Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tell us a little about your creative life {Interview} with Ellie

We've started a new series on our Hey Maker! blog, where we interview local creatives. Today Ellie Beck, a Hey Maker! co-founder is sharing with us. Enjoy.  

Visit Ellie at petalplum and Red Seed Studio.

Where do you live and why? 
I live in the rainforest, under a hill and surrounded by many beautiful trees (and fairy houses for sure). It's at the 'Jewel of the Tweed', Crysta Creek, about 20minutes outside of Murwillumbah.Why? Ummm - I was born and grew up here, and it really feels like home here. I moved away and now have moved back with my own little family. It's such an amazing and special place to live - I feel lucky every time I look at the mountains and the forest.

What is it you make? 
Lots of things. Mess! Mainly I hand screen print organic fabric and sew it into different things - cushions, bags, clothing, etc. It's the screen printing I love the most - the designing of the image and the working with the messy ink to produce a crisp clear print. 
I love working with paper, thread, flowers, leaves, fabric scraps......

Where did you learn these skills?
I did a bit of screen printing as a child, and in art class at high school. Also, part of a short subject at TAFE numerous years ago. Mostly I've taught myself - lots of practice does really make printing perfection!

Where do you find your inspiration? 
Can I say everywhere!? Looking outside of my front door there is so much shape and image design possibilities - shadows of leaves, and tree silhouettes in the sky, the doodlings of a bug writing in the fire wood, the colours and richness of my surroundings. My family - husband + two creative children - are constant inspiration as well. I must say there's a lot of goodgoodgoodness on Pinterest (it's a bit addictive!), and also Instagram has some loveliness that gets creative ideas sparky. Quite highly influenced by Japanese design and fabric and life as well - though I've never visited. 

What is your fondest childhood memory of making something? 
I was always making and creating as a child. I grew up with creative parents and siblings - surrounded by a colorful life! Though I do have a strong memory of making some intricate and amazing fabric stitched faces that I sold a school market fair. They were all puckered up, little wrinkly people, with details of hair, jewellery, etc. I wonder if the person who bought them still has them sitting in a draw somewhere.

Do you find time to be creative every day? 
Getting out the ink and screen printing supplies in not easy without a studio space - so that doesn't happen as much as I'd like. We currently live with no electricity, so the sewing machine isn't too accessible either! So - lately I've been doing a whole lot of little crochet pieces. I do it at the table with morning coffee, or take it with me in the car or when visiting friends. It's a good portable creative outlet. I'd like to think that our daily meals and table setting are creative in themselves - I aim for that. And taking photos daily (even if not using my big proper camera) is a pleasure and joy, and something that I take pride in.

When did you know you wanted to pursue being a creative career? 
I'm not sure. When I was younger I wanted to be an actor - but that didn't pan out, and I didn't pursue it enough. I've always likes just tinkering with things. I worked in retail before children, and always loved doing the window and shop displays, and making things for that. The screen printing and sewing aspect started after my children were born - I wanted a creative outlet and career that I could do at home. Something that nurtured my creative childhood I guess, perhaps paid homage to the family home I grew up in.

Who is your creative hero? 
Hmmm - Lots. This is always a hard question for me - as I can't narrow it down. I have always been fascinated by the work of Eva Hesse, Joseph Cornell, Frida Kahlo (such strong determination for life!), Georgia O'Keefee's art and life. I'm not sure if they're my 'heros', but artists who have interested me since I was young.

What would you love to learn to do within the next year or so? What creative skill / talent? 
I'd really like to start working with some clay (again). My mum was a potter, and it was always there when I was child. Now that I'm living back on her land, I want to start working with the ceramics and clay. Perhaps for fun - perhaps for work. Lots of ideas and vessel shapes in my mind... Also, I want to re-learn how to knit. And (because I don't have enough things on my list) I want to delve more deeply into plant and natural dyeing.

Please share some of your favourite web wanderings. 
Oh - I have a lot. I think it's my addiction (online blog-hopping)! Loving visiting Kate over at Foxs Lane (all sorts of uplifting inspiration and goodness), Anna Maria Horner is an always favourite, as is Soulemama. Greedy For Colour and Hazelnutgirl are NZ friends who I love visiting virtually. Toast always inspires me with their photo shoots, colours and designs, as does stylist Twig Hutchinson. I can't go past Cannelle et Vanille for breathtaking photography and recipes. I love Canberra blogger, Nanette at Rummage. My flickr favourites is always a deliciously beautiful place to go visiting!

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