I love to learn about the work of many artists in the Etsy community. I recently met online a talented French woman that lives and works in Norway. She runs two wonderful stores on Etsy. One of them offers handmade jewelry and the other one brings you cross stitch patterns. Let me introduce you to Virginie, the owner of A Nordic Rose and Roland-Designs.
You run two shops on Etsy, please tell us a bit more about them.
When my oldest son was 3 years old he was diagnosed with autism, soon after his young brother and sister also received diagnosis. At that time I was a stay at home mother with 4 small children, and desperately needed a creative outlet. I had taken up cross stitch as hobby and started to interest myself in antique samplers, and Berlin woolwork. Before long I had started to collect antique needlework patterns, and taught myself to use a cross stitch software. I naively opened a little website in 2008 to share my replicas of antique patterns, and before the year was ended I had also opened an Etsy shop. Roland-Designs was named quite after my oldest son – Roland.
Soon afterward I started to add some handmade crochet items and jewelry to my shop, but within a year I decided to separate the embroidery charts and other items. So I moved everything that was not a pattern to a new Etsy shop called A Nordic Rose… I have a little soft spot for roses, and live in a Nordic country so that was the inspiration behind the name.
What are your most popular items in each shop?
The most popular item cross stitch is this funny one about wine and coffee available at etsy.com/listing/123254236
As for jewelry, this is my personal favorite crochet jewelry design. The lovely photo was the result of a trade with a talented Etsy photographer. Find this beautiful handmade necklace on Etsy at etsy.com/listing/99371777
What is your process for creating cross stitch patterns?
Most of my cross stitch patterns are replicas of antique charts or samplers, I feel it is a way to preserve our needlework heritage by digitalizing those beautiful patterns and offering them to a new generation of embroiderers.
Sometimes I have a little idea that pops into my head for an original design, I usually start by scribbling it on a graph paper, but some patterns are drawn directly on my computer.
I have also done some interesting custom work for customers, one such project was to create a cross stitch pattern from the tittle of a book that a lady’s daughter-in-law had written, which she then stitched on a baby bib for her grandchild.
What would you say to someone who wants to learn to cross stitch? How can they start? What patterns they should choose to begin?
Cross stitch is a fun, relaxing and creative hobby. I would recommend starting on something small, with not too many colors, and no half stitch and back stitch. For example, this mini sampler would only take a couple of evenings to stitch and even has a place to stitch your name. You can find it on Etsy at etsy.com/listing/193428693
How to do you juggle your duties as a mom, part-time Montessori school teacher and Etsy shop owner?
People often ask how I manage those different task on a daily basis and the answer is simple- I work on a priority basis. My children come first, my day job pays the bills so that has to come next, then on the days I have free from work and the children are in school I can then enjoy some peaceful time creating for my Etsy shops.
I keep a detailed to-do list divided in daily, weekly and long term list. Often I have to remind myself that it is not necessary to do it all, but to do the most important first and to do those task thoroughly. My motto is ‘Do few things, but do them well!’
Working part time at a Montessori school has given me the possibility to do craft activities with the children, and as you can imagine they are all doing cross stitch.
Tell me about your experience being the Team Captain of the Etsy Made in Norway team.
Etsy teams are a great way to connect with other sellers, and persons who share the same interest. A couple years ago I was looking for a local team, but not finding any that suited my need I started my own.
In March 2014 I was invited to participate in the first ever European Etsy team captain summit in Berlin. My team was very new at the time, so this was a wonderful opportunity to learn from experienced team leaders, meet Etsy administration and get the feel of the international community of crafters and artisans that Etsy is.
My team is a national team, spread over a whole country, so while meetings and get together are a bit difficult we did have a get together in the capital last Autumn…. and now we are talking about joining efforts at market later in the Spring. Our team members keeps in touch via a closed Facebook group, the Etsy forum and naturally we have Pinterest, Instagram, a facebook fan page, and a beautiful blog our dedicated team leader designs.
Our team blog: madeinnorway.org/index.php/en/
Facebook page: facebook.com/madeinnorwayetsyteam
If you are a cross stitch enthusiast or want to learn more about this beautiful art, please visit her blog at roland-designs.com and also her Etsy shop at etsy.com/shop/rolanddesigns to browse through her collection of cross stitch patterns.
And don’t forget to stop by her handmade jewelry shop, A Nordic Rose, to find a unique piece for you.
Here is Virginie sharing antique samplers from her cross stitch collection: