Sunday 13 April 2008

Curious Clo, an interview

Artist: Shannah Burton
Etsy shop: Das kaninchen (rabbit in German)
Craft: Crafty whims and conceptual soft sculpture art
Location: Born in Germany, she now lives in Illinois
Occupation: Works at a bookstore and teaches art to kids
Family: Wife and mother of Christian (11) and Max (3)

How did you get interested in crafts?
Just everyday mindful living keeps me busy with some kind of crafting creativity. I also love the social reconstruction elements of crafting (craftivism) and how it relates to art and education. This goes back to my belief in the work of Joseph Beuys and his idea of "social sculpture".

What influences your crafts?
I draw on personal narrative, mythology, science & math, art history, and contemporary art. I also have to mention the crafting community as a major influence. Etsy and Flickr have both been a wonderful resource for my motivation and growth as an artist.

What is your favorite medium?
My favorite material is wool felt. I love its metaphorical qualities: nature, warmth, and healing. I believe that they can be physically sensed within the texture even if it’s on a subconscious level. This is why I buy the best quality felt. You just can't get those qualities from printed fabric off the bolt. However, that doesn't stop me from buying those cute prints anyway!

From start to finish, what is the process you go through?
I have learned that most people are “process” or “concept first”. I am a “concept first”. I fill sketch books full of ideas and doodles. When an idea really gets my attention I usually over think
it to death before it even has a chance to get made. If I still have the compulsion to make it after all of that, I sketch out patterns for a day or two and then get set to work.

Do you remember the first item that you sold from Das kaninchen?
The first day that I opened my Etsy shop, Odkins (my Etsy fairy godmother) made a “treasury” featuring one of my rabbits. That “treasury” ended up on the front page and I sold 14 items by the next day! I will always remember my first customer. I sold a beuys bunny to Soto Softies, one of my favorite softie makers.

Are you working on a new project?
I just finished a few things for the Softie Awards, including some new softie elephants. I love that competition for motivating me to make things I wouldn't normally try. My big goal is to put together a solo soft sculpture show. I am also super excited about the upcoming Crammed Organisms show.

Favorite smell from a spice rack?
Favorite food on a picnic?
French bread, soft cheese and sparkling juice.
Favorite purse colour?
Black but I am working on getting color in my life.
Favorite music on a rainy day?
Andrew Bird or the Amelie soundtrack.
Favorite material for a dress?
I think I need to make a wool felt dress!

Thank you Shannah :)


Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I think that you did a really good job and asked very interesting questions. Well Done!

Di said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing this with us. I agree, the questions were good!

I looked at Shannah's Etsy Shop and smiled when I saw the Fibonacci bunnies -we have been talking about Fibonacci at work because it turns out the square outside our office was built using Fibonacci principles and the sun creates a spiral round the square as it moves through the sky! My director asked if I knew about Fibonacci and I said yes, he asked if I knew about it because of the Da Vinci Code and I said know, because of knitting!! Now that made him look puzzled!

Anonymous said...

I love that you posted an interview! Very interesting and well done! I hope you do more :)

Anonymous said...

great interview! I love her work...drooled over one of her "jointed rabbits" (i forget what it was really called) several months ago, but I missed my chance...may have to contact her now that you've effectively "picked that scab" again...heh heh

Mirka said...

This was a very interesting. And I like her work very much. What I find particularly interesting is how Shannah combines art history with craft. Thanks for this interview.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the kind comments aux petits oiseaux readers:) And of course thank you to Claudia for a lovely interview time!