Name: Lizette Venter
Known for: Clovetree art yarn, hand felted items, and knitwear pattern designer.
Currently working with:
I am always experimenting with colour and texture. I have just started working towards a collaborative body of work with two other artists.
When did you realize that you were going to work with this:
When my youngest was ready to go to school, 2 years ago, I had to consider my options in the workplace. At that point I realised that I already had a job, I simply had to transition with it into a place where it also became financially viable.
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
I am very settled and happy in Edinburgh, where I am living with my children. I do have a wish to be more nomadic, and perhaps when my youngest is a little older, we can be less settled.
How would you describe your design:
Textural, bohemian, vibrant, eclectic.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
I am very driven in what I do, because I enjoy it so much. However, I think if serious and my creativity were to be in one place for too long, my mojo would get up and leave.
What do you do at the moment?
I am working towards an exhibition with two amazing talented artists, Melanie Jones and Anke Stahl, where we will be blurring the line between function and art.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Write down every ‘golden’ moment – those times when the universe showers you with reward, opportunity and praise. You will need those when you have a tough day/week/month. Making mistakes is where our biggest learning curves are – both creatively and in business. And just enjoy the journey. Turning my creative flow into a business has been life changing for me.
Tell us how it all started.
I have tried my hand with more or less success in a whole range of artistic endeavours, from sculpting, to painting and silver smithing. When my local yarn store had a second hand spinning wheel for sale, I thought of making my own yarn in order to save on a rather expensive little yarn habit. However, once I had taught myself to spin from the booklet that came with the wheel, I was hooked. That was about 12 years ago. I’ve branched into felt making and weaving since then, but spinning is still my first love.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
Natural light, music, and being able to work without interruption.
What is your favorite film?
I enjoy grand epic landscapes – for visual pleasure, my favourite movie is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
Richard Feinman, Leonardo da Vinci and an interpreter. I would love to see what comes of a meeting between two such brilliant minds.
How do you like to spoil yourself?
Mary’s Milk Bar in Edinburgh has the best homemade ice cream. My favourite is their rose and black pepper. Oh, yum!
What is luxury for you?
In working material it is the tactile experience of a fiber, but in life, I enjoy the little moments – the pause between strokes when swimming. When my body is simply gliding, supported by the water, and relaxed, but ready for the next movement.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design, and from whom?
I do love kind words and praise, but I think the most sincere compliment is a repeat customer.
What do you fear most?
Mediocrity and stagnation.
What is a happy life to you?
Having time to watch a snail leave its silver trail, or a tree dancing in the wind. Laughing and sharing these moments with my children, and putting all of that joy into my work.
What does a regular day look like for you?
Wake up, breakfast, kids to school. Check social media. Prepare wool/dye/wash fleece. Lunch/paperwork/quick tidy of the house/kids time/Dinner/Serious spinning/dyeing/felting work after the children have gone to bed. Occasionally I spend a morning with a friend, having coffee, and recharging my emotional batteries.
Tell us about your dream project.
I have been wanting to expand and work on larger scale, which is now coming to fruition, as I am working towards a collaborative exhibition. An added bonus is the creative sparking of ideas between artists. I am loving it!
Who is your favorite designer?
Gosh! There are so many. I was first inspired by the sense of colour, simplicity and texture in the yarns of Eisaku Noro.
How would you describe your style?
Vibrant, bohemian, eclectic, evocative.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
My one big helper is the capacity of my Majacraft Aura wheel. However, I can’t get past air, water, food and shelter with this question…
What inspires you?
My inspiration is mostly visual beauty in nature, but occasionally I find a smell or an emotion so evocative, that I want to try and capture that.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.