For some confounded reason, I felt compelled to revive my art shop from the year long coma it has suffered. AnarchistCouture.etsy.com
Dealing with artists and designers all day must have rubbed off on me- Hang around the barbershop long enough, you’re bound to get a haircut.
So here I am, figuring out what to put on my shop announcement when a stroke of genius hits me! Art is human therefore it should be as imperfect and beautiful. There! Got it!
I see so much insecurity in artists, it is heartbreaking!
Is it symmetrical? Is it perfect? You can see a spot, right there in the corner. What do you think? Is it good enough? Dare I call it art or is it just crafty?
I’m like- really? We should leave perfection to the machines who do it best- sorry, I don’t speak binary code- why compete?
Again for the people in the back: ART IS HUMAN THEREFORE IT SHOULD BE AS IMPERFECT AND BEAUTIFUL . Thus my shop title- Anarchist Couture. Total oxymoron.
I actually went to THREE Art Schools, I even graduated from all of them. I happy to announce that my education was a total waste. I know less about art than I did before I enrolled. All I truly learned was what NOT to do, what ISN’T Art. So….. why not indulge in breaking all those rules?
Let’s take Symmetry and proportion and hack it to death. Let’s go out of our way to make lines crooked, big ass stones in teeny bezels, unfinished seams and splashes of colors that go OUTSIDE the lines.
And the best part about that? Let’s not do it on purpose.
Now you may ask: How can you not do it on purpose if you are purposely breaking the rules?
Easy- I basically forget that I am supposed to be an artist and I just become a person. End of story.
Example- I make these fabric hearts and tags.
Absolutely beautiful! How many straight lines do you see? How many thread knots, frayed edges and hanging strings? Too many to count. I am lucky that Shabby Chic and Patinas are trending right now. And that makes my whole point, doesn’t it?
Here’s a patina I make that sells like crazy. Best part about this messy heart? Buyers looking to spend their money on us understand that the more imperfect, the more beautiful.
If it’s distressed, uneven, repurposed and messy it’s trending. I guess it is safe to say that being human is trending BIG TIME. So throw out your perfection manual and get in the ring. Forget everything you were told about art and design and make some!!! Don’t edit or go back on anything your creative impulse has dictated. Let’s face it, I’m not even gonna proofread this blog. After all, only another beautifully imperfect person is gonna read it. At least, that is my hope.
God, this is the WORSE thing we can all go through… We are artists and business owners and give it all we got. Then out of nowhere— everything comes to a screeching halt and the sales get sloooow. How do you cope with it? I would love to hear from ya…
I have to put up this picture because it CRACKS me up… hopefully it will make you laugh too. When sales are slow, it is so important to keep ourselves upbeat. So I scour the internet for stuff that makes me laugh.
Monica is an extremely talented designer residing in New York City. Her Neo Victorian style is particularly inspiring to me as a fellow designer. I spend a good hour a day looking though her Etsy shop and favoring everything she makes! Visit her shop for inspiration! MockiDesigns.etsy.com
1.Monica, you studied fashion design in Sweden. What inspired you to move there for school?
I was born in Sweden, my whole family except my mom were there so when it was time for College it was natural for me to go back there. I spent one year in Art School and after a couple of years working with children. I was encouraged to get a Kindergarten Teachers Degree (“you can’t support yourself being an Artist”…:-( ) teaching was fine but I really missed my art and after
attending the State Art Academy at night while working and after my Doctor encouraged me to do what I love I applied to the most prestigious Design School in all of Scandinavia (now known as Beckmans School of Design) and was accepted! What joy! I’d applied to the Fashion Design class, there were only 13 of us accepted and it was a great 3 years! Once I graduated I designed some collections but decided that Illustration was more for me and I started freelancing, then I worked for three years at an Illustration Agency. Meanwhile I was missing the States and my boyfriend at the time (whom I met at Beckmans, he was in the Advertising class) and I decided to move to New York. I continued with freelancing and illustrated for Advertising, Publishing and a multitude of other Firms. Around 1999 I became really seriously interested in jewelry making and since then my style has evolved to the style I have now!
2. Your style is eclectic but the Neo Victorian element is always prevalent. What about that era in design do you find so appealing?
Before my current style I designed a lot of whimsical nature inspired jewelry with silver, semi precious beads, shells, bark, leather, shells etc. However, I’ve always loved vintage/antique jewelry and the feminine style. Just didn’t know how to make it “mine”. Well, then I found Etsy and Steampunk! Whoa did I ever swoon! It was the perfect mix of fantasy, antique, feminine, sci fi, masculine, yin/yang you name it! I was intrigued, had no idea that what I was making was Neo Victorian, I was just incorporating my Art/ Fashion/Sculpture background with the antique, predominantly Victorian into what I call wearable art!
3. What is your creative process like? How do you begin a design?
My designs start in several ways. Sometimes I’ll get an idea from a piece of art, clothing, architecture, antique jewelry a book, someone on the street and more, and I’ll start sketching and then go to my favorite suppliers, like Calliopes Attic and start building up the supplies I need, tweeking as I go. Or while I’m looking for said supply I’ll see something else that I really love and then my brain starts designing and I end up with several different pieces instead of the one I started with! (ADHD much?) So the findings and stampings and other items inspire me to. Then I must admit that when I’m making something, pulling out the supplies I need and working on the item I’ll get other ideas, and another and another. In the end I’ll have several pieces stemming from one as the inspiration urge just keeps going! I see the process as more of a painting or clothing design. I add, take away, step away, look, go do something else, tweak whatever it takes until it feels right. Sometimes it can take me weeks to finish a complicated neck piece which leads to question 4.
4. What helps you through a creative block? What steps do you take if you get stuck?
I step away, do something else, another design, clean the apartment, go food shopping and step back when I feel I’m ready to go again! I have busts and my dress mannequin that I’ll put the piece on and then I’ll just eye it while I’m working with something else! My minds constantly working, ideas come constantly, it’s harder for me to shut it off than the opposite!
5. You take very beautiful photographs of your work. Can you give other designers some advice in showcasing their creation through photography?
Thank you! On Etsy they tell you to preferably use white or neutral backgrounds. I don’t agree except for supplies where you need to see every detail without distraction. At Beckmans I was taught that “presentation is everything”. Now the teacher was talking about our portfolios with art work (back when we ran around leaving/showing our illustrations with/to the Art and Creative Directors!), but this applies to our shops to. Pictures of the product has to get the attention of the potential customer. To do this you need to make it pretty and stand out. It’s window dressing, it has to invite the customer in to your shop! As an Artist I decided to make it like paintings, choosing the background carefully so it complements the item (not drown it out by being too busy or loud) placement/composition is important to and photo editing as in cropping, centering, turning, lightening if too dark and sharpening if necessary. Daylight is always the best light as it shows truer colors. (Not direct sunlight though) I’ve tried daylight bulbs etc. but they can’t compete with daylight! (Unless you’re a professional photographer and have all the equipment,
cameras, lighting etc to get around that) Don’t forget to get different angles, front, sides, back and a life pic (person or mannequin so they can imagine the object and size of it on themselves). I don’t know how many shops I’ve seen with an unlit, tiny picture, all five from the same angle, neither enticing nor detailed!
6. Do you thrive on order or chaos? Is your studio organized or “creatively” arranged?
I’m very organized! Chaos stresses me out and I can’t stand wasting time running around looking for things that aren’t where they’re supposed to be. Only the board I’m working on has a lot of items on it so I can pull out what I might need as I design. In my defense, I’m a Swede, they teach us organization and tidiness starting in first grade. The reason being that “no employer wants to employ someone disorganized or incompetent”… If you’ve ever been to IKEA or seen a Swedish home you’ll know exactly! No slacking allowed or the wrath of mom would be felt! What can I say, it’s a Germanic thing!
8. How do Calliopes Attic supplies help your creativity? Do you have a favorite supply? Calliopes Attic is the best! Love X 3! I don’t know how many times I’ve gone on to buy a certain finding and ended up in an inspirational full throttle by totally different items! The gorgeous patinas are fabulous on the awesome stampings, that’s what drew me in in the beginning and got me hooked. In fact some of the patinas are so beautiful that I can’t bring myself to cover them up with any additional stampings or items like I usually do! I love the whole shop, if I HAD to choose I really love the wide/large filigree Victorian cuff, especially the black and I really loved the Neo Victorian Steampunk one in Honey, Verdigris, Black patina that I recently bought several of. The Cleopatra necklace blank is fab to as are the little swirly dragons, cherubs and leafy findings. Shoot, just put a link to the shop here> <, I would have to name most everything in the shop to be honest!
9. What would you like to see CalliopesAttic carry that I currently do not have?
Don’t really know, hmmm, earring findings and more chain maybe? But not really necessary, you have a great choice as is! The patinas are so fabulous and your specialty so keep up the great work!
10. Feel free to add anything you want.
Just want to say that I’m not a jeweler but an Artist and Designer and that’s why I call my one of a kind pieces for art wear! As for my nick name, Mocki pronounced Moh-key, came from my pronunciation of my name Monica when I started talking. It’s how I’ve been signing all of my art since I could write!
1.Annette, can you tell us about the wonderful craft of bead embroidery?
Have been in love with it from the moment I first set eyes on a bead embroidered bracelet. I love all those colorful, tiny shiny beads, the gemstone cabs and all the wonderful materials available that you can incorporate into a piece of bead embroidery. The possibilities are really endless…..
2. How did you get started? Did someone or something inspire you? If so, who/what?
I was surfing the internet back in 2009 and stumbled upon a photo of a bead embroidered bracelet. Had never seen bead embroidery before, but I loved it and wanted to learn how to do that. Luckily I found someone who was willing to teach me…
3. What would you recommend to someone who wanted to try their hand at bead embroidery?
If possible, follow a workshop first, and learn the rest from books and tutorials.
5. You are one of the Leaders of the Beaders United Team on Etsy. How does your team help you with your creative process? How can one join?
Beaders United is a team for those that are passionate about the art of beading. We are engrossed with the quality and beauty of all types of beads. We are dedicated to learning, teaching, and promoting this art form to the world. You can apply by clicking the “Join this Team” button on our Etsy team page. Upon application your shop will be reviewed by captain and leaders of Beaders United. Artists that do artistic and creative bead embroidery, bead weaving, loom work, micro macrame and soutache are encouraged to apply. We ask that potential members have a good working knowledge of most beading formats and at least an intermediate skill level.
It’s great to have a team that you can turn to when you’re stuck and need help or advice. There’s always someone who can help you out…
6. Bead embroidery can be quite hypnotic. What goes through your mind when you sit at your table, creating? What do you need to have in your room that helps your creative process?
When I’m embroidering my mind goes blank, it’s a zen moment and a great way to relax. My room is filled with books, beads, paintings, computers, dragons, fairies, a huge poster of Legolas and of course my dogs. My dogs love being in the same room as me, but my room is small and my dogs are quite large, so there’s not a lot of space left for me J
I love beading, but I love watching movies too, so usually my weekends are filled with beading, watching a movie, drink tea, do some more beading, take the dogs for a walk, watch another movie or a tv series, do some beading again, get distracted by Facebook, bead some more, get distracted by Facebook again, have a glass of wine, do some more beading, chat with my online friends, stitch a few more beads…..
7. Do you know other bead embroiders where you live or do you rely strictly on the internet to meet other artists?
My best friend is a bead embroiderer too, she lives around the corner from me (we followed a workshop together back in 2009). I met a few lovely beady friends through Etsy and Facebook and am certain that one day we will meet in real life. One of them promised me margaritas, nachos and a tour of Dallas, so I’m saving money for a trip to Texas!
8. Bead embroidery is time consuming and requires much patience and organization. Are you an artist who thrives on chaos or order? Is your studio neat or “creatively” arranged?
Order! I can’t stand chaos, my brain explodes when there’s chaos around me
9. What activities get you inspired to bead?
Beautiful photos of nature, or pretty color schemes in magazines. When I see something pretty and colorful in a magazine, I rip it out to keep as inspiration. I have a big box full of pretty pictures….
10. Creative block… we all get it. How do you deal with yours?
Personally I’ve never experienced a creative block. I’ve never run out of ideas…..
11. What Calliopes Attic supplies further your creativity and help your craft? What would you like to see me carry that I do not currently have?
Carved gemstone cabochons (especially turquoise and matching sets for creating earrings), leather and round or braided leather cord.
Thank you, Annette!!!!
** As an added bonus, Annette wins the Calliopes Attic contest and she gets 10 dollars worth of supplies (of her choice) free! YAY!***
If you can tell me what type of flower this is, you get it for free!
The first person to name it, wins it.
This is a brass stamping available for sale at my shop
calliopesattic.etsy.com. It measures 3″ X 2.5″.
Post your answer here then email me your address so I can send it to you. firstname.lastname@example.org
I am botanically challenged and do not know the answer.
2.5″ X 2.5″ brass Malta cross pendant. The hole in the middle also gives the option to wire wrap or rivet additional embellishments….OR go ahead and glue whatever your heart desires 😀
MADE IN THE USA. Black patina.
This blog is about Steampunk and Neo Victorian supplies. My etsy store: calliopesattic.etsy.com has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing designers who have inspired me tremendously. It is an honor to be able to supply and fuel your creativity with unique supplies that put your creativity to work.