The Inspiration Continues with Helle Jorgensen ( Gooseflesh)
That is the subject of this next interview, Helle, the beautiful woman with the amazing smile and handcrafted hat to match. She is better known as Gooseflesh and is one of my absolute favorite eco artists. I first discovered her work when I read about the project the Rubbish Vortex.
This project involved collecting plastic shopping bags from all over the world and turning them into plastic bag yarn that she then used to create coral gardens, reefs and all kinds of sea creatures. This installation has been on tour across the world and I really hope one day it will come to Toronto so I can see it in person. I love how she takes an environmental issue like saving the ocean habitats and turns it into such engaging art.
What inspires you in your creativity?
I am constantly inspired by the natural world around me. It's full of curious wonders and continuously takes me by suprise. The ocean, in particular, is full of inspiration. Although most of it hidden away under the surface. I spend many hours in the ocean soaking up it's beauty.
Collecting is also an enormous inspiration to me. My home is full of collections, e.g. bird’s nests, sea sponges, driftwood, doilies, old fabrics, tapestry wool, etc.. I’m still trying to understand this compulsion to “collect and sort”. What I collect strongly influences what I make.
If you tried to trace back the series of events that lead to you making things and opening an etsy shop where would it begin?
That is difficult to say. Creating is very much part of the person I am and goes back to early childhood. After setting up “Gooseflesh” to archive my work and keep track of thoughts and ideas, opening an etsy shop seemed a natural progression from there. What fun it is to be sending parcels to exotic places around the world.
How did you learn your crafting skills?_
I’m mostly self-taught, but absorbed many skills through observing my paternal grandmother. I studied drawing, painting and printmaking at art college and draw on my background as a biologist and horticulturist.
Can you describe an environment : time, place and company ( people or pets) where you feel most creative?_
I‘m most creative when I can focus my thoughts and energy . Early morning is a good time for clarity of mind and for focusing on the threads of ideas that will carry me through the day. I’m fiercely independent and need solitude to realize my ideas. This was a struggle for many years but I have come to accept that this is the way that works for me and makes me happy. I can work anywhere.
What do you have planned 2009?_
I will continue to push my boundaries and explore everything around me. To be more specific… experiment with different media, especially pre-loved materials. There is an abundance of waste around me and I thrive on making the unwanted into something precious and beautiful. I’m trying to focus on exhibiting more in galleries and taking my work seriously.
What advice or encouragement would you offer another creative person contemplating taking a big step to open a shop or blog in 2009?
Be true to yourself Be original Experiment
Don’t think too much about it, just do it. If you speak with your own voice and feel passionate about what you create it’s certain to be successful. The most difficult thing is not to be distracted but to focus on being yourself and developing your own ideas. Making can be a solitary activity so blogging is great for connecting with others. I find blogging about my work clarifies my thoughts, gives me direction and a better understanding of why I do what I do. It also connects me to an enormous community of creative people. Their very generous, positive feedback and kind encouragement, in turn, inspires more creativity.
Thanks so much Helle. This interview was well worth waiting for :)