Welcome to Monthly Maker!
This is a column celebrating independent Canadian artists and their work. Each month I will introduce a new Monthly Maker (MM) who will share their skills, advice, goals and quirks with readers. Also, as a special treat, each MM will offer either a tutorial or deal specifically for CAC readers.
MMs will differ in terms of what they create (artists, crafters, potters or jewellery makers, etc.), but these are all individuals who are taking time to do what they love and sharing it with the world.
Drop by each month to meet a new, fresh-faced creative and be inspired!
Let’s kick-off the launch with January’s Monthly Maker, Denise (pictured below) of Thrifty By Design, is a web designer, crafter extraordinaire and an upcycler of things. Have a read and then enter Denise’s giveaway at the end of the post!
Denise is one talented gal with a wicked sense of humour, whose passion lies in using her skills to transform “trash” into beautiful functional objects. I first saw her work at Langara College’s Art Auction and I was instantly smitten by her style. Denise was kind enough to chat with CAC about Thrifty By Design (TBD), what inspires her and why it is okay to be thrifty.
TBD grew from Denise’s love of building and transforming objects, which she discovered while studying for a fine arts degree at Capilano College. With an artistic background and a serendipitous purchase of a 1950’s Singer sewing machine (that included one sewing lesson) for ten bucks, Denise began to create purely to feed her soul rather than her pocketbook (a consequence many practicing artists face).
While talking with Denise, I understood how TBD is not just a hobby for her, but a necessity that lines up perfectly with her belief to be authentic and be proud of the work she puts out into the world.
A school friend, who once described Denise as “thrifty,” inspired the name Thrifty By Design. Initially interpreting “thrifty” as “cheap”, Denise was offended, but as she began to see herself as her friend did she embraced the title, not as a good or bad trait but simply as who she is.
The TBD workspace doubles as Denise’s living space and studio. Living in a one bedroom apartment, she has inventive ways to conceal her supplies and projects. Contrary to belief, Denise’s passion for upcycling items does not mean she lives like a hoarder. She avoids the hoarder lifestyle by being diligent about what items she buys/receives as donations and by giving away some of her finished items. Her parents also quite generously lend their house as a storage and studio space. It’s no surprise, then, that Denise practices what she preaches and lives an upcycled lifestyle. The only newly purchased item in her apartment is a couch. Everything else was a gift, hand-me-down or a repurposed project. A guy friend recently described her décor as “antique-y,” but she prefers “eclectic and colourful.”
When she isn’t crafting, Denise is probably attending yoga classes to balance her lifestyle, or exploring Vancouver’s Gastown, checking out the home décor stores for inspiration. She stresses how easy it is to create a similar item you may find in a high-end furniture store for way less money and how incredibly rewarding it is to create something with your own hands.
Denise’s 2012 goals for TBD include streamlining it to steer TBD into a serious business, and taking more courses in woodworking (she’s fond of power tools), and perhaps one on glass or metalworks for repurposing jewelry.
To end of our first Monthly Maker feature on TBD, I share with you words of wisdom from Denise:
“It’s great to explore your ideas. You can get overwhelmed trying to do it all and end up with many unfinished projects. Instead, focus and put your time and energy into the right project. Be honest with yourself. Don’t commit to something that does not motivate or interest you. Yes, you have to pay bills and make a living, but be content with what you put out there.”
To coincide with Valentine’s Day, Denise created a special Valentine’s Day Goodie Bag tutorial for CAC! Click on the image above to access a PDF of the tutorial. (If you try this, please link your results!)
Also, to make the launch of MM even sweeter, Denise has offered a giveaway of the two Goodie Bags she created for the tutorial filled with chocolate from Cinnamon’s, a specialty chocolate shop located in North Vancouver.
To enter TBD’s giveaway, post a comment below about our first Monthly Maker before Feb.13, 2012 5pm PST. One entry per person. We will randomly select two winners and post the winners.
UPDATE: Congratulations to our two lucky winners: Marjo Fournier & Kiersten!! Please contact Denise to receive your prize!