Bear Creek Design
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a farm girl raised on the Prairies of North Dakota. I have always had a love for animals since I was a young child. I grew up with cattle, chickens and sheep. After college I worked as a National Park Ranger and eventually came home to North Dakota, married and have 4 children that are now growing up on a farm with cattle, chickens and sheep. My love for the fiber arts began when I purchased a few sheep for our family. This project led to spinning, knitting and eventually needle felting. The Romney sheep we own provide me with my favorite medium. I love the texture of the wool and how easily it blends together to make the animals come to life. I continually look for ideas for my sculptures – in the wild, in pictures and in my own pets and farm animals. I began sculpting animals out of wool in 2006. Mostly I use the wool from my own sheep and dye what I need to get different colors. I do purchase/trade wool with other fiber lovers in the area. This gives me different textures since each type of wool has characteristics all its own. I sculpt mostly realistic animals – but I’m developing more and more whimsical animals from my own imagination. The devotion of time spent on the face of the animal really brings the overall expression to my piece of art. To truly appreciate my work, one needs to understand the process of needle felting and the time that is necessary to create such detail out of wool.
2. What made you open your shop and why Etsy?
I started selling my critters on Ebay with much success and then I found out about Etsy and it was a perfect fit for me. I liked the idea of having a shop where customers could always find my products and have a place they can come back to in the future. I also love that we all make handmade items and have made many friends through Etsy.
3. Do you sell your needle felted critters anywhere else?
I occasionally sell sculptures on Ebay but not that often anymore. I have developed a customer base on Etsy and have many return customers and collectors so I mostly list on Etsy. I also have a Website where customers can go and learn more about me and see more of my past sculptures. I also sell kits and some Sculptures on my Website. www.bearcreekfelting.com
4. How did you choose your shop name?
Our pasture that my sheep graze in has Bear Creek Running through it. Bear Creek Ranch is the name of our farm where we raise cattle, chickens and sheep.
5. What are your favourite things to do?
I have 4 children that I homeschool and I love to read books out loud to them. Photography was my first love, before felting. Spring time when we have new baby lambs and calves is my favorite part of the year. I also love to knit, spin and sing.
6. What inspires you?
Animals inspire me! Mostly their faces and the way they look at me make me want to run to the house and quickly felt that look.
7. Which creature do you enjoy creating the most?
That’s a hard question. I love making my “Bunnies in Dresses” mostly because I get to work with different colors when I put on their dresses. They always make me smile when I am finished with them and at times it is hard for me to close them up in a box and send them away to their new owners.
8. Which is your most popular item in your shop?
The highest selling items are the Snowmen and Bunnies. The top selling kits are the pumpkin and Snowman. The most popular Piece in my shop would have to be my Cow.
9. What handmade possession given to you do you cherish?
My husband is a welder and has made me very sturdy gates and pens for my sheep. They are better than anything I could have purchased. I cherish them most during lambing, they make everything go very smoothly for me!
10. Name 3 other Etsy shops you love to visit.
1. My favorite shop on Etsy is Greenwood Fiberworks I love the beautiful colors of wool, and I often buy wool from her to spin and use for the scarves and hats on my snowmen.
2. Another favorite is Sunset Fiber I love to work with different types of wool and all the wonderful colors available. I use my own Romney wool for needle felting and buy wool for spinning fun!
3. sTuckintheCoop is another favorite. The funny thing is I don’t buy jewelry for myself. If I were to buy some this is where I would shop.
A big thank you to Bear Creek Design for being my favourite Etsy shop featured this week. All I can think of when I see these needle felted animals is how amazing they are. Such life like animals created from a needle and some wool would take such skill and talent. They are like works of art. I just know that you will be going to this shop to see the other animals she has created as soon as you are done reading this interview. You wont be disappointed.