Every day, our community grows in unexpected and delightful ways. For our Fresh Shops series, sellers who have been on Etsy for a mere handful of months or are awaiting their first sale introduce themselves. Here’s a warm welcome to all our newbies!
I’m Lora, one half of nunoco, Candy being the other half. We are sisters-in-law and the very best of friends. For the past couple of years, we worked together in Candy’s art and craft shop. When Candy closed the shop, we missed working together so much that we decided to create a new business venture together, as partners this time.
Living on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales, you’d think we’d have taken notice of our surroundings. It’s a beautiful place in the sunshine, harsh in the bitter cold, and absolutely normal when it rains. But there are things up on the hills. They move in and out behind rocks. They don’t flinch when you drive past. They don’t even flinch when you beep your horn. They just give you that long, hard, grass-chewing stare.
They’re everywhere. And not just any sheep — there are rare breeds in them there hills. A field of Shetland and Ronaldsay sheep just 15 steps from my front door. You could say that we couldn’t see the fleece for all the sheep.
A few years back, I stumbled upon an online demonstration of someone making felt. In it, I saw how fluffy bits of wool became strong yet soft material. It was only a 15 minute demonstration, but that 15 minutes set me in a new direction. For a year, I made a new felty thing every day: slippers, wall hangings, toadstools, animals, bags, and more bags. I was given some Ronaldsay wool from the farm across the road and learnt how to scour, card and felt it.
Soon I suggested Candy sell merino wool in her craft shop; she humoured me. I’d put needlefelted animals in the window for display, and when I’d pop in a few days, later they were gone. She’d sold them (for me, of course)! People were asking for workshops, so that’s what we did next. I absolutely loved teaching, and I learnt how personal felting is: you can ask 10 people to rub wool for the same amount of time and with the same breed of wool, but each item would have felted to a different degree.
At our first workshop together, Candy caught the bug. While I was keeping everyone chatting during the wool rubbing stage, worried that they’d get tired or even bored, when a voice piped up from the back of the class: “This is so boring!” It was Candy. She persevered, though, and by the end of the workshop she had a seamless bag with handles. She was smitten. Next, I taught her how incorporate wool fibre into fabric to create texture (nuno felting) and how to dye fibres.
Our favourite piece of equipment in the studio is the drum carder. We use it to blend different coloured wools and fibres to create batts for spinning and felting. Candy likens carding to painting pictures; she paints with the wool on to the drum carder. She starts the day in the studio with a theme or object in mind. She sees art in everything (whether it’s last night’s burnt dinner or the mouldy cheese in the fridge) and will create a batt with the colours she sees in these random things.
We hand dye a lot of our fibres. We enjoy playing with different colour combinations, inspired by nature, bygone days, food or places. We come up with ideas for new wool packs every day and can spend hours deciding between two shades of green. We hope that what inspires us reaches others and inspires them, too.