NAME: Tanya Robinson
LOCATION: Abingdon, Oxfordshire
ETSY SHOP: Felt collage
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?
I am Tanya Robinson, the proud owner of the Felt Collage Etsy Shop. I am a fibre artist, stylist and maker, and I grew up in Ukraine.
I grew up with the smell of the river, days spent under the blossom of cherry trees, soaking the sun and enjoying nature. I watched my mother making knitted chunky sweaters for cold winters and my aunt working from home as a seamstress.
Over half of my life I lived in the vibrant, capital city of Kyiv, Ukraine and recently I resettled to the much smaller town of Abingdon in the UK.
I am passionate about raw wool, natural plant dyes and fibre textures. I source and forage materials locally and I enjoy using the process of wet felting to create one-of-a-kind bespoke accessories and home decor that tell a story.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED ON ETSY?
I was making my first products for a couple of years, experimenting with merino wool and discovering my own style. I taught some wet felting to small group in workshops at a local craft shop when I first discovered Etsy as a platform. Until that point all my sales had been through personal contacts and referrals. I was a bit nervous at first about the idea of having my “own shop”, but I gave it a try.
I loved the amazing diversity on offer through Etsy and felt it could be a great opportunity for me to have my products seen by others.
At that point I was really young as an artist and needed my customers appreciation and feedback as much as they needed the work I created. Since that time I’ve found that I love the connections that are formed and the feeling that my bespoke items are being sent to good homes.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DESIGN/MAKING PROCESS?
I’m inspired by the quote from Beth Kempton in her book Wabi Sabi... “It’s our imperfections that make us unique, and our uniqueness that makes each of us beautiful.”
My design ideas start with observing nature, people, objects and noticing colours and textures all around me. I love walking in nature reserves and parks, being near the river or just getting lost in the old streets and galleries of Oxford. All of this fuels my imagination and enlarges and recharges me as a person.
I also find that the tactile process of playing with different fibres, laying, sorting and appreciating the beauty of it works miracles for me. I need space, time, and a calm atmosphere to be able to create wet felted pieces. I guard this creative making time carefully and pretty much every time good things come.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I am so proud to know that my customers live all over the world. I have sent my creations to New Zealand, Hungary, USA and Germany. I love to see who we all are connected through our similar stories, and it’s fun to imagine what my scarf or other felted piece might be doing on a given day in a new home... and what new stories they’d be able to tell.
I love experimenting with natural dyes and moving forward with new design ideas in the quieter seasons of life. I find it’s a lot about being focused to pursue even the smallest creative inkling you might have.
Silk scarves by Felt Collage, available here.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU JOIN OUR OXFORD ETSY TEAM?
I joined the Oxford Etsy team to participate in the Abingdon Pop-up shop a couple years ago. I was so thrilled to discover other makers, especially ones who lived in this area. Being a maker and working in my home studio can sometimes feel quite isolated. It’s good to be able to connect and meet new people and find your own community. It is always so inspiring to go to Oxford Etsy Meet-ups. I love the energy of them and plan to continue visiting them.
A SHORT SHOUT-OUT TO A FELLOW ETSY SELLER:
My favourite Etsy shop is SilverQuillCo by Victoria Munday. I like her simplicity and botanical design illustrations. This Etsy shop has lovely cards for all occasions. All the products there are very earth-friendly.