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Craft with Conscience:  Jocelyn Gayle Krodman

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: Jocelyn Gayle Krodman

Sarah Benning

Jocelyn Gayle Krodman of PetitFelts // Felting Artist // Kingston, NY

Jocelyn is an artist living and working in Kingston, NY. She created her brand, PetitFelts, in 2011 and since then she has made it her goal to create high quality, unique needle felted pieces. She strives to make animals that spring to life through their expressions and whimsical humor. She puts lots of love into her work and above all else, she hopes that people can sense that when they come across her creations. She crafts each of her pieces by hand dying wool and using a technique called needle felting. The process involves tangling the fibers of wool with a barbed needle in order to create wool sculpture. 

Check out more of her amazing work on Instagram, her website, or at her Etsy shop.

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 is an absolute asset to my creative business. It allows my work to be seen and purchased internationally, which is a pretty incredible thing. Social media is invaluable when it comes to getting your work out there in front of people as you’re creating and enables you to see what resonates. When you spend most of your time alone in your studio, it can be easy to lose perspective, so I find it very useful to see what’s working. There are of course downsides, one being that I can easily begin to feel overwhelmed and intimidated if I spend too much time getting lost in it all, so I tend to post and avoid scrolling as much as possible!


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 that inspiration comes from countless places. I think it’s something that seeps into us just by being out in the world and taking everything in. My felting work of course is often just inspired by the animals themselves, but I try to put my love for the beauty that’s found in small, subtle details into my work. I try to avoid using the internet for a source of inspiration when it comes to my pieces. I’m in the midst of renovating a home with my partner and Instagram and Pinterest can be extremely helpful when it comes to something like kitchen or floor plan inspiration, but when it comes to felting, I’d rather turn to what I have stored in my head.

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?

I have run into this a few times. It’s such a blurry issue, because I am by no means the only person out there making needle felted animals and I certainly wasn’t the first. I do feel like with felting or anything else, you have to have your own unique style and that’s what sets your work apart. When I’ve found other artists that seem to follow my work closely and very much had their own personal style start making work that looks less like theirs and more like mine...that’s what I struggle with. What I’m working on learning is the ability to not let it affect me in such a strong way. In the end, it’s out of your control and you just have to keep making work and moving forward! Lately I’ve been trying to use it as a reminder to shake things up and not let my work get too stagnant.


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

Keep at it! I find that when I’m going through a challenging time with my business or even just struggling inside my own head in my studio, that if I keep showing up to do the work and continue to put love into it, opportunities present themselves.

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

I find Elsa Mora’s paper cutting pieces to be so unbelievably beautiful. I had the pleasure of teaching alongside her at the Sweet Paul Makerie in 2016 and she’s as amazing as her work.

Andrew Molleur is my partner and I am so inspired by his studio practice. He’s constantly experimenting with materials and new designs. He has endless energy for his work and I love to watch it evolve over time.


Photos provided by the artist.