Interview with a ~DESIGNER~

Here's another interview - but this time with Kristen Etmond from 13Chestnuts!!! WOOO!!! Yep, you heard it here first, Awkward Donkey now interviews actual proper DESIGNERS!!!

The questions have been deleted so it's basically just Kristen telling you about life as a designer, so I hope ya'll enjoy!

I began needle-felting a few years ago. I had a taken a fiber arts class in college but found I had no aptitude for the traditional wet felting method. A few years ago I ran across a needle-felting kit in a local yarn shop and a new passion was born!

Needle-felting is a relatively new (I believe popularized only a few decades ago) method of making a solid object out of loose wool roving. You use micro-barbed needles (very sharp - ouch!) to poke at the wool until the fibers are interlocked. 

Needle-felting is super easy and fun! I would recommend it for anyone old enough to safely use the sharp needles.

I was raised by craftspeople - both my parents were ceramic artists during my childhood. For better or worse I always knew I'd end up doing something creative. 

I often do give up on a project part way through, I've come to realize it's just part of the process. I never get rid of anything, though, unless it's a complete and utter failure. I often find if I pick it up again later, I'm able to sort it out.

Right now my business is mostly "made to order." I make about 4 items per week, depending on how many sales I've had. I'm hoping to work on developing an on-hand stock, though, and bumping that number up to around a dozen or so.

That's a tough question! I suppose I admire Lotta Jandsdotter quite a bit. She's got an easily recognizable style and is very commercially successful. Business savvy and an artistic temperament do not always go hand in hand.

I'm currently working on some new holiday ornaments, including snowmen and gingerbread men!

I'm actually really bad about keeping up on what's going on in the art and design world, do I can't really say that there's an up and comer that's caught my eye!

I don't know that there's anything I would change, but I have toyed with the idea of redesigning some of my items simply because my skills have improved. 

I think the most challenging aspect of needle-felting is how time consuming it is. It's hard to find a balance between how long it takes me to make an item and how much I think someone will be willing to spend on it. But I think that's a challenge for any artist or crafter committed to handmade.

I create everything in my Etsy shop with my own two hands!

The inspiration for my needle-felted donkey was a real donkey that lived around the corner from my elementary school. His name was Milton and he would bray at the school bus every morning when it went by!

I have a very vivid imagination and a strong love of everything cute and fuzzy. I draw most of my inspiration from those two things.

The hardest part of designing is believing in myself. My husband is my biggest fan and gives me a lot of encouragement to put my designs out there. 

I've learned that craft can be communication. One of the great things about Etsy is that it is so geographically diverse. If it weren't for my little shop I would never had had the opportunities to have a conversation with someone in Latvia, to send packages to Australia or be interviewed for your blog!

I still have trouble considering myself a designer, it sounds so grown up!

I'm happiest when I'm using my hands, so designing really is a way to keep myself busy. I've been making things my whole life and my inspiration really come from wanting to stay busy.

That's a tough one... I don't know that I would classify my style as anything in particular. By that's probably just because I don't know enough about the design world!

The only message that I want my customers to grasp is the value of handmade. They may cost more than a mass produced item, but every one of my pieces is made with genuine care and attention to detail. But I think most of them already have an appreciation for that!

The only advice I would have is to work hard and let your mind wander freely!

To my customers I send my most heartfelt thanks and appreciation! Every single sale makes my day and it's with great joy that I send my little creations out into the world!

What do you think?


*sorry for the amount of interviews, but I thought I'd stack up with them, and now I can't seem to stop posting them!


  1. I love needle felting, but I always end up snapping the needles!

    1. Oh haha lol(: I've never done it before...