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Craft With Conscience: Mijo Studio

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: Mijo Studio

Sarah Benning

Mijo Studio // Design Studio // Stavanger Norway and Copenhagen Denmark

Mijo Studio is a forward thinking Danish-Norwegian design duo formed by Miranda Tengs Brun and Josefine Gilbert. Specializing in prints, patterns and textiles they experiment with colours and textures. Their work always starts by hand and is characterised by their curious and playful approach to the creative process. The scandinavian duo design dynamic prints, patterns and creative solutions for experimental projects and exhibitions as well as commercial collaborations.

Check out more of their amazing work at and Instagram.

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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 plays a major role in our artistic and professional lives. It is a great place for us to interact with a lot of different people we might not otherwise have the opportunity to. We also use it as a place to get feedback on our sketches, exhibitions and products. We test a lot of stuff out. It gives us huge understanding of how our work is received. In an artistic sense it keeps us continuously stimulated and excited about what’s going on the world of art in design.

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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?

We have a very analogue approach to our design process and are more often inspired by physical stuff in our surroundings, unexpected compositions we see when we travel. We are often inspired by traditional textile techniques. For example during an artist residency in Indonesia we found huge inspiration in the way they used the print technique of Batik. Of course, we are hugely influenced from articles, blogs and instagram and so on too. But in terms of the design process we find most of our true inspiration in materials, textures and surfaces from real life examples. For us this is an important contrast from looking on social media.

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

Definitely through lots of experiments. We are really playful in how we create our prints. Experimenting is hugely important to us, we like to lose control in the sketching part of our design process. We always get inspired when we are able to create without a specific aim but let the techniques, colours and material speak for us. We find our creative voice through our love of screen printing. It is the foundation for everything we do. You can achieve so many different results through this diverse medium. Everything we make afterwards comes from this. It’s then also highly satisfying for us to realise these prints in different products.

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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?

Luckily this hasn’t happened to us yet. But is of course something all designers are aware of as a possibility. We are very conscious of it but we don’t let it change the way we are with people. We don’t want to be secretive or too scared to share our work. The way we see it is actually a very positive thing to be able to share inspiration with others. We just encourage other designers to be very clued up on copyrights because this is what has really helped us.

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

For people who are thinking of starting a creative business but only have them as small creative projects on the side. Go for it and make the small projects your main projects. Prioritise them, don’t sacrifice them. And always stay curious and don’t be afraid to aim high.

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

We follow a lot of different artists, designers, architects, gallery and people doing exciting creative adventures. At the moment we are very inspired by @etageprojects a design gallery based in Copenhagen. For an amazing Danish-Polish tufting duo we love @witekgolik and for beautiful UK based embroidery @elliemac.embroidery

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All images provided by the artists