Interview with Helen Greenstein, Artist
Interview with Helen Greenstein, Artist
Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Helen Greenstein, an artist, living in Atlanta Georgia. Helen makes custom creations out of felt and everything is hand-stitched-to-order! You name it, and Helen can felt-ify it! Some examples of Helen’s work are shown below. You can visit Helen’s website to view more of Helen’s work.
I think Helen’s creations are adorable! We are going to have Helen make a custom sheltie of our beloved Biscuit!
KATHERINE CARVER: What were your beginnings as an artist and when did you realize it would become your chosen form of expression?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: I’ve wanted to be an artist since I first held a crayon in my hand. I can still remember the feeling of the crayon paper wrapping in my tiny fist. And it was always clear to my teachers that being creative was my strength, unlike grammar.
KATHERINE CARVER: Did you study art formally?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: I was on track to get a BFA, but switched to business because I was concerned about being able to get a job. My college counselor advised me that being an artist only meant starving…which was a hard thing to hear when I was paying my way through college. So I gave up my dream and earned a marketing degree with a minor in studio art.
KATHERINE CARVER: How do you describe your style?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: Simple and modern. I love clean lines, and hope that’s reflected in my work.
KATHERINE CARVER: Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating art was absolutely something that you had to do?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: I’ve always had to be creative. No matter what I do. I have always found a way to continue to be creative, either as a hobby or as a paying project.
KATHERINE CARVER: What was the impetus that inspired you to begin making felt dogs and other animals?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: I’ve worked with every medium possible – charcoal, paint, ink, clay, metal, and photography, etc. It wasn’t until I bought a book called “The Cute Book” by Aranzi Aronzo, that I discovered felt. A whole new world opened up for me. It’s sculpture with fabric and sewing. It uses bold colors with a clean look. I was instantly in love.
KATHERINE CARVER: How have your own dog(s)/pet(s) influenced your artwork?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: What’s funny is that we don’t have any dogs, if you can believe it. I love dogs, I really do. It’s friends and customers stories that inspire me to make their felt creation embody their pet as much as possible.
KATHERINE CARVER: When and how did you begin your business, Eleni Creative?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: I started in 2008 with felt Christmas ornaments at a local art fair. Through interest at the fair my business grew and evolved. A bird ornament led to my first baby mobile of birds. The mobiles led to a request for a dog. And it continues today. If they request it, I’ll make it!
KATHERINE CARVER: What does “being creative” mean to you?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: I feel as though everyone is creative in some way. For some it’s writing, for others it’s numbers. If you’re expressing yourself, that’s creative and brave.
KATHERINE CARVER: What inspires you to keep going and what keeps you motivated?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: New requests keep me going. Making the same thing over and over isn’t ideal, but I love hand crafting items for customers. It’s the custom requests that definitely keep me excited, especially when it challenges me.
KATHERINE CARVER: What is the most rewarding and satisfying part about being an artist and creating your felt artworks?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: Two things – bringing flat material to life; and my customers’ happiness.
KATHERINE CARVER: Looking back on your accomplishments, to date, what are you the most proud of?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: I’m proud that I’ve stuck with it. And I’ve been able to because I’m very lucky to have an amazing husband that supports me and what I do. He actually wants me to live out my dream. How crazy is that!
KATHERINE CARVER: What are you working on now?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: A flying rabbit mobile, of course. It’s a custom request and it’s going to be so cute! It’s definitely one that makes you smile.
KATHERINE CARVER: What artists inspire your work?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: Honestly, Georgia O’Keefe’s early oil paintings. I admire that she started later in life, and in a male driven industry. Her oil paintings are simple, colorful and bold. The Chicago Art Institute has the most comprehensive collection of her oil paintings I’ve ever seen. I was in tears viewing her incredible work.
KATHERINE CARVER: What piece(s) of your artwork is your favorite?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: The felt collie dog. I’m very critical of my work, and that’s the only one I wouldn’t tweak. I love it.
KATHERINE CARVER: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: Don’t give up. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you love. If you truly love it, there’s always a way to make it happen.
KATHERINE CARVER: How can people view and commission your art works?
HELEN GREENSTEIN: Everything I’ve done is on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elenicreative/.
I can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further, I have a shop on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/elenicreative.
Finally, you can view my website here.
*All photographs are courtesy of Helen Greenstein.
You can read additional interviews here.
Great interview! Helen has created several things for me in the last couple of years. The first thing I had Helen make for me was a Scottie dog Christmas ornament (which proudly occupies the top of my tree every year). Next, I asked her to create three Dachshunds (each one a different custom color combo, just like the actual dogs) for my sister, my brother, and my sister-in-law – who went absolutely CRAZY over them! Giant smiles all around. 🙂 Helen is a tremendous talent – not to mention a wonderful person – and I absolutely love her work. You should check it out – the creativity and originality will amaze you. 🙂