So after a number of random posts over a few months I finally feel up to the challenge of a regular blog feature, one that will hopefully help to spread teh word about buying handmade. Each Friday I will be strapping an Etsy Artist into the comfy chair and poking them with the soft cushions until they confess... OK there will be no extreme torture in So anyway but there will be questions and there will be answers.
My first feature is on designbynihan, A Turkish fibre artist and clothing designer who creates and designs one-of-a-kind knit pieces. Nihan lives in Istanbul and makes totally unique items specific to each owner. Nihan is a member of the European Street Team and she has been featured in an Etsy Storque Spotlight on fibre artists, as well as a number of blogspots and websites. Visit her shop profile to see a complete list.
What do I like about designbynihan? That's easy; the lush and cozy look of her one-of-a-kind designs, I can easily imagine myself wearing one of her beautiful sweaters on a cool fall day or even a brisk snow-filled winter day, or walking along the seawall in West Vancouver, they make me feel warm just looking at them.
What got you started?
Welcome to my creative world. I am Nihan Altuntas, a 27 year old Turkish girl, whose passion is creating and designing.
I have been crafting since I was old enough to pick up a crayon. My favorite childhood toys were carton boxes, yarns, pieces of cloth and all kinds of paints. As I grew up, I started to follow works of famous designers and visual arts in general. During this process I did not have any mentors except for the support of my family. When I converted my jeans into bags or painted my canvas shoes, they always supported me.
I majored in cinema studies and I minored in marketing. During college, I got back into knitting to relax and to express myself. I never liked pattern books or reproducing brand sweaters. I would design authentic knitwear by improvising with needles, sometimes not even knowing what the result would be. So I’ve realized that crafting is my lifelong passion. The appreciation and approval for all of that hard work is the basis of my motivation to improve myself in this field.
I started to knit for myself before, I had some ideas of what I wanted for myself when I was shopping, and it was really very hard to find what exactly I was looking for. Then I decided to create my own clothes.
One day I was asked by my friends to prepare a crafting workshop for their German clients. They mentioned Etsy and that’s how my Etsy journey began. I love to be in such an internationally competitive arena. Design by Nihan's success in Etsy is a combination of my talent, my marketing and business skills and my personality. I try to bring customer preferences and original patterns together. All “Design by Nihan” customers have an opportunity to choose the color and material, since all of the products are always knitted according to the customers' measurements. Each item is totally unique to its owner.
Who has influenced your work the most?
I am generally inspired by myself. My reference is my fashion taste but when I finish a work, I always share it with my family and my boyfriend to get their ideas, sometime they give me some really useful advice, or they suggest little changes on details.
I'm really in love with Audrey Hepburn's style. As for designers; I love Galliano (he is really crazy) Sonia Rykiel, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood and Oscar de la Renta; they are really inspiring, but I also follow modern designer's too. I love Micheal Kors, Kenneth Cole, Tom Ford and Hussein Chaglayan.
What is your favourite tool, art supply, material to work with and why?
I’m inspired by almost everything, even a simple button. I can suddenly decide to knit a sweater suitable for that button. Does that sound crazy? My favorite material is cashmere and alpaca but the most important thing is to be able to discover the perfect match between the design and yarn selection.
What life or art lesson have you learned that has shaped your work?
I graduated from cinema-TV and marketing. looking behind the visor of a camera really works on my aesthetic vision and my taste I think.
If you were an animal what animal would you be?
If I were an animal I would be a horse: nobless-freedom-charisma. I am also a fan of all equestrian wear & accessories.
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