Thursday, May 31, 2012

Made in Canada Series - Francie Vee a.k.a. "Sister Valentine's"

We met Francie earlier this year as she came by our store to offer her assistance with the setup and execution of one of our store events. We then learned that she is also a maker of wonderful crafty objects and want to use this page to introduce you to her work. Here is Francie's story....
P.S. oh, and by the way, Francie has the most exquisite handwriting, totally fabulous and award worthy!

I've always been creative throughout my whole life with all sorts of media. In highschool it was mostly mixed media, photography and fiction writing. In the winter of 2008 I launched an art, accessory and small batch production line called “Sister Valentine's” wanting to finally put my creativeness out into the world, mostly concentrating with crocheting.
my table set up at a craft sale, handmade crocheted monsters, silkscreened monsters and brooch pins.
After kind of accidently going through the wrong program, I felt like I could be doing so much more with my crafting and saw positive feedback from people with the things I had made. When I enrolled in the Textiles program at Sheridan College in Oakville, I knew I had found my calling and herd for that matter, I was introduced to a great group of creative and wonderful people in my class and program. Oh, and bucket loads of textile processes and materials that could be used in many ways too.

a project from 2011, hand felted, hand beaded brooch pins of the phases of the moon. Each about 3” x 3"
Throughout the three year program I gravitated to hand embroidery, wet felting and kept strong with my crochet love. Now a graduate of that program, I am mega excited to set out on my own in this pretty exciting career in hopes to one day open my own studio/consignment store.
I've definitely perked up my ears as a fiber artist to listen for what my voice is and it can be seen in both my art pieces and my functional pieces; a little fun, a little imaginative and narrative and of course with a whole lot of heart and sentiment.

shot of my basement workshop, where the magic happens!
One of my favorite parts about my craftlife is every creative process to each project. From a single word all the way to the final piece, my heart pops through the whole ride. I take inspiration from everyday things and human emotions for my pieces and functional line. I dive into the unknown worlds of space, deep sea life or taboo cultures and my own imagination. I want to tap into the something that I think today's society is forgetting: how to be human.

two leather handbags and coin purse with hand painted pigment based on the Ona tribe of southern Chile. all materials reclaimed, except for thread.
I am fully aware that any industry these days can have a certain amount of waste from a final product. I like to use mostly reclaimed and recycled materials in most of my pieces. It's great brain exercise to pick up a funny patterned vintage dress and see what you could make out of it or see how you could revamp a lamp. More often than not, I stray from buying new materials for my projects unless it's necessary and try to stay as natural with processes as I can like natural dying.
The great thing about finally being done with school after six consecutive years is that I have the time to do exactly what I want to. The problem: I don't know where to begin!

still in production, envelope iphone/ipod cozies.
I'm really tickled by playing with light and will be doing some lighting pieces eventually but currently I am working on a small batch production of vintage style envelope Iphone pouches and envelope clutches. They'll be completely handmade by me in a cotton linen and cotton canvas material, dyed with coffee to give it that aged paper look. The stamps are done with machine embroidery and the stamp designs are embroidered by hand so each in absolutely unique to the other.
This first batch will be sold at a craft sale I have lined up at the Sheridan Trafalgar campus during the Rib-fest weekend starting June 22nd. However many pouches and clutches survive will be sold on my online Etsy shop soon after. I'll also be part of a gallery exhibit with a few of my classmates at Gallery 1313 in Toronto come June 27th which I'll be sure to blog and tweet(@sistervalentine) about.