Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Better Know an Austin Artist: Stephanie Friedman of The Flash Bulb

Welcome to another installment of my Ask an Austin Artist Some Random Questions™. At first glance it might seem like an interview, but upon closer inspection, you'll find it's really just some stuff I wanted to know. I especially wanted to know about the reuse part. You know I dig that. A big thanks to all the artists who made the time to participate in this series. I've loved getting to better know each of you.

Stephanie Friedman -- The Flash Bulb
Could you provide a brief description of your work?
I keeps busy with my sewing machine and camera in Austin, Texas. In my sewing world you'll find colorful birds roosting in cotton trees or roaming buttoned landscapes. Using a mixture of new and vintage cotton fabric, I creates sewn pieces that brighten up a room.

Having visible stitch lines connect all my fabric shapes, I reference the crafts of string art, quilting and embroidery. Besides sewn art pieces, I also makes fabric headbands, fabric pencil cups and fabric appliqued-onesies. (Basically if you can make it or decorate it with fabric, I'm on it).

Do you feel like your work is closer to quilting or painting?

I think of my work like very thin quilts - no batting is involved - but I do incorporate some quilting techniques.

Have you always worked with fabric?
My art background is in photography -- and from there I branched into sewn work -- skipping any explorations in painting or drawing, etc.

Do you have a crazy-big stash of fabric?
Yes. Of course. It's filled half a bookcase and three boxes under the ironing board. I recently went through it and donated a bunch to an elementary art teacher (which only gives me the excuse to now buy more).

Do you have any favorite birds?
Not particularly -- I think they're all great.

What made you decide to create prints of your sewn art?
I wanted to offer a range of products in my Etsy shop - and making prints seemed like an economical choice for people to buy.

Do you reuse materials in your business?
I do -- I've used fabric from old clothes or from yard sales. I also sometimes buy fabric to use as backgrounds for my stock photography portfolio -- and that fabric could next end up in a sewn piece. Since I use so many scrap-sized pieces in my work, I've had friends and family donate their fabric to me as well for re-use.

What material would you like to work with/or what skill would you like to learn that you haven’t yet?
I'd like to do some work with oilcloth - I love the patterns you can find there. As for new skills, it'll be whatever catches my fancy next. I enjoy taking sewing classes where you get a finished project at the end of it.

You are stuck on a desert island for a year and can only take 3 things to make with--what would you take?
Clearly my desert island needs electricity because it'd be my digital camera, sewing machine and embroidery hoop.

Have you discovered any new talents while running this business?
I've mostly discovered all the things I didn't learn in college -- the marketing and business end of any new shop.

The holidays are upon us. Which of your items do you think make the best gifts?
Headbands make great stocking stuffers. Framed prints are great for brightening up a nursery or kitchen wall.

Any other info you would like to showcase? Run another business? Teach classes? Run marathons? Teach classes while running marathons?
I also have portfolios of microstock images on the following sites:
Big Stock Photo, Dreamstime, Cutcaster

I also teach yoga classes once a week and keep a yoga blog at: Yoga for Crafters

See more of Stephanie' s work on her website and in her Etsy shop.

Catch up with Stella, The Wondercraft's travelling art studio/store to see some of Stephanie's work up close.

Upcoming Shows
Shops and online venues are great in lots of way, but sometimes the best way to see the full breadth of an artist's work is to catch one of their shows. You can see Stephanie at the Etsy Austin Craft Riot.

EtsyAustin's December 2009 Craft Riot!
A Handmade Revolution in Shopping
at Wines.com headquarters
5005 Commercial Park Dr. Ste. 103
Austin, TX 78724

Sat. 12/5: 10am-8pm
Sun. 12/6: 11am-7pm
Entrance fee: $3 for adults; free for kids under 12
~ Free parking ~

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