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Craft With Conscience: Katy Biele

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: Katy Biele

Sarah Benning

Katy  Biele // Embroidery Artist // Victoria BC, Canada


Katy Biele is a Chilean Embroidery artist living in Victoria BC in Canada. The style she's developed is based on her South American background and everything that she has taken in while traveling. The result is a combination of textures, a lot of bright colors and a wide variety of stitching and painting techniques.

Check out more of her beautiful work on her websitefacebook, instagram, or Etsy shop.

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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?

I share my artwork on the internet, mostly on instagram where I try to share my process to my followers and people who enjoy seeing my artwork. At this time I think it plays a super important role because it's a good platform where my work can be discovered and direct people to my Etsy shop

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

I paint and make a lot of drawings, that's a big part of my process for finding inspiration. I've also been traveling a lot and living in different places and have a lot of photos and memories of particular styles, patterns and colors that have had an impact on me.  At the moment I live in the beautiful west coast of Canada, and in Victoria there are a lot of gardens where I can find ideas for new artwork. On the internet I like to follow artists that I respect on instagram and I feel very inspired when I see their process too. I Usually have ideas in my mind that I have to create either in textile or on paper, some ideas last longer and some are very fast. It's a magical process, sometimes I really don't know where the ideas come from.

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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?

   Instagram is growing so much now and I realize that we take a lot of risks sometimes sharing all our work, videos, and processes etc. Somebody can take all of our ideas and sell them very easily,  but without these internet sites, it would be so much more difficult to be discovered by art curators, shops and other business opportunities. I have seen some copies of my work and ideas where even the title of the piece was copied. It makes me feel very frustrated and sad when it happens, but most of the time I find very respectful followers or other designers and artists that like my work. There is a very supportive community out there.

  I try to take as many photos as I can of the work in progress, to show the steps that I have to do to create an embroidery piece, painting or illustration. I also write about where the idea come from or why I'm doing that piece etc. I think that is  a good way the  show how your work and process are totally creative and  real.

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

   The advice that I can give is to keep going, that this is a long long process, and it can take a lot of time to create an art style to finally create pieces or illustrations that  make some sense for ourselves. Always keep your own style, and find your own voice in any kind of creative art or business that you make, the key is to keep it original. Also try to use different materials and mediums because we never know what we can discover there!  Remember, if it was easy, everyone would be successful. 

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

I follow a lot of artists whose work, originality, and creative process makes me feel so happy and inspired. These ladies are my favorites:

 Trini Guzman from Chile.

 Valeria Faúndez,  From Chile

 Isabelle Feliu, who is an illustrator.

Leah Goren, from NY

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All photos provided by the artist