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Craft With Conscience: Madriguera Workshop

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: Madriguera Workshop

Sarah Benning

Madriguera workshop // Ceramic Studio // Galícia, Spain

Madriguera workshop is a creative workshops based on Galicia (Spain) that is passionate about design and crafts. The workshop was founded by Lydia de la Piñera and Luis Llamas in 2012, since then have been designing and making unique, artisan and creative pieces. They are makers of objects full of life. The process is entirely done by hand. Some of the pieces are hand-thrown on the throwing wheel in different kinds of clay. Their porcelain pieces are cast in plaster molds.

Check out more of their work on their instagram or website.

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 the main promoter of our project right from the beginning.

In 2012 we were working on other similar projects and finally joined together to found Madriguera Workshop. Since then we began selling online in our own shop as well as Etsy. We were so happy with the impact and the quick visibility of our work around the world. Thanks to the Internet we have the ability to work on what we like best.

But now the visibility in the Internet is more complicated than before. Social media platforms aren't too equitable and this is prejudicial to small makers.

In any case, the Internet has become essential for our project.

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

The Internet is a big library for finding inspiration and It’s been wonderful!

We have known a lot of designers and artisans because of this great maker community. We learn new elaborations, processes and discover new methods thanks of them. With the internet, we can learn things faster and more information is available, but it’s important to get away once in a while and look for the inspiration all around us. Our personal world, daily lives and our nature makes our creations different from everything else. It's important to keep the originality.

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?

Exactly, we were referring to this in the previous question. The Internet is great as a tool of inspiration but the designers can't lose their own originality.

In our case we have not found works identical to ours but we have found questionable similarities albeit not enough to take action.

If you discover some copies of your work done by other maker it's possible to make an agreement more easy but the problem is if the copies come from large corporations. Here the only effective tool is social pressure. The makers community have to help in this way and our actions can change things.

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

 We still feel like apprentices in this field. We have a lot of things to learn and this motivate us.

Our advice is to enjoy it. Be tenacious, patient and don't lose confidence and the vision for the project. Grow slowly with confidence and sustainability.

The craft with conscience is essential to make a better world.


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

We have a big favourites list. : )

Ceramists: Tortus Copenhagen and East fork pottery, the slow lifestyle is inspiration to us.

Design and Photo: Ignant.

Friends of ours: (Spanish brands): Lele lerele, Hamabi Design, Depeapa and Don fisher.

 All images provided by the artists.