11 November 2010

A Conversation with Irma from Fairyspit Dolls

If there is a small person in your world who loves fantasy, then Irma's beautiful creations are just the perfect gift for them. Her ethereal spirit weaves fantastical whimsy into the real world. They are irresistible. To quote an Anne Bishop book title, they are "Dreams Made Flesh" and collectible. Come, lets venture into Irma's world ... Carol

Who is Irma Hoani?  
Dollmaker, needle felter, artist, dreamer. I am an American expat loving my adopted country and am inspired in countless ways by the beauty of the landscape, the warmth of the people and the wool of the sheep (and alpacas)!

What’s your “handmade groove ?” 

Needle felting...I make mostly fantasy creatures like unicorns and dragons. I also make cloth dolls, paint and sculpt.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

A lamp, an alarm clock, a box of tissues, Terry Pratchett's "Soul Music"

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire? 

I mostly draw inspiration from a feeling, an impulse, my surroundings at present. When I was younger and developing creatively I was very much into Tim Burton, Jhonen Vasquez, Tim Bradstreet, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Brian Froud & Brom. Most of those artists are very dark and well that is sort of my thing. Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony shaped my mindscape. Movies like Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story, Willow, The Princess Bride and The Dark Crystal were very formative for me when I was younger and I have watched them countless times. When I am creating, I am listening to anything from Lady Gaga to Serj Tankian to Nine Inch Nails depending on my mood.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

Movies, music, random musings. Mostly movies, though :)

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
I really don't know what events are out there. They aren't something I seek out, but I would love to attend events relating to dollmaking, fiber arts or fantasy. I really want to do shows but I don't know what is out there in NZ or I find out about it after the fact :)

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

Work, gym three days a week, felt, sleep. If I had my way, I would be home all the time working on my dolls in progress. Alas, the day job pays most of the bills. I really just take whatever free time I have and use that for inspiration and creation.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

I wouldn't call it a screw-up, but I was making a unicorn head when I noticed a slight resemblance to Falkor the Luck Dragon from The NeverEnding Story. That same unicorn head ended up becoming the centre of my favourite piece.

Kitchen table or studio?

A desk in the corner of the lounge.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?   

A workroom of my own with a nice view, more storage for my supplies, hand carders, more wools and fibers. I'd like to learn to spin... I think making interesting yarns would be a very cool thing. Dyes and the patience and time to dye my own wool. I'd also love some animals of my own to "grow my own" wool.  My dream is to open my own doll supplies shop where I would sell all sorts of supplies, teach felting classes and sell my work in the shop along with other local artists.


  1. Absolutely incredible detail in your creations Irma. The luck dragon took my fancy the first time I saw him. I loved the book! Joy

  2. Hi, Your dragons are really cool, I would love to dye my own wool as well, nice convo. cheers Marie

  3. you are so clever Irma your creations are just beautiful.

  4. Awesome creations, and they're not just for kids! Hello from a fellow American expat. :)

  5. Lovely to get to know you a little more! Your creations are so beautiful and detailed.

  6. I really enjoyed reading your journey making 'Ludo' and his creation stages, lovely to now learn more about your creative inspirations :)


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