Saturday, June 16, 2012

living consciously: marie-nicole

This week The Scout talks to Marie-Nicole, an artisan creating incredibly beautiful things out of … well, anything. She is a writer, a photographer and her mantra 'live consciously' is inspiring. I first met her back in university and we’ve kept in touch online. I had loved watching her creative journey and any of you who think crafting can only ever be a hobby, need to meet her too…

How would you describe yourself?
Determined, passionate, organised, dedicated and friendly... beware anyone that stands in the same queue as me at a café, I may just strike up a conversation with you and before you know we’d be sitting down together chatting over the our freshly brewed espresso! That is if I am not deep in thought about an idea, in which case I may not even notice you’re there until I almost bump into you after the barista hands me my soy latté and I make my way to my seat to scribble down with pencil in my journal this lightning strike idea that has just come to mind.

You have a blog and an etsy store - what you do create and share?

My blog is where I share the experiences I have had on my creative journey as an artisan, those which our family have had with our tree change as well as where I share projects such as my DIY Design column for ‘Living Magazine’ and my regular article contributions to the ARTshine blog. Sometimes I just share things that simply inspire me.

The blog:

The items I create to sell are based on embracing traditional artisan techniques using eco-friendly materials and methods, as well as transforming the old and discarded into statement pieces. This started with using off-cuts and scraps of my screen printed designs to make brooches & little cases. It has since evolved into using kangaroo leather off-cuts to make straps or embellishments for tote bags, which are made from repurposed wool blankets or premium linen screen printed with my hand cut designs. My creations are about extending art practices into everyday living products, it is my endeavour to encourage people to take more pleasure in the little things, stop and lose themselves in my designs, even if just for a moment. We all lead such busy lives these days I think it’s important not to lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us and include beautiful items in our everyday activities to add to the atmosphere of our lives.

The store:

How do you come up with your ideas and designs?

Personal experiences - an idea often evolves based on a need or desire to improve a situation. They also come from simply seeing the possibility in the use of an item, an item that would be considered junk by others. I don’t see junk - I see character in the craftsmanship of the item. The story behind it intrigues me and an item such as this often triggers a thought of a way in which I can enhance it’s beauty and the process of turning it into a functional but beautiful product then begins.

How do you find a marketplace for your designs and how do you connect your art with the world?

I think it’s becoming easier to connect what I do with potential customers as there are more and more people who are wanting to live a considered life and are actively seeking out quality handcrafted items that are ethically made on a smaller scale with passion. The internet has definitely been a big part of getting my products out into the market place – a big advantage when you live and work in a rural location. Being passionate about what I do and living the lifestyle that I believe in and just chatting to anyone and everyone about what I do and why has also created opportunities that I never expected to happen. Lastly, and more recently putting myself out there in front of customers by selling my wares at a market selected based on it being well suited to my wares - one that attracts my target market. It has been a fantastic way of reaffirming that what I am doing sits well with many and that the person in my mind that I set as my target market is not just a figment of my imagination!

How does having a family impact your creative life?

It’s been the best thing for my creative journey, as it has really made me stop and think about things on a deeper level... I also believe when you are determined to do something being busy just makes you achieve more and having a family certainly keeps me busy. It’s been a slow process to get to where I am now, but growing this business organically was what I was aspiring towards and working within the constraints of a family has made me take things a lot slower and be much more considered in my decisions.

What inspires you?

So many things, some may seem small and insignificant to others but I get inspired by the simplest of things like a divine cup of coffee made with precision and passion, a flavoursome wholesome sourdough, clothing or homewares made with the finest details considered.
There is also my family and the activities we engage in as a family. We take pleasure in the simplest of acts like a meal made with fresh home-grown ingredients or a drive through the countryside absorbing as much of the beauty that surrounds us.

Other passionate people who also focus on just doing what they love. I love talking to passionate people about their craft, their processes, their way of living. This can be anyone from a primary producer, to a passionate gardener, artist or shoemaker! Lastly, inanimate objects that have a hidden story, a history, a past life that then becomes a part of the present through my creations. I am intrigued by the stories behind items of furniture, a suitcase, a blanket... these objects cannot tell us the story of their journey with words but they do have traces of their past visible on them and discovering as much as I can about them is something I love to do.

Like I said; so many things inspire... living the best life I can is all the inspiration I need really, we only get one shot at living!

What advice do you have to artists and creatives trying to find their place in the world (and still make a living!)?

Focus on doing what you love, not just trying to make money... if you stick to your passion, earning an income from what you do will come easier than pushing yourself to do what you think you should in order to make money. Lay down a solid foundation for yourself, know who you are and the message you wish to deliver to the world. Don’t compromise on what you believe in for the sake of making a dollar. As well as practicing your craft, practice running your business by setting up methods and systems that will prepare you for a time when you really will need them in place. Lastly, engage with people who will encourage you to pursue your dreams and block out the negativity of those who think it’s not possible to earn a living from your art or craft. You can!

MarieNicole’s Website:

Thanks Marie-Nicole …
- the Scout. x

1 comment:

  1. I love Marie-Nicole's work and her outlook ~ a lovely interview.