conduit press feature.

i was recently invited to answer some interview questions for my friend Talia’s blog- conduit press. below you will find the entire interview, in case you were dying to learn a little more about what makes me tick!

big, big thanks to talia for interviewing me as the first artist in her special “collective feature”. i feel so lucky to have found talia and the other collective members!



Collective Feature : Opposite Of Far.

Today I’m honored to feature a new friend and a fellow crafter, and of course, a fellow member of our local Collective. Today I share Jessica of Opposite of Far and her Near&Dear Dolls as well as Captain Hoo and Wondery Bunny! Let’s get started!


In your words – who are you, what is your business/what do you  make?

My name is Jessica Near, my business is Opposite of Far: modern handmade for hipster kids. I make plush dolls (Near&Dear Dolls) and animals (Captain Hoo & Wonder Bunny), felt masks, and children’s accessories. Using a variety of fabrics, trim, ribbons and buttons allows for every Near&Dear Doll, Captain Hoo, and Wonder Bunny to be one-of-a-kind! I make the dolls in male and female (because boys need dolls too!). They come in varying shades of skin, hair, and eye color, and different hair styles- they appeal to any and every child. The outfits are always different and each doll comes with one accessory or removable piece of clothing. Doll accessories/clothing include hand knit scarves, purses, skirts, pants, hats, mask, etc.



What road brought me to Bloomington and Opposite of Far…

Oh, a very long and rocky road brought me to Bloomington, Indiana! Perhaps the more important answer is what kept me here in Bloomington! See, I’m a mover, always have been. I settle in just enough to pick up and move on again without looking back. But in while in Bloomington visiting friends, I met Mike. Ah, Mike Near. We met and he held me here.  Even when I was ready to pack up again, I stayed because he held my heart tighter than anyone was able to before. I still have ants in my pants to change scenery and set out for new adventures-but building a home, community, and life here with Mike, has a far stronger pull than those measly pants-ants! Now my pants are antsy to snuggle into this town, grow roots rich with family and friends, make new adventures, etch new memories into my heart, and build traditions- right here- with Mike Near, in Bloomington (or wherever he is, really)!


And what brought me to Opposite of Far, you ask- a  long love for sewing, crafting, and making children smile! I have been making plush animals for about 5 years- which started late one night when I was suddenly inspired by my obsession with owls, a stack of super cool tea towels, and my drawings/designs! Those plush owls turned into a business called *bunny, beans & alicat* (with my friend Angela Harding). We made animals (and other crafty stuff) together for a few years until life got a little too joyous to squeeze in a business (Mike & I were getting married, I was finishing school, Angela was having a baby!) Once our lives settled down (a bit) again we separately started sewing and creating again. My new crafty obsession was designing & sewing dolls! I needed a name for my new business so I turned to a fond memory- the first time I talked to Mike on the phone: “So, Mike Near- Near, N-E-A-R? As in opposite of far?“  So, my business (name) is inspired by my husband and my new last name, and I love it! I am taking Opposite of Far very seriously and hope to be truly successful doing this thing that I’m pretty good at and LOVE! I see this business as an opportunity to help support our family while also being able to stay home with out (future) children. Opposite of Far has also catapulted me into this wonderful world of people making beautiful things! I love being part of the local artist/crafter world- I have never been happier!

What’s your inspiration for Near&Dear Dolls and your cute little animals?


My inspiration comes from everywhere and in different forms depending on what I am in the mood for. Visiting the Farmers Market, inspires me to plant, grow, harvest, store/can/freeze, bake and cook. After a concert I feel inspired to find more music that stops me in my tracks (and maybe learn to play an instrument!).  While playing with friends kids I feel inspired to create traditions for my future family. A trip to an antique mall or flea market inspires me to re-decorate my house. Lowes (or any nursery, garden or plant section) inspires me to re-create our front and backyards. During a little drive on a pretty day, I feel inspired to photograph everything in sight- everything is beautiful! Reading my list of favorite blogs I inspires to write, read, share, and gush over the simplest joys in my life. After spending time with my crafty friends (the Collective and others) and after I have attended a show/market I feel inspired to design & sew Near&Dear Dolls and other creations. I am truly astounded by people who have talents I do not,as well as  people who share my talents- singer/songwriters, musicians, chefs, woodworkers, farmers, writers…the list goes on and on. I am simply inspired by other people!
I feel most inspired, though, when the seasons are at the peak of their changes. Especially right now-the mornings are chilly, the colors are vibrant, the afternoons are sunny and warm, the evenings are clear and the traditions are plentiful! I love having our windows open, even when it is a wee bit chilly for open windows! The sun, breeze and fresh air just completely invigorate and move me! Fall traditions stir something special in me- apple orchards, pumpkin patches, snuggling in under blankets, bonfires, brisk walks, long-cooked meals, changing decor to match the colors of the trees, family & friend time….it all makes me thankful, present and happy.

{sorry readers, I’ve let this get long, but I just couldn’t cut all the beautiful things Jessica was sharing with us}

Let’s be more specific then;) Can you give me your Top 5:

Etsy Sellers (non-local, dolls & animals)
1.Goodbye Blue Monday
2. Simpli Jessi
3. Lori Nichols
4. ninon
5. Timor Handmade
**I chose non-local, dolls & animals because, well, I make dolls and these little shops inspire me. AND- I heart every single local artist I know and just can’t choose my top 5! :)

Blogs I read every single day
1. Enjoying The Small Things
2. Bleubird
3. Dig This Chick
4.  A Beautiful Mess
5.  Design Sponge
**And, of course, Conduit Press has a special place in my heart!

1. Beck
2. Bon Iver
3. Adele
4. Mumford & Sons
5. Avett Brothers

Where do you see yourself and Opposite of Far in the next 5 years?

In the next few years I plan on adding to my line of dolls and animals. I have designed doll clothing and accessories that would be included with a doll and would also be available in sets sold separately. It would be wonderful to see children playing with my dolls, adding to their collection of clothing and accessories and cherishing them as a fond childhood companion. I would love to see my Near&Dear Dolls (and other creations) in shops all around the country! I would also like to continue doing shows & markets- I really enjoy the interaction with other artists as well as shoppers.My husband and I are hoping to have at least one child in the next 5 years, and we  look forward to seeing how my business balances and evolves as our family learns to do the same!

And one last question before I let you go, since this is a Collective Interview after all – what’s your favorite part of the Collective, and of course, what could be improved?

Finding like-minded women/artists who empower and inspire me. Simple as that! I love the constructive advice, sharing, encouragement, support,  and comradery-I feel so fortunate to have found this group! I think we make each other better artists. The only thing I think could be better is MORE of it! Once a month isn’t enough for me. Even though we are all very busy, I think we could make more time for craft nights, learning experiences, sharing, asking of and sharing advice, etc. I think we could have different “events” planned throughout the month so each person can have as much or little of the Collective as she wants, and more of us would be involved in planing. Let’s work together to make this a TRUE Collective, with each person adding more to the group than just attendance once a month!

Thank you Jessica for taking the time to answer my questions and as always, be a friend. You can find Jessica writing on her blog and posting amazing photographic evidence of her inspiring life, and on Facebook with her business and of course, her shop. Locally (in Indianapolis) you can find her Near&Dear dolls at homespun:modern handmade and nurture. And she’ll be selling her wares this holiday season at the Irvington Halloween Festival (Oct 29) and Bloomington Handmade Market (Nov 12).


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