I feel like I could sit and talk with Kristina in her tiny house for hours! I’d love to hear more about her life before she moved to the US, and how it has affected her as a maker and business owner. Meet Kristina and check out her amazing line of embroidered products!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Kristina and I’m the owner and maker at Eko Kreations. I was born and raised on the southwest coast of Sweden. I traveled to the US for the first time in 2008 and met my husband while visiting a friend in Lake Tahoe. We now live in a Tiny House in Sierraville, a little north of Lake Tahoe.
What do you make or do?
I make linens in eco-friendly hemp and organic cotton fabric. There are napkins, kitchen towels and pillows and will shortly expand to bags as well. I embroider all my products with my own designs that are inspired by nature.
Where can we find your creations?
You can find my things on my website at www.ekokreations.com or also on instagram, facebook and twitter.
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? How did the name come about?
The spelling of Eko Kreations has Swedish roots where both eco-friendly and creative/creations is spelled with a K, and so does my name. (My business name started out as Eko Kreations by Kristina). An (American) friend helped me come up with it.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I started making my embroidered linens about 3 years ago after coming back from hiking the Continental Divide Trail. I wanted a creative outlet that I could potentially bring with me no matter where I lived. I started with a small line of children’s pants in hemp but soon made it into linens instead. I’ve worked full-time with Eko Kreations for 1 & 1/2 years
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
My first thing to do if I find time is to go on walks and hikes, and I make sure I find time regularly for yoga. I also like to go explore, mostly with my husband, on road-trips, camping or longer travels. Meeting friends over a cup of tea or wine is also a must to-do.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
It is a challenge sometimes to stay in a developing creative space when production takes over and there doesn’t seem to be enough time. It’s important to remember to take a step back, see what you have accomplished, take a breather and create anew and allow yourself space and time for it.
Another challenge has been the uncertainty and the irregular financial income that, for me, flows with the seasons a bit. Learning the steps that are needed to still make it happen and the trust that it will happen is an evolving process.
Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
As a young girl I spent a lot of time with my grandmother (her farm was only 200 yards away from my neighborhood) and she taught me how to hand embroider, we mostly did cross stitch, but other needlework as well. From 4th grade I took sewing lessons in school and my mom taught me a lot about making my own clothes, which I did throughout my childhood and especially in high school. I’ve also been a singer for as long as I can remember and went to a specialized high school where half of my hours where music related and I had several inspiring teachers there.
Shortly after I started my children’s clothing business I started working at a store (Bespoke in Truckee) that only sells things that are made by the artist that designs them. It’s a beautifully designed and inspiring store just to be in, and the owner has helped me a lot with everything from authenticity as an artist to pricing and business advice.
Where do you find inspiration?
My underlying passion is for healthy living and the environment, and that’s why I work with eco-friendly and sustainable materials. This also comes through in my designs which are all inspired by nature in both designs and choice of quotes.
If money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
I would start with investing in an industrial sewing machine to make my production more efficient, and give me more time for new designs and products, and a little better balance in life (it’s not unusual for me to work 10-12 hours/day 6-7 days/week).
What would be your perfect day off?
If I had one day off I would sleep in, bake bread, prep a picnic and go for a hike or a dip in the lake in the summer.If I had a few days off I would plant and maintain a small garden; herbs and tomatoes would be my first choice along with flowers.
And if I had several days off I would travel! Right now I would love a road-trip to Portland or a hiking trip to Scotland.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
It feels like such a cliché to say, but it’s actually true; Take the leap and go for it! Whether you’re starting out or taking your business to the “next level” (there’s always more levels), there’s a good amount of leaps and trust involved, and you will always go through uncertain stages. But you have to dare to go into the unknown before it becomes your new reality! Remember to always be authentic to yourself and what YOU want to create!
Who are the makers that inspire you?
My husband Chad has a high standard of quality and detail in everything he creates, and his visions comes out beautifully and very inspiring. He’s built our Tiny House by himself (Facebook: Tiny Mountain Life) and are just in the beginning stages of his fine woodwork business (Instagram: Follow The Line Designs) Krista Tranquilla (www.kristatranquilla.com) makes beautiful jewelry and is always so inspiring to talk with since she is always working on new designs and products and is full of ideas.