Interview with Jocelyn Krodman
February 1, 2016
Grace Gulley: When people ask you what you do, how do you answer?
Jocelyn Krodman: I'm trying to figure that one out! I've started to say that I have a small business making puppets, but that seems to always give people the wrong idea of what I do.
I'm still feeling it out in a way, so that's a tricky question.
GG: I always find it a tricky thing to answer! And I suppose I always will. What you're doing is so special. It really is one of those things that people need to witness for themselves, perhaps. How did you get started in this particular medium?
JK: Thank you. It's difficult! Especially being a person that works in needle felting, because I've learned that if I tell people that's what I do for a living, I generally get blank stares!
I originally discovered the process when I saw a woman needle felting at a coffee shop when I was living in Savannah. I thought it was really fascinating. I ran out and found myself some felting supplies and fell in love with it.
GG: I love what you do. The end product is so lovely to look at. To be honest though, I know almost nothing about the process! Would you mind giving us all a little insight into what goes into your work?
JK: Thank you! I don't mind at all! It's a pretty magical process. Needle felting is the process of tangling wool fibers with a barbed needle. I think it's incredible that you can sculpt with a tool as simple as a needle. I was a metalsmith before I discovered felting and my work required a room full of tools. I am sure that the simplicity of felting is part of what drew me in.
I always start by hand dying my wool and once that's done, the felting begins!
I never use armatures of any kind because I like the quality that working with just wool gives my animals. In a lot of ways it's just like sculpting with any other material. The needle becomes an extension of your hand.
Does that make sense? It can be difficult to describe the process without visuals!
GG: It does make sense!
The whole thing really does sound beautiful. And I'm sure it's such a joy to get to simplify your workspace and necessary tools! Curious now, what inspires your current work?
JK: It is such a relief! I find that I am not typically inspired by any one specific thing. Inspiration to me is something you find all around you. Colors, textures, the people you surround yourself with, so many things.
Living where I do, I find constant inspiration in nature. I was just on a hike with my boyfriend a couple of days ago and I was so taken by all of the muted winter colors.
GG: And that's all very fair and very true. We really are surrounded by inspiration. If we can just open our eyes! And nature especially is an unlimited source to tap from. So outside of your work what do you for fun (for those of us entrepreneurs that remember fun!)?
JK: I was gonna say! Fun? Haha
When it's not quite so arctic out, I like to spend a lot of time outdoors. Bike riding always makes me feel like a kid, so I do that as much as possible! I've also picked up gardening since I moved up north and I find that can afford me lots of productive work procrastination in the spring and summer. I love playing the ukulele, but I've been slacking off the past year or so and I'm slowly trying to get myself back into it. I tend to be a homebody, so to me a cozy day with a book and my cat is pretty fun!
GG: This all sounds like great fun! I've always wished I had a green thumb and could grow not just a garden, but an edible garden! We all have dreams. I'm glad it sounds as if you do things for yourself outside of work. It's so easy to get sucked into no life when you run your own business. Looking forward, do you have any big plans for your business?
JK: I never claimed to have a green thumb, but I'm learning! I tend to do better growing food then I do with my indoor plants. I feel sorry for any plant that ends up in my house, because it's only a matter of time before I kill it!
I feel like I'm right at the cusp of some big changes right now. I am currently working on felting kits that I plan to launch this spring and I'd like to teach more workshops. As much as love making my animals, I'm starting to realize that I need to be willing to grow my business in a couple of other directions. My hope is that kits and teaching will be a great first step. Down the road I would love to do a book and maybe some sort of stop motion film with my critters, but those are just big dreams for the time being.
GG: Well I'm excited for all of it! Personally, I find teaching to be one of the most fulfilling things. And a book and stop motion film would just be fab! So looking forward to watching all the things to come for you. One final, very serious, question! If you were a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?
JK: Thanks so much! I'm excited for it too. What a question! I need a minute on that one...
I'd like to be a shade of green, because to me, green brings to mind growth and change.