I’ve always been fascinated by people blessed with unique manual talents. Their works have invariably dazzled me. This feeling has always been accompanied by admiration and envy related to my lack of skills and being unable to create similar masterpieces on my own. Thanks to development of the Internet and television we have an occasion to admire their works more often, and what’s more, we can also try ourselves in chosen handicraft techniques.
What if we could combine our fascination with all kinds of manual works with our love for English gardens and interiors? Well, it can make a real recipe for dynamite, which will certainly guarantee a range of sensations followed by sighing in admiration for renovated pieces of furniture or well-maintained gardens. Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Kasia – the author of a blog Speckled Fawn – who will tell you more about her love for felted figurines and old furniture with soul.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Kasia: My name’s Kasia. On a daily basis, I work as an English teacher in a primary school. I’ve got a great husband and two lovely dogs. I’ve been running a blog for six years. It’s a place where I try to present all kinds of my confrontations with handicraft, of which I’m the author, but not only! I’ve just started building my dream mansion, which will probably absorb me a lot in the near future. Besides this, in my free time, I also love dealing with various types of handiworks, from decoupage through painting to felting and many more.
Passion Piece: What inspired you to set up a blog?
Kasia: I was creating many things to decorate my home or some more useful gadgets (for example a laptop case), and at the same time, I was torturing my immediate family or whoever I bumped into, continually asking ‘What do you think? Did I do a good job?’. Finally, I came to a conclusion that I would like to share my questions with a broader audience. I also wanted to simply share my ideas – and some of them are pretty good! I still remember this little thrill when I published my first post. And the next thrill when I noticed that my website was visited by 15 people daily! I got truly sucked into this world.
Passion Piece: How did you discover your passion for handicraft?
Kasia: I’ve been keen on coloring, drawing, playing with plasticine since I can remember. When I was in primary school, and later on in junior high school, I was always the one who made all kinds of posters and decorations for school ceremonies or art contests. The manual talent, which many people have always associated me with, is just an integral part of me (-‘ Do you know Kasia?’ – ‘The one who can draw well?’). At some point I had to leave my passion for a while – my philological studies were very demanding and time-consuming, that’s why there was no time for anything else left. Luckily, when I started working professionally and I finally found my way through my new situation, I decided to come back to my passion, and again in my spare time, I started introducing various types of ideas in life.
Passion Piece: How did you come up with an idea of felting?
Kasia: I really like trying out new techniques, and in general, learning new things. I enjoy browsing Pinterest. Many handicraft techniques, which I’ve been using for some time, I had first noticed there. I remember that little owls attached to the top of big white clips were the first felt figurines, which I had seen. I had a thought: ‘That’s so awesome! I wonder how they did it!’ and I started looking for more information related to this particular technique. I also checked which materials I would need to make such beauties and some tips on how to get down to work. Making my first simple teddy took me as long as three days, at a great cost of my stabbed fingers, and until today you could find three broken needles inside that mascot.
One of my dominant character traits is persistence. If I decide to do something, I’ll do it no matter what stands in my way! So I focused on this felting so much, that despite all of my failures, I kept practicing this technique through making figurines one after another. It was 5 years ago, now I carry out workshops related to felting, I sell my own figurines and the whole starter kits together with step by step manuals. It’s been currently my main occupation when it comes to handicraft.
Passion Piece: What’s the most difficult in introducing your ideas in life and then making all these masterpieces? As without doubt we could call your works in this way!
Kasia: Whenever I come up with a new idea I try to divide my work into stages – first I make a research and check out what I would need for my work, how much it would cost and where I should buy the materials. Then later on, I try to think how to make a given thing step by step, so that it could serve me for a long time – and this is the most difficult aspect for me. If afterwards it turns out that a given idea didn’t work out, or I came up with a better way of making it, I always write about my observations, since I don’t want others to make the same mistakes as me.
And my figurines? When I decide to make this or that animal out of felt, I always first look at the photos of a given creature on the Internet. I think of the right pose in which I’d like to capture my figurine and I save a few photos presenting a given animal from different sides. Later on, there’s only hard work, quite often accompanied by frustration and the final effect – today, most of the time positive one.
Passion Piece: For sure, your blog isn’t a one-dimensional website. On the pages of your site you touch upon many interesting topics. Where do you find your inspirations?
Kasia: I simply write about matters which I find really interesting in my life. I share things I like in general and the ones I’ve recently enjoyed doing. I talk about the places I had a chance to visit and nice things I did there. One could say that I draw my biggest inspirations from my everyday life. That’s why, on my blog, there are a few vast tabs – I’m getting better and better at cooking, so I share simple, but delicious recipes; I love sightseeing, so I write whether a given place was worth visiting or not and what I enjoyed doing there; I dream about our future mansion, so I show and plan how to decorate it … I could spend a long time listing my ideas!
Passion Piece: You’re in the process of building your dream mansion, what final effect would you like to gain?
Kasia: Well, I could talk about my mansion for hours! Our home is modeled on a real mansion coming from an inter-war period, which is located somewhere near Łódź. When I had first seen its photos on the Internet I was really amazed with its charm. My husband and I decided that we would like to build such a house in the future (and I hope that it was a good idea!).
And what kind of final effect would I like to gain? I adore and I’m truly in love with English interiors – cozy, full of various patterns which surprisingly match one another, intensive colors and beautiful fireplaces. This kind of effect I’d like to gain. There will be many different pieces of furniture and objects with soul and their own history, but against all the appearances, it won’t be a museum, as some believe.
Passion Piece: Do your interests help you in carrying out your projects?
Kasia: I think they really help me. Right now, me and my husband are searching for different old furniture, which we can buy for peanuts on OLX. After finding the right pieces, to the dismay of my grandmother, we store everything in her garage. Pretty soon I’ll start working on a big chest of drawers, which is in real bad shape – I figured that I’d like to cover it with pastel, olive color, and on the front I’d like to add some hand-painted twigs and colorful birds (guess where I have seen something like that!).
In our house there will be as many things as possible which ‘went’ through my hands, and the apple of my eye will be 2,5 meters tall, 200 years old door, which I had received as a gift from my family and I renovated it on my own.
Additionally, I’ve always been interested in interior design and I’ve got loads of albums related to that topic. I’ve already been planning the way each room would look like. I’ve been lucky enough to have a husband with a similar taste to mine, and as he says, he will put decorating our future home in my hands.
Passion Piece: Have you got any other passions?
Kasia: Besides interior design, foreign languages and any kind of handicraft? I think I could also mention gardening here. I was brought up in the countryside, and ever since I was a child I was running in huge gardens belonging to my grandparents and my aunt (her garden was wonderful, lush and full of nooks and crannies). I love all types of plants and I could blow every last cent of my money on them. I dream of a house surrounded by the green space like from ‘The secret garden’ with paths, benches, ivy and lots of plants, a typical English country garden.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
Kasia: I think that nothing much will change for me in the near future, but in two years’ time we will go through an intense period of finishing off, decorating, and moving in our new house. I just can’t wait for that!
In a completely unrelated story, I’ve recently opened my online store with my works and I’d like to develop myself more intensively in this area, create a cool brand and keep working on my blog.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Kasia: There is such a quotation by Picasso, which I really like: ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working’. If you want to try something new, just do it, challenge yourself, develop your skills, and your inspiration will find you on its own! On an everyday basis, I assume that we need to keep trying until we succeed – if we don’t do something well the first time, we will accomplish it with our 10th try!
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation. I want to wish you all the success in the future encounters with handicraft and in building your dream mansion.
I hope that this interview will be a wonderful source of inspirations for you. Make your dreams come true, and in the meantime visit Kasia’s website!
See you around!
Webiste which you should visit: www.speckledfawn.pl
Photos by: Speckled Fawn