Wasting vinyl doesn’t stop Ranja Børilden Sjøvold from trying something new to make some incredible layered vinyl pieces and heat transfer projects.
“When I saw what was possible, the sky was the limit,” Ranja said. “I’ve wasted meters of vinyl. But it’s only vinyl. You just try and see what works and what doesn’t. One of my favorite things is to try to make new things. I just keep trying and playing, and I have so much fun.”
Two and a half years ago, Ranja wanted to make her daughter’s and son’s clothing more exciting. She started researching machines and sewing little extras herself. When she found Silhouette on a Facebook page for children’s clothing, she figured she had to have a machine.
“I love the machine. I love the program,” Ranja said. “The fact that the machine and software are basic makes it so good because you can make them more advanced as you go.”
Ranja starts out by finding a picture she wants to use. She tests how it will look in two colors and uses InkScape, PhotoScape, PhotoShop, or Adobe Illustrator to edit the photo to the way she wants. Then she uses Silhouette Studio® to manipulate the photo and prepare it to cut. It’s a different process with each design, and she puts in a lot of work to get it to look just right.
“If you want something that is more than basic, you have to work for it no matter what it is in life,” Ranja said.
In nature, she finds inspiration everywhere. Recently, she found a piece of wood by the sea, and she could see this vision of a dragon in the wood. Then she created a design from inspired from that image.
“It is one thing to produce something, but when you are create something, you have to feel it,” she said. “To be creative when you don’t feel creative, you don’t get that extra help that pushes it over the top.”
Ranja’s mother is super creative and has also encouraged Ranja to try new things, whether it is fixing up old furniture, sewing clothes, or learning to make bows and arrows using just a hammer and nails.
“I do a bunch of things really,” she said. “I’m a bit hyperactive. I need to work with things. I’m sewing bears and creatures. I’m needle felting. Then it’s vinyl. Depending on the day really and what I want to do.”
When she started using vinyl and heat transfer, she turned to Facebook groups and YouTube tutorials to hone in on her skills, learn new tricks, and even practice her written English.
“So many people that are just there, ready to help you. It’s so fun, and these groups have their own little community,” Ranja said. “Some people are just on there to help other people.”
What is her advice to someone trying to make something new?
“Go crazy. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it. If you learn from it, it’s experience,” said Ranja. “If you find it won’t work, you find a way to make it work for you. It will help you to grow. Just try. Maybe it will cost you a bit of vinyl. Use your scraps. Test out the knife. If you just wiggle it a bit, then maybe you find the sweet spot. It won’t do it itself.”