Saturday, July 5, 2008

Shannon Lueskow July 2008 threadanimal artist of the month


Dirt and Sunshine

Beautiful, Whimsical, Thread and Fiber Creatures

Where did you grow up?

Washington State and still live there. LOVE this place!

The great Pacific Northwest can be called a big melting pot of culture. Besides it's obvious beauty, there are so many things to capture your interest and some of the greatest artists in the world can be found here.

What's your place of birth?

Albequerque New Mexico but I was made in Washington State

Do you think that your hobbies/crafts are influenced by where you live or would they look the same if you lived elsewhere?

I cannot say for sure but I do think our enviornment always affects us and that would certainly have an effect on our artwork. I feel that my work would be, in general, the same (whimsical bent) but some of the subtilities are different. I mean, we get so much rain here that all my pieces are

Please tell us a little about you and your family. Married?

Yes, happily, to my college sweetheart.
Children? 3 boys ages 9, 7, and 5.


Fish keeper with a huge 92 gallon tank filled with fancy Goldfish, two smaller tanks with Tropicals, one sassy cat, a wire Dachshund and her 5 puppies

What other crafts hobbies do you like to do?

Just about anything that requires my hands. Knitting, painting, sculpting, needlepoint, quilling, origami, and restoring Cabbage Patch Dolls, old furniture, upholstering reclaimed furniture. My favorite next to bears and friends is my fish tanks. Goldfish are just like puppies with fins and most all of mine hand feed and hang out where I work. The big tank is right by my work area and gives such a sense of peace.

Any crafts or hobbies you'd like to learn ? Rug Hooking, Glass blowing, any type of metal work. I'd also like to learn how to restore or customize cars. Professional gardening.

Have you had any formal arts & crafts training?


When did you start making Thread Animals and what was the occasion? I was on E-Bay looking for yarn and found a gal's store that had patterns and a couple of completed bears. I was INSTANTLY hooked. I hadn't picked up a crochet hook in over 20 yrs but went out that day and bought some supplies and went to work. My first bear took me about thirty hours to complete. Part of the time issue was relearning things I had forgotten and figuring out how to read a pattern (I had never worked a pattern before). I learned to crochet when I was 8 and put the hobby away until three years ago. There was no special occasion but it was very much like a "home coming" for me as I've always been fascinated with art

Do you recollect the first teddy that you made yourself?
Yes. It was this hideous purple thing that looked more like a potato with

How do you get ideas or inspiration for new bears?

Everything around me gives me inspiration. It sounds so cliche but it's true. I have three boys and love nature. If that doesn't inspire me there's always something I've read in a book that sticks in my head or a vintage toy that intrigues me.

What do like most when making bears or Thread Animals?

I LOVE to put the face on them. I can see what I think they'll look like, in my head, during their making but nine times out of ten they look totally different than what I thought. I LOVE that. It makes each one like a gift that you can't wait to open to see what it is...or in this case, looks like.

Do you have a personal great dream regarding the bear making?

I personally feel I have accomplished what I started out to do with bear making. I really wanted to learn a technique that was different from what most others use. There's a few that can "cro-sculpt" a term applied to using fiber and hook like clay and making intricate bodies. If I could, I'd like to see this particular work become popular and see what a bigger group of artists can accomplish with this particular technique. I'd also LOVE to teach this method in a classroom and have a waiting

Tell us about what contests have you entered?
Local fairs, URSAs, and a couple of Berta's challenges Won? Yep.Awards? Yep (really don't look for glory because I LOVE what I do and would make these guys the same way whether people wanted to see them or

I've had a few in Bears and Buds webzine

How did you get started crocheting, who taught you?

When I was eight my family bought a house that had an attatched cottage that we rented to this sweet older lady. She took the time to teach me ( I bet I was a terrible pest and she got tired of me peering over her shoulder asking a million questions). I would love to return the favor and teach my kids and any other curious eight year old!
What was your first crochet or knitted project?

I made really long chains and squares...nuttin but. I was only 8 years old, ya know. Lol.
Who inspires you?

Honestly, most every accomplished artist. They all have something unique about them that makes me want to get in there too! My mother is artistic and I guess I've always wanted to posess her quiet grace and talents.
Have any tips for beginner Artists ?

If a project is worth doing, it's worth doing right. That means: Rip it out, start over as many times as necessary, and never give up until you get the look you wanted in the first place!!! Take the time to just sit and ramble with your hook (or brush or pencil...whatever it is). That is exactly where I got my ideas for the horses I've made. The first one took me over 6 weeks to complete but it was pretty close to what I was trying to accomplish.
Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs?

Right here with a happy family and little bears to keep me company. I would also like to have some children's books published by then.
What tip would you give someone looking to crochet their first miniature bear?

Try again, practice, take it slow and start with a good and simple pattern.
What skill level would you say that someone needed toembark on their first bear project?

Any skill level will do. The only requirement is a desire.
Which other crocheters work do you admire - either miniature bear makers or makers of other items? S

hoot...Berta, Bobbie, Nadine (miss seeing her works), Angela J. Leith, Marion, Jan, Andrea, Lynn, soooo many others that I can't recall their names.
Do you have a favorite bear or animal that you have made so far?

My set called, "The Sunday Afternoon Nap" and a little guy called a, Head-butt'up ian. The nappers are a Polar bear mamma and cub. The second was a fun little piece I made that I traded for another piece.
Please describe your Thread Animal style with your own words.

Whimsical, serious at times, and something reminescent of "dirt and sunshine" I tell my boys, after a day of playing and being wonderful kids, that they smell like dirt and sunshine. You know that special earthy, outside smell you can only get when you were a kid? The smell that reminds you of the days when you could be anything, do anything, or imagine anything? Those days when you could play all day and had no cares for tomorrow. That's what I hope to capture and put a little of in each of pieces.