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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
All images provided by the artist.