Friday, January 29, 2010

Spotlight: twirling betty

Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi there, I’m Christen and I live with my husband and two little girls in Port Melbourne. I grew up in Warrandyte (in the bush about 45 minutes from Melbourne) and after moving around quite a bit I’m thrilled to have ended up in a place where seagulls fly over my house and I can walk to the beach or city. Before I had kids I was a lawyer in a large commercial law firm in Canberra. Loved the people but the rest not so much. So when all our stars aligned and we moved to live in Rome for three years, I chucked it in. I had the time of my life in Rome and basically just swanned around shopping at amazing fresh food markets, visiting art galleries and Roman ruins and learning Italian. Yep, it was truly la dolce vita! I had my first baby, Sophia, there (that in itself was quite the experience) and I remain TOTALLY obsessed with Italy. I miss Rome terribly but feel I’m on the mend as I only cry with nostalgia about once a week now!

Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?

It sounds corny but I really do derive inspiration from everything around me. Since I’ve started creating stuff, I notice colours, textures and patterns everywhere I go. I also find looking at art so nourishing and uplifting and love to flick through the books I brought back from Italy with me. It’s not as if I then go off and create a renaissance-inspired piece (sun visor in red velvet and gold brocade anyone?) but I find it just gets ideas flowing. I take more modern inspiration from the many craft and design blogs that I subscribe to and read pretty much religiously. There are some absolutely amazing people making stuff and blogging about it out there. Quite awe inspiring.

My creative process is really as simple as contemplating the materials I have and trying to come up with new ways to use them. Many of what I consider my best ideas have popped into my head either while I’m in the shower, drying my hair (a long process) or feeding Olive. I suppose these are the times when I’m not necessarily occupied with the other demands of the day and can really let my mind roam without interruption.

How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
Well, they say necessity is the mother of invention and Sophia’s baby mohawk hair necessitated firm action. I searched high and low for clips I liked that would stay in her fine hair but everything I found was just too pink and fluffy for me. So I went and bought a few pieces of fabric I liked and then started experimenting with fabric and glue and after a few failed attempts, managed to come up with some clips in the fabrics I liked. Things just went on from there.

The funny thing is, until I made my first hairclip for Sophia 4 years or so ago, I really did assume that the creative gene that ran through all the women on my mum’s side in particular had skipped me. I always played piano and studied languages though school and uni but that was really the extent of any kind of right brain activities. In hindsight, the demands of studying for such a long time and then working in a high pressure job I think meant that I just didn’t have any space for anything else in my life. When I was pregnant with my second baby, Olive, I was bitten really badly with the crafty bug. I’m as shocked as anyone really that the creative drive didn’t recede, as I had thought it might, with the hormonal surges of pregnancy! In fact, Olive has just turned one and if anything, my urge to create is just getting stronger and stronger. I’m not really sure how I ever lived without art and craft and in my life.

To read the full interview visit the
Twirling Betty's spotlight page

Every fortnight madeit spotlights a new designer about their art & craft, advice for success and much more. Be inspired!

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