This month’s artisan interview features an artist in Sweden who makes intricate bracelets and breathtaking paintings – introducing Lena from No Illusion Designs.
Here is a bit of our conversation.
Q: Tell us a little more about No Illusion Design and your work. How did you get started and what is behind the name of your shop?
A: I got the idea of making designed bracelets out of fabric more than five years ago when I visited the Opera House in Oslo, Norway. But I forgot it for a couple of years and so it popped up again when I discovered a fabulous shop in Gothenburg selling bands, decorations, applications and lovely buttons. I was so inspired and bought a lot of lovely things for future use. I tested my idea on some creative friends and made some prototypes. The first ones I made at my kitchen table at home where I also produced ten unique bracelets for my first exhibition. Then I started my site on Facebook.
The name No Illusion Design says that my work really is for real – no illusion 🙂
My bracelets are unique; they are handmade, hand decorated and there is only one of a kind. I use different fabric bands for the base (e.g. laces, party like, for brides, more rustic). I decorate with buttons, palettes, decorative bands… My signature is swarovski crystals – so there are at least a few of them on everything I make. All bracelets can easily be put on and taken off by yourself (without help of a partner.)
Q: Who is your customer? Who do you see as the person wearing your bracelets, and what kind of feeling and mood are you trying to create with your bracelets and paintings?
My bracelet customer is a woman interested in fashion and trends. She likes to be unique and have a very personal look and style with a glamorous touch.
My paintings are mostly abstract art in mixed techniques (acrylic, watercolor, felt pen) and very colorful. I want to create a joyful and humoristic feeling with at twist. Although I have started my new figure “Maggie the Pie” and hopefully she will be produced in a series.
Q: How did you get started crafting? Do you have any training as an artist or in particular techniques, or are you self taught?
Actually, I’m self taught and have never before made anything creative, either bracelets or paintings. But since I started, I’m so excited and get inspiration of all sorts of environments, pictures, colors, shapes and situations. I discovered my longing for creative work during a period when I was burned out and badly ill for a couple of years. Painting was then part of my rehabilitation.
Q: Where and how do you work? Do you have a studio? Do you have a set schedule every day or is your work more fluid?
I have a small studio in an art-shop in Eskilstuna, Sweden, where I live. (Called Konst-igt, look it up on Facebook). I work there on Wednesdays and also keep the shop open for customers during my work.
I don’t have big stock of bracelets since I custom make most of the bracelets, so there can be a short delivery time.
Q: What have you learned so far about running a handmade business online? Any tips to share with other creatives?
I’m really a beginner of online business. I use my social media (Facebook and Instagram) for marketing and interested customers contact me that way. Then I also sell in the art-shop. I now plan to open my shop on Etsy.
Q: What else would you like our readers to know?
I’d love to get feedback on my work and would really appreciate the readers contact. They can post on my feed on No Illusion Design on Facebook and Instagram (and of course pm or dm). My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Lena for answering my questions! See her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/noillusiondesign/.