Monday, 27 December 2010

Seasons Greetings

Dear readers there will be a 2 week break in posting up new makers and interviews. A new interview with Enameller Vivek Das will be posted on Monday 10th January 2011. May i take this opportunity to wish you all seasons greetings and the very best for 2011.

Tash Goswami, The Editor


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Anu Raina

Anu Raina Collection - Fashion Show – Sept 2010

Q So who is Anu Raina?
I am an emerging Textiles Artist / Designer.

Q Where in the world are you?
I am based in Toronto, Canada.

Fall 2010 Fall 2010 - Screen Print Fabric
Q When did you decide to become a maker?
Having moved to Canada in July 2004, and with the arrival of my second child in 2005, I took a break from my career to take care of my kids. In July 2008 I happened to visit the Crafts and Design wing at Sheridan College. I was completely blown away by the creativity and the talent of the graduates. I felt challenged and knew it was my calling. I enrolled in the Textile design program right away. It’s a 3 year intensive program. I got an advance standing for the first year and graduated in June 2010 with High Honours and a Top medal.
Silk screened scarves Silk Screen Print Scarf
Q What made you choose the materials that you work with?
My work is mostly Textile based but not completely restricted to them. For me it’s more about expressing my inner self, medium just becomes a tool to achieve this goal. But Textiles do work like a blank canvas for me where I can go crazy creating different textures with free hand drawing and many other printing techniques that I learnt at Sheridan. The beauty of Textiles is that you can cut, sew, manipulate it and actually wear your own art work.

Burnt holes dress Burnt Holes Silk Dress
Holes burnt in Silk Burnt Holes Detail
Q What other materials would you like to work in?
I do like to work with discarded materials. One of my recent Autobiographical pieces titled “Chapter 2, Page 1” was made with discarded embroidery punch cards and fishing line.

Chapter2, Page1Chapter 2, Page 1 – Mixed Media
Q Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspired by anything / everything around me but mostly by my own journeys in life.
Q What motivates you?
A strong urge to transform my emotions into a visual language.
Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?
My work is mostly studio based. After graduating from Sheridan, I got lucky to be selected as an artist in residence at the prestigious Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. It’s a very inspiring place and I get to share the studio with incredibly talented people.
Working in Studio Anu Screen Printing at her Harbourfront Studio
Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
Craft to me is art perceived by heart and conceived by hands. I believe it is not bound by time. It’s a timeless endeavour. Ingenious handcrafted objects have been unearthed by archaeologists from the prehistoric times.

How do you sell and promote your work?
As I have just started, I primarily promote and sell my work via my website and a few boutique stores in Toronto. You can see my work on my website / Blog ( I share my inspirations and concepts on my blog)

Hand dyed,Silk screened Scarves Hand Dyed, Silk Screen Print Scarf
Q What is your typical working day look like?
There is no typical working day for me as I don’t have a 9-5 job. Making art is fun and I love to have fun any time of the day.

Q What is your working style?
My working style is very abrupt and impulsive. If I don’t feel inspired I don’t work for days but when something inspires me, it just consumes me completely. My work tends to be complex, layered and sometimes obsessive. For example I recently made a piece of wearable art (a jacket in the shape of a stealth bomber) with over 10,000 staples and actually ended up spraining my wrist.
Stapled series Stapled Series - (jacket, shoulder bag and back pack bag)
Stapled JacketStapled Jacket – part of the Stapled Series
Q 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...
Passion / Perseverance / Faith
Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
There are different things I admire about different Artists / Designers. I love Canadian Fibre artist Dorothy Caldwell’s work. There’s something very spiritual about it. I love the lightness and beauty of Virginia Johnson’s prints. I wish I could inject some of it in my own work which tends to be on a heavier side. I love the weaving techniques of Caitlin Earskin Smith. I am inspired by the dedication of Arounna Khnnouraj to her craft. (she is a mother of two kids as well) I feel spell bound by Ray Materson’s work and admire his courage totally love the inventive approach of Canadian artist / designer Denis Gagnon.
Staples Detail Staples – Detail
Q What music do you listen to?
I love listening to Alanis Morissette, Joan Osborne, James Blunt, AR Rahman, Krishna Das and Rasa by Kim Waters.
Q 3 likes and dislikes?
I love simple hearted people, hot soups and my family. I abhor slugs and Potato bugs, falling sick and missing a bus.
Q What do you do to relax?
I cook for my family, surprisingly it works like a complete stress buster for me.

Clothing Show Sept 2010
Clothing Show –Sept 2010

Monday, 13 December 2010

Janice Parker

Bribing a magpie Bribing a Magpie

Q So who is Janice Parker?
A lady of “mature years”- whatever that is? Slightly demented but happily married fifty-one year old mother of two (clean your room Adam!!)

Q When did you decide to become a maker?
I’ve always drawn and made “stuff” but never in any really focused way until quite recently. In 2006 decided to do a degree in Applied Arts at Glyndwr University, Wrexham, where I had to opportunity to work with ceramics, glass and metal. I had a great time, made a lot of good, like-minded, friends and finally found my passion – working with ceramics and metal.

Q What made you choose the materials that you work with?
Like a lot of people – just fell into it. In my second year at uni I was mainly making jewellery with copper and silver, but in the third year I began making up stories and sketching little people in various situations. I tried reproducing them in various materials - wire, paper, textiles – but they didn’t have the true feel of my illustrations so I decided to try hand building and slip casting with porcelain and then applying the sketches in the form of ceramic transfers – which is how I work today.

Princess Bed 1 Princess Bed

  Q What other materials would you like to work in?
I am a bit of a mixed media type person and do use paper, wood and textiles to produce little one-off narrative pieces based on fairytales. I do enjoy printing and am hoping to get time to explore this further.

Q Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mainly from day-dreaming! The “Time Thieves” series all started from me watching some magpies in the garden when I was washing-up. Over a couple of weeks the story in my head just grew – I’m still adding to it all the time.

Pricess Bed 2 The Princess Bed

Q What motivates you?
Not money – although it’s necessary. I just have this need to be making and using my hands – like a lot of makers I get “itchy” fingers if I’m not working.

Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?
I have a workshop space, where I produce the ceramic pieces, in a Gallery/Artists Workshops run by two lovely friends. It’s on the side of a hill with panoramic views of the Cheshire plain – it’s a great location but sometimes the sitting on the deck looking at the views (drinking wine) interferes with the production rate! On the downside, I make the metal components for my pieces at home in a little, cold shed full of bikes and garden equipment – some you win some you lose.

Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
Difficult question. To some “crafts” is a dirty word and conjures up images of knitted tea cosies. To me it means the use of traditional skills and techniques to produce contemporary works. I’m not an “artist”, I’m a maker and proud of it.

Thieves of Time Thieves of Time - Detail

Q How do you sell and promote your work?
I am quite new to this so I started by attending a couple of trade shows which got my work seen by a lot of galleries. It was quite an expensive option but I feel it was worthwhile as I am still being contacted by galleries 6-7 months after the event. Janice’s website can be found here:
Links and Galleries where my work can be seen: Mickerloo Gallery,Cheshire, Design GAP (online site), The Lion Gallery, Leominster, Hereford, Iapetus Gallery, Great Malvern, Worcs., ntAMa Studio Gallery, Todmorden, W. Yorks , Cambridge Contemporary Crafts, Cambridge, Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk, Lancs, Sussex Barn Gallery, West Dean, Chichester, W. Sussex, The Craft Centre and Design Gallery, City Art Gallery, Leeds

Janice Parker JP31
The Thieves of Time - Detail

Q What is your typical working day look like?
Four days a week I leave home about 8.00am for the Gallery – I do the set-up in the CafĂ©! Then after several coffees/fags I start work on the ceramics – this could be slip casting the larger pieces or hand building the figures and houses. I don’t have a set routine – just see what I fancy making that day or finishing off jobs like glazing or applying the transfers. The workshops are closed on Tuesdays so generally I do a little bit of housework (bare minimum) and then work on the metal pieces in the shed. I also work down the shed at the weekends if I’ve got a rush on with orders – can be pretty much full time some months. Must be mad!

Q What is your working style?
Illogical and unstructured.

Q 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...
Experiment, Persevere, Enjoy.

Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
My favourite artists are the painter Jenny Saville and sculptors Rachel Whiteread and Doric Salcedo. I love makers who work with narrative themes and make me smile such as Samantha Bryan, Julie Arkell and Robert Race. A young maker who I admire is Helena Sharpley – her wire scenes are amazing.

Janice Parker JP30
Magpie on Stand & Man and Peanut

Q What music do you listen to?
Quite a mixture – I love Pink she just makes me want to dance. I also listen to Keane, The Killers and Maroone 5 ( music to slit your wrist’s to according to my daughter). At the moment I am mad on Muse and Plan B – played very loudly in the car. My secret pleasure is a bit of Michael Buble.

Q 3 likes and dislikes?
I like my cat, hazelnut chocolate and smoking. I dislike earwigs, the smell of kippers and smoking!

Q What do you do to relax?
I love computer games – Zelda rocks! I also like going to the cinema by myself and consuming large quantities of popcorn whilst watching some god-awful rom-com – bliss.

The Thieves of Time The Thieves of Time

Artists Statement:
Based in Chester, Janice is a contemporary artist/maker who combines various materials and techniques to produce three-dimensional imaginary worlds. She is drawn to the kitsch and quirky – things which make her smile such as automata, robots and flying plaster ducks.

In the past she has used resin, fabric, felt, wood and copper to realise her ideas. However, her most recent work is constructed from slip cast and hand built porcelain to which she has applied her own illustrations in the form of transfers. These porcelain pieces are then further enhanced by the addition of patinated copper and wooden elements. The design of the individual pieces harks back to the tradition of 17th Century Staffordshire flat-back figurines.

Entitled “The Thieves of Time, the Magpies and the Star Machine, these pieces depict scenes from a tale from my imagination. The Thieves of Time control the movement of the stars and the production of “time” – they make the world go around. Having trapped and trained magpies (rewarding them with peanuts!) to steal items concerned with timekeeping - watches, clocks, egg-timers, etc – they then extract the tiny bits of time still contained in the mechanisms by putting them into their star machine. These stars shoot out into the universe and thus replace the time we humans are frittering away.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Amanda McCavour

Stand In for Home 1Stand in For Home – 2009/2010 (Thread Installation 8ft x 10ft x10ft) 

Q So who is Amanda Mc Cavour?

I am an artist working and living in Toronto, Canada.

Q You work in textiles but is there any other medium you work in or would like to work?

I like printmaking and working on paper with pencil and pens. I've recently been making thread work about lined paper and folds (see folded fortune image), so maybe this is bringing me a step closer to working with paper.

I studied drawing, printmaking and installation when I went to university. I was in a drawing class that was trying to expand our notions of what drawing was, so in this class drawing could be anything that used line. I thought that thread would be an interesting line to use in drawing and thought that it would be even more interesting if I could create a thread drawing that was just line. So I did some research and found a water soluble material that would allow me to sew into it and then dissolve the base.

Since what attracted me to thread was drawing, I think I will return work on paper, drawings and sketches. Printmaking is something I would like to do more of as well.

  Stand In For Home Wallpaper
Stand in For Home – Detail of Wallpaper

Q How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as being drawings that are made out of thread.

Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?

Right now I am creating my work from home studio. In the past little while I have worked in a couple different studio environments. I recently completed a three year residency at Harbourfront Centre's Textile studio in May 2010. Harbourfront's studio was a shared space where I worked along other craftspeople and artists.

Since then I have gone to do another residency in Dawson City, Yukon, where I worked in a historical home called McCaulay house. After returning to Toronto, I have been working from my home studio, which consists largely of a big wooden table, my sewing machine, lots of thread and many other small random items and materials.

Home Studio Home Studio


Q What does your typical working day look like?

I guess there aren't too many typical days for me. There are other days that I spend writing, or visiting galleries, or installing work. As for days spent in the studio making work, things change a lot depending on the type of project that I'm working on. Sometimes I do a lot of drawing before I start sewing, while other times I will not have to do much prep work at all.

When I'm at home and working on pieces, I spend lots of time sewing on my sewing machine. My work requires a lot of sewn lines overlapping to hold the work together and recently I have been working doing bigger installations, so this translates into a lot of time with the sewing machine running. Some people say this sounds a bit like a helicopter, so I try to not work too late but as deadlines approach, my end time usually gets later and later! So, I wake up, drink coffee, answer emails, sew, take a break, sew some more!

Three Tangles Three Tangles

Q What is your working style?

I am a bit of a night owl. But maybe I am not a morning person because I stay up too late! I like it when my work space is organized but there are times when things get out of hand. I like it when the dishes are done before i start working.

Its hard for me to work on more than one project in a day, I have recently discovered. I think it takes me a bit of time to get into working, so after I start one thing, I don't really want to move onto another project. Long stretches of working time are something I really like. Big chunks of the day to actually get into the work. I find it hard to work for just an hour.


Compound Tangle

Q How do you sell and promote your work?

Some of my work is sold though a gallery here in Toronto, Lonsdale Gallery, I also have a website

Q What is your greatest achievement to date?
I think my greatest achievement was a piece that I made titled "Stand In For Home" which I made with the support of the Toronto Arts Council. I made this piece for a show at Harbourfront Centre's Main Gallery which was curated by Patrick Macaulay and Melanie Egan called "It's a Big Deal".

This installation was a thread rendering based on part of my kitchen in my previous home. I am interested in the vulnerability of thread in relation to the home, as both things feel temporary and fragile. Making this piece required me to re-visit, remember and re-create a space that I called home but is no longer mine.  This piece is a stand in, a synthetic, re-created version of home.

Creating this work combined two different bodies of work or projects that I had been working on; my life sized self portraits and small diorama pieces that I had made with Metal Smith Margaret Lim  (see forest image). The scale of the first series and the layering of the second really came together in this piece.

Compound tanlge_detail Compound Tangle – Detail

Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
I graduated from a fine art program at York University. I had always been interested in Craft and craft materials. It was at school that I began working with thread, but it wasn't until I was awarded a residency at the Harbourfront Centre's Textile Studio, after I graduated, that I was able to work with other artists and designers working in the same craft media as myself, along with other materials such as glass, metal and clay.

I think that my experience working in that craft studios at Harboufront changed my perception of what craft is. I think craft in the 21st century means a community of people and makers. A group of people making work and challenging materials and processes.

image Forest – Collaboration with Margaret Lim

Q What music are you listening to at the moment?
I'm listening to the new Arcade  Fire album "The Suburbs".

Folded Fortune

Folded Fortune

Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
There are too many! Here are a few...
Kristiina Lahde's and her cut paper envelopes
Dorrie Millerson's small lace sculptures
John Dickson's mixed media sculptures
Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai's narritive knitted pieces
Do Ho Suh's fabric interiors
Marianne Lovink's plastic botanical sculptures

Gladstone Hotel_Hard Twist_Scribble
 Hard Twist – Gladstone Hotel

 Scribble Detail
  Hard Twist - Detail

Q What do you do to relax?

I like to go for runs or bike rides and I try to make time for these things each day. I like to go on walks around the Junction, where I live in Toronto to look at vintage and antique stores with a cup of coffee in hand. Eating food with friends is always nice and going swimming in lakes in the summertime has got to be in there too!