Craft Britannia Shop of The Week #9, Rebecca’s Emporium
Give it up for this week’s CraftBritannia Shop of the Week, RebeccasEmporium. Rebecca’s Emporium houses cute felted creations and Bex tells us about her obsession with all things felty.
Describe your “typical” working day or week
A typical working day for me and my Emporium isn’t very glamorous I’m afraid! I roll out of bed to a mewing cat who likes to watch me brush my teeth – I’m not sure why! She is a very strange cat! Because my day job is in a whole other county, I sit on the train to work for about an hour, using my time to felt as much as I can, whilst getting very odd looks from the other train passengers as I needle felt one of my new Pheeples in the face with a felting needle, hehe ! When I get to work I spend most of my hours copying invoices out and helping out with the truck and trailer business that my parents are growing. And of course, while no one’s looking, I’ll be on Etsy and my other sites spreading word about all of my little felty creations 🙂 Come 5.30 pm, it’s another train journey of felting and then back home where I’ll felt some more and doodle designs until bedtime! Hehe, I told you it wasn’t very glamorous!
When you are not doing Etsy related things, what are you doing?
When I’m not submersing myself in my little world of felt and Etsy, I like to go on adventures! Lewis and I seem to have created our own little tradition of popping down to Brighton at least once a month. We love it so much! One day we’ll find a cute little house to live in down there… one day 🙂 I think it’s the brilliant combination of crazy, quirky people and the calm of the seaside that just seems to call to me whenever I have some spare monies and a free weekend! And when I’m not swanning off to the seaside, I like to spend my free little moments to myself snuggled on the sofa, watching Poirot (my little secret obsession!), giving Hamish the dog cuddles, and knitting cosies for table legs and little socks for the feet of chairs 🙂
What was the first piece you ever sold?
Ooo wow, the very first piece I sold? That must have been during my exhibition at university. I’d made a playground scene (pictured below) with larger felted characters, and by the end of it I’d sold the white one with his eyes closed and the orange one, eating a smaller character. Oh and the small pale blue one too. I’m not sure which one was sold first though, I’m afraid!
What advice would you give someone taking up your craft for the first time?
Well my very first piece of advice for anyone starting Needle Felting would be, work through the pain!! Those felting needles are sharp and you will definitely stab yourself in the thumb on more than one occasion. But pretty soon you’ll get the hang of it or, like me, just ignore it when I accidentally push my felting needle too far through the felt! Some other advice though would be to keep at it, and keep felting. If the shape looks too fluffy or not very solid, just keep felting. The more you felt, the more solid your piece will be.
What material do you most enjoy working with?
Hehe, felt of course! I can’t help it! I think I might be a little bit obsessed with wool. I like playing with the contradictions between really solid materials like wood and metal against the innocent softness of wool. And I just love that with a spikey metal needle I can create any shape at all with the felt. It gives me so much freedom with my designs.
If you could try a new craft, what would it be?
If I could try a new craft, I would love to discover the world of carpentry. All of my life I have watched my grandad create amazing things from wood. It’s something I’ve always watched and loved, but always felt that it was a bit out of my reach. I even looked into taking carving puppetry courses, but chickened out. The idea of being able to use a beautiful but very solid material alongside my felt work really does excite me, so fingers crossed I’ll feel brave enough to venture into it.
Which piece of equipment would you be helpless without?
I had a good think about this. I initially thought of my felting needles, because without them my little felty beings would just be balls of fluff! But I don’t think I’d be completely lost without them, I’d find another way to get their cute little characters out there. I’d have to say, without my pen and something to doodle on, I really would be lost. It’s like laughing when you find something funny. If I couldn’t doodle down a word or a little character design when it popped into my head, I think I really would be lost!
Tell us about what inspires and motivates you
Hehe, that’s an easy one. All those grumpy people on the train to and from work are my inspiration! I just see their miserable little faces staring into their laps and think “I would really like to make you smile” – whether it’s through a bright fuzzy piece of jewellery or a little Pheeple character peering round the seat in front of them to catch their attention. My mini mission in life is to travel on a train full of smiling people 🙂
Tell us about one handmade item that you own and love
This question made me think a lot too. I have so many beautiful handmade pieces from my friends at university and some from my very lovely Etsy friends, but when I put myself through the “what would I save from a fire” scenario, there was one handmade piece that jumped into my arms before any of the others. The blanket I had from when I was an ickle baby, hand crocheted by my ever so wonderful gramma who’s taught me to appreciate my craft. I love it soooo much! It’s a lovely collection of bright blues, pinks, dark maroons and some brown colours. It might sound odd, but it’s very “me” 🙂
What plans do you have for your shop in the future?
I would love, beyond anything in the world, to have my own crafty shop one day, Rebecca’s Emporium in 3D! Somewhere down in Brighton or Cornwall, near the seaside. That’s my ultimate goal. I know it’s a long way off though so, until then, my plans are to really build my new range of felted Pheeples! I’ve got so many ideas for these little guys! I’ve got little stories I need to write out, and then hopefully take some little photos to create an online comic book-like creation 🙂 Yeey! I can’t wait!
Thank you Bex for sharing your sense of fun, your future plans sound so exciting!