I’m up to another interesting interview….this time with Amanda Winter of Clay and Fabric. She’s a mixed media artist and her art was very colorful, but also very dynamic….combining fabric and ceramics to create interesting designs for the home. I saw something too interesting I might pick up in the future…always on the lookout for the next new thing to take my art to the next level and I think Amanda just might have what I’m looking for….however in the meantime I was able to sit her down for a spell to talk about her work…her inspiration…and her business. Having gained most of her experience hands-on and being self-taught in the disciplines she currently works is pretty amazing.
Take a look at her bio (an excerpt is included here): ‘Amanda Winter is a clay and fabric artist. She has been creating quilt and ceramic art pieces for the last 20 years. She was formally trained as a graphic designer and always had a love of quilting and pottery. Amanda incorporates all three mediums in her work.’
You can read the rest of her bio and another quick interview of her here.
For my take on her work read the questions below:
1) Tell me a bit about your business. What is your specialty? I took a look at your Etsy shop and so I have an idea, but would like to hear it from you. Why clay and fabric?
Primarily my business is making handmade homeware goods out of clay and fabric. I like to call myself a clay and fabric artist. They are my two favorite mediums. I have been quilting for over 20 years and doing ceramics for about 10 years and it’s only been recently that I combined the two. I was formally trained as a graphic designer and always had a love of quilting and pottery. I try to incorporate all three mediums in my work.
2) Where did you study? Are you working in the area you feel you wanted to work in while you were going to school or have you departed slightly? How so if you did?
I studied at a trade school for graphic design in Los Angeles. I still use my graphic design skills in my work but my career is vary far from where i thought it was going to be in college. The idea of knowing what your career is going to be when you are 19 or 23 is silly to me. The subject of “college” is some what touchy for me. I was never a good student and I feel I did not learn anything from school. I taught myself to do quilting, pottery and business management. I learned so much more working at a job and just growing up.
3) Where do you see yourself going into the future?
I see my business continuing to expand, being featured in more boutiques and craft shows. I see my artwork continue to evolve, both in terms of technical skill and my aesthetic approach. I see myself continuing to do what I love doing, which is making beautiful objects for people to enjoy. My aspiration has never been to be the stereotypical “artiste,” so I don’t see my lifestyle changing that much. I enjoy simplicity.
4) I loved your artistic table runners and mixed media squared for hanging. Can you describe your creative process?
This might seem like a flip answer, but two words: the shower. It’s the best place for letting the mind wander. A piece usually starts as a concept, and I just start seeing where it leads. I definitely think in terms of the motion or flow of the piece. I stay away from designs that are static or too geometric. I think that comes from nature, which appears in a lot of my work. Plant life, leaves and branches, or the occasional feather. Perfectly straight lines and angles are rare in nature.
5) Do you work differently when you work in the different medias? How do you start a new project?
Since most of my work is functional, that’s where I start. If I decide I’m going to make, say, something to hold and display a small cactus, then the challenge is to figure out a way to do that using the two media. The question I ask is how can I involve both clay and the fabric in that piece? How can I integrate them together from both a functional and design standpoint? Even if the purpose of the object is strictly decorative, like a wall hanging, I’m still guided by trying to get that marriage of clay and fabric to work.
6) Where can people find your work besides Etsy? Can you tell me a bit about your customers? Who is your target audience?
Other then Etsy you can find my work at various Craft shows throughout the year and other boutique shops like ‘The Santa Barbara Company. ” I feel that my customer base is 30 to 60 year old homeowners or anyone who takes pride in their home decor, or simply has a love of ceramics and art.
7) What themes do you explore in your art? Are you trying to show a particular technique or highlight a particular art form such as quilting? I wonder simply because you have this amazing combining of pottery and fabric that I’ve never really seen before.
Thanks, that’s quite a compliment. Up until now, all of my art has really just been to create beautiful objects. I’m inspired most directly by nature, or by a sort of abstract minimalism. If I learn a new technique I’ll experiment with that for awhile to figure out what I can do with it, but eventually it just becomes part of my toolbox. I think what I do that I haven’t seen others do is combine clay, fabric, and design sense. I think it’s more fair to describe myself as a designer of artwork than an artist, if that makes sense.
8) If you could have your dream location for showcasing your work…where would it be? I mean really dig deep and dream big (lol)…would it be the Smithsonian or would it be to have your own storefront somewhere?
When making some of my more artistic pieces I really do not think
about where it is going to be shown. I love to make things and that’s why I create. Most of the time I do not make something for the end product, i love the process of making the piece. I would be happy to show my work anywhere that someone can buy it.
For my practical pieces I would love them in someone’s home, in use. It makes me so happy to have someone using my mugs, table runners or homeware goods in their home. I even like selling my practical work in person. I enjoy seeing who is buying my work and hearing what they would like me to make. So craft shows are exactly where I would like to be.
And so that’s it for this interview. I want to say Amanda thanks so much for participating. It was great to learn more about you and your work. I can’t wait to own my own piece of your art. It’ll be fun to see if there’s a way we might be able to collaborate in the future. I’ll be sure to keep in touch and maybe we’ll run into each other at another art show.
I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did asking the questions. Looking at mixed media like clay and fabric combinations was totally fascinating for me. It’s something I would’ve never thought to look for and so when I found it, it was totally fresh, innovative and inspiring. Until next time….Travel Spritely.