Wednesday, August 04, 2010

an interview with lisa from lil fish studios

i stalked admired lisa and her beautiful work both on flickr and on her blog in silence for quite a long time before i finally dared to comment. for my birthday, i ordered myself one of her beautiful felted brooches in the most gorgeous golden wool framed by birch bark. (pauses for a moment of swoon.) i was so pleased when she wanted to be interviewed for this little interview series. she is definitely living the kind of creative life of which i can only dream (bogged down as i am by mind-numbing corporate drivel)...

note: all of the lovely photos in this post are from lisa's flickr photostream (where i've faved at least half of her felted wool set)...

rainbow acorn color wheel

1. you take much of your inspiration from the ideas just come to you or do you have a system for working them out?

I find that I can't seek out or force an idea, it has to come to me. I can't keep a sketchbook, plan an idea, or work in batches. My head and hands communicate in a way when I don't try to get in the way. I do actively work at seeing nature though. When I'm out wandering I make it a point to stop and look around, look behind me, stoop low, move leaves aside, look up, listen for clues... we miss so much when we're not actively engaged in looking. You never know what you'll find under the leaf litter.

come fly away

2. are you able to put yourself in a creative place when you need to or do you have to wait for inspiration to strike?

If I'm not "feeling it" creatively even working on a familiar project, something routine that I could do in my sleep, is daunting for me. Though I'm capable of working stitches or felting an acorn, the act becomes hollow and forced and sometimes I feel a bit resentful towards it. When I am feeling it, things just flow.

3. what are your guilty pleasures?

Guacamole for breakfast, handmade soap, laughing my head off at The Soup, and plunking my kids down with a movie so I can have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband.

4. when it all seems like too much, what do you do to get away from it all?

Well, with four busy kids and the responsibilities at home, it often seems like too much... When I really need a break, the best thing I can do for me is to take a long walk in the woods where it is quiet and beautiful. I walk until my mind is no longer reciting the list of things I *should* be doing, *need* to do, *haven't* done, and is just quiet. You know how when your stomach is starting to get full, you take a breath? That pause where your body is telling you that things are just where they should be? The same thing happens for me on my walk, I will suddenly take a deep breath and realize that the tightness in my chest is gone, my mind is quiet, and I'm ready to return.

farm fresh

5. are the chickens worth it, despite how totally brainless they are?

YES! I love my chickens. In addition to being mobile fertilizers, tick-eaters, and egg-providers, they are endlessly entertaining.

I'm not fat, I'm fluffy

6. please share your best little-known mushroom fact.

Mushrooms are fascinating. One of my favorites, the Lobster mushroom, is a delicacy that we are lucky enough to find in our woods. This odd orange fungus is actually the product of a mold attacking a different mushroom and morphing it into a Lobster mushroom. This mold tends to attack two very common edible (but not super tasty) mushrooms - Lactarius and Russula. Not only is the Lobster mushroom delicious, but you can use it to dye wool. How's that for a multi-purpose mushroom?


7. do you hate it when people bring up that coen brothers fargo film?

Nah, I usually add a little extra Minnesota "yah you betcha" into the conversation, just for kicks.

8. what's the best part about raising your children in minnesota?

Moving to the woods of Minnesota from the 'burbs of Chicago has changed our priorities and parenting styles considerably. My grubby-handed kids are entertained by catching frogs and building forts, they can tell you about velvet mites and Pileated Woodpeckers, and have learned about life and death from mother nature herself. (we have chickens and hawks in our woods...there is much to learn) They play hard, eat straight from the garden, and get to be kids in a way that would have been impossible in our old subdivision. Though I'm not sure the "just be home before dark" childhood I knew will make a comeback, I feel we're much closer to it here.

my collection

9. when you go antiquing or to flea markets, what are the items you always look for?

Practically-speaking, I look for crafting supplies first...wool coats and sweaters, vintage buttons, and odds and ends. After I do my practical purchasing, I make a bee-line for worn wood and leather, and metal with patina. I collect (and love!) antique wooden dough bowls, and am trying to stave off an advancing addiction to antique kitchen tools.

coffee break

10. coffee or tea?

Yes please. Coffee is my go-to drink. It's my comfort in the morning and my perk in the afternoon, but when I want to sit down and savor a moment, I'll choose tea. My favorites are the chamomile I grow in my garden, sweetened with local honey, and the chai recipe a good friend shared with me this year.

* * *

it's clear to me that i must now collect wooden dough bowls (tho' here they're more of a trough, actually) and i definitely need another tattoo. soon. oh, and some chickens. and i've simply got to have those ameraucana so i too can have the martha stewart eggs. thank you so much, lisa, for reminding me of the path that i really should be on...


Lisa at lil fish studios said...

I couldn't ask for a nicer stalker. :)

Thank you sincerely for having me here on your wonderful blog.

akka b. said...

I'm totally enchanted!!

LOVE the felted acorns.

beth said...

i had never met lisa before....i like her !

Bernie said...

What a woman.....she is doing it her way and doing it very well it seems......:-) Hugs

Elizabeth said...

Love the pictures you have chosen Julie. Now it is time to jump over and learn a bit more about this interesting lady.

Have a lovely day.

lynn bowes said...

Lisa is someone I call "one of the nicest friends I've never met" and this is such a wonderful post. Love her outlook on life and creating :: lynn

Regina Moore said...

Wonderful post, interview and pics! Lisa is an inspiration to many...wish I could live in the woods!

One Woman's Thoughts said...

I enjoyed the photos, the interview, but I am IN LOVE with the baby chick!!!!!

kristina - no penny for them said...

i loved meeting lisa through your interview series. so many good thoughts and inspiring photography to boot.

Margie Oomen said...

Lisa is as kind and wise as she is creative. Oh and I forgot she really knows how to make you laugh.
I vote for a blog camp in the woods close to where lisa lives!!

mrs mediocrity said...

What a gorgeous set of photos and a wonderful interview. I think I have found a new blog to follow! The picture of the chick is absolutely stunning. Loving these interviews!

Anonymous said...

Your interviews are really excellent; you have a way of asking just the right thing to draw out the personality of your interviewee without it sounding obvious or forced. An enviable skill! And I love the acorns :-)

Teri and her Stylish Adventure Cats said...

ok...another lovely blog to follow. love the photos esp the eggs and bowls!

Lisa-Marie said...

I want to marry Lisa a wee bit. Thank you for introducing me to the blog Julie!