talking with the artist, designer & creator themselves about their
chosen medium. Get to know the artist behind the items featured and
find inspiration in their personal stories of creativity. Today I would
like to welcome Charlotte Lyons to Vintage Indie.
What is your
Magpie artist that I am, it's sometimes hard to say, but I always love to
work with felt made from old clothing. That started when I was a rug hooker in
the 80's, buying old wool clothes and deconstructing them to cut into strips.
After awhile (and way too many rugs), I had to use the wool for other
things too. Now I use felted wools for applique, clothing, collage,
illustration. I try to use all the other things I scavenge too- mixing them
into projects I design for classes or licensing.
How did you get
My first craft book was about mother-daughter crafting (Mothers and
Daughters at Home). My mom is very artistic with a fabulous personal
style and as a child I was encouraged to pursue the arts. She had a
home-based art business making custom purses and I got to cut out the felt
flowers to decorate the wicker purses. We lived way out of
town so I learned that art and craft made me happy when no one else was
around. At the same time, I learned to use what was readily available- in
the house and the yard and the shed- the beginnings of my recycling, make-do
approach to art. I made things with my mom, carried that tradition on in my
developing work, then with my 3 daughters too. Now here I am still
rummaging in the ragbag. The green cabinet in my studio that I painted and
reworked with potato stamps is my mother's sewing cabinet. It was the place I
scoured for materials when I was a kid.
Who or what inspires
I get inspiration from a different place every day. My studio world is
stuffed full of things that inspire me to begin. Folk art, ethnic costumes, an
old sewing basket, a jar of buttons, a transferware dish, something handmade or
sentimental. I make a lot of designs in the form of a house (especially pink
ones), a flower, a primitive silhouette, often inspired by functional
vintage pieces or textiles. Old knitting bags, pillows, home
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get
into this medium?
Word to the wise- be careful not to import too much. It's easy to get
carried away. After collecting a few pieces of wool clothing, cut them
up, throw them in the hot wash, then the dryer. And then experiment. Each piece
will behave in its own way, have unique qualities. That's a good thing. It's so
gratifying to repurpose old clothes into something new. There is a ton of
information on felting for art and craft now.
Does vintage play a
role in your art or life? If so, how?
I've been thrifting for over 35 years and our life, home and
craft is solidly vintage. I almost never buy anything new and feel most at
home among old things. What I love now is seeing how that fondness has
translated into my daughters' aesthetics. They each have a finely tuned eye for
their own vintage style. When I go to one of their homes and see some
treasure I passed along- and how fresh and hip it looks in its new digs, I
am so proud of that. What a great tradition that appreciation is and how
exciting to see vintage move on to a new generation of art and
use. Each of my girls also has an eye for Restraint- something I struggle to
achieve. These days, vintage anything is too easily found and more than a little
addictive. It's way too much fun to find and score.
What is important for your customer to know about your work?
I have to be invested in a piece with an affection for the materials,
technique or design. Many times the challenge from a commission or a series will
create that inspired jump-off and it's hard to see exactly where it will go. So
much depends upon the character of the materials which usually means something
old, deconstructed and repurposed as part of something new. Something
beautiful. Something that reflects my point of view.
Button House Wool Mice
Find out more about Charlotte visit her self titled website Charlotte LyonsYou can also catch up with her daily at her blog House Wren Studio.
A special thank you to Charlotte for sharing her beautiful work with us. ***Have a great day everyone, we'll see you back here tomorrow!