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Craft With Conscience: Jane Denton

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: Jane Denton

Sarah Benning

Jane Denton Art // Textile Artist // Wellington NZ


Jane’s most in her element when immersed in creating textile art at her studio in Wellington, New Zealand. Her love of color and texture shines through in her contemporary hand-stitched artwork, designed to bring a little bit of happiness to people’s homes. Over the past five years Jane’s work has struck a chord with art lovers across America, who are looking for their own unique, handcrafted piece of New Zealand.

Check out more of her work on her Instagram or website.

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 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 ones’ own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artist’s lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life?

 The internet has played an integral role in my business.  When I first started creating and selling my art I quickly realised how small the New Zealand market is. Being featured on international blogs and social media has enabled me to build an international customer base – something I wouldn’t have been able to do so easily without the internet.

Instagram has been an invaluable tool to connect with other creatives around the world, and also to show work to potential customers – love it!

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

 I’m always noticing colors and patterns in everyday life – unexpected things like the shapes of floor tiles in a bathroom or an amazing display of color in a friend’s garden.

Online I find inspiration through details in photos that other people may not notice – like how a window frame and its shadow create an interesting composition or how a vertical timber panelling detail looks pretty with the plain cupboard next to it.

I’m also interested in color combinations often in fashion or interior images. Sometimes it’s not a conscious thing but when you see a particular color alot - it tends to make its way into your work!

3. 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?

 When I first started out I was very concerned that my work would be copied – and over the years it has been. However, in recent years this doesn’t bother me quite so much - I feel like my business and brand is now established and the risk of someone copying my work and having a significant impact is low.

I guess it’s one of those things that’s out of my control so I try not to worry about it.

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

 I think persistence and a never give up attitude are key for starting your own business.  I also think having another job is hugely beneficial when starting out as it takes the pressure off financially. When I’m feeling under pressure I find this can have a negative impact on my creativity.

I also think professional styling and photos are vital and I wish that I’d been able to invest money into this area when I first started. If you have an online store the photos need to represent your work in the best possible way.

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

 I really love interiors and I’m fascinated with styling – probably because it doesn’t come naturally to me! I enjoy following:

Bonny Beattie – New Zealand stylist and photographer (Instagram)

Emily Henderson – Stylist, author, blogger (Instagram)

Centered by Design – Interior Designer and blogger Claire Staszak  (Instagram)

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All Images by photographer and stylist Bonny Beattie