WHY I MAKE
I live a stones throw from the historic Mill Dam in Owen Sound, Ontario where I create in a newly built studio as whim takes me, drawn to materials provided by the natural world. Be it fibers like wool, silk, cotton, or leather, pebbles and driftwood worn smooth by lakes and oceans, my creativity manifests as everything from jewellery to felt, from fabric clocks to leather bags.
All of my career choices have included using my hands, from being a tailor to a massage therapist. Beginning in earliest childhood, I was surrounded by traditional crafts such as knitting, embroidery, sewing, rug hooking, but also more adventurous endeavours. You just never knew what new craft my Mum had spread on the dining room table when arriving home from school and I was always ready to dive in! Curiosity has served me well and I continue to learn and play in all creative forms. I studied leatherworking in Florence for three months at the prestigious Scuola del Cuoio and love taking workshops at my local arts centre, the Georgian Bay Centre for the Arts.
“For now, what I make begins and ends with what draws my eye, hands and heart…”
Being drawn to many different mediums of expression as an artisan is a gift and a curse. A gift…who can resist the beauty of rare breed sheep wool or a perfectly smooth stone and the ideas that they generate? A curse…because, well, where do I focus today, and how do they all intersect? For now, what I make begins and ends with what draws my eye, hands and heart, and may only be available for a little while.
I invite you to follow me as I explore ideas and materials. You can find me on Instagram at madebymann.ca and my work is available to view online at madebymann.ca
WHY I WRITE
I have really enjoyed talking to my friends via my meanderings, my blog. I began sending out a group email while in Ghana, Africa, when I was overwhelmed by all the plastic in the environment from all the single servings of things sold everywhere. Single servings of laundry detergent, cookies, peanut butter, sugar, you name it. And why? Because of poverty. It is more affordable than full size packages. It felt like an interesting thing to talk about to people I care about. And I loved hearing back. It helped me stay in touch with friends, from different parts of my life. It helped me feel connected while travelling.
In the beginning I only sent out the group emails when I was traveling and I felt I had something interesting to say. I can honestly say that blogging has never really been a form of communication that I was interested in doing. It seemed too complicated, or at the least, a diversion from the communication media I used to, but I found myself thinking
“I can honestly say that blogging has never really been a form of communication that I was interested in doing.”
about it. A friend had used a blog for an extensive trip around the U.S. with a tear drop shaped miniature sized camper trailer, and an email plopped into my email inbox letting me know there was a new one to read, and a link to it. Now that was something that I could get on board with and I tackled the learning curve to be proficient at using this format rather than an email. And so it has evolved. I wrote all through my year in England and Italy, and now that I am in Owen Sound I find that occasionally I still have things to say. I hope you enjoy my meanderings.
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