CraftSeller Q&A: TangleCrafts (Part 1)

When I discover a new crafter or artist whose work I enjoy, I always want to know more about them – where they draw their inspiration, how their ideas develop, why a particular piece took that particular direction, why they use one technique rather than another, or any number of things about their personal ‘story’.  Sometimes an artist is especially open, and all sorts of information might be available, but many people – myself included – simply don’t know where to begin when talking about themselves and their work.  With this in mind, I have drawn up a series of questions designed to extract the kind of information that I would often like to know, and I will be asking fellow crafty types to share their answers. Continue reading CraftSeller Q&A: TangleCrafts (Part 1)

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Samples, samples, more samples…

I have FREE promos for you!  This month, I’ve been swapping bits & pieces with some other crafty types, and now have some great little tasters so that you can sample their wares.  How?  Simply place an order of £5 or more (excluding p&p) in the TangleStore, and I will throw in a free (randomly chosen) promo sampler with your order, while stocks last.  Spend over £10 and I’ll include one of each!  I only have a few, though, so it’s first come, first served…

Here’s a preview of the samples I have for you… Continue reading Samples, samples, more samples…

It’s International Zine Month!

IZMposter2014
This great list has been stolen (more borrowed, really) from Alex Wrekk’s Stolen Sharpie Revolution blog.  Join me in celebrating International Zine Month, albeit a week late! (apologies – I’ve had a hectic few weeks…)

As a little IZM bonus for you, please use these coupon codes when placing an order in the TangleStore, throughout July (although offers apply to everything, not just zines!):

  • Save 10% with coupon code ZINEMONTH10
  • Save 15% when you spend £15 or more with coupon code ZINEMONTH15

Enter coupon code at Etsy checkout & discount will be applied automatically to your order.

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(Offer valid until July 31st. )

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…and here is a little sampling of the zines currently available in the TangleStore, to whet your appetite (but there are more!):

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Another rainy crafternoon…

As has frequently been the case in Derby of late, yesterday afternoon was of the rainy persuasion.  What to do with such a damp occasion?  Another crafternoon with Britta (JaguarSnail), of course!  I was mostly on the production line, folding envelopes in anticipation of a new version of the TangleClub to be introduced in June, making address labels to include as extras with craft fair goody bags, and then unwinding with a couple of new collaged notebooks.

TangleCrafts, as drawn by JaguarSnail!
TangleCrafts, as drawn by JaguarSnail!

Britta was working on a couple of embroidery samples from her new mini zine (coming soon to a TangleStore near you – but not quite yet!); then while I collaged, Britta drew me in action, using her new copic marker pens.  She was filling up gaps in an old sketchbook from her university days, hence the JaguarSnail trial business card shown (with personal info inelegantly edited out by yours truly) to the left of the drawing.  Flattered though I am by the portrait, I’m afraid it does err to the flattering side & my face is definitely not quite so hollow-cheeked…  The hair looks great, though!

Britta was having a ridiculously creative day, and after using some of my excess stamps to trial a little postal patchwork, she then took a different direction with them, and made this oh-so-awesome envelope design:

Presidential Mail Art by Britta Jarvis
Presidential Mail Art by Britta Jarvis

I love this ‘doodle’ so much!  I immediately scanned it, then printed out a sheet as labels, so that Britta can actually mail them (the original being trapped on a tea-stained page within the afore-mentioned sketchbook). Thinking of adding them as a label set to the TangleStore – what do you think?

I should have had even more of Britta’s mail art to show you, as she brought along a whole batch of pre-artified envelopes, ready for me to list in the TangleStore.  But I noticed (far too late in the day) that she had not signed her work, so they have temporarily left the building again, to return in the near future inc. JaguarSnail maker’s mark.

Yep, there was an awful lot of craft (and art!) afoot in Tangledom yesterday, and there’s still so much more to come!  I have new projects coming out of my ears, so please keep an eye on the TangleStore, Twitter, and of course here on the blog for all the latest updates. 🙂

ZineCraft?

craftivism coverOh dear.  I have inadvertently wandered back into the old art v. craft debate.  In general, I prefer to avoid it but a recent interview with craftivist Betsy Greer made me consider a tangential aspect.  (It’s an interesting interview from more perspectives than this, though – you should read it!)

And then I got carried away…

Is zinemaking a craft?  Approaching this from my own perspective I would have to say that it is, even if only at a most minor level; but zines represent an extremely wide field with all kinds of subgenres and production values so I think it would be impossible to give one all-encompassing yes or no answer.  Regardless of that, here are a few aspects to consider:

  • A standard 8-page mini-zine involves hand-folding and a cut (origami? kirigami?) – this is a very basic craft, but a craft nonetheless.
  • A stitch-bound zine involves basic bookbinding skills (pamphlet/saddle stitch, stab-stitch, all kind of possibilities) – probably more likely to be utilised in a zine already focused on arts or crafts, this is inarguably using craft skills.
  • But if you simply fold each page in half and then staple it?  Stapling, I’m afraid, is not a craft.
  • And if you outsource the printing & binding to a printer?  Definitely not craft!  Here we are simply moving into the realms of basic book/let production.
  • worth something journalWhat about the content?  Well, a lot of work can go into the design and layout of a zine (or not – anyone can make a zine, with almost any skill level!) – but design and layout are skills rather than crafts.
  • What about the aesthetics, all the beautiful artwork found in some zines?  But it is reproduction rather than original artwork, as in any art book you can buy in any bookshop.  The original artwork of course remains so, but the multiple reproduced copies are clearly no longer original art.
  • And if each page of each copy is hand-embellished and/or handwritten?  Then we are moving away from zines and into the world of artists’ books.

Cut down to the bare bones, zinemaking is probably more the culmination of a number of individual skills (not necessarily craft-based), combined.

The bigger question is, does it matter what you call it?  My (slightly abridged!) conclusion to the art v. craft debate was that there will always be different perspectives of any one work.  Some questions to consider…

  • If somebody uses a particular craft technique to follow and reproduce the results of a pre-tested craft pattern, they are producing craft, not art.
  • If somebody uses a craft technique but follows their own (self-designed) pattern, is that craft or art?  Certainly additional skills have been utilised.
  • If somebody uses a craft technique but follows their own pattern, then makes minor changes or alters features so that the end result is different every time, have they produced art or craft?
  • If somebody uses a craft technique but follows their own pattern, yet unconsciously makes changes as each item is produced so that every item is utterly unique with its own character, is that art or craft?
  • If an artist uses a craft technique within an art piece, is that art or craft?
  • If an artist makes a series of similar pieces utilising a craft technique, are they producing art or craft?
  • If an artist tells you that the meaning behind their work alters the context of the craft, does that make it art?
  • What if a crafter tells you the meaning behind what they call their craft?
  • What if a crafter is unaware of any deeper meaning in their work, yet subconsciously, they are expressing something unique with every piece?

Different people will give you different answers to probably all of these questions, even when assessing the same individual case.  Does it matter if you call it art or craft?  Not to me!  Create whatever you want to create, and let other people label it whatever they like; all that matters is whether or not you are happy with what you have created.  Similarly, if you write a zine, does it really matter if one person calls it a craft and another doesn’t?  Just make a zine that says what you want it to say by whatever means suit you best, and be happy. 🙂

myo zineAnother tangent – I’ve just curated a ZineCraft Etsy Treasury full of ideas & inspiration. Enjoy!  (The Make Your Own Zine Kit shown to the left is from the FriendPrices Etsy Store – one of the many cool zine products featured in the treasury.)  Do you have a favourite zine?  Please feel free to share a link!

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NOTE TO STUDENTS!

I removed a couple of my old posts on the subject of art v. craft when I learned they were quite frequently being plagiarised by art students.  Please take note, lecturers know how to use the internet, too!  If you ‘borrow’ my thoughts, your lecturer will probably already have a good idea of where they came from. Take the questions above & give them some thought of your own, instead!

Enchanted Times enchantment

While the ETPrintworks presses have not rolled for a few months and Enchanted Times journalists roam the Enchanted Realms in search of new stories to bring their readers, it’s great to see that the populace is still soaking up the timeless, magical news of the various ET back issues in circulation (as they enjoy the early summer sun, at the end of the garden):elf pics

Photo courtesy of local artist Rachel Gallagher, whose beautiful plush elves (etc) are available to purchase from Titania’s Tea Party. I’m looking forward to meeting Rachel and her creations at Derby’s Furthest From the Sea Festival next month!

TangleCrafts on Twitter

I’ve resisted for a very long time, but I have finally launched a TangleCrafts Twitter page!  It’s all new to me, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes/grows – please stop by & follow if you are a fan of TangleCrafts, and you will be the first to hear the latest new news.  🙂  (And I won’t feel so lonely over there!)

In other news, another local craft fair has been added to my summer events list; and here is my latest collaged notebook – another one which reminds me of an abstract summer coastal scene (I think my subconscious is trying to tell me I need a holiday!):

First Class Notebook #9