The “Making It” season finale is tomorrow night (already) and I’m excited to see who wins and what they do with all that money! I think it’s super cute that with each challenge win, the competitors received a patch to sew onto their aprons. I just love that idea! (And I want the patches for my own merit badges with each project I complete in the future.)
This week we’re talking to Nicole Sweeney, who didn’t “make it” to the finale but she had a good run.
With a background in dance and professional education in architecture, Nicole Sweeney’s work is a confluence of her life experience and artistic vision. Having dabbled in nearly every medium — from reusing paper coffee filters to welding steel — she has found her true passion in working with wood. Sweeney recently departed her full-time position as a display coordinator at Anthropologie to pursue her passion and establish herself as an artist.
What is your craft of choice?
I work with redwood to create wall hangings and furniture that feature quilted geometric patterns.
How do you think your craft specialty prepares you to win the competition?
I would say that more so than my craft, it is my background that prepares me for this competition. I have worked with a wide spectrum of materials from metal to cloth to wood and almost everything in between. I think that the diversity of media in my past has brought me to a point where I can showcase all materials in a competitive environment.
How has your craft helped in other areas of your life?
Creating and making is what keeps my heart happy. I feel like I was born an artist and it’s taken on different roles in my life, from dancing to display making to wood working, all of which have taught me patience and humility. It is both a means of supporting myself and my creative expression all rolled up into one. It’s both a gift and a challenge that my creative outlet is also my business. It can be difficult sometimes to balance the business needs with the free flowing nature of the creative process
What would you say to encourage someone who wants to learn your craft?
I would say that patience and playfulness are key when creating. It’s been so important for me to trust in the process and not give up. I have truly loved and hated every piece I’ve made at some point during the making process. And I think making peace with the fact that you aren’t going to love everything you make but the time spent making and learning is a success in and of itself. it’s just a matter of finding that point of inspiration and building off of it.
Did you get to try a craft you wouldn’t normally have done for the competition? If so, what did you learn during the process?
I didn’t work with any new materials, but I did use an electric foam knife for the first time… and omg, so gratifying and fun to use.