Friday, February 19, 2010
Name: Birgitte Hendricks
General Location: I'm a native Dane living in Suffolk, England in a superb, old historic market town.
Business Name: SewDanish - Scandinavian Textile Art, Unique Handmade Supplies
What do you create/sell? I'm an exhibiting textile/fiber artist and I'm always working and experimenting with new designs and techniques. Quite often when working on an exhibition piece, I get all these ideas that I need/want to try out. I love making exhibition pieces, that are just meant for display, but I like making smaller functional items as well. Items with a purpose. My shop http://SewDanish.etsy.com reflects that. In SewDanish you'll find unique gifts. Most of my items are made in very limited editions or are one of a kind. A mixture of fabric and paper based items, like woven paper bowls using recycled maps, quilted appliquéd pouches, various types of journal covers, a selection of unique keyrings and cell phone charms, textile cards, ACEO's and much more. The latest addition to my shop is my handmade supply section, where I sell hand-dyed threads, tags made from vintage text and atlas, as well as recycled cotton shirt fabric perfect for quilting.
What inspired your shop name? I thought long and hard before choosing my shop name. I wanted something short and name that would represent me and what I'm doing. I think SewDanish is just perfect. I sew and I'm soo Danish!
In hindsight having 'Danish' as part of my shop name has been very good. It has provided me with an instant excuse when things hasn't been spelled correctly or if I have expressed my self a bit strange :-) My mother tongue is Danish and even though my English is pretty good it will never be perfect.
How long have you been creating and how did you get started? I've been crafting all my life. My mother taught me to knit when I was 6 and my grandmother to sew when I was a couple of years older. And I never looked back. At the age of 12-13, and of course still in school, I got my first paid job, knitting models for a yarn company testing and correcting their patterns before the patterns went into printing. My parents were pretty happy, as I was getting quite expensive to keep, with all the yarn I needed for all my ongoing projects :-) Over the years I have touched base with a huge amount of craft techniques. For many years I never bought any clothes (except for jeans) as I did all my own dress making. In the early 1980'ies I was introduced to quilting and was totally hooked. For many years I hand pieced and hand quilted all my quilts. In the mid 1990'ies I was so lucky to get an extensive contemporary quilt and embroidery training. That totally moved me on. The training gave me the confidence and the tools to develop my own designs from a chosen design source. Very busy years as we had one assessment after the other, but it was pure bliss. I loved it! Now I belong to several exhibiting textile groups that keeps me on my toes with deadlines. In one of my groups we've just started working on our 5th book on free style embroidery. In another group of mine we have a body of work being send to Australia to go on display at a huge quilt convention coming up in May. Very exciting times.
Tell us about your work space: My workroom is my space and I love it. Outside my workroom our house is quite minimally decorated and we try not to accumulate too much stuff. My husband and I have been moving quite a bit, due to my husband work, and one gets very tired of 'stuff' when everything has to be packed and unpacked. On that background people cannot believe my workroom when they see it. It is very organized (for the most part :-) but there is tons of...not stuff, but supplies! (big difference!!) from floor to ceiling. Most is stored in clear plastic containers on cheap metal shelves and my sewing machine is always set up and ready to go.
Any advice for those thinking about starting their own business?
- Before I opened SewDanish on Etsy I had done a lot of research on the site. Printed pages after pages, taking notes, looked at other shops, lurking in the forum etc. All that definitely help me when setting up shop.
- Having some knowledge of photo editing is helpful. I had never done any photo editing before setting up shop, and that has taken a lot of my time to get to grips with. All of my photos have now been redone. I'm getting there, but want to get even better.
- Be prepared that marketing and promoting is very time consuming.
Fun facts about yourself:
- I'm a trained RGN nurse and have been working for many years in operating theaters doing open heart surgery. As a nurse, I lived and worked abroad, from North of the Artic circle in Northern Norway to the dessert of the Middel East, before I started concentrating on my crafting on a more professional level.
- I speak Danish, English, German and French which has come in very handy when moving around.
- When not crafting, then I do a lot of yoga and hiking, both helping me to stay grounded when moving between all the exciting cultures.
Visit her shop on Etsy today!