Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Quiet Word with...

Amanda Whitelaw of Hungry Designs

What do you make?
I make and sell wearable art and accessories.  These pieces are all hand drawn and coloured by myself.  They are then laser cut from wood, screen printed onto fabric or engraved into cork.  They are all made in my home on the Gold Coast – which I share with my husband, Colin and our 2 guinea pigs, Bud Lucky and Champ Kind.

 Your favourite materials:
I design everything using my favourite mechanical pencil, my Wacom and my Mac.  I wouldn’t be able to do anything without these – they are definitely my favourite materials to use.

What inspires you to create or where do your ideas come from? 
I am inspired by lots of things, my likers on Facebook, tattoo and art shows, comic books and my family.  Colin is a constant source of inspiration for me and I know that Hungry Designs wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t so supportive and as involved as he is. 

My designs are sketched, re-sketched and then the solid pencil work begins.  The pencils are scanned in and then digitally coloured.  These designs are then taken a step further and laser cut from wood or screen printed. 

How are eco-friendly practices incorporated in your work?
All of the laser cut wood that my wearable art brooches are cut from are 3-ply wood that has been recycled.

What have you studied? 
I studied Illustration & Printmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Scotland.  It was a 4 year course and at the end of it I received my honours degree – although I don’t really use the practices that I learned while at art school.

Are you a full-time or part-time maker?
Hungry Designs is very much a full time job for me, although I also work full time at a publishing company in Brisbane.  It’s a little bit of a struggle sometimes to balance everything but I know that you don’t get something for nothing in this life so you have to work for what you want.

What’s your day job?
I work for a publishing company in Brisbane.  It’s a lot of fun and because of how I feel about the people it makes going into work a pleasure. 

Why do you create?
I create because I really feel that I have to.  If I didn’t I think I would go insane.  Having Hungry Designs means that I can try new things and go down creative avenues that I wouldn’t have considered before.  Hungry Designs is so important to me and it allows me to draw, have fun and meet wonderful people.  It really is like a child – watching it grow into something that started off so small and never knowing what will happen next.  It’s a wonderful experience to have.

What does DIY and the handmade movement mean to you?
The DIY and handmade movement means a lot to me because without it Hungry Designs wouldn’t exist in the same way that it does.  Without the respect and love that handmade goods have I would just be designing and creating for myself and I wouldn’t be able to afford to experiment and be anywhere near as creative as I am.  I also wouldn’t be pushed and forced to tackle certain subject matter.  Because of the handmade movement and the respect that it has I have been lucky enough to grow as an artist and that is so important to me. 

Can you tell us about some other Australian makers you are excited about:
I am continuously inspired by other designers and artisans. 
I really love the work of Cat Rabbit – what’s not to love!  The soft and detailed figures are so adorable and I have a real respect for people who can sew – I really can’t so it always amazes me what people can come up with using fabric, a needle and thread.  

I also love the work of Good Boy Cracky, I adore the cute felt creatures.  I have 3 of their brooches and I love them so much.  They seem to speak to my more geeky side!  

Lastly, I am always really amazed by Catamation. Gill (who owns and runs Catamation) is incredible.  Not only is her work incredibly detailed but it is also beautifully crafted.  I commissioned Catamation to make over 170 origami flowers for my wedding and they were simply amazing!  I have so many of her bobby pins and accessories I have lost count!  

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