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Craft With Conscience: Nalani Gloor - Knotty Bloom

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: Nalani Gloor - Knotty Bloom

Sarah Benning

Nalani Gloor // Fiber Artist + Interior Architect // Tauranga, NZ

Nalani Gloor is a fiber artist and interior architect based in New Zealand. She studied Interior Architecture and Design at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, before completing her Bachelor of Design majoring in Interior Architecture at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. She learnt her macramé practice from her mother and started Knotty Bloom as a side business when she moved to New Zealand. With a mission to create honestly made and lasting products, that strive to embody a sense of comfort, care and visual aesthetics. She currently uses her home studio space to hand craft macramé pieces out of locally sourced New Zealand made materials in the hopes that each pieces brings meaning and life into their spaces.

Check out her beautiful work on her Instagram or Facebook.

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 proved to be a useful tool, especially for the business side of things. Instagram in particular has been an integral platform that has helped my work grow, evolve and expand in ways that I never thought were possible. It has enabled me to reach a global audience in a simple and accessible way. I have the freedom to create, control and curate my own distinct visual aesthetic, enabling the potential to reach my own niche audience in a direct and honest approach. Surprisingly, I have found that the Instagram community is filled with some of the most supportive and genuinely kind people. This direct engagement with my audience is priceless and has been one of the main driving forces behind my creative process.

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

I find inspiration in various forms, from nature, music, design, and architecture.  However, one of my earliest and biggest influences in my creative pursuits has been my mum. She has a never-ending ability to make almost anything. Moving around as a child, she was able to transform any space into a home. Just to give you an example, when we first moved to Australia from the United States, we lived in a large shed in Far North Queensland that was intended to be a temporary living arrangement while we built a house. It had a concrete slab floor and timber posts supporting a corrugated iron roof, with concrete masonry block walls around the bathroom and garage only. The rest of the shed was open to the wild outdoors and weather conditions, which created a literal 'indoor-outdoor' flow. Living in this space for 4 years, my mum was magically able to create a cosy and inviting home.

Another prevalent influence for me would have to be Mid Century Modern design, which has transferred from my studies and design job in Interior Architecture. Since I'm frequently looking at architectural plans, I'm drawn to compositions with geometric shapes, patterns and lines that I then try to incorporate in my macramé pieces as a way of modernising the idea of macramé.

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?

Since starting my side business I have definitely become more aware of the value of one's own work. My first few encounters with copycats left me feeling cheated and distressed. Since then, I have tried to muster a calm approach and remind myself that nothing can be reproduced in its authenticity. On a good day, I will try to use the frustration as an incentive to develop and refine my work, in the hopes that I can create a distinctive voice and aesthetic. This usually leads to further experimentation and instills an urge to discover new techniques or approaches to my work. Sometimes I like to think of these instances as a way of prompting me to let go of old work and designs, thus making space for new creations.  

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

Just start! There's no perfect time and no amount of planning or strategizing that can ever guarantee success. Dive in and figure out what works for you along the way as there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Above all, I would highly recommend connecting with other creatives, entrepreneurs and your audience, their advice, support, encouragement and presence is so empowering. The feeling of being part of a community can make all the difference to keep you going on those days that you're having doubts. Also, don't take yourself too seriously and enjoy the process!

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

 I could write a very long list but I will just name some recent favourites:

Blogs: thedesignfiles.net and broadsheet.com.au (when I feel homesick for Melbourne)

Creative Podcasts: meandorla.co.uk, and have-company.com

Artists: Elizabeth Barnett, Living Pattern, Adriana Picker, Katie Scott and Sophie Melville

Instagram accounts: @looseleaf_ @popandscott @haarkon_ @windychien @mimdesignstudio (plus many more)

All photos provided by the artist.