Hey everyone! I am so proud and excited to introduce the fabulous Josie Skinner to MrXstitch fans! I was lucky enough to meet, and have a few classes at North Carolina State University with this incredibly talented artist. Josie’s Etsy shop, OmoroseDesigns showcases some of her hand-made jewelry that ranges from statement pieces to simpler beaded accessories. Visit her wonderful Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/OmoroseDesigns! Enjoy.
I started out as a traditional art student, well kind of. My mom is an Art Teacher and opened her own studio for student’s age 5-13 when I was 7. My neighbor, my sister and I were her only students the first year. She was one of my first inspirations and the person who encouraged me to develop my skills. One of my first encounters with fiber art though was a weaving project I did in 5th grade that then got featured at the downtown library. The idea of creating art with thread captured me, but that was about the only project I did with fibers until I started college at NC State. I thought that I would major in fine arts but was drawn into the Anni Albers program as a sophomore. The program was a dual degree between Art and Design, as well as, Textile Technology. The program helped me to see fibers from start to finish and learn techniques I otherwise would never have been able to. I also was lucky enough to work with professors like Vita Plume and Susan Brandeis both of whom encouraged me to develop a much deeper and thoughtful process in my work. A process that is much needed when working with tedious fibers.
Who are some of your inspirations? What do you like about these artists/designers?
My current inspirations range from fashion designers, old school traditional indigenous textiles, and pure fiber artists. I really enjoy designers that use the traditional methods in modern unexpected ways. Recently I have been very inspired by the line Cosmic Thread made by sisters Taryn and Megan Slawson. They use found objects and fibers to create a range of works from jewelry, to coiling, to wall hangings. My senior year I took history of world textiles with Susan Brandeis and since then have been captivated by the traditional methods and work created all over the world. The class helped me see that fibers are the oldest and most universal language. One of the fiber artists I love is Ana Teresa Barboza, she uses knitting and embroidery in such unexpected ways. It is almost like she paints with the fiber.
Can you give some specific examples of how you use your design process to communicate to your clients?
My design process always includes research, sketching, and samples. When working with a client I make sure to involve them in each of these steps, as to make sure that our ideas are in line with one another’s. I also believe communication is key in any design process, communication with the viewer, the client and clear communication of what the design is trying to achieve.
What is it about creating things for others that differs from making things for yourself?
When creating for others I have to approach a project totally different than I would one for myself. For myself I can envision what I want and just go. For someone else I really have to do research and communicate effectively with them to achieve the vision they have in mind. Right now I am in the process of trying to create a “brand”, and the whole thing has made me rethink whom I am creating for. There has to be a target market in mind and you must know the types of designs that attract these people. Often these are far different than the complicated elaborate projects that I find myself always wanting to take on. I have to make sure that I can complete the piece in a timely manner that won’t break my clients bank, but still create something intricate and one-of-a-kind.
How has Etsy changed the way you communicate with other artists and clients?
Etsy has allowed me the opportunity to easily find other makers like myself and see how their models have become successful. Having a network of other makes helps me to become inspired by other designs, creations and ideas. It has also been interesting to see which pieces sell and where they go. This has given me better ideas of what types of things sell as well as, what type of people are buying my products.
Cassie Ott is an artist/designer out of North Carolina who just graduated from NCSU Design with a concentration in fibers. Teaching art classes on nights and weekends, Cassie spends her days drawing, stitching, painting, and researching upcoming textile artists. She sells some of her pieces on Etsy, and is working towards making that avenue her full-time job. What a life, right? In addition to contributing to Mr. X Stitch she is thinking of looking for more of a “grownup” position that doesn’t involve drinking wine and painting customers work for them…but hopefully it won’t come down to that…