Posts Tagged: featured artist series

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.

featured artist :: cutesypoo

from the archives: 15.3.11

name: Jocelan + Jason
company: cutesypoo toys
links: website | blog | shop | twitter

What do you make?
My husband and I make cartoons for a living and formed this company out of our love of toys. I just wanted to recreate the kind of toys that inspire kids, instead of the toys you just get from the toy store that are made in china, why not make one of a kind of toys that kids really fall in love with? Plus we always wanted to make our cartoons come to life and animating them is ok..but when a kid can hold and touch and hug a toy…then that is really something!! Most of the toys we make are custom printed with ecofriendly inks such as the cone gnomes, but recently we are making embroidered toys with our new embroidery machine such as our cutesypoo pillows and plush kitties. Of course, we always try to make out toys ultra cute!!

What or who inspires you?
Kawaii culture like Hello Kitty, I worked on the Pucca tv show and that was an influence, japanese zakka style magazines, friends, flickr..food! I think of food when i make toys ..like the colours i will ask myself …does it look yummy enough to eat??

photo credit: studio jeanie

How did you get started?
I have been to japan twice and after i got back from the first trip there i started to try to sew my own toy bunny from a japanese felt book and when i did i was hooked! Funny thing is I tried hard not to create my own stuff because i am so creative at work I wanted to do a “mindless thing ” while i relaxed in front of the tv at night ..but eventually I couldn’t help myself when i started to draw something in my sketchbook i just HAD to make it!! The first thing i made was a plush coconut bun and i still have it.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Cotton canvas, vintage scraps of fabric because it looks good and fleece and minky because it is easy to sew.

What is the hardest and your most favourite part of crafting?
Easy! My favourite is drawing up the ideas and also the satifaction of a completed project and my hardest is the whole part between that!!

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
I know everyone says this but it’s true! Stay true to what you are and what you want to create but also be realistic with your products and see what sells and do research by doing craft shows to see what people think of your stuff. In other words..don’t just ask family and friends…

featured artist :: a cagey bee

from the archives: 04.01.10

name: Kris G. Brownlee
company: a cagey bee
links: blog | etsy

What do you make?
I’m a painter inspired by people, so I like to create character portraits with a storybook feel. I tend to paint girls and cute companion critters, though some of my paintings have a bit of a darker edge to them. I also really enjoy making tiny art pendants. Not everyone can afford an original painting, of course, so this is a fun alternative to a print. Plus I really love the idea of my characters being taken out and about in the real world.

What or who inspires you?
Oh goodness…so many things! I love to people watch. Vancouver is great city for that. I walk my dogs every day and literally *every* day I see someone who would make a great painting.

I’m also really inspired by my fellow artists. It’s amazing to see so many people, especially women, representing themselves via the web and doing what they love. Whether it’s painting or sewing or making jewelry, it’s fantastic to be part of this shift towards more personal, handmade businesses.

How did you get started?
I’ve always been creative and enjoyed creating images in one way or another – photography, graphic design etc. But it never occurred to me that becoming a full time artist was even an option until a few years ago. I thought you had to live in a loft in NYC and have a trust fund to have any chance of making a living as an artist; it just wasn’t on the menu for a girl like me. It wasn’t until I started seeing self-represented artists selling their own work via eBay and Etsy that I allowed myself to consider it. I began taking classes at Emily Carr and never looked back. As cheesy as it sounds, it felt like I had finally stepped into who I was supposed to be. Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I’m very impatient so I like to use acrylic paint. It dries quickly, so I can add lots of layers & go over a piece again & again. With oils, you have to let it dry in between and I just don’t have the patience for that! I’ve been painting on wood a lot lately too which has been fun. When I make prints, I love seeing the texture of the wood show up in the detail.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I do think they’re different, but the crafters have definitely upped their game in recent years. I think traditionally art would be something that had a statement or point of view whereas craft was more about function. I think that gap is closing as crafters become more interested in expressing themselves and experimenting rather than doing it “right”. I consider myself both an artist and a crafter. I love to paint, but I really want my work to be accessible to everyone; I’m thrilled to see my girls on magnets or pendants, and not just hung on the wall.

featured artist :: sweetie pie press

from the archives: 09.09.09

name: Becky Johnson
company: Sweetie Pie Press
links: website | shop | blog | facebook | twitter | flickr

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)

If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.

faythe levine – feature #6

from the archives: 07.07.09

name: Faythe Levine
links: website | blog | twitter | flickr

What do you make?
Currently I make movies, do set design/art direction and I take tons of photos. When I have time I like to embroider.

via ReadyMade, photo credit: Kevin Miyazaki

What or who inspires you?
I am inspired on a daily basis by my surroundings. I spend as much time as possible absorbing my environment and taking in the minute details. I am also motivated by my extensive art collection and piles of collections and treasures I have built up over the years.

How did you get started?
I’ve always been self-motivated and just make sure to finish projects I start.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Depends on the project at hand of course, but I love felt, vintage fabric and paper, found objects and glitter. If I’m working in the kitchen I attempt to use as much local and organic ingredients as possible.

via design sponge

What is the hardest part of crafting?
I think that following through with an idea can be a huge challenge sometimes but when you finish something you started even if the final outcome isn’t what you initially planned it is so satisfying.

List 5 of your favourite links:
Obsessive Consumption: I work with Kate on a variety of projects but I think her work is amazing on so many levels. She also produces more projects then anyone I know.

My Love For You: Fantastically curated art/craft/design blog that keeps me up to date with sales, new work and shows around the world ran by my friend Meigan.

20×200: A great place to pick up affordable artwork.

BibliOdyssey: Fodder in all manners.

Design For Mankind: Another art/craft/design blog that really hits all the best stuff. Also, site curator Erin Loechner started a great project called “Dialogue” everyone should check out on the site.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
My advice would be to keep in touch with your community. Participate in community dialogue and events. Support your creative peers and keep focused on your own personal creative path.

Art vs. Craft – Are these terms different? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I am totally uninterested in defining the difference between Art and Craft, my belief is that is up to the producer of the work. Myself, I’m 100% maker.

(photo images courtesy of Faythe Levine)

If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.