Category: featured artist series

featured artist :: divesin

from the archives: 5.10.10

name: Jackie Dives
company: Divesin
links: etsy | blog

What do you make?
I mostly make collages and take photographs. I have been collaging and taking photographs since I was in elementary school. Right now my collages are taking a couple different personalities.

There is an ongoing series that I work on for craft fairs and for sale on my Etsy site. These are made on wood panels that are hollow in the back so they can be hung easily. I use images from books that would otherwise be sent to the dump. I rescue them and make something new from them.

I am also working on a series of 20 collages that each have a Chinese proverb in them. These are fun and made from all kinds of different papers.

I take photographs every day of the things I see around town. My favourite thing to photograph is people.

I also make love. I make nutritious meals from scratch, my blog, and a garden.

What or who inspires you?
Like most creative people I get inspiration from things I see when I am out and about. People, places, nature, conversations overheard on the bus. I get very inspired to create when I am grocery shopping at a market, thrifting, and drinking tea with friends. I am currently greatly inspired by these specific artists: Andy Dixon, Ronan Boyle, Jesse Reno, Chanda Stallman, Randy Laybourne.

How did you get started?
Slowly. A few years ago I pulled my hardly ever used sewing machine out of the closet in my bedroom and began making bags. My grandfather died around the same time and I was given a box of family photographs, which I used to make a series of greeting cards. I made magnets, notebooks, brooches, and other cute things. I held a craft show in my little apartment, which turned into a full time store on Main Street. Now, I’m happy to be working from home, taking my time to explore the different forms of creativity that interest me.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I keep a glue stick and my camera with me wherever I go. I also love very old things from wood to ceramics to books to fabrics, to jars and more.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Don’t give up. Being an artist is hard. Keep at it.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
This is a hard question for me to answer. At a different point in time it might have been easier to define and separate the two words, but presently, I think they overlap and are merging into one meaning. At times I might be an artist, other times a crafter. But ultimately I am a creator. I passionately and consistently create things.

first photo via [stu-di-o] by jeanie

featured artist :: faire by keikocreative

from the archives: 11.24.10

name: Keiko Lee-Hem
company: Faire by KeikoCreative
links: web | facebook

What do you make?
I make jewellery that’s close to the earth without being too earthy. As described by Vancouver Magazine, I “pair clay and precious metal to delicate effect”. I try to design jewellery that is simple, elegant and natural and reflects my design aesthetic, love of the handmade and the natural world.

What or who inspires you?
Always nature! Bundling up and walking around my neighourhood on a rainy day; pilgrimages to the seaside; getting up close with my macro lens and capturing the perfect patterns and colour combination created by nature. I am always inspired by the simplicity, purity and joy of Lotta Jansdotter’s work.

How did you get started?
I started with my love of making things, wanting to be unique and not too influenced by whatever the current trend was. The next step was discovering that people liked the things that I made. Then getting involved with other creative makers, signing up for craft fairs, and organizing them myself! Then it’s all about staying focused and inspired and not stopping.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I love getting down and dirty with clay. My current line of jewellery is really delicate so I can keep pretty clean making hundreds of little clay circles, but I’ll be branching out into some home products made on the pottery wheel that I hope to launch this summer. I get pretty muddy working on the wheel!

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Start retailing slowly. For my current line, I’ve still only got one retailer (Walrus on Cambie Street). The owners Caroline and Daniel are totally supportive and willing to give me advice on ways to improve my product and share feedback from their customers. Starting slowly gives me time to work out any kinks in my product before I introduce it to a wider audience.

featured artist :: hand & shadow

from the archives: 1.10.11

name: Georgie Russell
company: Hand & Shadow
links: web | blog | etsy

What do you make?
Screen-printed t-shirts and scarves

What or who inspires you?
I can find inspiration anywhere, but it is much harder when I’m looking. I read a good deal, fiction and non-fiction, look online, spend time with other makers of things… I try to be open to seeing things in the world. I also spend a good deal of time letting my mind wander until an idea forms itself.

How did you get started?
I went to Emily Carr and worked with printmaking. After school I worked as a screen-printer, which taught me some useful skills and showed me the way I didn’t want to do things. I was part of the Seamrippers Craft collective which was very influential for me. I was able to have a hand in the set up of the screen-printing area and taught some workshops. It was also a concentration of so many skills and personalities that it was impossible to walk away unchanged. I left the collective to begin screen-printing for myself, it just seemed the best fit for me at the time. It’s been hard at times, but I think that shows in the work I make.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Discharge ink. It’s a bleach based ink and I love the variation of results that I can get. It prints clear, which can be tricky, and can be unpredictable, but I think I’ve reached a point of working with it where I can make its changeability work in my favour. I print almost exclusively on cotton, as the ink only works on natural fibres. I have been experimenting with wool and silk as well, but nothing concrete so far.

What is the hardest and your most favourite part of crafting?
I have trouble keeping focused. I work a full time job and there often isn’t time to go to the studio. It can also be hard to create new designs while constantly playing catch-up with the old designs. But I love the small successes, and that magical sensation when an idea starts to solidify in my thoughts and the moment when I finish a print and it is exactly how I pictured it in my mind.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Celebrate small victories. Except for the very lucky and very few of us, it will be a long hard uphill climb. And it is an amazing journey, but every mention on someone’s blog, every delighted repeat customer and every bit of positive feedback helps. It’s hard work and one has to stay motivated somehow. So hold on to those good moments, hopefully the victories get bigger.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Both and neither. I consider myself a crafter, but not entirely as I still associate craft with a specific aesthetic that I’m not sure I belong to. I consider myself an artist, but I have an art practice outside the clothing that I make. So sort a midway point between both, and perhaps something else entirely.

featured artist :: the rice babies

from the archives: 3.15.11

name: Kellie
company: The Rice Babies
links: web | etsy | twitter | facebook

What do you make?
Pretty dolls and lovely crowns that inspire the imagination.

What or who inspires you?
My inspiration comes from my children and the children I teach through my art classes. I also love children’s literature and have a wild imagination.

How did you get started?
I picked up a camera when I was in high school, from them on art has been wooing me. It’s been a long time love affair.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Currently, I love to sew, so fabrics with textures and great designs coupled with embroidery.

What is the hardest and your most favourite part of crafting?
The hardest part is finding time with three little ones. My favourite part is seeing people enjoying what I have made.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
If you love it, just keep trying, and if you love making it, you will find the time.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I have an art degree, so I am inclined to say artist. When I set out, I hoped to be an artist, the word crafter didn’t enter my world until I opened an Etsy shop. I suppose the word craft comes from hand crafted, so I would think handmade would also then become craft, so I guess both.

all images via [stu-di-o] by jeanie except image one via Blue Olive Photography

featured artist: bubbly shnooks

from the archives: 31.3.11

name: Michelle Clement
company: Bubbly Shnooks
links: etsy | blog | twitter | flickr

What do you make?
I make cute illustrated paper goods for my shop, Bubbly Shnooks, and am currently expanding my line to include crocheted goodies, soft dolls, and accessories. I also design a line of scrapbook paper for Sassafras Lass, as well as work in the local Vancouver animation industry as my ‘day job’, as well as making a lot of crafts just for fun: I love to scrapbook, embroider, sew, cross-stitch, and am currently addicted to crocheting!

What or who inspires you?
I’m really inspired by artists, crafters, and illustrators who have made their own little thriving indie businesses! Artists like Elsie Flannigan of Red Velvet Art, Susie Ghahremani of BoyGirlParty, and Emily Martin of The Black Apple, for example – those who make their own unique and adorable goodies and have remarkable branding & a smart sense for all things indie bizz. Chasing dreams really inspires me!

How did you get started?
I started scrapbooking when I was 12 at a beginner’s class with my mom, and everything’s kind of stemmed from there! (I’ve been sewing and drawing and journaling for as long as I can remember, too, of course). I got really into scrapbook products and goodies about 4-5 years back, and my love of drawing led me to doodle my own scrapbook paper tags, which then led to also making cards and art prints, and it’s grown out from there. The collage-inspired way I scrapbook has now also led me to designing lines of paper – where I use every crafty technique in my arsenal, from embroidery to dying paper to drawing to sewing. It all started with paper and has grown into a creative outlet that comes out in a wealth of forms!

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I love to work with heavy cardstock and walnut ink (a natural brown dye that ages paper in a lovely way). I’m also partial to my trusty HB pencil and plain old white paper for drawings, and Photoshop is vital for everything! Fabric is also a favorite – especially neutrals that I can dye and scrunch and make my own.

I’ve also always been really into the mix of aged vintage & bright colors, so thrift shops inspire me, as does the magazine aisle at a big book store. Scrapbook galleries, numerous crafty blogs, children’s book illustrations, and artists like Mary Blair, Dr. Suess, and Edward Gorey have my heart. Calgary’s own amazing ‘Uppercase Magazine’ is also an amazing resource! I find inspiration everywhere, really. The world around me inspires!

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
I would say that the most important thing when you’re creating anything or opening a shop is to make what you want to make and stay true to yourself, not to make something because it’s popular right now or that it’s what everybody else is doing. It can be discouraging at first, sometimes, feeling like you’re a black sheep of sorts, but once you spread the word and find your niche, you’ll be glad you stuck with something unique that you love to do. You’ll find that other people will love that about it, to!

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Oh, this is a toughie. I’ve bantered over it with art school folk a few times, because it’s such a blurred line, now. I would like to say I’m a ‘maker’ – lol – aka, a crafter & artist all rolled into one. I think today that craft & art have joined forces – crafts are just as beautiful and inspiring during this handmade movement as art, is, to me.