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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: Carmen Mardónez

Sarah Benning

Carmen Mardónez is a Chilean artist currently living in Los Angeles, California. Her work is focused on exploring how to convey movement, color, and lights through hand embroidery, finding inspiration in Northern Lights, and Telescope captures. In Chile, she worked as volunteer and professional in prisons and local governments, whereas her artwork was a personal search. Since arriving in Los Angeles, she is completely dedicated to embroidery.

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Craft With Conscience: Justyna Wołodkiewicz

Sarah Benning

Justyna Wołodkiewicz is a Polish artist specializing in 3 dimensional embroidery. Taking inspiration from her surroundings as well as a strong awareness of her own creative process, she uses vibrant colors and breadth of contrasting textures and shapes to create a finished piece that is both technically complicated and incredibly whimsical. 

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Craft With Conscience: Erin Dollar of Cotton & Flax

Sarah Benning

Erin Dollar is a textile and surface pattern designer who specializes in minimalist geometric designs. Her artwork is screen printed onto natural fabrics like linen and wool to create modern home goods that are handcrafted with care in California. Erin’s passion for collaboration has expanded the scope of her work — her second fabric yardage collection with Robert Kaufman fabrics debuts in August.

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Craft With Conscience: Judit Just of Jujujust

Sarah Benning

Judit Just is a textile artist raised and born in Barcelona, Spain, but she currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she moved in 2013 and where she develops her textile’s brand, known by Jujujust. She studied fashion design, sculpture and textile art, where she specialized in weaving and embroidery. She grew up surrounded by textiles and actually learned weaving craftsmanship through her mom when she was little. She takes some old weaving techniques and gives it a twist using vibrant color combinations and a bunch of beautiful vintage threads.

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Craft With Conscience: Nadia Nizamudin

Sarah Benning

Nadia Binti Nizamudin is a visual artist, working primarily with textile painting, embroidery, and mixed media collage. Her artwork focuses on found, reclaimed or recycled materials and is always represented by bold and bright colors. Both her collage and textile painting carry narratives around loss, relationships and hope.

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Craft With Conscience: Laura Garcia Serventi of ART and PEOPLE

Sarah Benning

Laura Garcia Serventi is an Argentinian painter and illustrator based in Brooklyn .

Her work, deeply inspired by her love of the natural world is also related to the memories of  her childhood spent in Buenos Aires.

Filled with an exuberant variety of plants, from cacti and succulents to fanned palm trees and orchids in bloom, her  paintings are an ode to the botanical world and all its wonders and oddities.

Laura's work is always evolving and ranges  from large scaled original paintings to affordable art  prints, editorial work and collaborations with fashion brands such  as Patrizia Pepe and Charles & Keith. She's launching a collection of  silk scarves with her designs in summer 2018.

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Craft With Conscience: Anna Hultin of Olander CO. Embroidery

Sarah Benning

Anna Hultin is a wife, mama and artist living in Loveland, Colorado. After receiving a BFA in drawing from Colorado State University, she continued to pursue drawing, sculpture, and installation. Since becoming a mama her work has taken on a new, more flexible form: needle and thread. Her embroideries are inspired by her land; from the the vast and rugged landscape of Colorado to the intimacy of her own garden.

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Craft with Conscience: Adam Pritchett

Sarah Benning

Adam Pritchett is a hand embroidery artist based in the Lake District, England—his work is focused around mystical, botanical, and entomological themes, mixing traditional hand embroidery techniques with contemporary subjects, and hand dyed textiles.

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Craft With Conscience: Serena García Dalla Venezia

Sarah Benning

Serena García Dalla Venezia's work originates from an interest in handcrafts and is carried out in a patient and laborious process. It uses the sum of gestures that are repeated and prolonged through time in order to transform materials as simple as fabric and thread into large sculptural and pictorial objects that are structured in an a way that's organic and flexible.

By wrapping, tying, and intertwining fabrics and thread Serena produces smaller individual pieces that connect and adhere in order to form a larger total which may continue to grow.

Serena is an observer of nature and natural processes. Her work resembles plants, roots and other organic beings that interconnect forming real construction systems in which the total is formed by many small parts.

Her pieces are driven by the personal pleasure that meticulous work gives her, labor that requires time and dedication as well as the challenge that results in seeing what large dimensions can be reached or how much a piece can grow from these small actions and simple materials.

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Craft With Conscience: Humayrah Bint Altaf

Sarah Benning

In her two years at The Royal School of Needlework, Humayrah developed her skills in traditional hand embroidery techniques like Goldwork and Silk Shading and it was here that her love and appreciation for exquisite craftsmanship blossomed. Since graduating, Humayrah proceeded to create an Etsy store (The Olde Sewing Room) displaying age old techniques amalgamated with her growing penchant for Entomology and the natural world.

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Craft With Conscience: Maryanne Moodie

Sarah Benning

Maryanne is a fiber obsessed maker from Australia working between Melbourne and Brooklyn, NY. She divides her time between designing and creating woven wall hangings, developing weaving kits, and teaching sold out workshops across the world. Maryanne is best known for applying unexpected color combinations to her nostalgic designs. She is inspired by the intricacies of vintage textiles, traditional costuming, modern art, and the natural world. Maryanne’s work has been featured in New York Magazine, ELLE Decoration UK, AnthologyO MagazineGraziaInterwoven, and online on Design*Sponge and The Design Files. A finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards in both 2014 and 2015, she sells her work on Etsy and through online shops and boutiques around the country.

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Craft With Conscience: Meghan Bogden Shimek

Sarah Benning

Meghan Bogden Shimek is a fiber artist living and working in Oakland, California. Meghan is inspired by loss, movement, healing and the acknowledgment of uncomfortable feelings. She uses organic movements to intertwine raw fibers to create abstract and textural wall hangings and sculptural objects.

Meghan has studied several weaving techniques including tapestry weaving, Navajo weaving, rigid heddle, and floor loom weaving. Meghan has been exhibiting her work and teaching weaving workshops for over 5 years across the world.

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Craft With Conscience: Hello Tangle

Sarah Benning

Hello Tangle is made up of sisters Bibi and Veronica.  Bibi has a background in Illustration, and Veronica in Finance, but they have both had a passion for all things crafty their whole lives, driven mainly by their Mum who is an expert quilter and knitter.  They have worked in many mediums, but feel they have found their groove with their current obsession – what they call freeform beading and embroidery.  

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Craft With Conscience: Nicole O'Loughlin

Sarah Benning

Nicole O'Loughlin is a mutli-disciplinary artist, self taught in embroidery.  She is a printmaker by trade but turned to embroidery as an easy 'pick up and put down' art form after the birth of her son.  Nicole's embroidery work combines pop culture with religious iconography and kitsch embellishment to create witty works that address the role of worship and gender roles in society.

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Craft With Conscience: Jen Hewett

Sarah Benning

Jen Hewett is a printmaker, surface designer, textile artist and teacher. A lifelong Californian, Jen combines her love of loud prints and saturated colors with the textures and light of the California landscapes to create highly-tactile, visually-layered, printed textiles.

She is the author of Print, Pattern Sew: Block-Printing Basics + Simple Sewing Projects, and has recently collaborated with Cotton + Steel on a line of fabric.

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Craft With Conscience: Sammy Dudley of Pink Pal

Sarah Benning

Sammy Dudley is an embroidery artist based in Camberwell, London. After recently graduating from Kingston School of Art, she has continued her practice from her bedroom studio, surrounded by plants and thread. Her current series of pink themed embroideries draws inspiration from selfie culture, and explores the male gaze within art history by re-appropriating famous paintings and sculptures. She has recently shown a number of these pieces at an exhibition organised by Hewing Wittare, whilst also running embroidery workshops. 

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Craft With Conscience: Dee Monti of MONTI

Sarah Benning

Dee Monti is the founder and designer of the geometric glassware brand MONTI which she launched in 2015. She is a self-taught glass artist who designs and makes all pieces by hand in her London home studio using glass, copper and solder. Dee has been featured in various publications and often works with private clients to create bespoke pieces. Her current collection is a selection of geometric multi-functional shapes which bring simple geometric design and nature together with the encouragement to be creative with your choice of shapes and how you adapt them to your personal surroundings. 

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Craft With Conscience: Alexandra Knie

Sarah Benning

Alexandra Knie is a German multidisciplinary artist and university lecturer with a degree in
Fine Arts, currently living and working in Valencia (Spain) where she most recently has
been awarded an Artistic Research Fellowship from the Consorci de Museus de la
Comunitat Valenciana. Her special interest is the artistic investigation of the intersection of
art and science.

She focuses on the transfer of microscopic and macroscopic visualized images into hand
or machine embroidery, which links two complementary areas: modern science and a
historical textile technique.

In addition to some important solo exhibitions, Alexandra Knie has participated in several group
exhibitions in Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the USA, among others.

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Craft With Conscience: Trini Guzmán

Sarah Benning

 Trini is a multidisciplinary artist from Chile. From large scale murals to embroidery, her work is a continuous exploration that seeks to push the limits of her own possibilities and interests, using bold colors and intricate textures. Over the last years she has been focusing on fiber art, something that has always called her attention and that she now shares through her project Cosío, Bordao, Tejío (that means sewn, embroidered and knitted in Chilean). She also shares her personal experience about creativity through  teaching embroidery classes and in her book The Embroidery Revolution.

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Craft With Conscience: Lauren Singleton of Yes Stitch Yes

Sarah Benning

Lauren Singleton is an embroidery artist living and stitching in Brooklyn, New York.  Lauren’s venture into embroidery initially started as an act of self-care with one solid rule “don’t make anything you wouldn’t hang in your own home” and turned into the business Yes Stitch Yes. Lauren currently focuses on floral work and whatever phrase is running through her mind.

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