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Craft With Conscience: Maryanne Moodie

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: Maryanne Moodie

Sarah Benning

Maryanne Moodie // Fiber Artist // Melbourne, Australia


Maryanne is a fiber obsessed maker from Australia working between Melbourne and Brooklyn, NY. She divides her time between designing and creating woven wall hangings, developing weaving kits, and teaching sold out workshops across the world. Maryanne is best known for applying unexpected color combinations to her nostalgic designs. She is inspired by the intricacies of vintage textiles, traditional costuming, modern art, and the natural world. Maryanne’s work has been featured in New York Magazine, ELLE Decoration UK, AnthologyO MagazineGraziaInterwoven, and online on Design*Sponge and The Design Files. A finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards in both 2014 and 2015, she sells her work on Etsy and through online shops and boutiques around the country.

Check out more of her amazing work on her websiteInstagram, and Pintrest.

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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 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?

The internet has allowed me to connect to my tribe. We no longer have to be 'the only weaver in the village' . We can find and support one another. I can work in a little white box with a huge window somewhere in the world and connect to people like i am in the roo with them. I can get feedback about my work. I can share my highs and lows. I can be working at any time of the day and then others will still see my work when they wake up the next morning. Its a revolution.

Maryann_weaving.jpg
 Photo by Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

Photo by Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

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

When I am making commissions, my inspiration comes from my client obviously. But when I am weaving for myself I try to use it as an art therapy. Lets say I am feeling jealous or anxious. I sit with an emotion and dawdle ideas on the page in a loose format of looking closely at the things right in front of me. Then I use some of these shapes to create a plan for a jealous weave or an anxious weave. Then I allow my subconscious to work on the feeling whilst my hands are busy. I find a lot of peace working through these tough feelings in a really soft and non judgmental way.

 Photo by Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

Photo by Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

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

For me it is not about finding a voice to speak with my audience -  but rather the voice to have conversations with myself about myself and the world. I believe that I am working on a journey with myself. I turned 40 last year and felt like a I had a big break through feeling really comfortable in my own skin and not so concerned with others views or expectations.

Maryann_weavingCU.jpg

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?

The most important part for me is the emotional journey that happens whilst I am making my work. The fact that I get a pretty product is not the objective for me. And so I don't spend a lot of time worrying about people using my designs.

Maryann_weavings2.jpg

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

Create a community around you and your product. Get it out in the world - give it away. Leave samples in shops and cafes and a bunch of business cards. Ask a local business to host an exhibition of you work. That way you will begin to meet people in your immediate community who are interested in what you do and want to support you. Instagram is not real. The people in your community ARE! Get out there!

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

 I think you just need a laugh sometimes - I listen to 2 Dope Queens and My Dad Wrote a.... I also follow FUCKJERRY on IG. 

 Photo by Eve Wilson for The Design Files

Photo by Eve Wilson for The Design Files

 Photo by Caitlin Mills   for The Design Files.

Photo by Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

All photos provided by the artist.