By Terri Smith –
I believe creativity is important. When we are creating, we are living in the moment. The worries and cares of life can be set aside, and we can allow ourselves to be captivated by a sense of wonder and excitement. I believed this was important even before the world as we knew it came to a standstill. Now that so much is so uncertain, I believe it is still important, perhaps now more than ever.
I have been teaching needle-felting classes for over two years and have been felting for a little over a decade. I love the immediacy of working with fibres. I love the textures and the colours, and even the smell of the wool. I love to create magical creatures and landscapes, and I love to help others create their own magical works of art. I especially love the moment when someone’s eyes light up with joy over what they have created, and to hear someone exclaim: “I never knew I was creative!”
When I began teaching workshops a few years ago I purchased supplies locally until our local wool shop closed. After ordering online from a few Canadian companies I realized most of them were ordering from overseas anyway so I went further up the supply chain and now order most of my wool and fibres from a family-run business in Italy called DHG that carries a beautiful selection of mulesing-free wool. I didn’t even know what this meant until I found this company. ‘Mulesing’ is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the buttocks of a lamb to prevent flystrike. Flystrike is also a terrible thing, but there are other ways to prevent it.
Once I began ordering large quantities of wool, I began selling felting supplies, and it makes me so happy to be able to share my love of fibres.
In every aspect of my new business I am striving to be as sustainable as possible. I order my wool in large quantities to reduce packaging, and I seek out Canadian and local fibres wherever possible. When I teach local classes, I package supplies in repurposed containers, mostly plastic clamshells that formerly held organic vegetables. I reuse the thick plastic that my wool arrives in by cutting it into smaller pieces and sewing it into smaller bags to contain the felting kits that I sell.
I am sourcing recycled packaging for online orders, and I am looking into imaginative box designs that could double as playsets or display units. I enjoy the challenge of thinking about how every bit of what someone orders can be used and reused. While at first I gave out cleaning sponges to use as cheap felting pads, I have now begun sewing my own felting pads from premade felt I order from the same company. These last for years and are not made from plastic—and they are also beautiful!
There are cheaper and easier ways to begin a business, but I am trying to build a business with a conscience. I want to be able to feel good about what I am selling, and I want people to feel good about ordering from me.
Now that the world has changed so much, I believe that creative play can help us more than ever. I am now learning how to make videos so I can teach workshops online.
Making a small, magical sculpture from wool may not seem like an important thing to do. But what I have noticed repeatedly as we have moved through this difficult time, is that creativity is what keeps us going. Online, there are so many articles and memes that fill us with dread, with fear, and even anger—but the things that bring us hope and make us feel good are often examples of people being creative.
I also love to be able to make the gifts I give to people. Something you have taken the time to make yourself is an extra special gift to give someone.
I struggled with what to call my new business. I had all sorts of ideas, but none seemed right. I only knew that the name needed to be something magical as so much of what inspires me is the magical world of nature and fairy tales. A friend of mine was trying to help me decide on a name and said, “Because it’s you, I really feel like it needs to be something magical” and suddenly we both heard it: Something Magical. And who doesn’t like a good pun?
I believe everyone really does need something magical in their life. I hope I can help you with that!
If you want to find me, my website is under construction, but will soon be found at www.somethingmagical.ca. In the meantime, I am on Facebook and Instagram both at: SomethingMagicalByTerri.
Terri Smith is an artist, educator, gardener, burlesque performer, and sometimes reluctant writer living in Quesnel, BC. She teaches workshops on gardening and needle felting and can be found on Facebook at Road’s End Vegetable Company or Something Magical.