Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FEATURED SELLER: Karolina Wieczorek - Free The Puppets

Karolina is the owner of FreeThePuppets - an Etsy store specializing in handmade puppets, toys and accessories.

Tell us something about yourself

Welcome. My name is Karolina and I wouldn't call myself and "artist". I'd call myself a craftsman... I like making things with my hands - I find it relaxing. I love working with natural materials and also reusing materials.  At the moment I mainly sell custom made items, but I'm planning on also selling pattern and also on selling gorgeous items crocketed by my mom.

I'm a Stein Kindergarten teacher and a lot of my toys are accessories are done in the same manner... they're natural, eco and they stimulate imagination. 

I started Free the Puppets when I was working at a Stein Kindergarten in Cork. I became fascinated with children puppet theater so much that I started making puppets and set decorations for the shows.
I've been a vegetarian for the last 15 years and for me kitchen is also a place for creating:)

What do you do besides creating?

I try to survive as a Polish immigrant living in Ireland. I spend time discovering each other, with my 1 and a half year old son. I'm still searching for myself:)

Lately, I've discovering myself in a role of a teacher for older children and other teachers. I sew with older kids once a week and I'm leading craft workshops for teachers.
Soon I will be starting a clothing design class to freshen up my inspiration:)

How does your day look like

Something sweet and little wakes me up. Then his daddy and I try to catch it and get it ready for the day as we get ready ourselves, then breakfast for him and us. Walk, shopping, children play groups, nap for my son and time for me to try to get everything straight, dinner, play time, once my son goes to bed, tea, movie and crafting. At the moment, I'm finishing a finger knitted basket and have started on an afghan. I'm hoping to start felting by Easter.

What made you want to become an artist?

I think it's hereditary. All women in my family have always made things with their hands. Each of us has their own special craft though: I like to sew, knit and crochet - I'm still mastering all these skills ;) and while at it, I like to improvise a bit. 

Sometimes, I feel that it's easier to make custom made items instead of copying something. It's also ideal when I know something about the future owner of my toys. 

Describe your creative process

At the moment I mostly craft in the evenings when my son is asleep. He's very energetic and doesn't sit still. I feel like once he starts talking, he'll be a great candidate for sewing and right now he's perfected pin sorting. 
Because of lack of time, I've been mainly making custom ordered items. They usually take up anywhere between 2-5 evenings depending on whether it's a gnome or a car.

What advice would you give to other Etsians

I really don't know much myself. Selling means marketing and that means spending a lot of hours in front of the computer. I feel like treasuries make wonders though. 

How do you promote?

I'm slowly just starting on Etsy and Poletsy. I mostly promote through a network of friend and also use Facebook quite a bit. Also, whenever there's a craft show in the area and I so happen to have enough items in stock, I try to get a booth and sell locally.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself more so as a person who teaches and inspires others than as somebody you continues crafting herself...

What are your favorite products?

I feel sentimental towards my gnomes - I've designed and crocheted them myself and took me several years to perfect them for little children. They are small and easy to handle by small hands. Gnomes become part of the child. They're sad or happy together. I also love the car and rabbits are my newest creation. 

What are you favorite store on Etsy?

There are lots!!! Feel free to browse through my favorites.

If you liked this interview and want more, please check out Karolina's website, read an article about FreeThePuppets on mutantspace and feel free to follow her on facebook and make sure to read her blog.  

If you enjoy this series and you are part of the Poletsy Team and would like to be the next one featured, please contact me via convo. Feeling Artsy  


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