Monday, June 9, 2008

Miriam of elefante, é a vida!


Miriam, Aveiro, Portugal
Brand: elefante, é a vida!
Blogs: felty.blogs.sapo.pt
Shop: miriam.etsy.com

I'd like to say a big thank you to Miriam for agreeing to be interviewed, especially since she went to the trouble of arranging for a translator to supply her answers in English! Muito obrigada!

I love Miriam's creations - her choice of colors, shapes, materials ... all remind me of a Utopian land far far away.

The fact that my grandfather and my father were tailors was a big influence in my life

>> click here to continue reading the interview


1. How would you describe your style?


I don't think I really have a style, it's hard to define myself... contemporary?!... don't know! It's easier for other people to categorize us... but, in fact, I don't really like being categorized :D

2. How long have you been doing this for and how did it all begin?

It was a natural process! I'm a professional graphic designer and I have always been a very "crafty" person. When I was younger, I used to make gifts for my friends & family and because of that I become very good at working with various craft techniques. I don't know exactly when it all began, but I know I was very little. The fact that my grandfather and my father were tailors was a big influence in my life, as well as being surrounded by seamstresses and sewing machines. I began selling my creations on the web and in various shops in 2004 - thanks to a lot of encouraging friends!

Hmmm to get past crafter's block? I don't know exactly, I do this because I love it, so when I'm not inspired, I simply just stop and make other things... and inspiration naturally comes and goes.

3. What inspires you? How do you get past crafter's block?

I'm inspired by everything around me... my boyfriend, my friends, nature, beach, old houses (I love old houses), retro tiles, a lot of books, ohhh and I love music.

Hmmm to get past crafter's block? I don't know exactly, I do this because I love it, so when I'm not inspired, I simply just stop and make other things... and inspiration naturally comes and goes. There are a lot of days that I can't create anything at all, but I've gotten used to that ... it's also like that in my professional job.


I don't consider myself a mentor... but I guess if I think about it, I have a blog that's read by a lot of people, I have an online shop, my creations are sold at real shops... so I guess it is only natural that other people are inspired by my work, just like I am inspired by others.

4. The handmade community is such a close knit group, I notice that most people are either mentors to aspiring crafters/designers or have mentors who have been in the business for a while and are eager to share their experiences with budding crafters/artists. Do you have a mentor? And are you a mentor yourself?

I tend not to think of things in that way... obviously it's almost impossible not to feel inspired by anyone. Actually, I'm inspired by a lot of people. It's not like me to have a mentor, it's not part of the way that I think...maybe it's due to my education or my profession. I follow a lot of designers and illustrators that I like, I read a lot of blogs and books, I devour magazines, and so on.

Essentially, I listen to a lot of advice from the people I love, so maybe my mentors are my family and friends. I don't consider myself a mentor... but I guess if I think about it, I have a blog that's read by a lot of people, I have an online shop, my creations are sold at real shops... so I guess it is only natural that other people are inspired by my work, just like I am inspired by others.

I prefer to sell in smaller shops where there is a closer relationship with the buyer, where I know the shop owner and can continue to create unique, one-of-a-kind handmade objects on a smaller scale.

5. If you could put your products on the shelves of any 3 stores (international), which ones would you choose?

Ohh this one is really hard... topshop, vinçon, urban outfitters maybe, that is if I was to produce my objects on a massive scale.

But honestly, I prefer to sell in smaller shops where there is a closer relationship with the buyer, where I know the shop owner and can continue to create unique, one-of-a-kind handmade objects on a smaller scale.

6. One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How did you come up with your measuring tape concept? What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

The idea of using measuring tapes have been lingering in my head for quite a long time, I think maybe 2 years before I gave it a practical use. A few years ago, I don't remember where exactly, I found some beautiful tape measures with vivid colors and bought them. I began to look at them with a different eye and began collecting them.

I collect a lot of things in my house, things that I find everywhere and anywhere. My mother hated that! Now that I'm in a new home, I do the same ... basically I keep everything that I find graphically pleasing, it was exactly how I came upon the measuring tapes! I just didn't know exactly how to start, nor what to do with them. It was my father that helped me sew my first ever purse in the beginning of 2005. Since then I've found a whole variety of measuring tape with different colors and numbers. I even have a few that I can't get myself to cut... so I keep them!

It's hard to give advice, especially since I don't consider myself an expert crafter =) I think everyone should follow their own inspiration, research a lot, keep creating their own style and, more importantly, be really honest with themselves and others.

7. Do you do this full-time? If not, what pays the bills?

No! I teach design at the University of Aveiro and I'm a graphic designer also. My free time is dedicated to crafts and creating new products.

8. Who is your idol or current craft-crush?

I read a lot of blogs, but actually... I think I don't really have an idol. I love so many crafters, for the materials they use, for the forms of their creations, or just for the amazing imagination they have. I love so many people it would be unfair to mention just one and forget the others =)

9. Can you share any recently discovered blogs and or artists?

Yes I can, but just a few... I love so many people ;)
I love the recent screenprinted fabric from maria joão arnaud, I love kjoo's new bracelets, ox-hill necklaces, it makes me smile the eikumpel´s cute monsieur virgule, I love the funny fruit necklaces of vento na praia the fantastic deditos from fric de mentol, just an example of some of my favourite Portuguese girls...

I've found so many creative people lately... let me think... well, here it goes more of my favourite etsy shops: lealandmabe.etsy.com, daisyjanie.etsy.com, cocoondesigns.etsy.com, syko.etsy.com

Thanks Miriam!!

3 comments:

Melissa de la Fuente said...

Wonderful! I have been a fan of Miriam's for awhile now and am so happy to read more about her! Thank you Miriam and thank you Marichelle!
xo
Melissa

griséu said...

Great choice, she has a lovelly work ;) Full of color.

fric_de_mentol said...

GREAT!!! Miriam is an excellent designer and a very cool person! I love her work, so unique, and i know she started a new kind of 'wave', she's the Tape Measure Girl!
all the best for Miriam :)