Ramune Jauniskis has been a maker her entire life. She now creates whimsical pieces with fibers, fabric, and embellishments. Her goal is to bring a smile to people with her work.
How did you get started making fiber art? Why did you choose that medium?
I would say that it chose me.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.
It wasn’t a conscious choice, that I can remember at least, but I was working as an illustrator when I got out of college and was doing 3-D illustration using paper folding. At the same time, I was doing my own personal work that involved pottery and sewing.
For a while, I was a little obsessed with wet felting. I liked any medium that I could turn into an object. I’m a good painter, but it is boring for me because it’s flat. As my work transitioned into more sewing than pottery, I moved almost completely away from clay and worked exclusively with fabric and felting. When I discovered Fast2Fuse, it was love at first sight.
I am still in love with it now. Although I still do a little pottery, I love working with Fast2Fuse and fabric. I also love needle felting, but I no longer do wet felting.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
Probably an easier question would be what “don’t” I do differently. I have always been in a category all my own. When I have tried to apply for juried shows, and I get to the part where they ask you to choose which category you are applying for, there isn’t a choice that my work fits into.
But seriously, I would say that I really like to make people (including myself) laugh. I always seem to have a funny little twist to my work. It’s not intentional, it just comes out that way. I think my work has soul and enchantment, which is a result of my very disciplined spiritual practice.
We had a tragedy that happened about 30 years ago and as a result of that my spiritual life became very important. My work is an extension of that, it IS one of my spiritual practices. I hope I’m not getting too deep.
I have always been a sort of deep, introspective person, and thought that my work should reflect that, but much to my surprise, everything that I made came out comical, in fact at an early age, people used the word “whimsical” to describe my work, and it infuriated me then, but now I use that word to describe my work.
What different fiber art techniques do you use in your work?
I love, love, needle felting, and of course sewing. I really only use those two, and I don’t combine them. I also love painting clothes, or fabric using thickened dyes. That is one of my favorite things to do, the result is so spectacular, plus you can wear it. I have painted leggings, shirts, and sheets, and love them all.
Where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
Mostly nature. I love nature and the shapes found in nature.
Do you plan your work out ahead of time, or do you just dive in with your materials and start playing?
I do sketches first. I always keep a sketchbook, and when I am ready to start a project, I always flip through my sketchbooks first.
I will say, that I sometimes start out thinking that I am going to make one thing, but end up making something else. I know this may sound strange, but I hear directions in my mind as I’m working on something. It’s like someone telling me how to execute my idea the best way. It’s great. I can sit down at the table knowing that I want to make something, but I am not exactly sure how to make it.
As soon as I engage my hands, I start getting the directions in my thinking that tell me what supply to use and how to use it.
Tell us more about the classes you teach with Creative Spark. What is the most important takeaways you want your student to learn?
Most of my classes are showing projects from my book “Tiny Worlds in Fabric“. Some are projects that were not in the book, like the house tissue box cover, and the mermaid crown with lights. I have been teaching for over 30 years, and I love to share information with others who want to learn more about the type of work that I know how to do.
The most important thing that I would want people to take away would be inspiration and a renewed sense of creative wonder. I get so much pleasure out of making things and I would love it if my students could feel that same sense of excitement and wonder. It’s exhilarating.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
Hmm… sort of…. I have a big table that I use, and when I’m busy I set up several tables. I wouldn’t say that I have a “studio”, my whole place is my studio. I have it set up in front of a huge window, and I love looking out at the birds and animals that make their way up to my deck. In the summer, I plant flowers out there and love to watch them come up.
How does your studio organization contribute to your work process?
I always have a clear space where I can work. After the really busy season, my place looks like a total mess. Once things get a little quieter, I go through everything with a fine tooth comb, organize the supplies, and put everything back in its place until the next busy season. I usually have 2 really busy times. February-May, then September-November. I make hundreds of ornaments, that I sell to stores in Cape Cod. I also sell them on my Etsy shop, and until COVID, I also had a big open studio in December.
I always make sure that I have a space to work. I have a small apartment, and one whole room contains my supplies and inventory. My home really revolves around my studio space.
How often do you start a new project? Do you work actively on more than one project at a time?
I have a list of “next” projects all the time. I don’t always get to everything. I like to make a list and refer to it when I have a spare minute. I work on several things at the same time. I like the variety of switching from one type of work to another.
Can you tell us about the inspiration and process of one of your works? How does a new work come about?
Well, I can tell you how my book came about. I use, Fast2Fuse all the time, and I LOVE it so much. Every time I would work on a project with it, I would think “I should write a book about this product, I love it so much”. I was in a show with another author (Salley Mavor) and I told her that I thought about writing a book and she encouraged me to contact C&T.
When I was an illustrator and worked with publishers all the time, I remember very vividly, them telling us “Please do not contact us! Follow the submissions guidelines, do not call us”. I was reluctant to just contact them, and the submission guidelines were so involved, that I couldn’t take the time to do it at that time. I decided that I had nothing to lose by emailing and just asking if they would be interested and I included images of work that I had made using Fast2Fuse. One thing led to another and I wrote the book.
As far as the actual pieces that I make, I usually will see something that inspires me. Either on a walk or when I google a topic and look at the images. Something will “feel” right to me. Then I start sketching ideas. Sometimes I have a lot of ideas, other times, I can’t come up with even one. Sometimes I think: I will never be able to outdo this last idea, and then I do. The ideas don’t really come from my own thinking, they are inspirations that come to me from what I would call God. I have had people ask me: how did you ever think of that? And I truthfully answer: I really don’t know
Which part of the design process is your favorite? Which part is a challenge for you?
I love decorating. When I make my ornaments, I love the last steps of decorating and finishing.
I really like using my hands, so I’m ok with all of it. I sometimes get frustrated when I am trying something new. I am so used to being able to make things perfectly, because my skill is so developed, that when I make something new and it doesn’t come out great the first time, I get frustrated…sort of. It’s funny, anything that I do that’s new I’m usually kind of bad at. You kind of have to start at square one, just like anyone else, even though you may be really good at other things.
How does your environment influence your creativity?
I make sure that I spend time in places that inspire me and give me peace. I try to make my workspace comfortable and beautiful. I love to look around and see beautiful things. I also like my supplies to be accessible and organized, and I like to always have a really good supply of everything that I need.
Is there an overarching theme that connects all of your work?
I would say that it’s love. I put a lot of love into my work, and I think that people feel it.
How is your work different than it was in the beginning? How is it the same?
It has always been whimsical, and I wouldn’t say that it’s different, I would say that it’s more evolved than changed.
My work is an extension of me. I think it’s more precise. I think I may have been using an “outer” reference point in the past, but now I’m using an “inner” reference point. I think I feel more confident in what I do, and it’s really important to me even if it isn’t for someone else. In other words, I am not looking for or getting my value from what others think, instead, I feel my work has value just because I love making it so much.
Does your work have stories to tell?
Only funny ones.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I don’t really have to do anything, It is just the natural outcome of being me. It is so natural like eating lunch. I don’t have to motivate myself ever.
When was the first time that you remember realizing that you are a creative person?
A few minutes before I was born.
How have other people supported or inspired you?
My mother, God love her, used to tell me that I was going to be famous, and actually so did some of my friends, and a few people that I worked with, and even a little girl that I babysat. I have always been blessed with kind people who supported me. I have had really great employers and customers. I have been very blessed with a lot of support.
Where can people see your work?
My youtube channel
My store link below
Here are links to my online classes on Creative Spark.
Interview posted January 2024
Browse through more sculptural fiber art on Create Whimsy.