Friday, August 1, 2008

Interview with Louise Cady-Fernandes...


BH: Tell us a bit about yourself
The Hole Thing: My Name is Louise Cady-Fernandes and I live in Lexington, MA

BH: What is your background?
The Hole Thing: In 1983 I graduated from Boston University with a BS in Early Child Education. I taught for four years before working for two different wholesale yarn companies. Prior to starting The Hole Thing I had a great job for 16 years working for Susan Bristol Inc., a women’s traditional sportswear company. I worked in the knitwear design department knitting swatches to be used at design meetings, as sales tools, and as factory prototypes for their sweater production in Hong Kong and mainland China.

BH: Apart from creating things, what do you do?
The Hole Thing: I’m married to my husband Tom and we have two daughters. I’m also a board member on the Lexington Council for the Arts and a volunteer at the Epiphany School in Dorchester. I love to run, and hike, and garden.

BH: What first made you want to become an artist?
The Hole Thing: My Mom taught me how to knit when I was about six and I kept circling back around to knitting projects from then right on through college. Then when I was 23 I bought my first knitting machine. I kept getting more and more interested in the art of knitting, and also in color. I think the thing that really made me want to be an artist is when I read What Color Is Your Parachute when I was about 25. The book helped me to think about what I loved to do before I reached puberty, which is a time in our lives when we tap into the true essence of who we are and what we love to do. Basically, it wasn’t so much that I wanted to be an artist; I just wanted to be able to do what I love to do.

BH: What's your favorite color?
The Hole Thing: Green

BH: What are your favorite materials?
The Hole Thing: Felted wool. I love felted wool. And buttons.

BH: What inspires you?
The Hole Thing: For me inspiration can come in the most unexpected places. I think when I am inspired in life it inspires my work- and vice versa. Creativity really feels to me like a love drug. My inspiration comes mostly from getting out in the world and taking a look around. Sometimes I have no idea what I am going to make and I’ll felt an old sweater and be totally consumed by what it turns into after it’s felted. I love what can come out of something that I’ve just paid a few bucks for. It’s terrific. An old relative of mine lived until he was 101 and one of the most poignant things he ever said to me was “Louise your best creativity will come when you slow down and have time to think”. This is great advice for all of us.

BH: Describe your work.
The Hole Thing: I make a line of whimsical sweaters and accessories from felted wool. Recently I have been expanding into housewares as well.

BH: What do you love most about what you make?
The Hole Thing: That I can cut felted wool any way I like and it won’t fray.

BH: What is your biggest obstacle with it?
The Hole Thing: That I don’t always have the colors that I need.

BH: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your work?
The Hole Thing: That I have created something unusual and that I have paid attention to branding which is very important.

BH: Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
The Hole Thing: Stand behind your product. I create quality products and I think it shows. Integrity is very important.

BH: How do you promote your work?
The Hole Thing: I promote my work on my blog and also through media opportunities that come from Ladies Who Launch. They are a great resource for women entrepreneurs.

BH: Why should people buy handmade?
The Hole Thing: Everyone wins when people buy handmade. The buyer gets something unique and wonderful that isn’t massed produced overseas. The artists get to express themselves and do what they love to do. And the environment gets a break because many handmade things are made from recycled materials that don’t create as much pollution or use up as many of the earth’s precious energy resources.

BH: What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
The Hole Thing: To err is human- it’s also important and very helpful. Look at your mistakes like they are arrows pointing you in what direction to go in next.

BH: What are your favorite web sites (besides Etsy)?
The Hole Thing: Design Sponge and Decor8.


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