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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Featured artist Janice from Bikbik and Roro

It is with great pleasure that I am back with the Featured Artist series!  Did you miss the series?  I did!   I started last year in August.  Initially I wanted to do it every other week, but I did it weekly since the beginning.  I think I only missed one Monday.  And to be honest I got burned out :(   I think I put a lot of pressure on myself.   But I am back with energy and I already promise myself that I will take it easier this time around and if I don't have an artist ready to be featured I won't stress about it...I am trying to stress less but it is so hard to do.   That is just me... I stress with the little things, I will take this as a challenge. Also I will post these on Sundays instead of Mondays.

Today I  bring you Janice from Bikbik and Roro, she has an etsy shop full of wonderful softy toys for children among other lovely  handmade items.  Won't you stop by her shop or blog and check it out?  Enjoy the interview.  Hope your weekend is going great!

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.

Hello! My name is Janice, and I’m a Mom who writes, draws and makes things. I have two wonderful little girls, and when I have time in between fulltime motherhood, I am an editor, writer and illustrator (that was my career before Momhood took over). I also work on Bikbik & Roro, my little shop on Etsy. I’d been making toys locally for some years already, and finally decided to take up the suggestion of getting on a global, online platform.

Sailor Ghoslet stuffed hanging ornament keychain
2. What do you sell?

I make toys – softies mainly – as well as other goodies – functional, wearable things like satchels, pins and jewelry.

3. Why handmade?

On a personal level, the great thing about handmade is that I can customise items to the recipients’ tastes and preferences. As a Mom, I personally endeavour to make Bikbik, Roro and their friends as child-safe as possible, sewing with reinforced stitching, and avoiding the use of choke-able items like buttons. I like repurposing fabrics, and using Asian textiles like vibrant Indonesian batiks and cute Japanese prints. These are things that mass-producing factories generally don’t do.

I think the main draw of handmade things is their uniqueness, that special one-of-a-kind quality that you just can’t find in factory-manufactured goods. Even their so-called “flaws” add to the quirky loveliness of handmade. Most people who handmake things have an artist’s romantic, imaginative soul, and the people who appreciate their work are equally romantic and imaginative. They know, and can feel, all the thought and love and care that go into every handmade piece. There are even economic and ecological reasons to go handmade, but that’s a whole other article J

Sailor Animal Girl softie doll
 4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?

I find inspiration in all sorts of things, places and situations. There’s beauty all around us, often in unexpected places. Even a shadow, the smell of something, or the way your dog looks at you can give you ideas. With the way the world is today, I want to create things that are happy and cheering, that lift one up and make one smile. Of course, my children are one of the biggest inspirations for this – the way they look at the world, the way they interpret things, the way they draw, dress, mix patterns and colours... My older daughter has been writing and illustrating the ongoing story of two friends – an egg white and yolk – which is a whole piece of inspiration in and of itself.

5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?

Yes, I’m a Mom haha... It really is quite a fulltime, round-the-clock job. I really don’t have much time to myself, but as I’d mentioned, I do take on writing and illustration projects when I’ve the time. Childcare and schoolwork are pretty consuming.

Blossom pins honey & magenta
6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?

I don’t know that I’ve ever expressly thought of myself as an artist. I was drawing from a very early age, and perhaps as a young child I declared, “I’m an artist!”, but when I really was doing “artist” things like painting or printmaking or sketching nudes as a grown-up, I did not think, “O yes, I am an artist”. I just knew I liked drawing and making things.

7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?

I’d have to say my kids. They’re so central in my life; it really can’t be helped! Well, it’s sort of a dichotomy – on the one hand, having very Victorian/Edwardian leanings in my literary tastes, my art is sometimes influenced by the great writers and artists of the period. Their style could often be quite dark, mysterious, haunting, and even desolate. But having kids – well, anyone who’s a parent knows this! – they just change the way you look at things. And so once upon a time I was making etchings of Poe’s and Le Fanu’s hauntings; now I make Sailor Ghost!

8. Where would you like to be in five years?

A Mom with great kids who are five years older J

Sailor Birbik softie doll
9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done?
crafts, sports, life in general?

O yes, there are lots of things; carpentry, learning the quickstep, holidaying in Cornwall, getting a Deerhound... but being a Mom provides new challenges every day, so I’m well-occupied!

10. Besides online, where else do you sell?

It is mainly online. I actually find I do a lot more custom orders via email, than I do through the Etsy shop. People usually have specific ideas and requirements based on what they see in the shop, and I think they find it easier to just write me directly. Quite a few ingenious people bulk order something they see in the shop – like the rings, pins or Ghostlets – as party favours.

Ways to contact you:


  1. Great feature! I love Janice's work. The plushies always make me smile. I love her inspiration. It is funny how the simplest things inspire us!

  2. i love these features! :)

    and her leo lion pin? ADORABLE!!!!

  3. It's so nice to get the storys behind the shop, it was great reading and getting to know Janice, and thank you for letting her lead me to your blog Claudia :)


  4. Super interview, I look forward to more!

  5. Great interview of Janice! I love her shop, her items and her inspiration. And well ... I visit her blog often :) This is a great feature on your blog - and I'm your newest follower!


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