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Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your development into a graphic artist and illustrator, and where you draw your inspiration from?
I’m an illustrator and graphic designer. Sometimes I sew, knit or felt toys and make dolls. I like to travel and draw northern nature. I used to draw and create things since my childhood. I attended art school, but later decided to be an engineer. I graduated technical university, but didn’t stop drawing. I can’t imagine my life without creation, so I attended some art courses and now work for different freelance projects connected with education. I draw my inspiration from nature: I like to travel, walk in the forest, visit botanical gardens and observe animals and birds.
What does the process look like for creating your nature illustrations?
When it’s possible I prefer to work in the open air, not in studio. I like daylight for watercolor works, so most of my works were made during my travels.
Are you working on any new and exciting projects (or have you, recently)? What have been some of your favorite freelance gigs?
I’ve just finished big project that I’ve been working on for half a year. It’s a handmade book about travelling to Svalbard (Spitsbergen, Norway) last year. I think some of illustrations from it soon will appear on Redbubble.
What has your experience been like selling on Redbubble? Do you sell your work on any other platforms?
Selling on Redbubble is great thing. It was my dream to make something useful out of my drawings: postcards, bags, pillows, etc. I’m so happy that I can realize my dream on Redbubble. I also try to sell my work on Pinkbus.ru, a Russian print shop.
Do you listen to music while you create, and if so, what are some of your current favorites songs/artists?
It is my pleasure to feature Vera Jonkers from the Studio VerSie Etsy shop in Delft, Netherlands who makes modern woven wall hangings! I hope you get some awesome wall decor ideas after reading this post!
I’ve been a crafter for as long as I can remember. As a child I was always drawing, painting and making things. But it wasn’t until I got pregnant with my first child that I started gravitating towards yarn. I studied Architecture at the Technical University of Delft, but that didn’t result in a creative job. This creativity had to come out somehow, so I dabbled in a few creative hobbies, like knitting, crochet, painting and even screen printing. That’s when I discovered woven wall hangings in magazines, online and in stores, which sparked my interest towards weaving. It wasn’t until my husband coincidentally bought a loom for my daughter that I really started to pursue the idea of weaving. I started looking for tutorials online, stole my daughters loom and got started. It instantly got me addicted! I’ve been weaving almost every day for a year and half now and I love it. Finally, I have found something I am very passionate about.
Most of the time it starts with me seeing something inspiring, like a combination of colors or an interesting pattern. This usually gives me a visual idea of something I could make. Then I will sit on it for a while to let the idea grow and take form. When I feel it’s time, I make a little sketch in my notebook and lately I even paint them. From there I start weaving. It usually takes me about a week to make the larger weavings.
At the moment I have a temporary studio, but in a few months I’ll be moving and I’m so looking forward to that. I really love everything interior and I want my work space to be a happy place. I envision shelves filled with yarn, a large desk with a lot of space to weave and pack orders, a lot of light and inspiration on the walls.
I love listening to music. My taste is very diverse, it depends so much on my mood. Among my favourites are the soundtrack of the movie ‘Into the Wild’, the Common Linnets (Dutch) with ‘Calm After the Storm’ (you should really listen to that one!). One of my favourite songs is ‘Follow the Sun’ from Xavier Rudd. But I also love to listen to Dance music, from artists like Martin Garrix. You can find me dancing in my studio regularly!
Besides the weather, I love living in the Netherlands. The people are fun and outgoing, the cities are filled with so much history. The Netherlands is a small country, but we are an innovative little bunch of people and I really appreciate being a part of that. There is one thing I miss though and that is mountains, it is so flat here. I guess that’s why we can basically live on our bicycles!
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I am pleased to introduce abstract artist Melissa Mary Jenkins, a 2016 Etsy Awards Finalist based in Erin, Canada. Please visit her shop at melissamaryjenkins.etsy.com. In the following interview she discusses the creative design process related to her abstract contemporary art paintings and her small business on Etsy.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and the development of your artistic style?
I was a high school teacher for several years before I began painting. I would say that I was always a creative person, from a musical and artistic family, but I didn’t begin painting till about 10 years ago. A good friend of mine and a very talented artist @kylahkussmannart began painting with me to help guide me through the loss of a pregnancy. I was immediately hooked on the magical feeling that arises from being the sole creative force behind creating a piece of art. I feel as though I progress daily in my artistic style but I struggle between the ease of creating abstract floral paintings and the freedom that abstract painting provides. I love interior design and how art can enhance and “complete” the look of a room.
Do you use any kind of reference for your abstract pieces?
I often try and picture my abstract art in a room in my home. The colours of blankets, pillows and plants in specific rooms will often inspire my paintings. I live in an old stone farm house surrounded by farm fields, a pond and ever-changing gardens which also influence my colour choices. We spend most of our summers up North on a lake, so my paintings often tend to take on the vibrant colours of the lake and trees in the summer months. Instagram also plays a huge role in providing inspiration for my paintings. I live with a chronic illness and often don’t venture out into the world as much as I would like to, so following artists, interior design feeds and travel photography on Instagram helps to spark my creative juices and be connected to a fabulous support network of artists.
Can you tell me a little bit about your mudcloth paintings and the process that goes into creating them?
My mudcloth paintings were sparked by the desire to provide a more affordable alternative to the typical (and gorgeous) mudcloth pillow or tapestry. I wanted to be able to incorporate the mudcloth trend in a unique way.
I was first attracted to mud cloth because it creates a touch of boho with handmade whispers of the clean geometric lines of a modern aesthetic. But when I started to research the process of creating this traditional Malian textile, I was drawn even more to the idea that each symbol creates a story that is meant to be interpreted and that it was believed that the mud cloth had the ability to absorb powerful negative experiences. As I create each piece, I think of my story that brought me to this artistic destination. I suffer from a chronic illness, but when I am able to create, I like the idea that the work of art can absorb my pain and dashed hopes and create a story of beauty.
Are you working on any new projects? How has your experience with Etsy and your buyers been?
I am currently working on a large floral commission and when I need a “break” I am creating mini abstracts inspired by all of my house plants and terra cotta planters mixed with my love of indigo blue and a pop of blush pink. I have been selling artwork on Etsy for about 5 years and all of my experiences with customers have been amazing. All of my commissions have been positive experiences and I am yet to experience a disgruntled customer. I was honoured to be a 2016 Etsy Awards Finalist, my work was featured in a collaboration by @houseandhomemag and @EtsyCA this spring, and I have been selected to be featured on @EtsyCA social media channels in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Etsy has provided me with a platform to sell my artwork without having to leave my home (except to mail the artwork), which works for my energy level and family responsibilities.
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Weavings by Jujujust