What do you make?
1″ buttons, commissioned artist button sets, drawings, prints, crochet things, secret message envelopes, zines, installations and other miscellany. i also make craft shows and events. and web pages. sometimes i make theatre or other fleeting diversions.
What or who inspires you?
oh, all sorts of things. gosh. the places i visit. funny jokes. bad things (that i feel need correcting). office supplies. other. i don’t like this question. it gives me the same bad, overwhelmed feeling that i experience when i think about advanced physics or the universe.
How did you get started?
i have been making crafty things since i can remember but i started a craft business in earnest as a response to my total disillusionment with my former ‘career’ as an actor/comedian/clown. i so despised being rewarded for good performances with offers of terrible projects/television commercials that i decided to move into a creative pursuit that required less industrial complicity.
basically, i wanted to work hard yet flexibly for myself and felt that objects somehow held more sustainable value than experiences (such as theatre provides). this is sounding convoluted. i started making buttons to supplement my performance income and found them and the greater craft community more rewarding and kind than my previous exploits. ever since my mind has gone wild with endless new ideas for physical objects to make. and nobody ever tells me i am too heavy or tall to make crafts. that’s a bonus.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
paper, fabric, felt pens, yarn, garbage, ideas, jokes, envelopes.
What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
hardest = finding time to realize the number of notions i produce in an effective and sustainable manner. this might be impossible. hence, its high level of difficulty.
favourite = seeing the output of my brain realized in three actual dimensions. that, and the people i have met doing it. and the places i have seen. and more.
List 5 of your favourite links and why you like them
all citizens: the best little art shop/music venue on the prairies. this is actually where i am sitting while composing these answers. the all citizens story is hugely inspiring and so is everything they continue to do. serena and tyler (who own the joint) are also marvels in their own rights. and if you are a band, you might be able to play one of the smallest venues ever if you contact them.
city of craft: this feel like cheating because this is a project i am involved in but i stand by its greatness nonetheless. city of craft is a big annual indie craft fair in toronto (which…ahem…is currently accepting applications from vendors, sponsors and installation artists). city of craft is also a greater collective that programs crafty happenings in and around the big smoke throughout the year.
tara bursey: tara is a friend of mine (let’s face it, all this link sharing is about hyping my awesome friends and their awesome projects). she is an incredible artists, crafter, zine maker, thinker, organizer and human being. on top of all the other work she does, she has started a blog this year that presents some of the best exploration of the art/craft paradigm that i have come across…maybe ever. her reports on the art she experiences are both thoughtful and personal. she’s great.
little dog monday: this a sporadic yet quality blog that chronicles the craft, illustration and artwork of toronto artist, shannon gerard. what can i say? i am a huge fan. shannon is skilled, smart and vulnerable. also, if you poke around long enough, you might see a drawing of me there from her top shelf web comic .
misanthrope specialty company: again, total nepotism; this is my partner’s art collective. i am actually something of a member, too (kinda). the misanthrope co. has a very strange and special aesthetic that i find exciting. reverend aitor (my home biscuit) also does unflattering portraits while we tour (and online). i am pretty keen on this projects as it accesses all kinds of people in all kinds of cities and towns…and uglies them all.
Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
a) use your brain. people who tell you that following your heart will lead to infinite success have trust funds. if you are trying to make crafts to support yourself, do take the seemingly senseless whims of the market into consideration.
b) then leave room to do some ridiculous or risky things to advance global culture/the evolution of the species.
(photo images courtesy of Becky Johnson)
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