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Craft With Conscience: Olga Prinku

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: Olga Prinku

Sarah Benning

Olga Prinku // Designer and maker // North Yorkshire, UK


Olga Prinku is a designer and maker behind prinku.com, originally a handmade wool goods business. She has a background in graphic design, but has always had a strong connection to traditional craft. More recently she's started experimenting with floral art by creating floral designs with real dry flowers on tulle, a technique she developed while styling photos for Instagram that looks like a cross between embroidery and wreath making.

Check out more of her beautiful work on her website, Instagram or Youtube Channel

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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?

It’s a double-edged sword. I find it a wonderful way to spark my creativity and share my ideas, but I’m always in danger of getting sucked into spending so much time online that I don’t actually bring those ideas to life. In the past I’ve certainly been guilty of spending too much time on Pinterest and Instagram, in particular. I’m getting better at finding the right balance by forcing myself to restrict the time I spend online and use it a more focused way. More fundamentally, I love that the internet is such an open and democratic space and there’s so much serendipity. It’s so easy to share your ideas and you never know who will see them or what might come of it.

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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?

A lot of my inspiration comes from daily experiences - going for walks and looking at shapes and forms and patterns in nature, or even just gazing out of the window when I’m in the passenger seat of a car and observing what’s growing at the side of the road. Social media has actually had a very big impact on the direction of my ideas because of the way it enables you to see which ideas strike a chord with people. I initially started making wreaths just for styling pictures of my knitted goods, and I started to get nice comments on the wreaths so that pushed me to experiment more with floral creations.

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

I guess by constantly experimenting and challenging myself and trying to see how far I can push an idea. Also, I’ve learned to try not to think about the destination or purpose of an idea and put myself under pressure to achieve it. I try instead just to enjoy the making process and see where it takes me.

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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?

If it’s not an idea you can patent then you just have to focus on the positive. I find it exciting when people get inspired by what I do and I’m always happy to be open about what I do and how I do it - for example I recently started a YouTube channel, although I still have a lot to learn about making videos. Especially with the idea of weaving with dry flowers, it’s very experimental and I know there’s a lot I don’t know, so I’m excited to see where others might take it. Ultimately, I think you have to see it as a challenge to keep developing your own style  and to stay fresh and creative.

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

I’ve recently been discovering some great botanical artists - when I first started experimenting with crafting with flowers, I didn’t think of it as botanical art or realise how many artists are working in this medium. I especially love the hanging installations by Rebecca Louise Law, botanical plaster casts by Rachel Dein, and ceramics by Vanessa Hogge and Hitomi Hosono

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All images provided by the artist.