Interview with Vera Sorokina of the LindVera Shop on Etsy
Hello! My name is Vera Sorokina. I live in Moscow, Russia.
I love Russian winter and blooming lilacs in May. Both inspire my creativity! I am fond of painting, photography, floral composition … I never stop learning new art techniques which help me improve my art.
I love animals .. I have a cat in my house.
Once I saw a picture of a toy on the Internet, it looked so real! I wondered what it was made of…. I was even more surprised after discovering it is
crafted from a simple piece of wool. Hmm, it means one can create volumetric figurines from wool. How do they end up so warm and lovely at the end …?
I learned the basics so I could start crafting my own woolen toys.
In my toys, I only use natural sheep wool. The method I use is: Dry wallow needle (felting).
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Since I really like cats … you will find quite a few of them in my collection … Though not only cats …
Cats are remarkable in their ability to take an endless number of unique beautiful poses ..
Etsy Shop: LindVera Shop
How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
From early childhood I was very fond of animals. I always asked my mom to buy me a kitten. And then, when I was 6 years old, my mother brought to our house is very fluffy and a black kitten, It was a boy, the Siberian breed. We called it a popular cat Russian name – Vaska.
Vaska was a very intelligent boy. When my brother and I went for a walk on the street, we took him with us. Vaska followed us everywhere like a dog. Cats have always been in our house since then.
Now I have two cats. One cat breed in Moscow, her name is Rita and the second seal – red Persian, named “Rizhik.”
When there is a cat in the house, there is always more joy and warmth.
Please describe your creative process.
Before I start working, I scroll through a lot of different pictures on the internet, or photographs, which I usually get from my customers … What’s important to me is thinking about some interesting pose. The pose of the kitten in the photo should reflect its character. When I find a photo, I say to myself – this is it! And I start to work.
First I pick a certain color of wool yarn and I make the kitten eyes: I paint eyes on acrylic beads (for each kitten’s eyes), and then coat them with varnish.
Then I start doing the head, then the body and legs and end with the tail!
I do not always get a kitten exactly as in the photo. The magic is that when a kitten appears head with eyes, it comes alive … and is obtained as he himself wants to turn out.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I discovered Etsy not so long ago. I read on an internet forum where artists share information, where they sell their work and there were many recommendations for Etsy. At the end of May 2011 I opened my shop. Before then, I had a store on Ebay.
Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy? Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
I must say that any sales on the Internet start slowly. I have experience selling on Ebay. When I opened my shop on Ebay, I didn’t have sales for 6 months. But gradually, I began to emerge and had customers from America, Britain, Europe and Singapore. Customers left positive feedback of my toys, and it attracted new customers. Some clients come back to me again and again. The same thing is happening on Etsy, selling while slow, but people are interested in my work – they’ll write me a letter, ask different questions – I am sure that this is a positive trend. I love the website Etsy: 1. it is very convenient for the user. 2. there are a lot of talented artists on it 3. there is an opportunity to communicate and learn
Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
Of course, my clients give me ideas. Just recently, someone wrote me asking me if I did Scottish Fold cats. I have never done this. The girl sent the pictures, and I’ll be doing a kitten.
Are you a one wo/man show?
I work independently. I have a good friend who always gives me good advice: how to make a good photo, what information to put on the site.
Do you have a blog?
Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Yes, I do custom orders all the time from customers’ photos of their pets. In my experience, cases of return has not happened. But if the client suddenly wants to return the toy, I would not mind.
Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on? Maybe because of the story behind the kitty?
Yes, I have an amazing story.
I took a sleeping cat out of the wool. The size of a cat is the size of this animal of medium size. He was very realistic. People who have seen him, always said – you have another cat? But when I tell them that it’s a toy, they are always surprised to know it’s fake.
Another one I did was because of a cat I found while walking from our village house – in the grass, I heard a meow and the out came a red-haired cat! The kitty was very thin and tired, yet he followed me into the house, and stayed with us live, we were not able to get him to go home… and he never wanted to leave!