Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A peek inside the creative life of Eerika Valkonen
First off, a little backstory. Who are you? What do you make?
Hi, my name is Eerika and I'm a toy making elf. Well, the elf part isn't strictly true, but among other stuff I make Rag Pets, soft toys that are filled with rags and personality. I also do a bit of illustration every now and then.
I'm 33, even though most of the time I feel more like I'm 13 and I live in the city that sleeps at night, also known as Helsinki, Finland. I like chocolate, Batman, sleeping in late, Tom Waits and a lot of other things too.
What projects are you in the middle of right now that you should probably be working on instead of doing this?
Instead of answering these questions I'm currently supposed to be working on my line of storybook themed Rag Pets, which is coming along slowly... very slowly. I'm also attending a short course on making antique style teddy bears out of recycled materials, and it's a lot of fun! It's nice to do something in a completely different style compared to what I usually do.
Where do you primarily create?
I work from home, spending the majority of my time at the workroom (our apartment includes a separate workroom) where I'm free to make as big a mess as my little heart desires and listen to soppy audiobooks, musicals and Disney soundtracks without anyone complaining about my choice of listening material. I also do a lot of hand sewing (often aided by my cat BooBoo, who really isn't very good at actually helping) in the living room, parked on the sofa in front of the telly. I am not ashamed to admit that day-time television is a big part of my working day.
Where do you find inspiration?
I wish I knew where inspiration came from, and why it usually comes at the most inopportune moments, like when I'm in the shower or just about to fall asleep! If inspiration isn't spontaneously foisting itself on me, I derive it from things I've read, seen, heard or even the people around me. Sometimes I see a piece of fabric that's just begging to become something or other and I find books to be an endless source of ideas and inspiration too, mostly because I read a lot!
Do you have a favorite book/blog/movie/etc you'd like to recommend?
I have several! But in the interest of this not becoming simply a long list of Eerika's Most Favourite Things, I'll list just the one of each.
My favourite book (right now, since this tends to change depending on what I'm currently reading) is "Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audery Niffenegger. Being one half of a pair of twins (I have a twin brother) myself, all things twin fascinate me, and all the bits about twin identity and descriptions of twinship in the book are wonderful. That, and it's a jolly good ghost story too!
I'd like to recommend a thousand blogs for people to discover and be inspired by, but I will restrain myself and simply urge you all to check out "Hyperbole and a Half", because it's hilarious and really entertaining and there's even a post that goes a long way into explaining why I'm more like a 13 year-old than a 33 year-old.
My all time favourite movie is actually a whole bunch of movies, since I can't pick just the one, no matter how hard I try to narrow it down. So, to rattle off a few, in no particular order: Baz Luhrmann's Red Curtain Trilogy (that'd be: Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge), Amelie, Ghost World and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
And now that flu-season is here, I'd like to share my "flu buster"-tea recipe: brew a strong cup of your favourite fruity tea (I use a summer fruits + rooibos tea blend), add to it a squirt of lemon juice, a big dollop of honey and a slice of fresh ginger. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and enjoy your cuppa with your favourite biscuits. :)
Where can readers see more of your work?
You can see more of my work in my blog: http://www.ragpets.com
On Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kitty_vane/ where I post lots of pictures of my everyday life,
and on DeviantArt: http://kittyvane.deviantart.com/ where you can see more of my drawings and such.
Thanks for giving us a peek into your creative life, Eerika!