Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet Liesan from Ignis Fatuus

We already did an interview with some members a while ago but since we changed the questions we decided to start over.

Today: meet Liesan from Ignis Fatuus

What defines you as an artisan?
Ignis fatuus does :). But seriously, crafting, doing art it is just what I do, it is my life not in the sense that it ‘fills my whole life’ but… well it’s like this: I also cook food and that is also my life, I fold clean clothes and that is also my life, I cycle and that is my life, I brood and that is my life, I teach and that is my life, I make love and that is my life, I love and cry and laugh and hurt and that is my life etc… and it is all chasing shadows, following lights that lead me into swamps instead of safe little houses. But I happen to like swamps…
I know this may sound complicated and I planned to say something in the line of ‘there is no special definition for me as an artisan’ but that just isn’t true, there is just no way to define me ‘as an artisan’ without defining me ‘as a human being’ and that incorporates everything I do.

Where do you live?
In The Netherlands, Nieuwegein a place very close to Utrecht

How does your place of residence influence your crafting?
Not a whole lot I think, it is a quite uninspiring and boring place to be. The circumstances though influence what I do a lot, I am fortunate to live with a partner who generously can and is more than willing to provide for both of us and with no kids around the housekeeping is not that demanding so I get a lot of room for doing what I love most.

How did you get into crafting?
I attended a Waldorf type school all of my youth, sometimes it seemed like arts and crafts made out a greater part of the curriculum than any language, math or history lessons did so I think the seed that must have been in me since birth got room to flourish there.

Where did you learn your craft?
At the previously mentioned school I made my first book, after that I learned most from books and the internet. I learn better by myself, figuring things out the hard way is what works best for me.
I will start a 2 year formal bookbinding education either this year or next year September (depending on how much room there is and if I can afford it)

Who do you consider your mentor (s)?
Well I suppose the teacher who showed me how to make my first book, besides him many authors whom I have never met in person.

What are your views in respect to mentors and mentoring?
I do not have views, I just know that to me it doesn’t mean a whole lot and to others it does. I do immensely appreciate and respect someone who knows more than me and is willing to share his/her skill but that is the extend of it.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Anywhere, everywhere, I really can’t answer this because I just don’t know.

What is your most treasured object in your studio?
Well that was sold ages ago :) But from what I have now my ‘Royal Blue’ is special to me, it was the first book I made when I moved in with my partner after a long long time of not having been able to do much due to personal issues. I do want to sell it but secretly I’m glad it has been allowed to stay with me for such a long time.

What do you like best about your studio?
The flexibility and the easy way of listing things. Since the fusion studio’s aired I kind of like the lay-out as well

What would you change about your studio?
I would like (and will make) a better banner and avatar. Something that reflects my work better. I would also like it when thumbnails of all my product pictures would be somehow visible instead of people having to scroll through them.
I am still ambivalent about my name, it has meaning to me and my approach to doing arts and crafts but that is a very personal, spiritual and even somewhat religious (although not at all in the traditional sense) matter and I have noticed people don’t understand Latin and get confused. From a business point of view it may not have been the best choice.

How do you divide your crafting time?
I don’t, or in the most chaotic manner thinkable and that actually works for me, chaos to some degree is excellent for creating things.

What is your favorite material? Why?
Paper! And I have no idea why it is not a rational matter I just love paper, making it folding it painting on it writing on it cutting and tearing it etc…

Which material would you never work with?Why?
I think there is nothing I wouldn’t work with, of I could have the tools and the space I’d probably do anything I could think of. But sewing fabric and me is not a good combination, I always imagine how much fun it’s going to be but am disappointed by the lack of quality my work has.

How did you come across ArtFire?
I think it was a link on the Etsy forums. I don’t even remember why I jumped in when I did but I’m very glad of it.

What role does your family play in your crafting?
Well my partner gives me all the room I need and my mother is a great supporter, that’s about it I think.

Besides your own craft what other crafts do you admire?
I humbly bow to those who are skilled wood- and bone carvers, and I love pottery but that I am quite good at myself (need room for a turntable though)

What other craft would you be interested in learning? Why?
All thinkable crafts, but as far as crafts that I don’t expect to be able to teach myself to some degree go I think I’d love to learn to work with glass and precious metals.

Why do you think buying handmade is beneficial for society?
For me it is first of all a personal thing, I just love to know that especially the luxury goods I have are made by people who wanted to make it because they love what they do instead of by people who are pressed to produce and get underpaid for it. My attitude might be beneficial for society but as stated it is a personal matter.
I try not to get involved too deeply in larger scale social matters because the sheer volume of suffering and wrongness makes me apathetic and deeply depressed and no-one is served by that.

What are your goals in respect to your craft?
First of all I’d like to become good at it, really very good and confidant, and I dream of the day that I can earn some real money of it, maybe even sustain myself if needed but that’s a far away dream.

What has been your most rewarding experience regarding your craft?
Just the fact that a stack of paper, some thread and glue and some binders board put together make a new product that actually makes sense makes me happy every single time, no matter how simple or complicated the process.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Not really no, I’ve already said more than I normaly would.

Oh yes well maybe this: besides my own handywork you'll find sweet felt friends in my studio, those were not made by me but by my 86 year old grandmother.


Cat said...

Thanks Liesan, I enjoyed reading this a lot!

Mary V said...

Liesan, this is a great read! Well done.