Art+Design

This month at Whipup we will be hearing from artists and crafters and finding out a bit more about how they keep records of their ideas and where those ideas come from. Today it is my great pleasure to introduce Heather Jones of Olive and Ollie who I had the great pleasure of meeting while at QuiltCon earlier this year. 

Heather is a designer, seamstress, and modern quilter who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two children. She is the founder and former president of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild and has designed a line of modern quilting patterns. She is incredibly creative, talented and inspiring and I’m so pleased she was able to join us here today. 

silo quilt sketch

Many of my quilt designs are inspired by things that I see in my everyday life, such as this sketch for my Silo quilt. And I never quite know when that inspiration may strike, so I always try to keep a sketchbook on hand, along with a pencil to draw with. I also take a lot of photos with my camera phone and use them as I develop my sketches further, once I get back to my studio.

improv color block sketch

I use graph paper sketchbooks to draw my designs in, and I especially love these spiral bound books because I can lay them flat as I’m working.

quilt math detail

I use the grid pattern of the graph paper to calculate the sizes of all of the components of my design, as well as the fabric yardage needed to complete the pattern.

markers

I start all of my sketches in pencil and once I have the layout of the pattern complete, I bring in color with some india ink markers. I really love these markers because they provide a nice sheer layer of color, so I can see still the grid of the graph paper behind them. They also don’t bleed through the pages, which allows me to use both the front and back of every page in the book.

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I really love to work this way. It’s probably more time consuming to draw out my designs with pencil and paper than it would be to design on the computer, but I love this type of slowed creativity. It’s also fun to see my drawings come to life as I’m working on my quilts, and I love going through my sketchbooks and revisiting the finished drawings of my designs.

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Recently I’ve been spending a bit of time browsing tumblr and pinterest (ok, more than a bit of time) and while I think these modern pin-boards and journals are a valuable tool, it’s led me to questioning how to keep track of my ideas, the inspiration that comes from the everyday, that which I don’t find online? How do artists keep records of their thoughts and do they really reference their records when creating works? This month at Whipup we will be hearing from artists and crafters and finding out a bit more about how they keep records of their ideas and where those ideas come from.

First up, is Dan Stewart-Moore. Dan is a sculptor who trained at the ANU School of Art where he is now a lecturer and research student. He has previously been known as a “metal-head” (a sculptor who works with steel) but more recently he has been experimenting with stone and timber.

Dan has exhibited works nationally and internationally with pieces in private collections in the USA, UK and Australia and is currently working on a solo exhibition “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” which opens on August 22.

Today, Dan shares with us how he records his ideas and develops those into pieces of art.

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Can you tell us how you document your ideas? Do you use a journal, sketchbook or random pieces of paper like the back of beer coasters or napkins?

Well I hope none of my students read this but in truth even though I draw every day I don’t use my journals as a place where I plot out my work. They are more like a dream space, a place where anything could happen. I create worlds, or at least fragments of worlds in my diaries. Although to look at them you’d just see lots of scratchy sketches.

When I’m planning a work I use plasticene. It means I can work with it quickly and cleanly – which is unusual for a sculptor, then I document it photographically.

Do you have a notebook always on hand or do you schedule time for creative thinking and doodling? Perhaps you do both?

There’s always a visual diary next to the loo. I do my best thinking in there.

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I imagine you would have many sources of inspiration, can you tell us what or who most inspires you?  

That’s a big question so I’ll try to break it down a little.

Conceptually I guess my biggest inspiration is psychology in particular I find that psychology offers a fantastic insight into climate change. We tend to assume that sane people are rational, yet any psychologist will tell you this is not the case. Our irrational behavior regarding climate change has been a source of frustration and anxiety for me, understanding why we do the things we do has been a trully insightful journey.

Aesthetically I’m a sucker for all kinds of things. Natural patterns like Fibonacci spirals in plants, the surface of water, contemporary architecture, modernist design, the list goes on.

The people who have inspired me the most are artists like David Jensz, Anthony Gormley, Kensuke Todo, Michael Le Grand, John Lennon, Salvador Dali, Simon Shuerele, Geoffrey Bartlett, Daft Punk, Masahiro Asaka, Studio Job, Sol Lewitt, Jan Svankmejer and many, many more.

We would love to know more about your creative process, how you develop ideas, what makes something become an artwork rather than remaining an idea on a page? 

Short of giving you an exegesis on how I make an artwork it really is a matter of trial and error with a Marquette (small version) then if I think it can work I experiment with the construction method and materials. Sometimes I’ll just know that it will work. Other times I need to do a lot of testing before I’m happy to proceed to undertaking a major piece.

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Anything else you would like to share with us?

I’ve got an exhibition on soon – “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” and generally I think most people think exhibitions are a bit intimidating. The truth is that they are – but only for the artist. The snob factor that people get so anxious about is non-existent at M16 artspace openings. People in suits mix with skinny dreadlocked men, the young confer with the old, in short no one is judged. So I would dare you to come but there isn’t any daring required.

**All images in this post are the property of Dan Stewart-Moore

 

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During most of 2013, Whipup.net will be hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

The theme for this month is Make It Local :: with Alexandra Smith of Lola Nova.

I feel incredibly fortunate to love where I live. There is so much here that inspires me and influences what and how I make.  Part of that process comes from being a blogger and taking pictures.  I am by no means a “Photographer,” I am just a woman with a camera who enjoys taking photos. When I started blogging and reading more blogs, I was truly in awe of some of the beautiful photos I found on the internet. It rekindled an old flame, photography. I set about improving my skills, which meant taking a whole heck of a lot of pictures. There is no shortage of subject matter out there. I started by taking walks in my neighborhood and capturing things that caught my eye. Then, every outing meant bringing my camera along and noting my environment; shapes, textures, colors and patterns sprung up everywhere I looked.

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I started to see things differently. Everyday ordinary objects took on new beauty and interest. As I would go through my photographs, I would see them again in yet another light.  After a while I started to see a connection between my pictures and the projects I was working on. The colors and patterns of seasons would make their way into my making.

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Winter Barberry some gray and red stitching

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A riot of spring flowers and some colorful quilting

Small moments, little vignettes, places just down the street were captured by my camera and somehow made their way into my making. Even my backyard became full of inspiration.

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A gorgeous little caravan and some fabric printing

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My little red hen Fran and her cohorts have played muse to me many times

Often when I find myself stuck, when I feel I have run out of ideas, I grab my camera and take a walk. It allows me to get out in the fresh air, clear my head and have a good look around. I always, always come back with a number of pictures that get me pondering. Sometimes I do not even realize until much later how much my environment really affects me and what I’m working on.

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This picture has me thinking about making something right now- love those colors!

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And of course going hyper-local, my favorite subject is a constant source of inspiration.

So why not give it a try? Take your camera out and capture whatever interests you. Your photos don’t have to be perfect; it’s all about seeing things differently, noticing the colors, shapes, and patterns of your surroundings. Make it Local in pictures! I bet that wherever you live, there is no end to what can inspire you.

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Books: Push

by kath_red on 28/11/2012

in Art+Design, Books

Four books in the PUSH series :: PUSH Stitchery (Jamie Chalmers):: PUSH Paper (Kathleen McCafferty) :: PUSH Jewelry(Marthe Le Van) :: PUSH Print (Jamie Berger) published by Lark Crafts (September 4, 2012) and each one put together by a different editor.

These books are full of  truly inspiring, beautiful and interesting artists and works, pushing the boundaries and exploring ideas and concepts and their chosen medium to the full. These artists are incredibly skills, have gigantic imaginations and work with unexpected materials and subject matter.

These books would make an amazing edition to a school or art library as well as being inspirational for artists and crafters working in these mediums.

 

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Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Tania is a mother, wife, graphic designer, rocking-in-the-corner-(knitting) type. She blogs over at myrtle and eunice while doing her level best NOT to sweat the small stuff…

When I was pregnant with my first kid, I was living in London and the events of September 11, 2001, were new and raw and indigestible. Hysterical newspapers used exclamation marks and told us we were the next target(!) and sales of gas masks went through the roof. I decided to ride my bike to work, rather than risk the perils of underground Tube travel – perils that extended beyond sardine-packed trains and the breathy aftermath of someone’s evening-before-curry. Until a week before my due date, I cycled over the river and through Hyde Park and on the way home, I laboured, huffing and puffing up Battersea Hill. Over three months, I reckon I escaped Certain Death by London Bus, no less than eleventy million times.

Even though I’d felt vulnerable out in the big wide world before, this time was different. There was a baby. And there was all that new, hormonal, emotional, growing-a-baby business. I staked my claim on that small amount of control: I rode that bike and risked Certain Death by London Bus. And I learned to knit.

Nearly eleven years later, I am still wrapping my children in protective woolly warmth and crafted hugs and the soothing repetition of a knitted stitch remains a balm for this soul.

Yet as my kid’s grow and their individual personalities develop, there’s a whole other, concurrent side to the kid-inspired craft. I reckon I learn as much from them as they do me. Together we’ve discovered there is real virtue in ‘silly’. And that finding the ‘un’ in the ‘expected’ and the ‘extra’ in the ‘ordinary’, is inspiring stuff. It takes constant practise but I really do enjoy myself when the answer to the question WHY? is WHY THE HECK NOT?

Following is a good dollop of Why The Heck Not…

Religiously collected, bog-standard, toilet rolls become a mother/son project and an object of loo-beauty:

An entire living room floor is covered in photographic backdrop paper and a family spends Friday night as human spirographs. (Excellent for tummy toning).

A mother goes entirely overboard, crafting a school Crazy Hair Day get-up:

One pompom becomes a hundred. A tree is ‘pompombed’ and the Holy-Moly-What-The-Heck-Next? looks from the locals are enjoyed.

Kids and craft bring out this Mum’s fun. (They also bring out her ‘bossy’. Please leave the room):

Finally, there’s John McEnroe’s most infamous tantie. I am old enough to remember the 1981 Wimbledon tennis final. Around here, we decided he was on to a good wicket. McEnroe’s sage words, (without his tantrummed, entirely undignified and unsportsmanlike intent), are exhibited next to our front door.

Because where’s the fun in ‘serious’?

 

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