featured artist :: fibre manipulator

from the archives: 01.09.09

name: Stephanie Menard
company: Fibre Manipulator
links: portfolio | shop

What do you make?
Unique Jewellery using vintage and recycled fabric with gold and sterling silver elements and sometimes vintage beads. Felt portrait dolls, needle felted dolls, recycled fabric fingerless gloves and accessories.

What or who inspires you?
I often get design ideas from my dreams, so do I inspire myself? Maybe. Successful female entrepreneurs, repetitive patterns in nature, my cats, Art History.

How did you get started?
I started making beaded necklaces when I was 8 and have been a painter, “sculpey”-tor since birth I think. Floating along from crappy retail job to summer camp lifeguard job I didn’t realize I could do what I love and get paid for it until much later.

After falling in love with sculpture in the Langara Fine Arts program I went to VCC for Jewellery Art and Design; which is essentially small scale sculpture. I stumbled into textiles when I needed a jewellery break after school. Now I mix my two loves together and have a great time making shiny pretty textured things. My fickle nature means I’ll probably incorporate some new techniques often. I just picked up needle felting this year and am really into it. There is so much to learn, how does anyone pick just one technique to master?!

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Delicate vintage lace, luminescent peridot beads, ornate kimono fabric, merino sliver, vintage beads, inventiveness, problem solving.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Don’t guard your secrets. Share what you have learned with others and you will learn from them as well. Let’s all help eachother become better business people. Networking equals getting together with new friends over a bottle of wine or some snacks and being inspired.

Art vs. Craft – Are these terms different? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I don’t want there to be a difference. I am an Artist and a Crafter. There used to be a big divide between high art and everything else but I believe the DIY movement has shortened that gap. I have always had as much respect for ceramics, jewellery and textiles (all traditionally female crafts) as I have for painting, drawing and sculpture. I think the art world and our generation of artists is moving in that direction and I’m glad.

(photo images courtesy of Stephanie Menard)

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