my first born creature

Brown Bear by Vicki Reisima (2014). Fabric, thread, buttons and Polyfill. Approximately 40cm tall standing.

Brown Bear by Vicki Reisima (2014). Fabric, thread, buttons and Polyfill. Approximately 40cm tall standing.

This is the first textile creation of many to come in this semesters project. I want to experiment altering body proportions to make the forms feel a little awkward and less common than the usual teddy bear representation. I enjoyed making a toy with jointed limbs, as opposed to sewing them into the torso. This is what appealed to me in the teddy bear form initially. I cant see myself steering away from it now, but we shall see what manifests in the weeks to come. So far, in the experimental stages, I am up-cycling pieces of my fabric stash. I expect them to look quite different, as I use whatever is at my disposal. I believe it may be what gives them a charming appeal.



Found Object Bugs – Concept Research

Using methods taught in Odile Vailly‘s book Wire Bugs: How to make your own Menagerie, I set about learning small sculpture construction. The techniques in this book are simple and easy to learn. Using only hand tools and my hands, I could twist and bend any wire into my own bug-like creatures. I was drawn to Vailly’s use of found objects and hand crafted aesthetic. These images were a few of my outcomes, either using these methods or inspired by them.

Sustainable Art Practice

collection of insects

Adaptation by Vicky Russell

Insects make up 80% of all known animals present on Earth, making them an integral part to ensuring the survival of animal and plant species on the planet, hence maintaining the balance of nature itself.  In short, In my final project this year, I am bringing to awareness the fragility of the ecological web, by a designing and making a series of sculptured insects. To visually portray this concept I have displayed the insects inside frames much like one would see in a museum collection, except I have made them from cardboard boxes (reusing cardboard packaging). It amuses me to think of myself as the discoverer and collector of insects (entomologist) in my native country New Zealand, having imagined ‘newly discovered’ mutant native insects.  My aim in this project is to highlight the potential extinction of our native insects and the surreal possibility of a mutated species, as a result of our increased technological age and throwaway consumer mentality. As art practitioner, I was mindful of how I can make only ecological friendly footprints and I made conscious choices to primarily use found objects that would have otherwise been thrown away. The wire used in construction was the only thing I purchased to create this work. I mostly used hand tools, rather than the machine counterparts, which certainly gave my works a handcrafted appeal.  I believe this mindfulness is crucial in considering what type of media and art forms I pursue next year. The world needs artists and designers who practice sustainability. It’s the only way forward in creating a huge positive impact on our global ecosystem and the creatures who live within, great and small.

Mister Finch

Mr Finch is the self taught creator of these whimsical storytelling creatures. He practices a sustainable practice by collecting objects and materials that have lost their purpose, not just an ethical choice but also because he loves the nostalgic and unique qualities of them, which is what I am drawn to in his works.

It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work…the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make.
Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm.
A story sewn in, woven in.
Velvet curtains from an old hotel, a threadbare wedding dress and a vintage apron become birds and beasts, looking for new owners and adventures to have.

Mr Finch expresses his desire for meaning and fantastical whimsy, letting his creatures tell tales of merging into the human world by means of their physical materiality. As a storyteller and lover of stories, Mr Finch nourishes my imagination and inspires me to tap into the worlds that reside therein.

My main inspirations come from nature and often I return to certain ideas again and again.
Flowers, insects and birds really fascinate me with their amazing life cycles and extraordinary nests and behaviour.
British folklore is also so beautifully rich in fabulous stories and warnings and never ceases to be at the heart of what I make.
Shape shifting witches, moon gazing hares and a smartly dressed devil ready to invite you to stray from the path.
humanizing animals with shoes and clothes is something I’ve always done and I imagine them to come alive at night. Getting dressed and helping an elderly shoemaker or the tired housewife.

Images and quotes retrieved 15th November 2013, from



Chris Jordon’s film

In addition to my previous post ‘Speaking of Sustainability’ In his short film A message from Gyre, Chris Jordon tells a visual story that is profoundly disturbing and heartbreaking. To acknowledge the truth of humankind’s neglect of our planet is difficult to stomach. I refuse to turn a blind eye and allow the creatures of our Earth to suffer from our inability to clean up after ourselves.

The Indie Craft Movement

Artists and crafters on a global scale are producing works of art combining traditional craft techniques with modern, off beat and unconventional styles, contexts and subject matters. The culture that has risen from this need for crafters to walk to the beat of their own drum is ‘Indie Craft’. Primarily developed by online community in 2006 in America, members now meet from all over the world to discuss and raise awareness on the creation of contemporary art with traditional craft disciplines.

As a crafter myself I have found it difficult to define the lines between art and craft, and I am motivated by various makers in the Indie Craft Movement to take the step into becoming a ‘craft artist’.  Having never really enjoyed the old fashioned results of the crafts taught to me when I was young, the subversive subject matter appeals to my non-conforming nature. I feel akin to the alternative culture that accepts and encourages individuals to make work that expresses their unique viewpoint on the world.

Many indie crafters/artists utilise textiles, vintage and recycled materials and objects to make their work – lessening the impact on the environment and also as a reaction to the mass production and mass consumer culture of modern society.  For many years I have been making and successfully selling up-cycled handmade crafts and apparel.  I find a sense of fulfillment when working with found materials and objects, knowing that I am bringing something back from the past, and giving it a purpose in art, which will hopefully be appreciated in a new way.  If not appreciated for arts sake, then at least evoke thoughts in others.

Researching the Indie Craft Movement has reignited my love for fibre art and crafts of my past.  I found myself in the battling thoughts of whether craft could be considered as art (a dilemma that is still healthily debated today) and whether I wanted to be associated as this type of creative practitioner. I am so enthused and inspired by the many talented contemporary artists, designers and crafters in this movement, that I find myself wanting to explore it further with my own hands. This gallery features Rowena Dring, Kirsten Hassenfeld, Rob Wynne, Joetta Maue, Shauna Richardson and Kako Ueda all Crafters, Artists and/or designers who I am personally inspired by or resonate with in some way whether its their media used or they approach to art.


Heyenga, L. (2011). Paper Cutting Book: Contemporary Artists. San Francisco, CA, United States of America: Cronicle Books.

Hung, S & Magliaro, J. (eds.). (2007). By Hand: the Use of Craft in Contemporary Art .

Levine, F & Heimerl, C. (2008). Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Maue, J. (2011) Joetta Maue: mixedmediaindex. Image Retrieved from http:/

Waterhouse, J. (2010). Indie Craft. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

Wynne, R. (2004). Rob Wynne: Recent Works. Image Retrieved from