My name is Fiona and I live on the beautiful Isle of Wight, which is a little island off the South coast of England, in a fourteen foot yurt with my boyfriend and a large American bulldog.
My shop on Etsy is called The Happy Mushroom and it is full of jolly, brightly colored polymer clay creations and tribal and boho jewelry made from new and upcycled/vintage materials.
“I am just a simple girl who loves, loves, loves to make funky things.”
The Isle of Wight /ˈaɪl əv ˈwaɪt/, known to the ancient Romans as Vectis, is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 3 to 5 mi (5 to 8 km) off the coast of Hampshire
Photo Credit google images: Isle of Wight tourism
I moved into a yurt because I don’t like having to worry about money and these days the easiest way not to have to worry about money is not to need very much. It is a wonderful lifestyle, being so in touch with the weather and the seasons.
Having said that, my boyfriend and I now have a pretty good income between us. Well, for our needs anyway, I guess that if we had a house and a car they would keep us poor. He is a leather worker and an occasional cabinet makers assistant. He is a wonderful creator too as he seems to be able to turn his hand to anything.
My first introduction to art was from my mother whom is a painter and is talented and lucky enough to be able to sell her work (talent is not always enough in the world of fine art, it seems). So I have been around art and crafts all my life. I remember her also sewing and my Grandmother knitting. I started making stuff when I was a little child and got handed a pack of brightly colored plastacine (kids never-drying modelling clay). I was a horrible, noisy kid who wreaked chaos everywhere I went (I am now a kind, peaceful, loving hippy who still has a secret love of chaos) and I think my mom was relieved to discover that plastacine actually shut me up and kept me occupied for a couple of hours so she has encouraged my creativity ever since, as has the rest of my family. I absolutely hated sewing as I was forced to do it in ‘home economics’ classes at school, but discovered as an adult that it was actually quite fun too.
I also do a bit of layout and design for my grandfathers publishing company and design cross stitch for a major UK magazine called Cross Stitcher which features my work monthly. I also do odd jobs, my favourite being log stacking. I don’t know why I enjoy that so much but it is really satisfying!
Really my shop is a hobby which got out of hand.
I have an adventurous spirit and enjoy the ability I have with my art to do many different projects at one time which allows me to keep things interesting. I am usually reading about three books at once so I can always pick up one to fit my mood. I read a lot of non-fiction as I am very interested in science and economics, especially economics as I believe it is the driving force behind most of the worlds problems from climate change to inequality. I am currently reading ‘Stark’ by Ben Elton, which is actually a comedy about economics and climate change (if you can believe that is possible). It was given to me by a friend who is in a well known activist band called ‘Seize the day’. He said that it had a big influence on him in the early days and I can see why, it has some fabulous observations on human nature! I had a few conventional jobs but being in the same place day after day making myself available for some boss to tell me what to do just never really worked for me.
It was actually the Grateful Dead which inspired me to take up my main craft, which is creating millefiori patterns from polymer clay. I lived in the US for a while when I was teenager (you wouldn’t believe it, but most people over here in England haven’t even heard of the Grateful Dead!) I was just getting into the music and all the beautiful GD art that went with it when I found this little pendant in a thrift store. I could tell it was made from polymer clay and it had a spiral of dancing bears on it getting smaller towards the middle, and the detail was amazing and oh so tiny. The most interesting thing was that the pattern was on both sides of the pendant because it ran right through the clay. I really had to know how it was done! I did a bit of research and discovered how.
Everything seems to inspire me to create! Sometimes it is just like being bombarded with a constant barrage of designs and ideas which just seem to fling themselves at me. Bright colors and patterns seem to inspire me the most, and I love Grateful Dead art and merchandise, the psychedelic bears and teeshirt designs always inspire me, as you can see by my new range of upcycled leather patches!
I don’t get to many festivals now as we don’t have a dog sitter but the little island I live on is a really musical place. It has actually become ‘festival island’ as it has two major festivals and a lot of minor ones, and it is quite a music lovers destination. The Isle of Wight festivals in the late 60s are famous worldwide and Hendrix played his last gig here in 69.
The Isle of Wight festival
The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was held between 26 and 31 August 1970 at East Afton Farm an area on the western side of the Isle of Wight. According to wikipedia It was the last of three consecutive music festivals to take place on the island between 1968 and 1970 and widely acknowledged as the largest musical event of its time, greater than the attendance of Woodstock. Although estimates vary, the Guinness Book of Records estimated 600,000, possibly 700,000 people attended.
This led to the introduction of the “Isle of Wight County Council Act 1971” designed to control any further happenings of this kind
1970 Isle of Wight Festival Video:
Tonight we are going to see some live music.
We are going to a nice little local pub for ‘folk night’. It is a bit like open mic but all acoustic and playing old traditional music. It is wonderful!
My future holds plans of teaming up with my boyfriend and his boss to create a second shop on a new site called Artizanz which is going to be a high end shop selling jewelry and accessories, mostly mens, which are a mixture of traditional and modern funky style. That is going to be a fun project (although it is starting to sound like a lot of hard work). I am hoping that my shop The Happy Mushroom will continue to grow, which I am sure it will, as long as I keep working hard at it!
‘The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’
The Happy Mushroom:
Social Media Facebook Link: