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Cottontail & Whiskers – Sunday Artist Interview

Over the last 14 weeks (14 already!) I have been featuring an artist each Sunday for my Sunday Artist Interview and today we have the lovely Bea at Cottontail & Whiskers to tell us about her work practice and ultimately, her favourite cheese! Over to you Bea!

First of all, who are you?

I live in rural Aberdeenshire in bonny Scotland with the love of my life, our 4 children, 2 dogs, 4 chickens and a massive amount of wool! I learned to crochet in 2013 by making a granny square and it all just snowballed from there, I just couldn’t and can’t stop.

I taught myself the skills of amigurumi and pattern writing which have allowed me to make my imagination come alive. I opened Cottontail & Whiskers in 2015 and haven’t looked back since. There is literally nothing I won’t have a go at, I love a challenge and the satisfaction I get when a piece is complete is immense

When you were asked (all those years ago!), “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  What did you answer?

When I was young, roughly 8 ish I started reading Willard Price adventure books which just enthralled me. This is what I wanted to do with my life!! I wanted to go round the world and collect all these animals like they did in the books. This changed very quickly when I began watching David Attenborough’s wonderful TV programs, I just wanted to be David Attenborough’s assistant 🙂 

What is the funniest thing as an artist that has ever happened to you?

Not sure I’ve had a “funny moment” as an artist but I do get asked to make some odd things which make me laugh!

What is the hardest part of being creative?

For me the hardest part of being creative is not being able to make my hands go as fast as my brain. New idea’s are constantly popping into my head I just can’t keep up with them. Usually I have brilliant idea’s at 3 in the morning while I’m drifting off to sleep, wake up and know that I had an amazing idea but I can’t remember what it was!!! That and working with wool in any kind of heat, it’s not easy!

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

To anyone starting out I would say, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, work hard at it and enjoy it! Bad days make the good days even better, mistakes are essential as they teach you a lot and most importantly……learn to do a happy dance! Happy dance days make it all worthwhile!

What subjects inspire you?

I am inspired by everything I see! I can look at an old wooden box on a market stall and imagine a room with a teeny family of crochet mice all cosied up around a fireplace. An old shoe with a little bunny sleeping under his crochet blanket. A roll of vintage lace instantly gave me an idea for a bear head in a Pierrot clown costume. Teeny baubles on a Christmas cracker ended up being beady eyes for my snails. Wildlife programs really get me, especially the insect ones as I usually forget what I’m watching and am busy working out how to make it in my head! I get quite drawn to colour and that really effects how a piece can turn out completely different to how I first imagined. I love how colour can give a pop to pieces that you wouldn’t ordinarily expect. Except neon……..there is never a place for neon! 🙂

Who are the 3 greatest living artists in your opinion? (they don’t have to be famous!)

Dean Patman – He creates the most amazing creatures out of old spoons, teapots and handles. I would love one of bees!

Textile Art by Julia (I don’t know her last name!) – Who makes the most wonderful faux taxidermy creations

Takashi Murakami – Love his use of colour, his pieces are such fun

Who are the 3 greatest dead artists in your opinion?

 Monet – Just because his pictures take you to a lovely dreamy world 

Klimt – I find his paintings fascinating, they draw your eye in and just keep you looking. His painting The Kiss is one of my all time favourite paintings

Lowry – His pictures tell a story of the time, so much to look at and imagine.

What is your favourite work of art you have ever produced?

The worst question of all, which is my favourite piece? This changes all the time and I love them all! If you’re twisting my arm and I really, really have to choose it would be Ernie the Shroom. When I’d put the last leaf in place and sat down to look at him I just smiled, he really was perfect in my eyes and he just kept me smiling 🙂

What was the last piece of art you sold?

Last piece I sold was this guy, another smile inducer!

And finally… Because this is really important….

What’s the best type of cheese?  (haha)

Best type of cheese for me is St Agur Blue……it’s lush!

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