This is the 4th in our "Meet the PieceMakers" interview series. Read on to meet PieceMaker member, Frances!
What's your real name? How did you come up with your shop name?
My real name is Frances. And as for my Shop name (and Flickr name)... you know the game where you have to say what kind of animal/plant/car someone would be? Well I never could find an animal that suited me... until my husband gave me the nickname "Waschbär", German for Racoon. Nocturnal, clever, shy, cheeky, omnivorous, likes wearing a mask... that's me! I changed it to waschbear to reflect my dual Swiss/English nationality (ok, and maybe a teensy little bit because the name Waschbaer was already taken).
How long have you been creating mosaics? What was your first piece?
I've been creating mosaics for about 6 years now. It all started because we needed a new water jug and I couldn't find one I liked. Take that and a certain affinity to broken china which comes from sharing a household with three small children... Only a mosaic Mom can say "oh well DONE, you broke another plate!" without a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
What other art do you do, if any?
This and that. Since completing a course at the Arts college in Basel in my youth - or actually far earlier, ever since I can remember - I have been consumed by the urge to learn as many different crafts as possible: mosaics and weaving are my favorites, but I also enjoy spinning, sewing, knitting, woodwork, building ovens and making garden sculptures.... My wishlist currently includes dyeing fibers and working with iron. And keeping sheep. Beer brewing would also be cool. Or bee keeping.... Life is just far too SHORT!!
What kind of shows have you been a part of?
I'm still working on this one. My piece for the current Piecemakers' feather challenge is the first I've entered in a competition, and I've only fairly recently looked into marketing my art. I'm pleased with how that's going so far.
What would be your dream to mosaic? ... a building? .... a town mural? ...etc..
I have so many dreams. The mosaic Pizza oven I built was the most amazingly fun project to do, so in a way I've already been lucky enough to realize one dream mosaic. The bathroom I'm currently working on is another. An empty room, tons of lovely glass tiles and only myself (and maybe my husband a bit) to please... that is pretty cool! I'd like to do a large mosaic dragon sculpture one of these days. And some more mosaic garden furniture.
Is being an artist your full-time job? What other jobs or hobbies consume your time?
No, I can't live off my art by any means - that would be great! But its really nice to be setting up a mosaic network, and who knows what it may lead to. Besides all the hobbies listed under question 3), I also have three children and a household to look after. And a part time job. Don't ask me how it all works out! It does somehow and that's the main thing.
Tell us ,briefly, about your family or your daily life or about the area where you live.
I live in Switzerland. My parents are both English but they moved here before I was born, so I've spent my whole life living in or around the quite small but very nice city of Basle. My husband is Swiss and my children are growing up speaking both English and Swiss German. We live in a house which I'm doing my best to cover in mosaics bit by bit and we have a largish garden which I'm certain still has room for another mosaic sculpture or three...
What are some of your favorite things about being part of the PieceMaker group?
The PieceMakers have managed to transform Etsy from a big scary anonymous place into a warm welcoming friendly place for me. There's plenty of encouragement, valuable exchange of know how and last but not least lots of great humor - my kind of place, I'm really glad to be here!
To see more of Waschbear's Work, check out her etsy shop by clicking here!