You know how there are some things you come across that you’re just instantly obsessed with? That’s Wind & Willow Home for me. I fell in love with the lovely work of Araya Jensen after bringing home a set of her candle cups from Alt Summit in June. I literally love every single thing Araya produces — it’s all so simple, chic and gorgeous. In mulling over a project I was thinking about, I reached out to see if Araya would do a quick Q & A with the Made + Remade readers before I embarked upon my own Wind & Willow Home-inspired project. And she was sweet enough to say yes! Ladies and gentlemen, meet the talented creator of Wind & Willow Home, Araya Jensen.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and Wind & Willow Home!
Hi, I am Araya like (A-Ray-A Sunshine). I am wife and mother of 2 littles. I am a Designer, Maker and nature lover. Wind & Willow Home is a special collection of modern housewares, not only beautiful but also functional. This ever changing collection includes hand dipped artisan wooden housewares. I carefully hand dip each in a variety of custom colors that I hand mix seasonally in my Minneapolis, Minnesota basement.
2. How did you get started with Wind & Willow Home and where do you see it going next?
I started Wind & Willow Home after having a successful career as a Kitchen and Bathroom Designer for over 12 years, when I was laid off due to the housing market crash. Jobless, 7 months pregnant with my 2nd child and lots of confusion, it seems that fate had another plan for me. I started creating these simple and modern housewares as gifts, put them on Etsy and that is where the story of Wind & Willow Home began. Since the last two years have been so unexpectedly amazing, I hate to predict where it will take me. I am launching an Indiegogo crowd funding project April 15th to raise funds to start a line of hand dipped soft goods including tea towels, pillows and table linens. So I guess I am just along for the ride.
3. You pick the BEST colors — how do you choose such perfect palettes time and time again?
Thanks! I LOVE color. Color is my happy place. I make each colorway or grouping in small seasonal batches ensuring each is truly special. Each color or combination is created by first curating a coordinating collection, then mixing each color until I am completely satisfied with the results. I am constantly inspired by the change in seasons, stunning sunsets and beautiful blooms.
4. What wood/color combination are you in love with right now?
That is so hard. Too many great color combos. I love my dark Walnut wood with a soft contrast of white, but couldn’t live without the light Beech and Maple wood that I have paired with my favorite brights of Spring, Strawberry Red, Grass Green and Sorbet Orange.
5. Is there one memorable DIY fail you’d care to share with our readers?
I am a true DIY’er at heart. I have been making and failing for as long as I can remember. The key is to learn from the failures and try, try … try again. I think back at some of the house projects I have done — like when my Mom and I decided we needed something different on our Kitchen ceiling in the home where I grew up. We went ahead and spread a thick layer of plaster and then used a cup to “pull” the plaster into points … sharp, long points. It looked like peaks of lemon meringue pie. It was a complete failure in function because it was quite difficult to clean, and popped numerous balloons, not to mention it looked ridiculous, ha! It’s worth the laugh now.
6. What’s your favorite product of all time that you’ve made?
Too hard to answer. Just about everything new that I make becomes my favorite.
7. Tell us a little about your process (without giving away trade secrets!) and how each piece is made.
I begin with beautifully turned bowls and carved spoons, slowly hand dipping each in a soft rubber that I custom mix. The beauty is in the uniqueness of the natural wood grain and the reaction between that wood and the rubber creating bubble patterns as it reacts to the process, ensuring each item is completely special.
8. I am a SUPER messy painter — it doesn’t matter if it’s a wall or a DIY project, I’ve got paint up to my elbows. Do you finish each day covered in a gorgeous rainbow of color?
Yep, I am also super messy but instead of myself being covered, most of my studio is covered in a rainbow of color.
9. Where can readers find your products?
You can find Wind & Willow Home products at www.WindandWillowHome.com, and on Etsy by the name WindandWillowHome. I also partner with small shops nationally and internationally so check your favorite local shop that supports handmade goods and you just may find my products close to home.
Thanks ever so much to Araya for taking the time to hang out online with us! So, now that you know my obsession, you can understand why I want everything and anything wooden to be dipped in paint. When I found some small wooden disks at a craft store recently, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them …
Click here for the full tutorial on how to make my Wind & Willow Home-inspired earrings. The real thing they are NOT. I am not Araya, and these are a pale imitation. But until Araya comes out with a line of earrings, a DIY imitation will have to do. A show of hands for all those who are going to go stock up on Wind & Willow Home goods today? Our lives just got a whole lot more color-filled and beautiful.
The Creative Genius series on Made + Remade features fabulous DIYers and makers who inspire us. Meet more Creative Geniuses and help us share the spirit of DIY!