Name: Florence Ann by Erin Gibbs
Website links: florenceann.com, florenceann.etsy.com, twitter.com/Florence_Ann
What do you make?
Felted mittens, scarves, spats and collars from new and reclaimed wool
Machine-knitted scarves and hand-knitted accessories
Books, cards, and other papery things
Silk-screens and block prints on canvas bags, paper and fabric
Performance and installation works
What or who inspires you?
Local makers! The folks at the Gulf Islands Spinning Mill on Salt Spring Island are a great example of a local operation. I did a week-long work study with them to learn about what they do and I was so impressed with their tenacity and enthusiasm for keeping their small industry alive and thriving. They are involved with local wool producers and really build relationships with them, including visiting the farms where sheep and goats are raised.
All types of artists from actors to painters really get me excited! I am a member of the B:C:Clettes, a bike-inspired performance group who works as a collective; working with these strong women who are so focused on changing our world for the good helps me better myself.
How did you get started?
I completed a degree in graphic design (Emily Carr) and was working at a computer all day. I craved something more tactile in my non-work time and started participating in craft fairs. I had a lot of ideas but lacked the knowledge and resources to go further with my work, so I enrolled in the Textile Arts program at Capilano University. My two years there gave me a solid technical foundation for almost any textile technique imaginable, from block printing and natural dyeing to installation and performance art.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
Wool is a my favourite! It's versatile in that it can be used as fleece to create felt or as yarn to create knitted, crocheted and woven fabrics. It responds well to 2D and 3D applications, loves dye and can be sourced locally. I'm also getting into collage techniques that include wood, textiles and illustration.
What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
The hardest part is staying focused. I get really distracted (and inspired!) by all of the amazing websites and blogs that are out there. I recently rented a studio which has helped me hunker down and get my work done without the distractions of working at home.
I also find it difficult to reconcile my feelings on waste/production of goods for sale. On one hand I feel good about creating things that are bought locally, on the other hand, I feel that there are more than enough 'things' in our world and I'm just another contributor to consumerism and waste. It's a tough nut to crack.
It's simple - the satisfaction of creating something useful and beautiful that people love.
List 5 of your favourite links and why you like them
Design Sponge: Well put-together design blog covering home decor and more
Apartment Therapy: All things small-home related with a bent for good design. Verges on OCD in some cases, but lovely photos, DIY ideas and more
saint verde digest: this blog is sort of finished, but it's an excellent resource for imagery and Neville Trickett artfully curates each post with inspiring visual combinations
the uniform project: Inspiring one-year project by Sheena, who is endeavouring to prove that fashion can be philanthropic and easy on the earth
Dots and Lines are Just Fine: great resource of repeat network textiles, most of which are vintage and oh, so delicious.
Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Keep people around you who are creative and supportive. Encouragement to keep going when feeling frustrated can come from the people who you surround yourself with, who either by example of their amazing work, or through their lovely words help you stay focused and feeling good.
Get involved. Read papers, blogs and keep your eyes out for posters for local art and music events. Support other local artists by attending their events, volunteering and buying their work; this helps build a vibrant and healthy art, design, fashion and textile community. Let's keep our art, design and craft scene thriving, especially in light of the recent cuts to arts in BC.
Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Hmm...The Art vs, Craft discussion is an endless one, but for me, the terms are equal and not easily separated. So, I'm going to skip that and move onto artist/crafter terms. To me, a craftsperson is a skilled individual who dedicates their life to a technique, process and/or creation of a type of object. A crafter is a newer term, one that for me implies less formal training or apprenticing, with an approach to their work as fun and not necessarily a life-long career pursuit. The term artist is pretty loaded, so I'm not even going to try to define that one! I consider myself a designer-maker on most days.
(photo images courtesy of Erin Gibbs / Florence Ann)
If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.
Check out our past features...
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Jenny Hart - feature #21
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tinywarbler designs - feature #19
telly designs - feature #18
Cabin + Cub - feature #17
Rachel Hobson - feature #16
Green Couch Designs - feature #15
Tanis Alexis - feature #14
Sweetie Pie Press - feature #13
Fibre Manipulator - feature #12
Sam Made - feature #11
All Things Paper - feature #10
Owl + Pussycat - feature #9
Bliss in a teacup - feature #8
It's Your Life - feature #7
Faythe Levine - feature #6
Coco Cake Cupcakes - feature #5
pomomama design - feature #4
GroovyGlassGirl - feature #3
Bueno Style - feature #2
The Beautiful Project - feature #1