Monday, March 9, 2009

Crafter Spotlight - Emily Stoneking

I am pleased to showcase the incredible talents of Emily Stoneking. Although we have yet to meet in person I have been an admirer of her work and her blog for a long time. I am thrilled to share her talents with you all. enjoy.

Emily Stoneking
The Crafty Hedgehog
Burlington, VT

1. What is the name of your business, what do you create and sell and how did you get started?
My business is called The Crafty Hedgehog (the name was a spur-of-the-moment decision that ended up sticking). I create knitted toys like bunnies and frog princes. I also create knitted art objects like dissected frogs and lab rats. On the side I also do yarn paintings, linocut note cards, stained glass…whatever strikes my fancy at a given moment. I got started because I knit obsessively, and I quickly realized that a girl can only own so many knitted hats and scarves. I didn’t have enough money to constantly knit sweaters, so I decided to make and sell little toys in order to feed my knitting addiction.

2. What/who inspires you?
I find inspiration all over the place. It’s hard to live in the world without constantly noticing the incredible work that other people are doing around you. I love to see what other sellers on Etsy are making, as well as looking to artists in the past. If I had to narrow down my favorite artistic styles, they would be (in no particular order): Art Nouveau, Bauhaus and Arts and Crafts. I’m also fascinated by science, and particularly the early sciences – anything that could involve a wunderkammer. I loved visiting the Mütter Museum last year, and I always love reading blogs like Morbid Anatomy.

3. Give us a peek into you work space. Where do you create? Describe your work space or studio.
Hmmm. I don’t really have a workspace at the moment. I have a guest/storage/craft room, which is actually just an unusable room filled with stuff we never use, but can’t seem to get rid of. I’m currently trying to get it in order, but that will probably take a long while. The nice thing about knitting though, is that I can really do it almost anywhere. I knit on the bus to school, I knit at school (none of my professors have ever minded), I knit while watching TV or movies, I knit while I’m waiting for my dinner to show up at a restaurant…my workspace is everywhere!

4. Where do you sell and promote your work?
I sell my work primarily on Etsy. I sell both finished objects as well as the knitting patterns I’ve written.

5. What are three things you can't live without?
Air, food and water. Less literally, my life would be far less enjoyable without my family and friends (I’m counting that as one!), the ability to come up with an idea and then bring it into existence, and double mochas from Speeder and Earls.

6. What are your three favorite things about Vermont?
I love Vermont’s sense of history (I grew up out west where there was nothing older than 75-100 years), its incredible landscapes and the sense of community that there is here.

7. What does the term indie craft mean to you?
It’s hard to say. I feel like there is a wave of enthusiasm out there for creating items that are both beautiful and functional, and I think it might be in response to a collective sense of a plastic childhood. I had plastic dolls and plastic Halloween costumes. Everything had been thought and created for me. I remember in the sixth grade, I didn’t have a costume, and I was too old to wear one of those plastic apron-with-mask get ups. I made a tail out of a feather boa and glued pink felt circles onto 2 grey pairs of socks. With some cardboard ears, face-paint and a grey sweatshirt, I made myself into a cat. I’m sure it was terrible, but I really felt a sense of pride in what I had made. Recently I’ve seen a snowman-in-a-box kit, containing everything you would need to decorate a snowman. Sticks and coal and a carrot made from plastic. I think that indie crafters see that and are both horrified and compelled to try to remind people that we can do it better, cheaper, and with less harm to the environment, if we just invest a small amount of time and care. Phew! That got a little long-winded, didn’t it?

8. Any new products, projects or news you want to share?
Well, I’m working on creating some new creatures for my knitted dissections line: fetal pig, earthworm and a starfish are at the top of the list. As for news, I heard recently from a set designer who wants to use one of my dissected frogs in an upcoming Noah Baumbach movie! A few days after that I got an email from someone at, telling me that she was going to feature my yarn paintings in the upcoming spring issue! I always hesitate to mention these kinds of things until they’ve happened, because there is always the chance that they might not come to pass, for whatever reason. But both of these seemed fairly certain, so I’m spillin’ the beans!

Thanks Emily! Check out her etsy shop below.

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