Friday, 12 November 2010


Friday Finds... PolClary

Interview # 51
I'm telling ya, its blooming freezing in the UK at the moment, after we had just gone through what the media is describing as one of the mildest November's in how ever long! Mother nature has had a change of heart and is currently battering the garden with gale force winds which should look pretty interesting in the morning I'm guessing. For me being a bit of a wimp in the cold (i just love my yarn warmth way too much... ahem), it's been wonderful to enjoy some of the early winter warmers appearing all over Etsy. Today I have a fab seller called Clary who makes some really cool crochet items and other textile decor items. They are warming me up just through sight, I can only imagine how snuggly they would be in reality! The shop is just gorgeous and homely. I especially like the arm warmers which is something I have a bit of a thing for as it's normally my arms and hands that need warmth the most! I hope you enjoy the interview and make sure you stop by Clary's store for your winter accessories :)

(Just click the images to go direct to the listings)

-- Tell me a bit about you! (Name, Age, Location, and give us a random fact whilst you're at it.) My name is Clary van Rijswijck and I run the Etsy shop PolClary. I live in a small town in the Netherlands. I'm 51 years old (quite an old lady, I know!). I have a degree in teaching crafts to children.

I have a husband and two kids. My daughter, who calls me Pol (hence the shop name), is the one that does all the internet things and helps me with my English.

-- What is your business about then? I love making original, handmade items, from clothing and accessories to bags and home decor. I get bored if I have to make the same thing over and over, so I try to make my products diverse. Generally, when I am making something, my mind is already reeling with ideas for a new product, an improvement, a matching hat, or all of the above!.

-- How did Etsy come into your life? My daughter had shown me this great website where you can buy all these cool handmade things a few times. She got me a beautiful card for Mother’s Day off Etsy. When I started to get back into crafts and I ran out of people to give my handmade things to (my family and co-workers can only use so many scarves and hats), my daughter suggested that I start an Etsy shop.

-- Are you working a day job too? Yes. I used to work at an arts and crafts store. When my children were born, I stopped working to spend more time with them. When they were old enough, I started working again. These days, I work in a clothing shop. I love helping the customers and giving fashion advice. It’s like shopping with someone else’s money!

-- How long has the artist in you been 'unleashed' for? I can’t remember when I first started crafting. My mother was always busy making things and expected us kids to help, so I’ve been learning how to knit, sew and crochet since I was very young.

I really started actively getting into crafts when I was ten. I started making things for myself, such as knitting my own scarf. When I was a teenager, I’d babysit for people during holidays and weekends and save up all my money so I could buy new yarn. Friends and family always knew how long I’d be visiting. If I didn’t take out my knitting things, they knew I’d only stay a moment.

When my kids were born, I started making things for them. I knit matching sweaters for my husband and my son, sewed dresses for my daughter. Then, I started helping at school during arts and crafts. When they got older, there weren’t many arts and crafts lessons anymore.

I got back into crafting when my then eighteen year old daughter realized ‘hey, my mother could totally help me make that patchwork blanket I’ve been dreaming about’. We made it together during the holidays. I knit and sewed, she printed fabric. Then, my son started asking if I could knit him a hat… and then the ball started rolling.

-- What has been the inspiration behind your business? After making the patchwork blanket, I really wanted to get back into crafts. I had so many ideas, my fingers were itching to start again. It’s great to have a creative outlet and to be able to share my work with other people around the world.

These days, I’m inspired by lots of things. My children will get ideas for a product and ask if I could make it, or I’ll see something in a shop or a magazine and think: I could make a better version of that, for less money. Like the knit vases and tea light lanterns in my shop. My daughter showed me one in a design magazine and said: ‘Can you believe they’re asking ninety euro for a vase with a knit cozy? You could make a prettier one!’

-- If you could describe your products in three words, what would you tell me? Diverse, original, happy

-- What would an average working day for you be like from dawn til dusk? It depends on if I am working that day. I do all the boring household stuff as well. I get up, have coffee, read the paper. I usually have a list of things to do, such as grocery shopping or ironing. When I have work, I shower and get dressed and head off to work.

Any spare time I have, I’ll put into crafting. I usually have two projects at the same time: an easy one to do in the evening while watching television, and a harder one that needs more focus and daylight. I also try to switch between crafts, so I give my hands a break. Some knitting, some needlepoint, some crocheting.

-- What's your favourite material and techniques to work with? I love working with reclaimed materials. I like using old denim jeans to make bags and pillows. It’s a great material, sturdy and cool. Everyone I know now comes to bring me their old jeans.

-- What is your ideal vision for the future for you and your work? Right now, my daughter and I are joking that once we get the shop up and running and start making a profit, we’ll buy some tickets to Ireland and go on holiday there. Every time I sell something, she’ll say ‘now we’ve earned three-fourths of a ticket to Dublin!’.

Ideally, I’d like to be able to make such a profit on my Etsy shop that I can quit my job and work my own hours. But for now, I’d be happy with being able to keep making new things... and sometimes even selling them.

-- Away from work, what do you like to do for fun or to wind down? Knitting and crocheting is what I do to wind down. I love sitting in my chair in front of the television and knitting while my husband and kids discuss who the killer is or if some contestant is going to make it to the next round.

I also like to read... and shop!

-- What are you likely to search for on Etsy? I love seeing what other people make on Etsy. I like looking through the Time Machine feature a lot, or browsing through the treasuries and categories. I almost never specifically search for something, I’ll just see what I run into.

-- Any last words? For anyone out there who wants to start crafting, just follow your dream. Even if you’re over fifty! ... Especially if you’re over fifty!

And please... visit my Etsy shop at


Melody said...

Charming! I love those crochet snow flakes!

Anonymous said...

Great interview!

So many beautiful items.

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