Monthly Archives: April 2012

Artist Interview: WoonHung

Yvonne contacted me a few weeks ago to share her work and I was so taken by her designs and aesthetic. She was so incredibly generous to send me one of her most popular items, a beautiful braided necklace in my favorite color-turquoise. The quality of the piece is so amazing, down to the wooden gift tags inscribed with her brand name. She also answered some questions for me, I hope you enjoy hearing from her as much as I did.
Website // Shop // Flickr // Facebook // International Shop

Tell us a bit about yourself. A visual merchandiser trainer turned jewellery designer. A designer by day, housewife by night. A curious introvert driven by ideas, experiments & adventure, who also enjoys cooking, photography & moving things around the apartment. It’s my informal “window dressing”. And hopefully soon,  go back to illustration to hone that skill again. I live a small simple life. But I like it to count for something. I spend 1 day in design school, 1 day teaching in a social community. 1 day in church & the rest of the days on my business, projects & what matters in my life.

Photo by evie s.

What does art mean to you? Art has come to mean many things & lately, I feel this word is used frivolously in the wrong context. I am very old-fashioned. I go back to basics when defining art. Art lies within pieces of work that requires toiling, deliberation, intensity, effort. The love for art produces great art. Art requires time, depth & maturity. And demands independent thinking to originate compelling ideas. I see that in simple pencil-line drawing. I see that in some of the most amazing work students do using apple’s illustrator application. I see that in high fashion where there is strange mixture of obsession & devotion to fashion.

evie s. for WoonHung

What is one challenge you’ve overcome as an artist? It’s hard to pick 1 challenge. There were several along the way that shaped my thinking. Dry spells, heavy criticisms, self-doubt, hard decisions on design vs business, evolving as a designer & list goes on. But if I had to pick 1 that mattered most & shaped me forward, it would be overcoming self-doubt. I am my harshest critic. Unlike other brands & designers who made careful decisions on building their portfolio or presence in the market right from the start (by properly incorporating brand consistency & techniques etc), mine happened organically. I didn’t think brand. I only thought product. If the product is reliable, price focused, great in design & functional, that should do.

Along the way, I just kept experimenting & learnt from mistakes. I found out what worked & experimented further on the small successes & tried stretching it. It was incremental. Alot of what I do isn’t always calculated. It can be seen as somewhat random & irrational. In other words, I don’t always make popular obvious choices. I decided after long periods of self reflection, not to let the business & emphasis on jewellery determine my personal path. I maintain that I am 1st & foremost a person with many things going great in my life. Jewellery design shouldn’t consume me negatively & drive me into a narrow self-gratifying awful person. Once I got that figured out, it was much easier to evolve as a designer & person. I don’t take it too seriously.

How have you evolved as an artisan? I’m not sure if I can call myself an artisan. I take this word very seriously. I think I am more a person driven by curiosity. Embracing change helps me evolve. Today, there are so many designers, if I were to disappear today, I won’t be missed. So therein lies the truth. I thrive on stiff competition. I prefer to constantly challenge myself with new ways of thinking – New ways of working, new Visual Merchandising standards, new & improved functional packaging, new ways to please customers. I guess its thinking holistically.

Thank you Yvonne for participating in this interview, your generous gifts, and for your incredible insights!

For the Makers April Box

Every 30 days I get a new treasure box of beautiful craft items from For the Makers. The April box is probably my favorite so far, they really just keep getting better and better. In one afternoon I made 3 out of the 4 projects and I love every piece.

There are several other craft subscriptions out there, but FTM takes the cake in my opinion for having the cutest projects, great photography and tutorials.

I’m still doing the illustration work for their in-box images of the projects, and April’s were infused with jewel tone watercolor.


Pen and watercolor Illustrations by evie s. for For the Makers

 

For $29 a month you can have a craft party delivered straight to your door too – and get to create fun projects like the Pythagorean Pouch and the Manifold Necklace. Check them out!

 

My Art Lately

It’s been a while since I posted any personal art progress on the blog. So I thought I’d share with you a few pieces that I’ve created in between the babies naps and bedtimes.

I’ve had a Craigslist alert on my phone for months for an easel. Then the other day an ad popped up for a vintage Grumbacher portable easel for $35. It was in great shape, and I swiped it up. I’ve been wanting an easel for years, I do believe this will make oil painting much easier. :)

Spring is inspiring me with color and I’m loving that paired with fresh white space. I’ve been drawn to watercolors and all the dried leaves and flowers I’ve been pressing since last fall.

Faces and foliage, these are my favorite subjects lately.

My husband also got me some prismacolor drawing pens that I’m absolutely loving (thank you honey!). If you can believe it, I’ve never really had quality drawing pens so I’m excited to experiment with them.

What are working on lately? Is Spring inspiring and infusing your art?

Pasta Chevron: Fan Photos

It was a nice surprise getting featured on Design Sponge a couple months ago for the pasta chevron necklace. Since then, a bunch of people have tried the project, and I’ve been having such a great time looking at all the unique spins on the idea.

There is this bold design made with blue rope in a gold and black motif from the Albrecht.

This pretty one from Sweet Bay using nail polish instead of paint. Love the crocheted cord on this one.

This pretty rad gold and black necklace from KYD Found.

And another version from her accented with cat fur. Meooow!

Have you tried it yet? Let me know in the comments!

Artist Interview: Anja Mulder

As soon as I saw Anja Mulder’s collection photographs last year, I was taken. There is something about the way she arranges ordinary objects together that draws you in. She was so kind to answer a few questions for me…and we get to soak in the beauty of her work for a few moments.

1. What does art mean to you? What art is, everyone feels for themselves. For me it is a personal experience, based on instinct, something that can be shared and enjoyed, the expression of the maker makes you feel, art work provokes emotions. Art is about awareness and spirit.


2. What is one challenge you’ve overcome as an artist? It is a challenge to combine creativity (things that come from the inner world) with business (make a living out of the pictures / illustrations).

 


3. Describe one thing or person that has influenced your art the most. For me, that changes by the day.

 


4. Name three artists that inspire you. Friends inspire me & give good creative energy. I will name three: Louis Reith, Mara Piccione & Nathan Williams.

Thank you Anja! Your work is so inspiring – best to you!

Dyed Paper Towels

Hope you all had a great Easter. Do you happen to have any leftover Easter egg dye?

The boys had a blast coloring eggs this year. Their egg coloring process was experimental and haphazard, but they turned out to be the prettiest eggs I think I’ve ever seen. Of course it was messy, but this mess turned into inspiration for this art craving mommy.

We used paper towels to soak up spills, and upon some encouragement from my father-in-law, I decided to save the color soaked paper towels and see how they dried. They dried beautifully! The next day I was dumping easter egg dye on about 20 single sheet paper towels, not really sure what I was going to make of them. If any of you parents saved your egg dye, you can make them too. All you need is paper towels, and you can even get your kids to join in the fun.

How to make them:

Step 1: Dump egg dye onto paper towels. There is really no right or wrong way to do this, so have fun!

Step 2: Wring out excess and gently unfold flat and allow to dry (mine took about a day).

Step 3: Once dry, accordian fold the towel.

Step 4: Fold in half then string onto a strand of thread.

That is how I made my little garland above, but the possibilities are endless. You can make mini-pinwheels, you can cut them to make flag shapes, make paper flowers, it’s all up to you. But no matter how they are configured, I guarantee you they will be gorgeous.

Now I just need an excuse to make a couple hundred of these for an art installation somewhere. (Do you hear me, Anthropologie?)

Happy post-Easter dyeing!

Motherhood & Community

I’ve been feeling like a lone ranger mom these days. It’s not for a lack of friendships, playdates, activities and the like, it’s just for the day to day work and toil of mothering little ones, I feel quite lonely – and worn out. My mind entertains quite frequently the thought of moving to an African village where I can rub shoulders with other women everyday, and bring up my children in a more communal type setting. There is an oft-quoted African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I think you could add a second half to the saying, “…and a community to keep the parents sane.” I think modern American home life really lacks in this area.

Patrice Karst is the author of The Single Mother’s Survival Guide. She says, “All through history, women took care of children together. As a culture, we need to stop worshiping privacy and realize we’re tribal by nature.”

Biblical community is something I’ve been thinking alot about lately. Life is not meant to be lived or cultivated in solitude. I’m not sure why our society and our religion has evolved to where we do life primarily alone, and stay at home parenting is set up as something of a burden. We’ve become like silos. At least that’s how I feel.

I’ve been studying Acts this year, and the early believers gave us such a beautiful picture of what Biblical community looks like:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Acts 4:32-35

Anyway, I’ve been praying for months and months about what to do. I considered starting a Good News Club since there is a school right behind our house, but after taking some steps to check it out, didn’t feel like it was the right fit. Finally, a few days ago I had a breakthrough and narrowed it down.

We love our neighborhood in midtown Oklahoma City – it’s busy, loud, diverse, colorful and full of wonderful people. We have Latin American neighbors right next door with three kids that we play with all the time. They teach us Spanish, we teach them English. The way we do life differently is so unique, and interesting. We know most of our neighbors that are closest to us, but I want to branch out and get to know other families that are on my block. When we moved here, I had this vision of our home being an open place for anyone to come and be loved, served, and cared for. I want neighbor kids running around playing, I want my kitchen to be stocked with food so I can make meals for people who stop by.

So it feels a little scary, but I’m making step towards this vision, because I know it just won’t happen by itself. I’m starting a big community playdate once a week at my home. Since the weather has warmed up, it’s perfect timing. I’m envisioning blankets laid across my back lawn with books, toys, games. We will have snacks, sing songs, let the children play and the parents/caregivers get to know each other, and hopefully build a community of people that we can know and serve.

I’m blogging about this because I want to know your thoughts – especially those of you who stay at home with young kids. Do you feel a strong need for community like this? What would it look like for you to pursue it? I look forward to sharing more with you soon…my first one is next Tuesday! I’ve already printed the flyers, so there is no turning back now. :)