My name is Michelle Kreussel. I make hand-embroidered soft toy animals, cushions and printed tote bags. I live in West London, United Kingdom, and my shop is called The Fox in the Attic.
From an early age my mother encouraged me to draw and paint. Later, I studied graphic design but I always knew I wanted to work for myself. One day, on a whim, I decided to buy a sewing machine and make soft toys. My grandmother taught me embroidery when I was little, and it all came back to me very quickly. I still love the challenges it presents and am constantly learning and evolving.
My inspirations come from all over the place. I love going to exhibitions, and luckily we live in London so there are many museums and galleries to visit. Nature is also a central well of inspiration for me. Trees, flowers, botanical plants, insects, animals all find their eventual expression somewhere in The Fox In The Attic, along with historical patterns, architecture, and a whole host of other varied sources.
All of my ideas start as little doodles in a notebook I carry with me. Usually I focus on seasons and themes, like spring or Easter. After that, I create one prototype of an item to see if the shape and design works. Coming up with new ideas can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Once I have the templates in place and I know what fabric and colors I will be using, I make about three or four toys a day, depending on the amount of embroidery work involved.
The part of the process I enjoy most is getting positive feedback from customers who are delighted with their finished product. I especially like hearing when young children have formed tight bonds with the animals and cushions I have made!
My creative business is my full-time business now, and for that I feel incredibly privileged and fortunate – in fact, most days I still can’t actually believe it. Without Etsy I wouldn’t have a functioning business, but Etsy is more than just a marketplace; it’s a place where I derive inspiration, and where I have made good friends. It is a social, artistic and business hub for me, and I love it.