After losing her job as a bartender during the global pandemic, Hanna Eidson used whatever savings she could to purchase her first tufting gun and turned a passion into a business during the many months of lockdown. Today, she's selling her charming hand-hooked and machine tufted rugs to happy customers worldwide.
A fibre artist by trade, Hanna Eidson grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, where her family encouraged a lot of crafting. Her mother taught her how to knit at a young age, and her grandmother would urge her to paint and draw in her studio whenever they visited. But back then, being creative was only a hobby.
She moved to Canada in 2012 to attend McGill University, where she studied Religious Studies and Anthropology, almost forgetting her craft. But when she graduated in 2016, she moved to Nova Scotia, where her love of fibre art was quickly re-kindled. "My mom signed us up for a rug-hooking class that summer, and what can I say, I was hooked immediately," Hanna tells Creative Boom. "I have always been completely enamoured with yarn and natural fibres like wool. When I discovered that rug hooking combined my love of design with my love for wool, it allowed me to expand my creative practice."
Hanna began to make various colourful designs, but it wasn't until the first lockdown in March 2020 that she decided to share her creations with the world through a new Instagram account. "I had no idea I was about to lose my serving job," she says. "When I found myself in quarantine a week later, I turned to art to keep myself busy and sane while spending a lot of time alone. I began to sell pet portraits and started to gain a bit of a social media following. When I realised I would be quarantined for longer than a few weeks, I decided to invest in a tufting gun."
Up until that point, Hanna had kept her creations quite small, hooking wool by hand. She was then inspired by fibre artist Trish Anderson to indulge in larger projects. "At first, I was completely intimidated by my new tool, it was heavier and faster than I anticipated, and I spent at least a week struggling to get the hang of it. I finally did, and I started drawing up designs for bigger rugs and developed a style."
Those bigger designs have certainly proved popular. From rugs shaped like Old Fashioned cocktails or berry popsicles to broccoli or kiwi wall hangings, Hanna's creations are snapped up, turning a passion into a business she never imagined. "This whole endeavour has been a huge learning curve. I hadn't ever planned on becoming an artist," she says. Like many creative people, Hanna admits she sometimes struggles with imposter syndrome but found the pandemic offered a silver lining as it forced her to embrace the unknown. "Although I had toyed with starting my own business in the past, I didn't have any actual knowledge of where to begin. Because I had started with my Instagram account, my first new skill was learning how to promote and grow my business using social media, and since then, I have just been scrambling to learn and grow through my creative interests."
We all understand that throwing ourselves into the deep end is often the best way to learn and grow. But Hanna wonders if she'd ever taken the leap if it hadn't been for the last two years. "In a way, I think I can credit the pandemic with giving me the space and time to pursue art. Not to say that it was all roses and sunshine, but without all the time I had alone that I filled with crafting, I don't think that I would have been able to grow as an artist and entrepreneur this quickly," she says.
Browsing through her online shop, there is something for everyone. "I think my favourite piece is my fig rug," she remarks. "I absolutely love the colours. Although my favourite piece I made recently was a crocodile with ducklings on its back." Her customers, meanwhile, seem to favour her Eat Shit candy hearts, bananas and citrus designs. "I think many of my customers are maximalist decor lovers that jump on the fun and colourful designs that I make."
Hanna gets inspiration from her love of food and drink and her time spent as a bartender and server for many years. "I think those memories seep into my work. I've cut a lot of citrus in my day, and I'm still not sick of it! I also love looking through old photographs and books for inspiration, and sometimes a fun idea pops into my head, and I draw it right away."
What has Hanna learnt the most during the last three years since embracing her craft? "That I can run a business and do what I love for a living," she says. "Although I knew I had some artistic ability two years ago, most people in my life didn't even know I made art. I've had many people (some of which have known me my whole life) be completely shocked by my new endeavour. The time and the solitude of my quarantine pushed me in a completely new direction, towards the thing that I had always loved the most but never had the confidence to pursue."