Saturday, November 15, 2008

Getting to know you - Susie of Flower Press

Happy Saturday, everyone! I'm so happy to have another interview for your reading pleasure. With a very lovely and talented lady, Susie of Flower Press. I am sure you must have heard about her already. She makes the prettiest floral prints and don't even get me started on the cuteness that is her Ruby Slippers print. Also, Susie is celebrating the first year of Flower Press, so check out her shop for some reduced prices on her beautiful tea towels. Ok, I'm gonna stop salivating gushing now so you can get to the actual interview, and I can go dream about a pretty garden...

Your name
Susie Stubbs :: Flower Press :: shop

Where in the world are you?
Inner West Sydney, Australia

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
Flower Press was born from the serendipitous discovery of Etsy and Gocco within a couple of weeks of each other, about a year ago. I make cards and prints with the gocco which I sell in my Etsy shop. I also enjoy plant and nature photography and I have a Flickr site which shows my favourite photos.

Recently I’ve branched out into textiles, an area that really interests me. I have just introduced a range of graphic screenprinted tea towels and want to continue into more fabric design next year. I’ve just followed where my interests have led.

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, art, music, people, colours, shops, books, fashion, homewares, magazines, interiors, history, tv, film and lots of clever people on the internet.

When / how did you learn?
I studied graphic design and then worked as a book and web designer. I took time off when I had my three children (a daughter and twin sons) and did other things, taught English as a volunteer and studied horticulture.

Earlier this year I took a course in screen printing textiles which was a great introduction to my work with fabric. All the other stuff I worked out from books and from trial and error, or on the internet!

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
Its an addiction, and I do it for enjoyment. But also I think there is often a quality to handmade things that is absent in the mass produced. I am a great buyer of handmade and a big supporter of Etsy artists.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
My philosophy is that everyone can draw and make art and everyone can appreciate art. I feel strongly that it shouldn’t be an elitist thing. One thing I have really concentrated on is making sure my children all feel confident in making art, and hopefully enjoy it. I have almost been too successful in this I think when they are hanging over my shoulder wanting to have a go at whatever I’m doing or stealing my good pens! I volunteer once a week to help teach art in my sons grade 1 class hoping to inspire all the other kids too.

Fondest craft-related memory?
One of the biggest light bulb moments was when I saw a gocco printer online. I knew immediately it was for me. I’d been wanting to do screenprinting for a long time but had no access to a darkroom. Here was a method where I could do it all at home. I love the synthesis between graphics and art.

Have you always made 'stuff'?
Always! In one way or other I’ve been making stuff all my life. I love to draw and that is probably the constant but I’ve also knitted, linoprinted, sewn, painted, worked in ceramics, dyed clothes, used scraperboard, charcoal, ink, paint, photography, calligraphy, anything that caught my attention! I’m still like that, I always want to try new things.

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
There is a lot of thinking involved and then doodling. Generally I get inspired by an idea and visualise in my mind how it might look. I then work backwards to the method. I like to come at something different ways and see which is most successful. Sometimes the method will lead me down a new track.

With my Ruby Slippers print I was dreaming of making a two colour gocco print. One day I looked at my new favourite shoes and thought how cute they would look, with their graphic stitching. I sat down and drew them in outline, just once, in pencil and this became the artwork for the print.

Everything then goes from page to screen. I love the computer for scaling, trying colours, cleaning up lines, working with type and things like that. That way I can play around without ruining the original.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
Mistakes are a learning curve. I’m sort of a perfectionist though so unless it’s a happy accident I will always go back and fix what is wrong (or it will continue to glare out at me!).

Favourite book(s) or craftbook(s)?
There are too many to name. I love art books, craft books, how tos, historical design, graphics, type and gardening magazines.

Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
We are in the process of making a little studio space in our attic. It will be a very important step having a space I can leave my work and come back to it, I can’t wait!. In fact I can hear the builder in the background making lots of noise putting in a beautiful big window as I type!

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?

Lots of sketchbooks, I can never find an empty page!

Why is crafting good for you?
I love the meditative practice of it and the buzz in producing something beautiful.

Is your art/ craft a business as well? Any advice on running an arty/ crafty business?
The business part motivates me but doesn’t affect my work too much I hope. I try to make things I like. I think you have to enjoy what you do and not compare yourself too much to others.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
It has affected every facet, and all in positive ways. it has given me reference, inspiration, feedback, friendship, business, networking

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
Some of it is art, some craft but I’m happy with either term.

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
The garden of my dreams, on five acres with orchard, vegetable garden, lawn, perennial borders, lake with island and bridge, animals, winding paths, courtyard, meadow, and a studio in the middle with large windows on every side to take in the views!

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