I love fiber arts! Knitting and felting are on my long list of things to learn. Until I master these skills, I will have to be content with admiring the beautiful work of people like Shani Neal of SNEAL Made Woolen Creations.
Enjoy reading about her!
1. Where is your business based out of?
My business is currently based out of my home in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
2. Where are you from originally?
I am an Air Force brat so I am not originally from anywhere. I was born in New Jersey. My younger years were mostly spent in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. I have lived nearly all of my adult life in and around Boulder Colorado. My husband, son and I just moved to Pittsburgh last year to be near my family.
3. How long have you been an artist and/or business owner?
I have been involved in art my whole life. One of my degrees is in Fine Art. I actually became a floral designer right after college and soon had my own floral design business. I left it behind when I became a mom about 4 years ago, and started full time selling my art. I have never looked back.
4. Where do you get your creative inspiration?
Mainly color. I am in love with bright colors and like to find new ways to marry them together. My other big love is nature in general and flowers. I am fairly obsessed with flowers and they always find their way into the things that I make.
5. What does your creative process entail?
The creative process for me is almost random. I get an idea for something that I want or something that I see and want to try and recreate, and then I just keep making and remaking until I get it right. The most difficult thing for me is remembering how I made something the
first time so that I can do it again. I am getting better with writing things down so I have at least a pattern for the next project. When it comes to needle felting onto something that I knit, I often will ponder over it for days. Looking at the piece and trying to picture what wants to be on it. ANd yet again I play with different colors to see what ones will make the piece pop.
6. Would you say your environment (where you live, work, play) influences your creative process? If so, how?
Oh for sure. Again it is the plants and flowers that I surround myself with that influece me the most. Mother nature has the best imagination when it comes to color. Also I have alot of color in my home and I can easily be influenced my seeing how two colors play off of one another. Like with an afghan that my grandmother has knit next to a painting that I may have. Or by seeing a few pieces of pottery next to one another.
7. Who are your creative mentors?
I come from a long line of creative folks. So without really knowing it, I have been influenced my whole life. I am proud to say that a good chunk of the items that I use everyday has been made by a member of my family. So I think that the wole idea and need to create functional pieces of art has been handed down to me through my genes. But I do need to give credit to all of the wonderful teachers that I have had through my education. Unfortunately there have been too many to name.
8. Tell us about the one project you would say you are most proud of.
Honestly any of them that work. I am so very proud to create sturdy pieces that hopefully will last a lifetime and then some. It has meant a lot to me to surround myself with things that have been in my family for generations. And I really hope to create things for others that will have that same affect on them.
9. What do you enjoy doing when you're not creating?
Being with my family, cooking and baking, mountain biking, reading, traveling, caring for my orchids, getting some love from my kitties, and catching up on my long list of movies that I need to see.
10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully happy, healthy, and still creating while living on a beach somewhere.