Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I have a lot of gratitude towards Claire Robertson of Loobylu. When I was on the fence about blogs and blogging, I found her site. It was what tossed me over to becoming obsessive about blogs. I read her blog all the time and wanted to move to Australia and force her to be my friend. She makes wonderful things from paintings, sketches, plush and so much more. Her site is beautiful, her studio is lovely and everything she mentions makes me happy. I love that she is able to share her work honestly and even shares the bad times with her readers. When I decided to start Plush You! I contacted Claire and asked her if she might mention it to her readers. She did and voila, Plush You! was born. I was really excited that she decided to do an interview with us so I could learn more. Enjoy!

S- I started reading your blog years ago. It seems like you were one of the first bloggers. Why did you start blogging and how did it change your craft?

L- I started blogging at the end of 1999. I was working in web design and started documenting my life online. I guess publishing has always appealed to me, and my own (not very exciting) life provided limitless content and the instant feedback was / is very seductive. The support I got from the visitors to my blog gave me the confidence (and clients) to eventually quit my job and work as a freelance illustrator. With the emergence of the 'craft blog' scene I found huge inspiration and a wonderful community atmosphere to start exploring all sorts of crazy, previously unthought of (for me) areas of work such as softy making. No matter which direction my work goes in I know
there will be someone somewhere visiting my blog who will say "go for it!". That kind of support is pretty vital to me because I work at home in the suburbs with really only my mum, dad, husband, a five year old and a 2 year old around to say "hey, that looks cool! Keep going!".

S- Your art is really lovely. From the looks of it you have been doing more painting and stenciling these days than sewing. Do you go with your mood or do you methodically go about your various art and craft interests?

L- Thank you! I most definitely go with my mood - which is a blessing and a curse. It means I never get bored and I get to try lots of fun things but I tend to spend a lot of money on art supplies as I flip-flop around, and I never settle down enough to really perfect any one technique. I always have my favourite things I crave getting
back to and making softies is one of them. Next I want to try some wood block printing, and my uncle is turning some dolls for me to paint...

S- I am not sure if you are aware of this but the first year I did Plush You, I asked you to put up a post about my show on your blog.You were the only one I had contacted because I really enjoyed looking through the photos "Month of the Softies" that you do. I was astonished how many responses I had gotten the next day thanks to you.
How do you choose the themes for Month of the Softies?

L- A Month of Softies has become a bit of a community driven project now utilising the wonderful Flickr. We've changed moderators a couple of times and sometimes it's a case of members suggesting themes and then one is eventually settled on for the month. I haven't been personally involved in the running of the project for a long time now. It's great that a project that was started years ago continues to grow and flourish and attract new members all the time despite the occasional lack of nuturing it gets. It's a very simple idea - create a softie based on a theme every month... it manages to accommodate people who are just starting to find their crafting feet to seasoned softy creators who need a little focus for a month.
Visit here

S- When I look through your blog I have a hard time understanding how you can balance your art, your craft, your children, your blog and your store. How do you explain your mastered skills?

L- Balance? What balance?? I haven't mastered it all! It's a continuing frustration for me, and I am sure I'm not alone in this. My house is a mess. It's a bit sad, but something had to give. Housework gets the lowest priority - children the highest. I have recognized since becoming a mother that if I don't have a chance to be creative then I become depressed and resentful and absolutely not much fun to be around. Because of this, my art work - whatever it might be at any given point - is pretty high up on that list of priorities too. My blog has stopped being so important. I used to spend a lot of time on my blog and it had become a part of my identity. I would meet people who I hadn't seen in a while and they would say "err... so how's your blog?" and I realised I wanted that question to be more like "how is your work going? What are you making these days?". I have come back to it this year with a promise to myself that my blog is my side project. Another thing I have discovered since becoming a Mother is that if you have limited time your production goes up drastically. I look back on the years I was doing freelance illustration before I had children and wonder what on earth was I doing with my time. Now I try to use every spare minute. Every nap time is a flurry of activity, every spare couple of hours when my Mum might take the kids for a bit I rarely sit around doing nothing. As cheesey and as cliched as it
sounds, It's all just a case of prioritizing and making time work for our family. This doesn't mean we find ourselves being an exhausted, over-scheduled family, it just means I need to get plenty of sleep so that i can keep my energy levels up. It certainly doesn't always work, but I keep trying new ways.

S- I loved your findings after having a No Spending Month. What precipitated this act?

L- A lack of funds! Also - our family is going through a bit of a self reflective stage where we are looking at how we spend our money and the effect it has on our long term goals and also the impact it has on the planet. The most amazing thing about the No Spend Month thing we did was that we cut down on the amount of garbage we produced by half without even really thinking about it.

S- Do you have a nine to five job where you have to go and spend your day or is your art your full time job?

L- My 9 to 5 job -- (my 6am - 7.30pm job - with stints occasionally at 4am) is being a mum. The art fits in around that. When both my kids are in school (3.7 years away, but who's counting?) art will be my full time job. I have between now and then to work out how to make that possible. (S- I think you will be fine!)

S- What I absolutely love about your blog, which can also be seriously bad at some points, is how many amazing things you find. Everything is beautiful and makes me want it right away. Where do you spend most of your luxury time on the web?

L- Flickr, Etsy, and about a zillion blogs which are mostly craft, art and design related. Currently I spend copious amounts of time on interior design related blogs. I guess it must be some kind of vicarious-living thing because our house is so out of control.

S- Do you have any new plush projects in mind for yourself that you would like to work on?

L- I do. I have some ideas which I just need a little time to sit down and start. I am keen to follow some ideas about my family ancestry and make strange creatures based on my heritage.

S- You are also the chief editor of Kiddley (now I am totally do you do it???). Sorry, I digressed. Anyways, can you tell our readers more about Kiddley as I am sure many of them would love to know about it!

L- Kiddley is on a permanent hiatus (we just didn't have the time to keep doing that one!) but the archives are all still there. It's a blog which concentrated on great things to do with kids - lots of crafts, links, ideas and projects. It's a blog which has awesome archives because we used to get lots of really great guest bloggers.

S- What are some of your goals for this year?

L- I am planning on starting a shop on etsy (or similar) and I am planning to keep on getting as much art-for-art's-sake done as possible.

You can also see work here

Thank you Claire!

1 comment:

Nature Manipulated said...

Great interviews, this one and the others. Absolutely adorable plush toys. I can't wait till my nephew/niece is born and I have someone to buy for.

I can't wait to read more. You have a great blog. Linking to it from mine.