Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting to Know You: Arty Didact

by Anna of Seedling Design

This is a chance to get to know some of the members of HandmadeMN and a little bit more about what they make and do in their own words.

Today we are getting to know Sharon Parker of Arty Didact who lives in South Minneapolis. blog: 
You can find her blog here.

What do you make and why?
I often think that the variety of things I make is a little too diverse, which makes it hard to give a succinct answer to that question! I draw, I sew, I knit, I mess around with found objects and paper ephemera. I am inspired to find creative and playful ways to make useful things. The items in my shop include original drawings, note cards made from those drawings, art doll bunnies (sewn) and frogs (knit), coin purses (sewn) and needle books (knit). I also have a couple of zines, and there will be more of those—I am a writer and editor by trade, so words are an integral part of how I create.
Where do you do your making? I'm kind of all over the place, in part because we moved last summer and haven't really established my art space yet, though we've designated an area in our basement for it (which is nicely dry and has good light), but other home improvement projects (and a daughter in college) have taken precedent over getting that finished. My sewing room shares space with the laundry, and my sewing machine is an industrial number that my grandmother used to work on at a coat factory in downtown Minneapolis back in the thirties and forties. I have a photo of Grandma at her machine on the wall above my sewing machine. I painted the walls in that room pale pink, which makes it bright and cheery.

My other "regular" work space is our home office in a bedroom on the main floor. I use the east-facing window there on cloudy bright days to fashion a makeshift photo booth. I also bring my laptop computer and drawing supplies with me to coffee shops and other places.

What is your favorite part of the process? Getting a creative idea and then figuring out how to execute it. I get bored with churning out similar things after a while and want to do something completely different, that's why I make such a wide variety of items. I design my own patterns and "invent" my own versions of things.
What do you listen to or watch while you are working? In the warm season when the windows can be open, I love listening to the birds and the wind in the trees and my brass wind chimes and my neighbor's bamboo ones. I do have a mix of music on my i-Tunes—eclectic, like my art-making, of course! It includes world and folk and classical music, and a few you might call pop, like Van Morrison's "Days Like This" and Jakob Dylan's "Something Good This Way Comes," because I love upbeat music.

Tell us something else that we don't know about you. I love to garden and to write about gardening! That's mostly what my blog is about, although I will write about anything when I get an inspiration. And I am planning a zine called "The Elements of Gardening," which will probably include hand-drawn illustrations. It's really about how to be an organic gardener, which I think is often misunderstood and made to seem much more complicated or difficult than it really is. I am rather passionate about that.