In The Spotlight
Welcome to In The Spotlight
Do you have an amazing business to showcase, or an incredible story to tell?
This month emmaheaven.com is shining the spotlight on...
I discovered Inken’s fabulously unique felted scarves and flowers while browsing Etsy and ordered a few brightly coloured scarves for our June photo shoot. They not only looked incredible but stood out as they were so strikingly different.
My latest felted ‘must haves’ were flower brooches/corsages in varying colours and designs. Again, these are incredible - enchanting even - attracting compliments whenever I wear them.
When I came up with the idea of this issue’s ‘Secret Garden’ shoot, I immediately thought of a flower handbag, contacting Inken with the challenge of designing and making me one; and boy did she rise to the challenge! You can see for yourselves in Fashion Feast, meanwhile, I’ll hand you over to the uber-talented Inken Gaddass to tell you her story...
“I was born (1965) and bred in Schleswig Holstein, Northern Germany, which is not far from the border of Denmark, with the Baltic Sea on one side and the North Sea on the other.
I am very much influenced by nature, the seaside (which I miss terribly), and also fairytales which stem from Germany.
When I was a little girl, being surrounded by so much nature, open fields, lots of woods, I had a love of toadstools, actually I was obsessed by toadstools! I used to love picking wild flowers for my mum and this is where all my inspiration comes from.
I was very creative as a child and loved all things arty. I also had a passion for all things wooly, like knitting and crochet; I knew I wanted to do something with art but my parents wanted me to go down a more academic route to get a good job.
So I completed school and did an apprenticeship in a German hotel where I specialised in housekeeping, and ended up working as an executive housekeeping manager in four and five star hotels.
After the economic crash in Germany following the introduction of the Euro, my boyfriend (now husband) who was English found it difficult to get a job so we decided to move to England, where I quickly found a job as a housekeeping manager.
One day I was walking through the town centre, when a lady walked past wearing a beautiful scarf. I stopped the lady to ask her what the scarf was made out of as it was so unusual. She said it was a ‘felted scarf’, so I returned home and Googled it, but found it a bit difficult to understand, so I translated it into German as my English wasn’t very good back then. I Googled how to work with felt, what to do and what not to do; and this is how I started. I did it by the book, following techniques, step by step.
The designs were very pretty but they were not my style. I’m an edgy person and what I wear is quirkier and different to the pieces I was making, so I couldn’t or wouldn’t wear those! I started to experiment with the wool and did all the things they told me not to do, so I could achieve different textures and results...All my pieces have fraying, rough edges, and natural edges so they each look uniquely different.
All my pieces are made to order - no two pieces are ever the same; even if clients order the ‘same’ item, it will be similar but not identical. This is one of the reasons why I started to make quirky, wonky scarves in different sizes and shapes, before I got into flower making, however I found the ‘normal size’ flowers so boring. I just went bigger and bigger and bigger before stopping at the sizes I am at now! They are stand out head turners!
I want my pieces to be fun to wear and for people to experience joy when they wear them. From the flower brooches I developed the necklaces, but I get frustrated if I don’t always have the time to develop new pieces. I get lots of ideas whizzing around my head and not enough hours in the day to keep up with my orders AND turn my ideas into reality. Sometimes I have to stop what I’m doing as I get an overwhelming urge to make that new design, before returning to work on my orders.
I have my bestsellers, but as an artist I like to be challenged as this keeps my creativity flowing, so new designs always give me that special buzz.
I always keep a notepad and pen next to my bed, as I sometimes wake in the middle of the night with a brainwave for a new design and have to write it down there and then, so I don’t forget it by the next morning. I also keep one in my handbag just in case inspiration hits when I’m out and about.
I used to make handbags but they didn’t seem to be so popular, so I stopped making them; but when Emma asked me to design and make one for her Secret Garden shoot, I was really excited to try my hand at them again. The same happened with my fairy lamps. One minute they attracted no interest, then the next, everyone wanted them - now the fairy lamps are some of my best sellers. Moods and trends change very quickly.
I am a very creative person. Felting has become a huge passion in my life which I am turning into a very rewarding business. As an artist, there is nothing more rewarding than to see people wearing your designs and receiving great feedback from happy customers.
Sometimes life can be real cruel; and sometimes life can be boring, bland, grey and/or dull; and this is kind of how I got into creating vibrant, colourful designs. I feel that when you put on a bright and colourful scarf or flower, it can lift your mood and make you feel better. I walk through town some days wearing my huge flowers or scarves - lots of people stop to say how lovely they are. Some say they look silly but that’s ok, as I tell them I just need to have a silly day.”
We all need a silly day now and then Inken, I know I do! Thank you for creating such wonderful, vibrant pieces that we can all wear, whether we want a silly or stylish day, or a fabulous splash of colour to brighten up a dull, grey day - or maybe an extravagant flower brooch that will help us to stand out from the crowd and be the pick of the bunch!
Her designs really are ‘otherworldly’. And her fairy lamps make me think of the Brothers Grimm’s, Hansel and Gretel’s gingerbread house!
Whatever your mood, Inken will have something to satisfy it, enhance it or even boost it. Saunter on over to Felted Art To Wear and kickstart your love affair with Inken’s unique and enchanting designs.
Inken Gaddass has very generously offered a 10% discount to emmaheaven.com readers. Please enter the following code when checking out at Inken’s Etsy shop Felted Art To Wear - emmaheaven10. This code is valid until June 29th 2018, so make sure you don’t miss out on these incredible, eclectic designer pieces. Your wardrobe needs them! And will thank you for it.
Now where’s my Christmas list for Santa?!
Tags: In The Spotlight