Crafting Abroad: Evija
Hello and welcome to August’s edition of our Crafting Abroad interview series!
Today I hae the pleasure to introduce you to Evija. Nowadays she’s living on the Isle of Man, but originally she’s from somewhere else – but I let her tell the story herself:
In your own words, who are you and what do you do? My name is Evija and I am working at a law firm and studying law part time. In my free time I love to craft, create, upcycle, draw, paint and be creative. I love to make something beautiful out of nothing or breathe a new life into a piece that has been forgotten. I created my blog to show projects and also to try and inspire others to give it a go, try something they have never tried before.
Where are you from? I am living in Isle of Man, but I am originally from Latvia. I moved to the Isle of Man 11 years ago, when I came over on a student exchange programme for the summer. I met my husband and moved over to the Isle of Man a few months after the summer was over!
What is the nearest “big” city or district to you? Isle of Man is a small Island in the Irish sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. Normally, not many people have heard about it, but it is a beautiful island.
What crafts do you like to do? There are just so many things I love to do.. I see something and I immediately want to try it myself.. I love to paint, make signs, presents, decorations, decoupage, sew, but my absolutely favourite must be upcycling especially furniture. I love making something beautiful out of something that has been forgotten or thrown out. I believe we can re-use things and restore them to their former glory or even make them better, all you need is vision and hard work. I have ‘rescued’ so many pieces of furniture from being thrown out and created some of the most beautiful pieces. You can’t buy anything like that in the shops – they are unique, one of a kind and so special.
I recently re-discovered my love for art when I used some acrylic paints to create a bright table top. I haven’t painted anything like that since I was younger and when I was painting I realised how much I really missed it so I can’t wait to start another project where I can hand paint on a piece of furniture.
What craft supplies do you have a difficult time finding in your area? Are the costs reasonable or is crafting very expensive in your area? The island is quite small, so there isn’t a massive selection of things but I do tend to use local shops to buy everything that I can and support local. If I am struggling with something I order things online or get them when I am in the UK or Latvia if I see something I could use and I know no-one else would have it back on the Island. I am pretty resourceful and always find what I need somehow!
Are the costsreasonable or is crafting very expensive in your area? The prices seem to be higher over here than in the UK, but I try and see what I can do and many things are so much easier to be purchased in bulk from the internet. I love using chalk paint but it can be quite pricey so I am thinking of starting to make my own chalk paint soon too.
Do you use the internet or mail order products from other areas for hard to find items? Yes, I would be lost without the internet!! Nowadays you can get pretty much anything you need online, you just have to be patient and know where to look.
They say that with recent popularity, crafting is a revolution of sorts. Is crafting huge where you’re from? Or is it the movement gaining momentum? Crafting has always been very popular in Latvia.. My grandmother and my mother always did some sort of crafts. My grandmother was amazing at sewing and fixing our clothes. My mum still loves to knit, crochet and do various decorations, flower arrangements and crafts in her spare time. We used to do crafts at school too, so we were taught the importance of being creative since we were young. Unfortunately life sometimes gets in the way and we get too busy for our hobbies. That’s why I am glad I decided to craft again a few years ago. Crafts help me to unwind, to relax and express myself artistically. I am a perfectionist and always give 110% when I do something.
Regionally, what type of crafts are popular? Are there any projects or genres that are specific to your region? Back in Latvia definitely knitting, sewing and crochet are popular amongst older generation.. I think nowadays the younger generation is expressing themselves in other areas too such as hand made soaps, art, making jewellery and accessories.
Are there any projects or genres that are specific to your region? Latvia always had a traditional way of weaving beautiful fabrics and woven belts. The most popular was the Lielvarde belt which is a two-coloured belt (width 5-10 cm in length up to 270 cm). When I visit Latvia I also love to attend the little markets, where you can see some of the traditional clay pottery and woodworking, which are amazing.
Anything you’d care to add about crafting in your area? There are so many talented people in Latvia, who use ancient knowledge of the craft and combine it with modern techniques. Hand made items are precious, as they are one of a kind. You will never find exactly the same two things when you look at hand made items. The imperfections make the items perfect!
Share with us your three favorite crafts/projects you’ve created! There are so many projects I am proud of and love to show.
One of my recent projects – hand painted table transformation, this was done free hand and turned out more beautiful than I thought.
This sign is very special as I made this for our godson for the christening. This is one of a kind made especially for him.
Napkin decoupage – love this as this shows that you can upcycle a plain and simple thing into something pretty.
Where can we find you?