Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Joe Hurry Creations Interesting Conversations

June 30, 2010

Hi everyone,

wizard of oz cats polymer clay

A little while ago I asked the wonderful Kirsten of Quernus Crafts whether she’d be willing to do an interview so we could all get a bit of an insight into her awesome brain. Thankfully she agreed and this is the result!

So Kirsten, what led you to start doing your craft?

Until June 2009, I was a lawyer by trade and had been for nearly 15 years. Oh, I’d always dabbled in making things my whole life, but it was only ever as a hobby. And then when I stopped soliciting, I had the space, time and energy to really focus on being creative.

I have always thought in three dimensions (I can’t draw for toffee and have much admiration for those who can), and having worked on and off with polymer clay for years, I decided to turn my full attention to that medium and see what happened. To say that I was rather surprised by the outpouring of wee creatures which happened as a result is something of an understatement. Now I am completely hooked on polymer clay – it is the most versatile material, and there is no limit to what you can achieve with it. It’s like painting with clay.

rainbow cat canvass

Polymer clay is awesome so I’m not surprised your hooked.

So how long has it been now?

Pigling the First appeared on 23 July 2009, so it’s not even been a year since I started doing this for real.  I’ve lost count of how many wee creatures have emerged since then – must be pushing 1,000 by now. Crikey!

Woah, that’s crap-loads! That is so cool!

organised chaos craft workspace

This is the Kirsten's workspace

My workspace can best be described as organized chaos. I have taken over most of the kitchen table, and I can’t remember the last time we had a sit-down meal. I am gradually taking over the rest of the house by populating it with lovely purchases from my favourite artists and crafters!  I have everything I need within easy reach, and the windows look out onto our patio garden – lots of natural daylight, and I have a natural daylight lamp which is indispensable both for night-time working and taking photos. Radio 4 is my constant companion (I never realised before just how often they repeat their programmes through the day) and I’m getting to be quite a fan of the World Service. However, I have an abiding dislike of Sailing By…

luke, laya, darth vadar cats

These are so much cooler than Radio 4...

What’s the most challenging art-related thing you’ve done so far in your life?

Over Christmas I decided to make up a series of 23 abstract panels based around tree themes. These were special gifts for some wonderful people I’d met on a leadership programme in May 2009. These panels were a big departure from my usual creature creations, and I completely immersed myself in the task over the course of 5 days or so. In total, it took me about 50 hours to make up all 23 panels (each panel measures 4cm square).

amazing polymer fimo artpieces

Click to see closer. (Please!)

I used a wide variety of polymer clay techniques to create each panel, eg millefiori, Skinner blenders, etc – the concept of painting with clay really came into its own. I learned so much during the process, and I’m looking forward to doing more larger scale works in the future.

They look amazing, you are clearly some kind of freaky polymer genius.

fimo unicorn tiny cute

It's so cute! (and magical too)

So what’s the most exciting art-related thing that’s ever happened to you?

OK, this will sound a little strange, but I almost choked up the first time someone used Quernus as a verb, as in, “Can you Quernus my beagle?”!  So I’ve now started a campaign to add “quernus” to the dictionary to mean making something small (esp. cute) even smaller and cuter. Then I’ll know I’ve truly made it. Also I found out last night that I’m a Featured Seller on Folksy! I squealed quite loudly when I found out.

That’s great news, and very much deserved, that’s for sure.

tiny cute zebras polymer clay

Is there anyone that inspires you especially (artists or otherwise)?

I have always loved Georgia O’Keefe’s work – it’s so fluid and organic, and her use of colours is stunning.  And on the literary side, Bill Bryson’s drollness and sense of childlike wonder and curiosity always reminds me to look at the world with fresh eyes, and not assume that I know what’s going on.

Silly question (although sort of fitting) but if you were an animal, what animal what you be (and why)?

I’d definitely be a cat.  They have an inscrutable and ineffable knowing about them. I’d love to know what they know!

polymer geometric cat tiny

And what do you get up to when you’re not making your pieces?

Since February 2010, I have been doing a lot of work with UK Handmade. I am deputy editor of the magazine, and also do a lot of business development and PR work. UK Handmade promotes and supports artists and crafters within the UK. We are working on a number of projects just now, including producing e-books with advice and tips for running your own craft business, setting up local groups across the country, and a host of other initiatives. So when I’m not at the kitchen table, I’m usually to be found on the computer, on the phone, or out and about networking! And sometimes I even get to see my partner, Greg J (not a serious link)

cute fimo horses

Any blogs you’d recommend people check out?

It Belongs To Turtle is one of my absolute favourites – the creator is the very talented Elki Shaw, and she has created the most marvellous character in Turtle – you can read all about the adventures of Turtle and friends at I also have to say that UK Handmade has a great blog ( which is updated daily with lots of helpful articles and interviews. And for lots of lovely pictures of dogs and heart-warming stories, check out Poochie Freak – Angela Chapman’s beautiful photography complements her love of dogs in a wonderful way.

fimo turtles

This piece was comissioned by 'It Belongs To Turtle' - so cute.

I’ve had a look and they are all great blogs, you all must go see.

Ok final question now. What’s your favourite sight, sound, smell and feeling?

I love rainbows. They make my heart smile – the combination of colours is just so perfect, and it reminds me that nature’s pretty much got it all sussed, and we’re the ones with lots of catching up to do. I also love the sound of a lazy summer afternoon, with bumble bees and the distant drone of a lawnmower – that ties in with my favourite smell of fresh cut grass and honeysuckle from my childhood and.  And the feeling I love is when you see a beautiful sunset, or a beautiful view (I am particularly fond of trees), and I am overcome by a feeling that all is well with the world. It’s a wonderfully grounded feeling, like burrowing your toes into warm sand.

fimo detailed horses

They like grass too.

Great answers. Thanks so much for letting me interview you. I hope it keeps going so well. =)

And that’s it for today kids! I must say looking through Kirsten’s Flickr sets for photos to feature in this post, my mind was absolutely blown. She is an absolute genius. There are all so fantastically cute and hilarious. Please all go and take a good look.

Thanks so much for coming along and reading. Watch this space for another blog post about something else at somepoint! Yay!

Good day.

Polymer clay is awesome so I’m not surprised your hooked.

Joe Hurry Creations’ Interesting Conversations

May 26, 2010

Hello you lovely readers. Today I start another new feature in which I interview interesting people about the interesting or awesome things they do(at least that’s the premise).

Today I’d like to introduce you to Lesley Karpiuk of ‘GEEKSOAP’.GEEKSOAP maker

GEEKSOAP is a new venture that makes some of the coolest soap I ever did see. If you aren’t particularly geeky the greatness of these soaps might go over your head a bit, it’s true. But hopefully you’ll find Lesley inspiring and interesting. She makes each bar of GEEKSOAP herself, by hand, in her kitchen and in a few short months she’s made quite a success of it so far. I recently interviewed her and we had an interesting conversation and this is what you’ll find below. Enjoy!twitter facebook gifts

What led you to start doing your craft?
I’ve been crafty as long as I can remember. I dabbled in soapmaking back in college around 2001 but nothing geeky. In May 2009 I made my first Batman soap. I had been knitting a friend a Batman washcloth for a birthday gift, but when it was finished it didn’t seem like enough. I wanted to make something to go with the washcloth, and soap seemed to be the perfect complement. I pulled out my soapmaking supplies from my craft box (I save everything) and set to work to design some Batman soap. It was a hit, and I sold a few bars around Christmas in 2009. At the time I was doing mostly knit and crochet, but in early 2010 while crocheting a Cthulhu hat, I was inspired to try some Cthulhu soap. The rest is history! I started making so much geeky soap in late February/early March that I decided to separate my geeky soap from my knit and crochet Etsy and officially created GEEKSOAP.

batman geeksoap

How long has it been now?

Though I flirted with soapmaking briefly in college, my first geeky soap wasn’t made until May 2009. I didn’t start focusing on my geeky soap as its own separate business until 3 months ago, though. I have been making things for as long as I can remember.

What’s your workspace like?
I’ve taken over my kitchen. And the living room. And just about everywhere else I can store soap supplies. I have a dedicated counter for soaping with a wide ledge above it for drying and drawers for some supplies. Thankfully the kitchen leads out into the living room, where I have three large, long tables together for my staging area and where I set up orders to be shipped. I’ve got lots of those large tupperware type drawer units out there to keep things organized, too. My computer and printer are in between the kitchen and living room, which is convenient because I’m usually simultaneously replying to customers or printing labels in between making and moving loads of soap.NES cartridge geeksoap

What’s the most challenging art-related thing you’ve done so far in your life?

I’ve always picked up various crafts quickly. All but crochet. Most people learn crochet first and knitting later because crochet is supposed to be the easier of the two. I learned knitting first and then tried to teach myself crochet from watching online tutorials. I tried to teach myself and gave up at least two times before I finally figured it out. It was SO difficult for me to grasp at first, but now that I’ve been doing it for a couple years it’s become second nature. To this day, though, I still feel that crochet is more difficult than knitting. Maybe it’s because when crocheting there are thousands of potential stitches to stick your hook into so it’s easier to work into the wrong stitch… but with knitting, all of your stitches are one after the other on the needle, so you always know exactly where to insert the needle to complete the next stitch. Now I’m rambling.

What’s the most exciting art-related thing that’s ever happened to you?

I’ve made a lot of things over the years that has received positive feedback, and recently I was featured in many places on the Internet, complete with a couple RL magazine photo shoots done of my soap, but nothing tops the reaction to a gift that I made and gave to my brother and sister-in-law. This past Christmas I did a large, somewhat abstract painting of my brand new nephew to give to them. When they opened the giant painting on Christmas morning, it moved my brother to tears, though he tried hard to hold them back. They still talk about that painting being the most important thing that they own, and to me, that is the best, most exciting feeling about something I created with my own two hands ever.

Is there anyone (artists or otherwise) that inspire you especially?

I am inspired by the small, indie handmade crowd; I find handmade and local to be so important, and thanks to the Internet I am able to connect with small independent crafters more easily. I am inspired by their hard work and their true dedication to the quality of their craft vs. mass production.

If you were an animal, what animal what you be and why?
I’d be a moose. I don’t know why, but I love moose. I lived in Canada for three years and wanted to see one in person SO BADLY. It figures that after living out west in Calgary all that time it would take an anniversary vacation to Nova Scotia on the east coast before I saw my first one. One month before we moved back to the states. At least I can say I saw one before we left the country. I heart moose.

When you’re not making your pieces, what do you get up to?
When I’m not making soap, I’m probably knitting/crocheting something or gaming. I love playing video games! Anything on a Nintendo console or MMORPGs on my PC… I play them all. I also like to rollerblade when the weather cooperates.

Would you recommend us some blogs worth checking out?
Yes! There are so many good blogs out there, but some of my favorites include How Science Fiction Failed Us on GeekShui (all good stuff there)
SciFabulous by Emily Pritchard
and for the knitting geeks, I adore Knit Purl Gurl’s blog at
Finally, what’s your favourite sight, sound, smell and feeling?
My favorite sight is of my husband and our two dogs snuggling. Sometimes I’ll look over and they’re all cuddled together in a big pile saving a spot for “mama” on the couch and I can’t resist their faces. I swear those three can NEVER get in trouble when they give me their puppy dog faces.
My favorite sound is the crashing of the Atlantic ocean against the rocky shores of Nova Scotia, Canada. I dream about it.
This is going to make me seem totally crazy (If you didn’t already think I was), but I love the smell of my husband’s deodorant – Old Spice. He doesn’t wear cologne, so this is the smell that I have associated with him, and it’s the most comforting smell in the whole world.

While we’re referencing my craziness, I’ll also admit that I love squishing soft yarn before I start a new fiber project. I have a hard time keeping myself from petting yarn; how it feels is the most important part of my decision to use it.


And that’s all for today kids. Hope you enjoyed getting to know Lesley as much as I did. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of her and her soap as the business continues to grow.

See you all again soon,

Thanks for coming,


Artist Interview

November 30, 2009

Hey everyone!

That’s right, it’s another blog post! Who woulda thunkit?! Today I will be sharing with you my first interview with another artist who I think is amazing. Depending on my mood, I may do more of these sporadically. For now though, enjoy. =)

I recently came across this artist a month or so ago via a bit of a chain. Someone tweeted an article about hand drawn websites and her’s was one of two absolutely beautiful one’s that really blew me away. She makes some absolutely beautiful pieces and I wanted to share her work with you. I got in touch with her a few weeks back and she agreed to answer some questions. So I present to you, Mel Kadel:

What first inspired you to do art?
I don’t think of what inspired me to start doing art, but just that I
kept doing it. I think all kids make art, but at some point or some age many of us stop drawing. I felt a great deal of challenge with drawing and felt a sense of accomplishment when something worked, so i kept on doing it.

How long have you been doing it?
High School is when I began to become very focussed on it. I had a really influential art teacher. She was unlike any other teacher or adult I had ever met. She would talk to us, tell stories, challenge us, and really expected
a lot out of us. I’d walk into her room and feel inspired, unlike some other classrooms I’d walk into at that age.

What is your workspace like?
I would say it’s pretty organized. I like to keep a clean desk, and just have the inks and pens around me. It’s a room attached to our kitchen. My boyfriend Travis Millard works in the room next to me. He’s an artist too, so we spend a lot of time looking over each other’s shoulders and giving feedback. It’s a small place, but we just fill it with desks and make it work.

What’s the most challenging art-related thing you’ve ever done?
I think talking about my work in front of an audience is probably the
most difficult. Although it’s only happened a couple of times, my stomach still sinks with the thought of it. Even if there is a lot of clarity about it in my mind, talking about it can be tough.

What’s the most exciting art-related thing that’s ever happened to you?
Selling work to people that aren’t collectors. In particular, I remember this retired school teacher who bought a piece a few years ago. She told me that she had never bought a piece of art in her whole life. That made me feel so so good, because she didn’t add up the value of the work within the art world, but got it because she loved it and it made sense to her. That, and Ian MacKaye came to a show that Travis and I had together.

Who are any other artists who you admire?
Travis Millard, Swoon, Raymond Pettibon, Aurel Schmidt, Allison Schulnik, Cy Twombly, and so many more. These are just the first few names to pop in my head.

If you were an animal, what animal what you be?
A squirrel

What do you do when you’re not doing your art?
Build fires, sweep the porch, cook, walk, look for my cat, look for sticks to build the fires, make coffee, stain paper, and stuff like that.

Are there any blogs or websites you’d recommend people check out?
Here are a few sites I enjoy:

and finally,

What’s your favourite sound, sight and smell?

Rain, Water, Basil.


I must say she is very cool indeed and I’d highly recommend having a look through the drawings on her site. They are all amazingly beautiful and dramatic as you’ve seen in the few I’ve featured in this post, but there’s many more. She is based in the U.S.A so you won’t be seeing her at any UK craft fairs or anything, but you can buy various works by her in many places online. There’s loads on her ‘News‘ page on her site, like this and this.

Hope you enjoyed the interview, stay tuned for all kinds of other awesome.

Good day,

Joe x