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Craft With Conscience: Sara Boccaccini Meadows

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: Sara Boccaccini Meadows

Sarah Benning

Sara Boccaccini Meadows//Textile Designer + Illustrator// Brooklyn NY

Sara Boccaccini Meadows is a textile designer and illustrator, originally from the north of England. She takes inspiration from nature and the tiny details in her everyday surroundings to create unique and quirky prints and illustrations. She works with a variety of medias including watercolor, gouache, markers and fine line pens and starts her design process by making small studies in her sketchbook or journal. Check out her website or Instagram to see more of her amazing work.

  

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 ones’ own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artist’s lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life?

 The internet has been an amazing way to grow and market my business. Sites like Instagram and Tumblr are great to curate visual stories of design process. I often share inspiration found from foliage, art and details from my surroundings, anything that inspires me and sparks the creative process for a new project or design. Often I follow with work in progress images of my paintings and illustrations, then a final piece or product. I think it is such a good platform to get your art out there and the feedback i've received has been so positive. I try to give myself time away from the internet whilst i'm painting, exploring and collecting new ideas, it can also be a distraction and time waster, it's sometimes hard to get the right balance.

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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 the majority of inspiration from nature. I go on a lot of hikes and like to explore botanical gardens in every city. I tend to collect little bits along the way- a rock, branch, leaf, flower then draw my findings. Sometimes it's from a photograph or memory.

I tend to use the internet more for client projects, especially in the initial stages when we're deciding on color and subject. Pinterest is amazing for this!

My recent personal work has focused more on the political climate in the world and has driven me to more figurative illustrations. It's been a challenge after not studying figures since my school life drawing class almost 10 years ago. But I'm quickly developing a style again and enjoying the diverse opportunities that are coming up. I'm particularly passionate about helping with issues that surround woman and plan on focusing more on this going forward. News sites and magazines like National Geographic are great sources of inspiration for these more recent works.

 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?

I have encountered a few paintings very close to some of my work but I try not to worry about this too much. I've found a lot of people are interested in my process which I'm happy to share, it's nice when I'm tagged in art inspired by my work which can sometimes look very similar but I know it will always be slightly different and hope that aspiring artists will use this to develop their own style. However, if I was to see my work stolen by a brand I'd be upset. I know this happens a lot and it's so sad that independent artists/brands have to deal with huge corporations ripping them off.

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

 I think just do what you love and don't force it. Things often develop naturally and if you're passionate about something that's a great start for success. I'm still working out the "business" side of my creative practice but I would advise getting a little help when you can, if for example, accounting, isn't your strong point. Also, talk to other creatives and help each other or bounce ideas- I find this SO inspiring!

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

I have a few so here's some of my favs!

Blog

http://www.designsponge.com/ 

I absolutely love Design Sponge and always find inspiring features, Grace Bonney is an inspiration and I love that she uses her platform to talk about important issues.

Podcast

http://www.debbiemillman.com/designmatters/

Design Matters is a series of podcasts presented by Debbie Millman, it has wonderful interviews with all sorts of creatives (including Grace Bonney) and keeps me focused and inspired whilst working.

Photography

@indiahobson

India Hobson has the most amazing colour/photography Instagram that's so beautifully organized. A lot of her work is shot in my home town and makes me so happy to scroll through if I start to miss the north of England.   

Illustration

http://www.bodiljane.com/

Bodil Jane is a Dutch illustrator I first came across when we both designed a series of posters for interior company Oh My Home (@ohmyhome). Her illustrations have serious girl power and her style has such a unique, feminine quality.

Embroidery  

@lockhartembroidery

I'm always so inspired by beautiful embroidery and adore your work and patterns (obviously, haha), I love that it's available to everyone with your monthly pattern program. @lockhartembroidery is another stitch inspiration- her work has a lot of 70's inspired details and she often works on denim and creates incredible sketch style stories-all hand stitched!  

Magazine

http://makersmovement.ca/

Makers Movement is a new magazine based out of Canada. I love how beautifully curated and thoughtful each issue is and they support lots of new, independent brands.

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