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November 9, 2007

Getting to know you - Lina

Finally, finally, it's finally time for another interview! Sorry for taking so long! This week the interviewee is Lina of Kardemumma. A girl after my own heart: street artist + crafter; can it get any better than that?! ;-) Don't forget to leave a comment so Lina can read it when she reads the interview!

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I’m Lina, 21, from Stockholm, Sweden. I’m a law student, but also part time street artist and occasional crafter. I wish I had much more creativity time (but I’d never ever like it to be my job/business). I crochet a lot, and I’m slowly learning to knit. Sometimes I sew easy things like bags and create things from paper (such as mail art, postcards etc...). I also love photography, which gives me the opportunity to see and try catching the beauty in everyday life. This is also a less time consuming, which means that I can fit a little creativity into my schedule even the busiest weeks.

Who or what inspires you?
Everything and nothing. Nothing as in sitting quietly, all alone and a bit bored – or studying (well, trying to study and failing to focus). This is when some of the craziest and most daring ideas hit me. Everything as in everything around me. The things I perceive; colours, shapes, smells, tastes and sounds. Travelling is very important to me. Discovering new places and people. If I haven’t been away for a couple of months I start itching for new impressions.

When / how did you learn?
My mum is a very creative person. I think she’s the one who gave me the urge to make things with my hands – what a great gift! We did lots of crafting, painting, drawing and such when I was a kid. I think everyone loves to create, especially when they’re young. Maybe mum was the one who encouraged me to keep creating and developing even though I grew older. She has also taught me quite a lot about textile arts. Then I’ve kept on learning by myself (though I wouldn’t say I’m very skilled in any area, what I do is mostly for myself and for fun) from books, internet and people I meet.

Why do you 'bother' to make things by hand?
To keep sane. I need that, especially when all the effort and time that goes into my studies results in nothing real, concrete and tactile whatsoever (is there anything more abstract than law?). I need it to cling onto reality, to see that I can actually make something real, maybe even beautiful and useful, with my hands, skill, time and effort. That’s probably what I like the most about crocheting (or knitting), seeing the result growing right from your hands, row by row.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
Everyone is creative. If you don’t find a way to let that creative energy out somehow (there are probably as many ways for that as persons on earth) you might turn crazy. I also try to embrace the political aspect of crafting. I’m passionate about guerrilla crafting and street art. You can really do a difference with your hands – for yourself in your life, for the society and for the earth and environment. Crafting means anti-consumerism and often feminism.

Favourite book(s) or craftbook(s)?
I love Get Crafty, the book. Jean Railla describes most of my objectives with crafting in her wonderful manifesto. Then there are a few inspiring books about street art. And Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto, seriously (because it’s a liberating and because it looks good on lists). At the moment I like Anna Gavalda (surtout Je voudrais que quelqu’un m’attende quelque part). And my statute book… not.

Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
No, I live in a one room apartment and I need my bathroom for other purposes. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me though. I bring my crocheting everywhere and I create my art on the streets.

Why is crafting good for you?
As I said, to keep sane and cling on to the tactile and concrete part of reality. And to avoid exploding from pent-up creativity.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
There aren’t any crafty mistakes. At least you learnt from it, and maybe got some new idea. Or maybe there is. Then it’s better to throw it out or rip it and start over, instead of torturing yourself by keeping an unfinished projects that will never make you happy and that reminds you of failure. When the pressure is too high I create something for the streets (that’s where most of my things end up anyway). Try it! It’s extremely liberating, you can go crazy with colours, shapes, material and techniques. And you don’t have to worry about it as neither you, nor any of your dear ones, will ever have to wear it or keep the monster in their home.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
Inspiration and connection and a new perspective. A feeling of being part of (and sometimes differing from) a bigger movement. Sometimes it tends to take too much time from my real crafting, though. Getting rid of, or rather not getting a TV was probably my best decision this year. But I think I’d regret throwing out my laptop…

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
Sometimes there is a difference. I think it’s up to you, or maybe the observer, to define it. Art sounds a bit intimidating and prestigious, which I find constricting. But nowadays I consider myself a street artist, and maybe a “real” artist when the street art moves into an art show. In the end it doesn’t really matter what you call it. Sometimes I refer to everything I make as creativity. Thinking about what to call it, or bothering about how others might define it isn’t important. In the end I create just for creating, for the creativity itself.

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
I have for too many dreams and ideas to pick one. I think it would involve a very public space, something bold and probably Mikael Söderlund. (an anti street art politician in Stockholm, he has a campaign of his own, see it at www.streetart.nu).

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