This week I got the chance to get an interview with Claire who is the owner of Yellow bear wares. Claire creates beautiful pieces of jewellery from old knitting needles which look amazing. It’s a great way to show off your crafty side in a stylish way. She has a range of rings and bracelets at her Etsy store and has also just created a range of necklaces that will be available soon. Check out the interview below
Firstly, how and why did you start your business?
As far back as I can remember I have always been a maker; generally I make something once or twice as a gift and then my excitement about working with that medium seems to fade for a while and I drift off to find the next thing to try my hand at. However, bizarrely, I found I am motivated to keep going when making jewellery with plastic knitting needles, it seems that my creative urges are satisfied by the challenge of creating new designs and finding the possibilities of the medium.
I didn’t set out to make and sell jewellery; predominantly I am a filmmaker and arts facilitator and the more tangible and tactile arts have been more a pastime, however feeling so inspired by the challenges of this medium is what has encouraged me to start selling and designing my wares.
Currently I am at the very beginning of my design and selling journey, I am selling my pieces in an online Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/YellowBearWares ) and I have been accepted to sell at Brighton Craftaganza on June 15th which will be my first ever craft fair.
What is your brand all about?
Honestly speaking this is something I am only just starting to think about, I’d like to be known for innovative and modern designs that have an emphasis on up-cycling. But also making jewellery that allows people to celebrate wool crafts such as knitting or crochet within their accessories is a strong theme in my designs and something I hope to develop further.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I simply adore things made from other things, my parents have always been very conscious about re-using, up-cycling and recycling especially when it came to gardening, in fact from a young age I have always had random things around me used for other purposes, for instance once my shoes were too small or had become worn out they would become plant pots in the garden, my mums worn out tights would become supports for plants to grow up, old pipes my dad came across would become structures for his beloved tomatoes to thrive in, complete with unusable taps attached. This ethos of trying to get the most use out of something and not wasting the unwanted has stayed with me and I also appreciate the absurd and unexpected
How do you like to start working on a new project? Whats your planning process?
I don’t seem to be able to force initial ideas; often they will come to me whilst I am in the shower, at work, riding my bike or other inconvenient moments in time! I keep a notebook near me at all times so I can jot down ideas as and when I have them, I usually have ideas in a very visual way and I will try to sketch it out roughly and then come back to develop it when I have more time. I am not much of a planner but if I have had an idea that I want to work towards I will go a bit silly writing lists of things that I need to do to get there and have them lying about around the house, perhaps not the most organized way of doing things but it’s a process that seems to work at the moment.
Whats your favourite materials to work with?
Currently plastic! Though I do like to experiment with various materials; recently I have been creating felt items and I have just started to learn how to crochet but these things don’t quite fit what I want for Yellow bear wares so they will probably stay as my crafty hobbies that I do for myself or friends late at night whilst relaxing in the evenings.
Whats next for you?
Product wise I have just finished making my first batch of braided plastic knitting needle necklaces and am soon to release them and I’ve been looking into getting some new designs of mine laser cut in acrylic, I want to make a wearable knitting needle gauge!
As for wider more long-term aims, I’m taking small steps; I love my day job (I facilitate sessions in a day centre for adults with learning disabilities and challenging behavior) and I don’t want to be making jewellery full-time because I’d miss the challenges and satisfaction I get at work, however a more equal ratio is something I’d like to work towards, it’s getting hard fitting all my making, promoting and selling into my weekends and evenings!