesome items.

matilda sue said...

what a great shop - I am in love with this...

Bonghi Nautra said...

What a great feature, I love the fun bright colors, beautiful work!

woolies said...

Rik Rak's work is just georgeous.
I really need a new wallet!!!
**keeping fingers crossed***

(if you want to do a giveaway with one of my pendants, give me a shout!)

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Just beautiful--fun and fresh!

missfire said...

Yay! I love her stuff, and I love her make-your-own sets. Soo cute!

windycindy said...

Hello! She makes many varied items. One is just as cute as the other! The colors she works with are wonderful!
The "Quilty Wallets" are especially pretty and useful. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks so much, Cindi

Cindy said...

I soo need one of these for my business cards!!

Ivey Handcrafted said...

I hearted her a while back...and then saw her on etsy yesterday then on here! Goodness..her work is fabulous!!!

BTW - if you ever want to do a giveaway from me I would love to help - this is such a great idea!

ALSO - thanks for my beautiful comment on my page about my accident. It means to world..XOXO

TexasTesla said...

Wow - she has such a lovely store, and such great items. Wish I could sew anywhere near that well!

Lauraslefthook said...

Those colors really pop out. Not only do the items look great, but obviously photography is no issue!! (Unlike for me sometimes, lol.)

Contact me through my etsy shop:

rikrak said...

thanks so much for having me on your fabulous blog, jlc! it was an honour to be part of your wonderful interviews - and i really appreciate your kind words & cheerleading! your own eye for design & panache & creativity are inspiring, superstar! thanks so much!
be well,
k. @ rikrak (ps. i'm not entering myself in the draw! :) just wanted to thank you so much!)

JLC Studio said...

Awwww...thank you Rikrak!! I really love your shop and your such a sweetheart (always with a kind word!)! It was a pleasure featuring you on my blog!