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Craft With Conscience: Elsie Goodwin

Craft With Conscience

'Craft With Conscience' began in early 2016 as a weekly Instagram series dedicated to sharing the work of other creatives and as a platform to openly discuss certain aspects of ethical art-making and consuming in the age of the internet and social media.  

This series arose out of my own frustrations related to seeing my work constantly copied stitch-for-stitch, sold without permission, and credited to other people.  Rather than wallowing in unproductive negative emotions, I wanted to find a way to bring this common issue to light in a positive way.  My solution was to share the work of artists, crafters, designers, and makers who I greatly admire for their originality and dedication. Initially, I shared work similar in materials or subject matter to my own, having heard the argument, "There are only so many ways to stitch plants, I'm not copying you..." one too many times.  The truth is, no matter what the medium or subject, every artist from hobby crafter to professional painter has their own perspective and voice. It takes effort to develop one's visual vocabulary and it can be disheartening when your's is taken and misused by other individuals and sometimes larger companies.

All that being said, now is an incredible time for working artists because of the vast resources of the internet including sources of inspiration, the ability to reach a large and global audience, and as a community building tool. As you may know, I love sharing my work on Instagram and following other makers. It's a wonderful way to connect with other artists, be inspired, and feel supported, but we all need to be aware of how we use these resources and what effect it may have on others.

Since the start of 2016, 'Craft With Conscience' has grown and evolved just like any other creative pursuit and has recently expanded to include short interviews with featured artists. I've asked participating artists a series of questions about their studio process, sources of inspiration, and how image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest influence and affect them. I hope you read on to see what they have to say!

Craft With Conscience: Elsie Goodwin

Sarah Benning

Elsie Goodwin // Fiber Artist // Chino Hillso, Ca

Elsie Goodwin is a Fiber Artist, Wife and Mother to two girls. Her focus is on Macrame, but she has a strong background in Knitting and Crochet and has most recently taken up Floor Loom Weaving and Punch Needle; yes, tell her your craft involves fiber and she is in. She offers Do-it-Yourself Macrame Patterns and Kits as well as teaches workshops and thrives most when she is able to teach others.

Check out her amazing work at or her Instagram and Facebook page.


1. I began my #CraftWithConscience series as a way to simultaneously promote the work of other makers and to discuss the complicated issues surrounding creative inspiration and developing one’s own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artists’ lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life?

Let's start with Professionally; it has allowed me to share my craft with others and to create a community and connection that I was searching for. The foremost important part is Instagram, which has helped me to hone my own eye and voice in the creative world. I am thankful to it daily and know it changed the direction of my life and focus. Artistically I use the internet to search for inspiration, not looking at other artist work, but at Interior spaces to allow myself to imagine how my work would look there, how would it add to, enhance, just be a part of?


2. Where do you find inspiration for your work?  In what ways has the internet and/or social media impacted your design process?

I find inspiration everywhere, magazines, books, blogs, instagram, when I am out and about, and often times from my husband and daughters. I don't keep up with very many Macrame Artist as I don't want to inadvertently be inspired by them, it's more so artist from other crafts and a lot of Home, Lifestyle, Fashion and Parenting sites. The internet makes you feel like the world is at your fingertips, I can spend hours on Apartment Therapy, Sunset Magazine, Mother Mag...


3. How have you, as an artist, found your creative voice?

I have found my creative voice by doing the work, and more work, and more work. Through the process I learned that I have a style that feels my own, which is a lot of structure with clean and hard lines. My actual voice or the tone/vibe in the creative world stands out more than my work though. I aim to be a place of encouragement and like to make Macrame super accessible and easy to understand and my way of sharing has allowed me to grow a community that feels accepted and comfortable in pursuing their own creative interest.


4. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are popular places for artists’ to share their own work. They also act as public visual archives, often leading to creative work by others that walks the line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘infringement.’ Have you encountered copies of your work online and how does it affect you? What are your strategies for dealing with it?

Yes, yes, inspiration vs. infringement, I have experienced people copying my work and I've come to a place where I accept it as a part of my success. It use to bum me out, but I have learned that if I need to explain myself to someone, about their copying my work, than they probably won't get it anyway, it's most likely a waste of my time and energy. You know, they should know that it would be too close for comfort and if they don't then it's not worth bringing it up.


5. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?

My advice would be to do the work, day in and day out, even when nobody is watching, eventually they will. Explore all of your creative interest and curiosities, you never know where they will lead you. And document your process, people enjoy seeing the behind the scene shots, what may seem boring and mundane to you may be super interesting to someone just starting out, or it may make them feel like, oh, me too, I do that or like that also.


6. Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or Instagram accounts that you’d like to share?

I am endlessly inspired by @_jujujust for her color, @tammykanat for her innovation, @christabelbalfour for her clean lines, @HeidiMerrick for her laid back California Cool clothes, @alexisreneesassard for her effortless interior shots and @ren_vois who is becoming a close friend and is totally doing the work, has found her own voice in a competitive market and her friendliness makes her super fun to be around.