Friday, August 7, 2009
As I browse Irene Ellefson's show Falling Leaf Designs, I am very taken with how varied and one of a kind her pieces are. When I look at her items, I have the feeling that their creator must be in love with adventure. See if you don't think so too.
Where did you grow up, and when and how did you learn to knit?
I was born in and grew up in the sunny San Fernando Valley which is a suburb of Los Angeles, California, so, I am truly a Southern California native! As a child, I was fascinated by my grandmother's fingers as they held knitting needles and yarn and wove amazing sweaters, blankets and slippers for everyone. I remember thinking there was some kind of magic involved because I couldn't understand how anyone could weave a sweater out of string. When I was 8 years old, my grandmother told me it was time for me to learn to knit. We went to the local dime store and she bought me my first pair of knitting needles and a skein of bright red yarn. I was in heaven imagining the new sweater I would be able to wear to school the following day!!! Needless to say, my first attempt was a misshapen square with holes and lumps, but my grandmother proudly announced that I had made my first hot pad to put a hot dish on. She continued to work with me all the time telling me stories of her childhood which I now cherish. I never got very good so when I was a little older I quit. Also, I never saw anybody else knitting, so I was embarrassed to do it on my own.
When did jewelry making make an entrance into your life?
Life went on. After my children moved out of the house, about two years ago, I suffered from the "empty nest syndrome" and decided to pick up some knitting needles and comfort myself by learning or relearning how to knit. Now, I can't put them down.
You have incorporated crochet into regular metal jewelry. What inspired you to do that?
Six months ago, my daughter took me to a beading class and I loved the challenge of learning a new craft. Unfortunately, I couldn't knit and do beadweaving at the same time, so as soon as I tired of one, I would switch back to the other. Then, I decided to take on the challenge of learning how to crochet so I could weave beads into crocheted pieces. And, I love that, too. What could be better than blending beautiful beads with soft luxurious fibers. So, here I am with an eclectic etsy shop that reflects all the loves of my life. My daughter keeps encouraging me to continue to experiment with beads and fiber and my husband supports me by taking the beautiful photos that I use at my website.
Where do you see your store in five years?
My shop will continue to reflect the beauty and wonder that I see in the world. I have so many ideas and I am acquiring the skills I need to actually bring them to fruition. Etsy is a great place to not only showcase my own crafts, but to be awed by the beauty and craftsmanship of others.
Where do you focus most of your attention and energy besides crafting?
When I am not knitting, crocheting, or beading, my husband and I are members of the Kiwanis Club of Northridge. This is a wonderful philanthropic organization whose main goal is to make the world a better place by helping kids. We are always involved in fundraising or volunteering to help those who cannot help themselves. I also mentor High School students through Key Club International. This is an organization that is run by the students themselves and is also focused on helping others. I also volunteer in a youth program targeting middle school and high school students at my church. Other than that, my husband and I love to travel the world and play with our dog. Life is good and we have been very blessed.
As always you can click on the title Etsy Knitters and Crocheters to link to her store. I am going to start including the shop owners' blog urls,if I have them, in my spotlights. Here is Irene's http://fallingleafdesigns-livinglife.blogpot.com