Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Woman Behind the Curtain - Bonnie S!

So when I said I'd post this week's Artist Interview Monday, clearly I meant Tuesday. Of course. (I've been getting ready for the craft fair and had to run down to NYC for some business and blar di blar...)

Without further excuses from yours truly, this week's Woman Behind the Curtain is Bonnie S. from Pre-Algebra Designs.

What was the first handmade thing you ever created?
Besides the various dioramas, models of California missions and shoebox robots I made for school projects, the first serious project I crafted as an act of free will was probably an Easter dress I made when I was 10. It was long and A-line with thin straps. I used a royal blue rayon with white daisies.

(All creations and photos by Bonnie S. The house is made of felt, the silhouette is of Charles Darwin, and the hearts are crayons.)

Who/what inspires you?
I'm really inspired by science. . . Particularly biology. I love the way tissue slides sort of lend themselves to creative interpretations. Hmmm. . . Among other things, I'm inspired by emotion and human vulnerability. . . I've always been intrigued by the intersection of words and crafts. A lot of my pieces have song lyrics incorporated into them, and I've recently started using excerpts from Craigslist Missed Connections for inspiration. More generally, I'm drawn to organic shapes, classic patterns and motifs that mimic nature. I love to travel, so I try to pull from traditional cultures whenever I can.

(Wallets and photos by Bonnie S. Both are available from her shop.

What are your favourite online haunts?
I used to lurk heavily on Crafster, but less so these days. Ravelry is a favorite for knitting ideas. I hate to say it, but I've gotten some good ideas from Martha Stewart.

(Bonnie's yarn-organizing-method. Photo by Bonnie S.)

What are you reading/listening to these days?
I work in public health, so a lot of what I read has to do with health, culture and politics. Mostly it's totally depressing, but equally fascinating (if you're me). I'm listening to a lot of indie pop these days (Phoenix, MGMT, Santigold), but I have a penchant for a lot of really moody stuff too. . . Bon Iver, Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens and My Brightest Diamond seem to be getting a lot of play right now. I also love love love the WNYC Public Radio show, RadioLab. It talks about the world in a way that really resonates for me.

(Photo of Bonnie by Rachel.)

What aspect of creating thrills you/terrifies you?
In general, I'm deeply afraid of rejection. Putting things that I make up for other people's judgment is pretty scary. . . Crafting is one of the things in my life that I know I do well, so if someone doesn't like my stuff (unless it's clearly awful), it's hard not to take it as an appraisal of me as a person. It's so basic, but I'm thrilled by the idea of creating beautiful and useful things. That's why I craft.

(Hair rosette created and photographed by Bonnie S. Available in her shop.

Name something you want everyone to know about the Woman Behind the Curtain.
I do my best work when I'm deeply inspired or moved by something. When someone asks me to make something, particularly if it's for someone I don't really know, it's hard to make something really amazing. I'm getting to a point where my friends have more than enough hats, aprons and felted rocks, but need to grapple with making compelling things for people I don't know. After all, my mom only has room for so many scarves.

(Creation and photo by Bonnie S.)

Thank you for playing along, Bonnie!

Next week's artist interview segment will be with John Frechette of Strapped Belts. Also coming up this week will be a DIY on floor staining from Melissa R. of Sew Cute and Crafty, so stay tuned!

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