Sunday, July 07, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 65

This week  we are headed to "heart of a vivacious forest, in a secret valley above the glorious Methow Valley of Northern Washington."

Name: Jillian Lukiwski
Age: 31
Occupation: Metalsmith, writer and photographer.
Etsy Shop: The Noisy Plume

Tell us a little about yourself:
I'm a Canadian living in the USA. Because of my husband's occupation (he's a smokejumper), we split our year between the Rocky Mountains of Idaho and the North Cascades of Northern Washington. It's a good situation and while moving twice a year can be a bit exhausting, we live in two really gorgeous places. For the time being, I love our lifestyle. We have three dogs, a cat, some hens, lots of houseplants, a 108 year old farm house and a 1965 Sovereign Landyacht Airstream trailer. 

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I've always made things, and I've always been a writer, ever since I was a little girl, whether it was sewing, building forts with my dad's scrap lumber, stringing beads, building with clay, painting or digging out elaborate snow caves in the dead of winter. I've always made and built things. Big and small. So with that in mind, I guess what I do now is generally what I have always done. I started making jewelry about six years ago. I was a librarian at an elementary school at the time. Selling on Etsy allowed me to quit the librarian position and go full time with The Noisy Plume. 

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I'm a writer. I put words together in pleasing ways. The Noisy Plume, as a business name, simply fell into being for me like most of my writing efforts do, I just put some words together. It's funny, people tell me all the time how the name really suits me. It's a pinch of the natural mingled with a dash of flamboyance, which may or may not be one of the ways my close friends might describe me, some of the time.

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job?
It's a part of my full time job. I'm also a writer and photographer. Everything gets mashed up together under the banner of The Noisy Plume but there's a lot more to it than the Etsy shop. Behind the scenes, there's a tornado-y universe whirling around that hardly anyone ever gets to see unless they are directly a part of my life.

How would you describe your creative process?
 I work quite intuitively, that is to say, I really let the work lead. I rarely create a finished piece that is the direct result of sketching. I just sit down and slowly let things build until they feel finished. I approach writing and photography the same way. It can be little chaotic but it's mostly amazing. I highly value freedom in all avenues of life so it makes sense that my approach to work is quite free and meandering.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Oh. Everywhere. Probably, mostly nature. I don't go to urban places very often. When I am in a city, I find myself searching for the tiny wild things that live there -- the plant that grows up out of the sidewalk, the bird who dares to build a nest in a tree on a busy road, the smell of the sea blowing in from the shoreline and erasing the stink that spills out of back alleys. I spend a lot of time outside on the land in Idaho and Washington and everywhere in between. I think, more often than not, you can tell I'm from the interior West of Canada and the USA when you look at the bulk of my work in metal. I like white. White animals, white flora, winter. I also love saturated color. I like the interplay of shadow and light that is all around us, all the time. Everything inspires but some things inspire more than others.

What is your most cherished handmade item?
My grandmother hand quilts. She is still a prolific quilter. I have a quilt she made for me when I graduated high school. I also have a quilt I made with my mother that features some dresden plates my grandmother prepared for a quilt but never used. My wedding ring is also a deeply cherished object. There's an enormous and enchanting tale behind the making of it...and, to be frank, it's utterly beautiful. Rob designed it. Also, our refurbished Airstream is pretty dear to me. It's not truly handmade, but my husband has been working on refurbishing it for a couple of years now and he has rebuilt 90% of it with his own two hands, so I suppose I would consider it handmade at this point. Rob is amazing. A true jack of all trades. His efforts with the Airstream allow us to be together all year long. I use the rig as a studio space in the summer months when we move North for the fire season.

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
I like to trail run, it's my meditation. I ski and skijor my dogs in the winter months. I love the snow. I am an inexhaustible reader of books. I do a lot of horseback riding when I am at home in Saskatchewan and look forward to the day I have a horse of my own. I paint, for pleasure. I may paint for work someday, but for now I'm very private and selfish about it. It's creative work I do just for myself. I like hiking and collecting the bits of nature I find when I am out: bones and skulls, feathers, weathered wood, lichens and mosses... Honestly, I like to go outside and simply wander. I live in landlocked areas but when I am at the sea, I can spend days and days beach combing. I beach comb so much that I forget to eat. I like to make music with piano, guitar and ukulele. I like to watch birds and wild animals. I am a bread baker. I garden. I could be considered a professional bath taker. I love the bath. I like to cook for our friends. I hunt upland game with my husband and our two German shorthaired pointers. In the fall and winter I like to hunt for empty nests. I have a nest collection. I love to swim in lakes and rivers. I can swim for hours. If the dogs are with me, it's fun to swim across the lake with my little wolf pack. I fly fish. I star watch. I see rabbits in the clouds.

If you weren’t creating your craft, what would you be and why?
 I am generally unemployable by the real world so I can't imagine what I would be doing! That's the honest truth. Maybe I would own a bakery. Perhaps I'd have a herd of angora rabbits and a wee wool factory in the loft of a barn somewhere. Maybe I would occupy a fire tower somewhere in the Rockies, counting lightning strikes and scanning the horizon for smoke...that sounds nice. Those fire lookout towers are really lovely, large glass windows on all four walls and plenty of isolation up high with only the red-tailed hawks and chipmunks for company.

Five years from now you will be:
 Probably doing what I am doing now! Hopefully published, or working on a book, or a second book, or writing poems in a patch of wild roses. Maybe weaving. Hopefully living on a ranch in west central Idaho with a jersey cow and a few horses.

Describe yourself in five words:
optimistic, witty, direct, daydreaming, little

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your ipod, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
Right now you would see The Cure, James Vincent McMorrow, Lucius, Lindi Ortega, Pocket Dwellers

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
Sure thing. Just do it. Begin. Open your shop and don't be paralyzed by planning. You'll never be totally ready or totally prepared. I think it's better to get the ball rolling and then problem solve as problems arise. Meet the the needs of your studio and small business as the needs arise. Work hard. Have fun. Don't take the interwebular world too seriously. Life is too precious and short.