These days Instagram is the number one pr platform to inexpensively showcase your business.’ Makers of all things worldwide use it keenly to promote, connect, discover and get inspired. Over the last couple of months I have started to follow a few interesting small businesses in Brooklyn who seem to be borderline artists/makers and businesses all in one. They are passionate about their craft and they have a solid number of followers in their thousands. Amelie Mancini, a French artist living in Brooklyn seems no stranger to this community, followed by 31K, she is a painter, a printer, a woodcutter, a business woman and lover of linen. I had to investigate what made her world spin and why she was so keen on only working with linen.
Q:’ Do you consider yourself an artist, a maker or a business?
A: All of the above. A Renaissance woman with a wifi connection.
Q:’ Woodwork and linen prints go so well together, how did this start and where did you’ learn the skills to print and work with wood?
A:’ I mostly taught myself the printing through a lot of trial and error and YouTube videos. I’ picked up basic woodworking skills from my years as a studio assistant and fabricator. I’ actually use linoleum blocks to print, not wood but it’s a similar process.
Q:’ What is your relationship to linen?
A:’ I love its simplicity, its rawness, its cool. It’s a beautiful material. Even as a painter I prefer’ to use Belgian linen rather than cotton canvas. As a home goods designer linen was a no’’ brainer.
Q:’ What is your design process?
A:’ I start with a few drawings, then carve out the pattern on a block of linoleum. I print a few’ proofs that I later scan, print on a transparency and burn on a screen, in order to screen’ print onto the fabric. I used to print directly from the blocks but that was painstakingly’ time’consuming and I couldn’t keep up with demand. You get the same result with screen’ printing, it’s still hand pulled and has variations just like block printing, only it’s ten times’ faster.
Q:’ Do you have anyone else help you out with marketing or your web presence, for’ example, or are you a one woman team?
A:’ Just me!
Q:’ Do you participate in trade shows like Renegade Craft fair, how important is it to your business?
A:’ I have been doing the Renegade Craft Fair for a few years now and I love it. They have’ been very supportive of creative small businesses and makers and are amazing people.’ Absolutely vital to businesses like mine.
Q:’ Do you have a mentor?
A:’ I have three, all Davids: Bowie, Hockney, Byrne.
Q:’ Recommend a book which has influenced your life.
A:’ A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time)
Q:’ Do you have a life philosophy?
A:’ Be patient, be kind, don’t give up.
Q:’ What is your perfect escape?
A:’ In my dreams: Palm Springs, the Ace Hotel, poolside with a margarita.’ In reality: the couch, my sweetie, my cat and Netflix.
Q:’ There seems to be a revival of handcrafts from woodwork to tapestry happening in’ Brooklyn at the moment, is there a group of artists you associate with?
A:’ It’s not just Brooklyn, it’s happening all over the world! Toronto, Melbourne, London,’ Paris… These days it seems like you can’t throw a hand carved rock around these parts’ without hitting a weaver or a ceramicist, and that’s really awesome. A wide and supportive’ community of makers is building itself through Instagram and artist trades and it’s really’ exciting to watch it all happen.