Friday Interview: Absolutely Small! March 25, 2011 08:31

Happy Friday, everyone, and Happy Spring! This week's interview is with the lovely Claire Chambers, an artist from Cool, California who makes some of the cutest plushies and softies around. Read on to learn a little more about Claire and why making and buying handmade is important to her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your handmade business.
Hi, I'm Claire and I run Absolutely Small. I make Chickenpants and other handmade softies. And the occasional stop motion video. And drawings. And I'm working on a new collaborative daily sketch blog ( And I just had a baby. And I don't get much sleep. And I drink a lot of coffee. Absolutely Small just passed it's four year anniversary, actually. Woo!

Describe your studio for us.
It's a big pink happy mess. I converted the formal living room (which we'd never have used) into a studio. It's my favorite room in the house. I have a few folding tables set up to spread work out on. One wall is covered in inspirational bits and bobs from everywhere. (Turns out, that's good for distracting fussy babies, too.)

What does buying handmade mean to you?
To me, buying handmade is the chance to make someone's day, instead of supporting some huge corporation. Buying handmade can actually make a difference in someone's life. Plus, it's so much fun.

What's your creative process like when you're coming up with a new product?
Historically, most of my designs start out in my sketchbook as random ideas. I'm not actually trained to make patterns, so I have my own weird way of working them out. Once I get a strong idea for a creature, I can't wait to see it take shape. I like to work straight through until it's done. However, my process is in the middle of a big change because of the baby. I have to work in whatever tiny snatches of time I can. I'm still learning how to do that!

What do you do when you need some inspiration?
I hunker down and binge read library books. Once I've wasted as much time at that as I possibly can, I try to get my hands moving. Starting to create something, anything, usually helps me get back into the swing of things.

What advice would you offer someone hoping to take their crafting from hobby to business?
Doing something you love is crucial, but make sure it's also something you can actually make a profit at. Be prepared to spend hours (and hours and hours and hours) marketing. Do a little something out of your comfort zone every day.

How did you first become involved with Craftland?
A few years ago, my softies were accepted to be a part of the Craftland seasonal shop. It was a great experience, and I've been delighted to be a part of Craftland ever since.

Guilty Pleasure?
I'm a recovering shopaholic. Actually, the recovery isn't really going that well. I'm a huge sucker for any kind of fabric sale.