Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Getting to know you - Jennifer Lomax

A bit late, but here is the next interview. With the very patient Jenn, who's always waiting for me to email her back. I'm terrible that way! She, however, is pretty amazing and I always get inspired by the interesting things that come out of her head. Enjoy the interview and remember to leave Jenn some comment-love!

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I make a variety of things, from illustrations, to fabric creations, graphics on the computer, painting.. I like to make 'jar worlds' which I have recently gotten into and have sold one online. The idea was spawned during my textiles unit of my course. I like to sew, i like embroidery and quilting, books. I love books, I prefer to make my own for sketching in or to give as gifts. I generally prefer to make things that are useful, pencil cases, bags, notebooks, but then there is also the fun stuff like characters and pretty like stuffed creatures. Mostly since the start of the year it has been mostly course items that I have been making.

Who or what inspires you?
This is something I wonder a lot, sometimes I have a great idea pop into my head from looking at tiles on a floor, or something someone is wearing. I find inspiration in the strangest of places. Though I do love to read so a lot of the inspiration I get at times comes from reading. The rest is from playing games, good friends and life in general. Though lately my course has given me alot of inspiration and direction in what I enjoy creating. I find myself inspired by making something to do another project with the same items or similar method/ idea.

When / how did you learn?
I have always drawn images, and when I left school had taken an animation course which developed that a bit further. Over the past four years I have slowly gotten into more fields, painting started when I was a little tired of working only on the computer in colour, I found the act of painting to be quite enjoyable and the texture and connection with my work grew. After my mother passed away I began to get interested in cross stitch, beading and then quilting, embroidery, bead embroidery and since then it has expanded to crochet, knitting, sewing and then once I started my course those have all come together like a bunch of strings into a big rope, I can't remember what I did with my time before!

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
Because I am afraid if I don't I might stop breathing? Well that's part of it anyway, its strangely enjoyable to have a pile of items and turn them into something. Creating is such a wonderfully liberating experience to have something in my head which previously came about only in a digital fashion to be making things I can touch and hold in my own hands. That and I love to hold things, to feel the texture of an item and actually make something.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
That if there is something I haven't made that I should give it a go. Technique, idea, materials.. Its about the exploration for me. I have to try it and if I can make it then there is no point buying something. I find the commercial world to be something I wish I didn't have to be part of. But I couldn't live without my computer (well I could but I would rather not have to) so I hope that by not buying gifts or unimportant items that I am of setting that somehow. I try to buy fabrics and other items mostly from opshops which while it costs me a lot less is hopefully doing something for someone else.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
I either try to enhance them and make them a feature or hide them. I don't like to go back, I will remember not to do it again and will often cover it with something else or go back and change it if need be like in knitting or embroidery. Other times I will paint over/ redraw or completely start again..

Favourite book(s) or craftbook(s)?
I love children's books, I had hoped to one day illustrate my own, other than that I like works by Stephen Donaldson and Stepehen Erikson, Terry Prattchet (my hero), and am currently reading War of the Flowers by Tad Williams (only 50 pages in at this point but the writing is gorgeous). The craft books I have are mostly to use for techniques, I pick up a lot of them from opshops or second hand book stores though there are a lot on amazon I would love to get I just would prefer to be able to flick through them first and haven't seen them in book stores locally. I have the whole Golden Hands set, and a book of general sewing and embroidery techniques that are used the most as reference for stitches or techniques.

Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
We have a small 2 bedroom unit, so the spare room when someone isn't staying (thankfully not too often) is where all my art and craft supplies are. At the moment its a mess and in the middle of being rearranged. Having the space to run away to and totally loose myself in something without it getting all over the rest of the unit is a wonderful thing. If I had to pull everything out and set up and pack it away and then go back into the room to get something else I need. I don't think a lot would get done. I hate to make mess and I don't like to be distracted. So its an essential part of my creating. Now it just needs to magically get bigger and be decked out with storage and organised in a way that there is no searching for those pieces of paper I am sure I had.. or digging out boxes of paints from within a tub containing all my painting supplies.. have they invented magic yet? No? Hmm, I will check back tomorrow...

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?
I have a lot of sketchbooks and -journals- I don't really write down what happened during my day, I found it takes a lot more time and I never re-read them anyway and after a few years they got tossed out. I do draw paint and glue things into mine. I draw up ideas for projects and plan out projects and ideas that I would like to get around to one day. If something inspires me or a set of colours or shapes or both together are something i'd like to keep for later i put them into one of the various ones I have handy. Through my course I have started a visual diary per unit which means my research and study into the materials, ideas and artists go into these and though the units are over and done with they are always out on the desk with added notes and sometimes similar themes/subjects through 2 or more of them. They are a great source of reference ideas and inspiration that I have access to. I recommend them to anyone who wants to develop an idea or remember a colour set at some point.

Why is crafting good for you?
Its a bit like breathing for me. I can't write too well and so getting my ideas out is a rather visual experience. I think in form and shape and those ideas come out in what I make, and plan to make. I have piles of ideas for characters so working on figures that are clay or fabric I can make these real and then their stories come out. I find its a great relief from working on something less exciting and I love to see the finished project.

Is your craft a business as well? Any advice on running a crafty business?
I would like it to turn into one and am working on that. At the moment I am doing a lot of reading and researching and thinking about if this is where I want to go with it. Its a little intimidating seeing all the others out there creating and selling their works.. it gives you a sense of what you need to improve and if anyone is actually interested in what you are offering. So think about what you want to do and research is all I can say for now.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
I have been able to talk to people such as yourself about items, through my blog I have found others who are interested in the same.. And basically everything I have learnt about technique has been online through sites, Gutenburg, and other bloggers.. so thank you to those out there who provide such things! Other than that stores like etsy, paypal and ebay providing an avenue to sell items through has made it a lot easier for me to get things sold.

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
I make both and neither. How do you define art? How do you define craft? I did a little write up about this a little while ago and would prefer to not think about it. There are so many lines and styles and what can and can't be art... I think we shall just leave it up to the viewer.. :P I would like to think that its both.. Perhaps I use art to make craft and craft to make art. So they intermingle and end up as something somewhere on the line and into both sides.

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
A clock work polar bear that I can conquer the world with.

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