Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Discover This: Handustry

Three words sum up today's Discover This featured artist and shop: Wow. Love. Want. The artist is Michel Belisle of Montreal and the shop is Handustry on Etsy. Michel gives such a soulful interview that I'm just going to get on with it. I hope you are just as inspired after reading as I was. Please be sure to visit Michel's Etsy shop when you're done. I'm telling you, you'll be wowed.

Name: Michel Belisle
Location: Montreal, Canada
Description of work: creating handmade objects at the crossroads of fashion, art, and crafts

How long have you been creating? I started about 30 years ago. Back then I studied fashion design and started a business. But life took me in different directions since. About two years ago I started contemplating what I could do when I retire to prevent boredom. It suddenly struck me that I could make good use of my creative self, making things and selling them online. My online adventure started last year. It is still pretty timid but I am slowly putting more and more energy into it. I find it quite rewarding receiving compliments about the work I do. It is a renewed sense of purpose also to create items when I know my followers will appreciate, as they are always wondering what will I come up with next!

Metallic Silver Pencil Pouch
 How did you get started? When I was young I was fascinated by the New Wave fashion movement, but had no money to buy any of the wonderful futuristic garments available. So I thought, well, maybe I can make those? After a few trials and errors I decided it was something I could do for a living and went to fashion school. And there I discovered something extraordinary: the knitting machine. That thing is amazing and can do wonders. Through knitting I developed a passion for fibres. Knitting is giving me the ability to create shapes, patterns and fabrics. I feel totally free when I use this medium. I started exploring crochet techniques and leather last year. I am working on various projects and experiments in order to blend all those materials and techniques together, trying to find my own niche.

Where do you find inspiration? Partly from avant-garde fashion designers like Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe, Issey Miyake and Walter van Beirendonck, and especially from contemporary architecture. Space, volume, perspective, unusual use of materials play a key role in triggering my creativity. I spend a huge amount of time experimenting with fibres, fabrics and, recently, leather. I want my designs to reflect structural properties even though they are made of soft and fluid materials. I also like my creations to have a purpose. I understand, though, that my current offerings do not exactly reflect my abstract creative process but it is also a characteristic of my process to be progressive. I am taking my followers with me on the path to discovery.

Where can we find your items for sale? I currently only sell online. I have two shops, both with the same name, one is www.etsy.com/shop/handustry, the well known handmade and vintage online venue, and the other one is www.cargoh.com/store/handustry. This one is a Canadian curated online marketplace and is where I offer my more experimental creations.

Buffalo Hide and Hemp Experimental Necklace
Formally trained or self-taught? As I said above, I have a background in fashion design but I mostly consider myself as a self-taught artist as I am going in directions and doing experimentations that are closer to fibre art than strictly creating fashionable items. I must thank my tailoring and machine knitting teachers for giving me strong technical backgrounds onto which I can build confidently my own creative language.

Why would someone benefit from purchasing your designs. When someone buys one of my creations, I want that person to make it totally his or hers. I want people to experiment as much with it as possible even find it a different purpose. It would very much please me to find out that my creations are used as catalysts by others in their own creative efforts. It would create a kind of intangible communication, a propagation of creativity and a tool to achieve self-actualization.

Anything else you’d like to share? I’ll take this opportunity to tell everyone who would like to embark on a creative adventure that anyone can. Simply start a project and do it. Even if the result may discourage you. Continue, go on, do another one until you build confidence in your ability and develop your own style. It is almost always possible to reuse a disappointing result and make it into something totally unexpected. Most of my successful realizations come from unsuccessful experiments. Don’t compare yourself with others and create according to what you feel is right.

Wristlet-Leather Pouch
 Soft Grey With Distressed Blue Jeans and Tiger Print Effect
Special thanks to Michel for participating.  Keep up the great work!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts on Thursday: Music

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness & of pain: of strength & freedom. The beauty of disappointment & never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature, & everlasting beauty of monotony ~ Benjamin Britten

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. ~ Aldous Huxley

Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Where words fail, music speaks. ~ Hans Andersen

Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence. ~ Robert Fripp

To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable. ~ Aaron Copland

Music is the Voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows" ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

If music be the food of love; play on. ~ William Shakespeare

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Unknown

As I play the game of life, I try to make it better each and every day. And when I struggle in the night, the magic of the music seems to light the way. ~ John Lennon, Intuition

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Discover This: IlzesCreations

The Discover This Series is on a roll!  Today I bring you a wonderful artist named Ilze all the way from Latvia.  Talk about talent!  She crochets, she knits, she felts, and she creates some of the most stunning pieces on Etsy.  I am always inspired by the talent of others, and Ilze certainly brings inspiration.  Enjoy this Q&A with her, and be sure to visit her links posted at the end.

Name: Ilze
Location: Latvia
Description of work: Freelancer

How long have you been creating your items?  
I've been creating handmade items as long as I can recall. At first it was sewing. I made simple clothing for my dolls. At age 10 I learned to knit and crochet. Since approximately age 14 I had learned mostly all the basics and was able to earn some pocket money with selling my handmades. 

Felt Case in Black with White Daisy
for iPhone
How did you get started?  Art and crafting is in my family tree. My great grandmother was a teacher in craft school. Both my grandmothers had good skills in sewing and crafts. Also my mother is an artist and creates handmade items. Spirit of handmade has been there already before I even was born.

What inspires your designs?  I'm getting inspiration from color combinations, nature, flowers, internet, movies, magazines, my own mood and from many other things. For example, I was inspired from my own photo of a bee in my garden and I made felt bee hair clips.

Do you sell your items?  
I'm an individual merchant. I have a small shop where I sell my crafts and different amber jewelery and souvenirs. Also I accept custom orders. Recently I joined Etsy where I offer felt and crochet accessories - felt flower brooches and pins, felt hair clips, felt purses and cases, crochet hats and knitted items. 

Red Flower Felt Brooch

Are you a formally trained or a self-taught artist?  Mostly I'm self-taught. At first I learned from books and my mother gave me advice. I have also taken several courses. I find information on the internet, in magazines, from other artisans, then I try to turn my ideas in reality. I don't stop self training until I get good results and myself and others are satisfied. 

Why would someone benefit from purchasing your designs?  Accessories have the capability of changing any clothing look to more brighter and stylish. For example, felt flower brooch can change boring, casual black shirt or dress in seconds. Even if they are served as a gift, but gift receiver doesn't wear brooches in the regular way, brooch can be pinned to a bag or a hat! There are many options how to use brooches, so all can find best way of using them. I also offer felt iPhone cases, they are a great and useful gift if you are not sure about gift receivers taste in style. Here in Latvia we have quite cold winters, therefore it is important to keep body warm and crochet hats, shawls, knitted socks can help in that alot! 

Anything else you’d like to share?  I have many ideas, therefore check my shop often for new crafts and designs. 

My Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/ilzescreations
My blog: ilzescreations.blogspot.com
Twitter: twitter.com/ilzescreations

3-6m Baby Pink Beanie with Cherries

Friday, August 5, 2011

Discover This: All Things Granny

Look, another fellow Etsyan! I've decided to ramp up the Discover This series with more posts about fabulous artists and their incredible handmade wares. Allow me to introduce my friend and fellow crocheter, Angela of All Things Granny. She's smart, talented, and a really nice person to boot. Angela currently manages 5 shops on Etsy. Yes, 5. Is that incredible or what?  Check out her other 4 shops listed on her Etsy Profile. Here's what Angela has to say about her thriving business:

Name: All Things Granny
Location: Arizona
Description of work: Crochet Designer

Reversible Cotton Granny Square Pot Holder
How long have you been creating your items? Over 35 years, since I learned how to crochet.

How did you get started? I learned to crochet back when I was just 8 or 9 years old, my mother taught me the basics, and I eventually learned how to read patterns. I made gifts for people throughout my life, and I also have a small dog sweater business, but my love for baby items got me started making Baby Blankets.

Custom Owl Granny Baby Blanket
Where do you draw inspiration for your designs? I get inspiration from everywhere I look in nature, magazines, even on the Internet.

Where can we find your items for sale? I sell on Etsy.com and also my own web page,  http://www.aandboriginals.com/

Do you have any formal training, or are you a self-taught artist? I am self taught.

How would someone benefit from purchasing your designs? I think people benefit by buying handmade items in general. The quality of my items is top-notch. I think an heirloom baby blanket that can be passed down from generation to generation can be a priceless gift for any new Mom, and Baby.

Custom Granny Square Baby Blanket
Special thanks to Angela for participating in the Discover This series on the JMO blog.  Beautiful work, my friend!