Monday, September 29, 2008

HEADLINE: Chatting with Plask Design, a shop on Etsy

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Q: What is your stores name and what do you sell (and anything else that you wanna share about it)?

--- My store is named Plask Design. I sell mostly cool and innovative winter wear: hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves. I do my best to use, and am experimenting more with, recycled and upcycled materials. I am knitting and crocheting more and more with textiles and plastics as well as traditional wools, cottons and silks. I have also started to encorporate printed material into my store in the form of Traditional Norwegian Recipes, as well as knitted/crocheted postcards that of course are meant to be used and sent off to friends and family. This is because I am actually educated in Creative Writing and Journalism, and am working on my first family travel book which will be entirely published by myself.
-- It is also interesting to note that 'Plask' is actually the Norwegian word for 'Splash'. I chose this as a name for my store for two reasons: 1) I love the sound of the word and feel that it resonates in any language, and 2) the west coast of Norway is one of the wettest places on earth and receives over 3 meters or 10 feet of rain a year. The perfect place to develope designs for the items I make.

Q: How long have you been crafting for yourself before you decided to share your designs with other?

-- I can't remember if it was my mother or my grandmother who taught me how to crochet, but I was shown at an early age and then started flying on my own after that. When I first moved to Norway as a newly wed with my husband, money was tight while I went to school to learn the language instead of working. My mother-in-law taught me to knit and everyone that year received socks for Christmas. Once I could do both things, I spent the next 5 years or so playing with different stitches and techniques. It wasn't until I found Etsy and I became more focussed on creating finished products with a high degree of professionalism.

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Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

-- I actually get my inspiration for the materials I come across. How do I make a bag full of wool, each ball a different color, into a spectacular object that someone will love to have on their body? What will happen if I cut up this kitchen curtain with with gorgeous colors into one continuous strip and make a hat out of it? What can plastic be made into? How do all these different materials feel against the skin? This is the part of the journey I enjoy the most.

Q: Is there a funny story where you accidentally screwed something up, but it turned out better than you planned?

-- Not really a funny story, but a long-term learning experience. In the beginning, I didn't understand that a lot of the items I made did look very good at all, until I was finally finished with the product and the decorating of it. Then about 6 months ago I met a landscape painter who was visiting a friend of mine. I saw the stages of his work (I had really seen the beginning stages of a painting) and saw that his work didn't look very good at this point either. This realization made me focus on the final vision of my product and not pay so much attention to how it appears before I get to that stage.

Q: How do you see yourself down the road?

-- I really don't know where my creative journey will take me, but I'm pretty much open to anything and any type of material.

Q: Do you do this for fun or for serious business?

-- A little bit of both. The economical social structure of Norway is one that I could not live off my work, pay my mortgage payments and keep my children feed. I will be continuing to work in my career (which in itself is very creative) for many years to come. But I am continually thinking of, and planning for perhaps 20 years in the future when I'll be approaching retirement. I hope to have created enough success that I can begin to cut back on my hours of work as I get older.

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Q: Do you ever get a creative block?

-- I am a mother of two youngsters, aged 4 and 6. I work full time and my husband also works full time shift work. Life is incredibly busy already, but we also add in weekend mountain hikes, trips to our sea-side cabin as well as skiing trips in the winter. This is of course after the house gets vaccuumed. I simply don't have time to have a creative block: there's always an etsy project that needs to be worked on or finished.

Q: What is one favorite thing that you made and felt bad selling it - only because you liked it so much?

-- I absolutely love most of my gloves. They're my favorite things to make. Most of them turn out much better than I had envisioned and I always question if 'these' will be the latest pair that I will give to myself.

Q: What is a normal day like for you?

-- My husband wakes up around 5am. I usually don't sleep well after that so am often up at 5.45 or so. I make myself coffee, check etsy, my team blogs, my private blog and then my email to see if I received any news from home.
-- 6.30 - 8.00: pack lunches, wake and dress the kids, feed them breakfast, dress and deliver them to the places they need to be and then head to work.
-- 4.00ish - start heading home and pick up the kids. Start dinner if I'm home first. Eat. Start kids on an activity while I do some laundry or clean up the kitchen. Spend some quality time with the kids. Get kids ready for bed, read stories, sing, kiss them goodnight.
-- 8.00ish - do a bit more laundry or one more housework job.
-- 8.30ish - the night is mine and I can work on Etsy. Do check Etsy itself, my blogs, then get to work until about 10.00 pm. Then go to sleep and start the whole thing again the next day.

Q: What else interests you besides your craft?

-- Our family spends a lot of time outside. We go on mountain hikes (some are spoken about on my blog: and have a sea side cabin we often visit. Here we do a lot of fishing, as well cutting down trees and chopping firewood. During the right times of the year we harvest in a lot of blueberries, raspberries, and apples.

Q: Is there something you would like to say as the end of the talk?

--- I think those who use Etsy as an area to shop and/or sell should really start realizing and understanding that they are at the very beginning of a new politican and economic part of history. I truly believe that the internet levels the feilds between big corporations and the private seller. I also believe that in the future (and hopefully during my lifetime) I will be able to see the demise of big industry and the rise of local industries of all types: manufacturing, agriculture and farming, and possibly even areas such as energy creation. Wouldn't that be cool?

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