Hello fellow geeks and welcome to February’s Coaching for Geeks Creator of the Month – Jolanda Snellenberg!
In this section we pick out one of our very own epic geeks to highlight the amazing creations they produce. We want to show the whole wide world just how cool, creative and outright geeky we are. So let’s dive into February’s artist, Jolanda Snellenberg of Den Gröna Fenixen (Swedish for The Green Phoenix)!
R: Hello and Welcome Jolanda! Firstly, what’s the shop called and what do you make?
J: It’s called Den Gröna Fenixen or The Green Phoenix in English and we make upcycled art. In a world where so much gets thrown away, I try to make it a little bit better by giving discarded gems a new life. I create all kinds of items, but mainly jewellery, out of treasure I find at the many second hand shops here in Sweden.
R: There is some truly beautiful work you have done, and it’s environmental as well which I love but what’s your reason for doing what you do?
J: The selfish reason is because I love crafting and I love second hand shopping and this combines them both. But more importantly there is a more idealistic reason behind it, and that is that I think second hand has an image that it doesn’t deserve, that it’s dirty and another man’s trash. I’m trying to show that it doesn’t need to be like that. I really don’t like this culture of, in my eyes, not valuing items anymore and just throwing away good things. It’s not good for the planet and not for the people needing to make all these ‘cheap’ throw-away items.
R: I really agree with that! Now tell us more about yourself, what kind of geek would you describe yourself as?
J: I’m totally a larp-geek, and all the geeky hobbies that come with it, like crafting and writing. I also love reading. I’ve tried to keep myself out of video-games, because I know I would totally get sucked into that and I don’t want to bring that addiction onto myself…
R: Larping is definitely on my to do list. What would you describe as the geekiest thing you have ever created?
J: Probably the period-correct Victorian bathing-suit. It’s not totally re-enactment proof in terms of how I made it (it’s not hand-sewn etc.) but it’s pretty crazy! I even swam in it… I wouldn’t recommend it, but it was a lot of fun anyway.
For the shop, it’s probably the book-stitch markers. Because knitters are geeks too! But I’m totally open for more cool nerdy ideas, because they’re the best!
R: I can imagine its not the most comfortable swim. Now for the geekiest thing you own?
J: Well, I still own that bathing suit, so probably that. But it’s an ambassador for the cupboards and cupboards full of larp-gear, including two bows, a sword and enough outfits to dress an entire orphanage, from fantasy ranger to high class Victorian dresses, to a Blade-runner inspired outfit, including raincoat. It’s a good thing I’ve started playing more modern day events, so I can actually wear ‘everyday’ clothes. The downside is blood-stains are really hard to wash out of your fancy suit…
R: Blood stains! Hoping either fake blood or someone elses! Still, it doesn’t put me off wanting to larp in all fairness. Is there someone you would consider a role model or who inspires you?
J: If I would have to point to people, it would probably be my mother and my partner. I don’t like role-model as a term, because I don’t strive to be like them, but they do inspire and support me a lot. I think that counts. They both bring a motto that’s now very important in my life. My mother always said that “what your eyes can see, your hands can make” and my partner is a great support with his “You’ve never done it, so I think you can do it”-attitude. Those two mottos have made me try a lot of things that got me this far.
R: It’s good to have people who inspire you and they are definitely two good mottos to live by. Now let’s get a bit deeper and can you tell me your top 3 facts about yourself?
J: I have way too many hobbies and they tend to get out of hand. This is how for example in the past ten years I’ve made it from a person with two left feet to an international dance teacher and how Den Gröna Fenixen came to be.
Last year I moved to Sweden, which brought me the opportunity to start Den Gröna Fenixen. I was unemployed and bored and it seemed like a fun challenge to keep myself busy. And it’s successful. Not in a full-time job kind of way, but it is very inspiring and motivating to think like this about my skills! This has recently made me realize that every downside in life has an upside if you look hard enough. And, see fact one, things tend to escalate: I’m even going to school again to study historic crafts next year!
If you give me a day to prepare, I can play any role you throw at me at least somewhat convincing with the stuff I have lying around or I can quickly modify from something out of the second hand store. Not because I’m a great actor per se, but because I love crawling into other people’s skins.
R: I’m assuming it a metaphorical way and not a Buffalo Bill kind of way? It’s good to know we have such a talented dancer in our ranks too! I need all the help I can get. Wish time, you get one geeky wish, what do you go for?
J: I really, really want to play a Pan’s Labyrinth larp one day, but it doesn’t exist yet. Someone please make it happen and let me be the girl that wanders about. I love the mix of social drama (the war), fantasy and horror. It makes such a good story.
R: YES! So many cool things you could do with that. What about CfG? Tell me your favourite thing about our cool community?
J: That nothing is ever too silly, that we’re people that never grew up and we face the same problems in life because of it. I like that we can use coaching for geeks to help each other out. It makes you realize you’re not alone and also that things can change for the best.
R: Lovely answer and very true. Tell us all the places we can find your beautiful work online!
J: You can find me here:
R: Perfect. Thank you for your time!
J: Thank you
PS: If you would like to be featured as Creator of the Month ask in the Coaching for Geeks Facebook group