Born out of a loathing for the corporate exploitation of Black Friday Sales and Christmas marketing, #Craftmas aims to get word out about the artists, artisans and craftspeople making beautiful gifts. Why buy a mass produced piece of plastic when you can gift an exclusive and interesting piece made by a creator-maker looking to make a living.
Support #Craftmas by using it to Tweet about your favourite makers, by using the hashtag as a Christmas shopping directory or simply by retweeting!
“I read an awful lot, and sometimes when I’m picturing a scene I start to think about how different features could be represented in colour.”
Art began as therapy to Suzanne, of Pop Paints, as she faced battles with the education system to ensure that the special educational needs of her child were met, but flourished into a business. The qualified lecturer had always been crafty from childhood but a need for a distraction revived her creative side.
“I had what I called my ‘making things box’,” Suzanne said. “Which was a shoebox that I put scraps of interesting paper, toilet roll tubes and stickers in for creating my masterpieces. My fondest memories are of sitting around the kitchen table with my Nan and Mum to make Christmas cards. We’d all be covered in glitter, and my Nan would teach me how to make papercuts or create 3D effects or lay out the most beautiful lettering.”
The comfort from this memory of making went on to play an important role in her life.
She said: “Life with a child with special needs can be chaotic and when I was trying to work, attend school meetings and keep up with planning and marking, my mental health really suffered. Fluid art was initially a therapeutic tool for me because it allows me to switch off and focus solely on colour and movement; then the more I was creating, the more I was being told I should sell my work. It was a daunting prospect but I’m really glad that I had supportive people around me when I took that step.”
Suzanne finds inspiration from all around her and sees her experimenting with odd items around the house to create different effects – whether it be toys, packaging or even kitchen utensils. “Sometimes it works,” she said. “But sometimes it creates total disasters.”
Initially starting her creative business on the kitchen table, Suzanne now works in a quiet corner of the house – safe from the disturbances of family life.
Suzanne’s works are magical, dreamlike paintings, often echoing the images of deep space more familiar to astronomers. She said: “I tend to love my brightest, most colourful paintings but I get most positive feedback for my beach scenes and dark space pieces. I find it hard to choose a favourite but I do love a piece called Juno, which is named after the Queen of the gods in Roman mythology and is in my Night Sky series.”
Suzanne’s pieces are available to buy through her Facebook page, Pop Paints.
* Want more #Craftmas inspirations? Suzanne recommends: Rinske Douna, a Swedish artist whose work inspires and astounds. She can be found at www.rinskedouna.com