28 July 2012

The Artisan Interview Series - TIMO handmade

I've become something of a junkie for asking artists questions because of my article series with Quilting Arts. Borders on down right nosy to some extent. I've had an idea kicking around in my brain for a little bit about individual artist interviews for the blog but it took a while for the obvious to present itself.

I collect all kinds of art. Mostly fiber (what can I say? I'm an addict) and I thought the blog series could focus on the fabulous artists that I have found treasures I have to have. They aren't advertisements (although I will not hesitate to point you toward their wares) but rather a getting-to-know-a-cool-artist series.

With all that being said, I'm very happy to bring the first of many blog interviews in what I'm calling "The Artisan Interview Series." First up is a doll artist from Israel named Timor. Her shop's name is Timo Handmade.

From her shop description:

TIMO is a small design line, all hand-made. sewn with an eye for detail and a touch for fabric.
Being hand-made, each and every item is one of a kind.

TIMO is part of the EcoDesign trend, standing up for the right consumption and the right manufacturing, alongside recycling, minimization of manufacturing waste and simplification of processes.

The objects' design is current and classic, but the methods of manufacture are traditional.
The materials are mostly recycled, or scraps of designers' fabrics. Scraps of fabric piled up in the studio are used later either as stuffing or as material for other products.

These are the little fellows that she made that now hang about on my writing desk, quietly supervising my work:

Timor is incredibly skilled at drawing with her sewing machine. All the black outlines (including the hair and faces) on the little darlings above? Machine stitched. Color this girl extremely impressed.

But looking past the incredible skill she shows in her construction, her little people have soul. They are all based on family members - she calls it her Family Line - and they are all incredibly unique.

I asked Timor a few questions about her work and she graciously spent some time answering them. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know her as much as I did and if you are inclined, swing by her etsy shop for a spell. (Get comfortable too, you'll be there a while.)

Q: Your website says that you are part of the EcoTrend. Can you explain what that means?

A: EcoDesign, for me, is a matter of our responsibility toward ourselves and our environment - human and otherwise. I feel that in many respects being responsible towards yourself IS being responsible towards your environment and vice versa.

When it comes to my work, EcoDesign is a matter of proper consumption and proper manufacturing. That means recycling, minimization of waste and keeping the processes as simple as possible.

Another aspect is "social ecology." That means maintaining a decent personal and sensitive relationship with suppliers, employees and customers.

Q: How did you begin making dolls?

A: Dolls are simply the current manifestation of "me making stuff," which was there for as long as I can remember. Part of it probably has to do with how I grew up: my mother is a carpenter and a ceramics artist. She can also sew, of course. So I had a good role-model, and also grew up surrounded by inspiring materials - wood, paint, glue, clay, fabric.

The dolls specifically came about almost by accident. I was moving to a new house a few years ago, and when I opened one of the drawers I discovered an enormous textile collection I'd been gathering for years without really thinking about it. Old clothes I could no longer wear, embroidered pillow covers no one was using, and on and on. Naturally I couldn't let that go to waste! So I began making dolls.

 Q: Where do you create? What is your studio like?

A: I actually have two studios, both in my apartment. One is dedicated to drawing and has canvas, wood planks, paper, cloth and the likes. The other is dedicated to my dolls, and contains mainly textiles, threads, buttons, a sewing machine and a large collection of hand sewing needles.

I love materials, so the "creative process" means mainly surround myself with the proper materials for a certain creation or product.

 Q: What is your favorite type of doll to make and why?

A: Right now I'm especially fond of making my Family Dolls line.

They are all different characters that can be put together as families. They come in all skin tones and all ages and genders so people can assemble any family they please. I really like to see how they are purchased for every family model that you can possibly think of - two men and a baby, a single mom and twins, a family that has a grandmother, brother and sister, or neighbors and a dog. Sometimes people write me asking for very special families and its a delight to see what a variety of shapes and colors there are for love in the reality of a modern family.

Another item I make that I'm particularly fond if is the children's fabric book:

Its made solely of textile, and inspired by a fabric book my grandmother made. She immigrated to Israel from Germany, and her children were born in the village they all lived in. She had no books for them at the time, so she embroidered the Grimm Bother's tales for them on a length of sheet. The book I've made is also something I see as passing from generation to generation, leaving a vast space for the child's own imagination and sensory stimulation.

Q: Your work has a minimalist, clean style. What attracts you that?

A: Strangely enough, I never thought of my work as minimalist - but I certainly aspire to cleanness. Its something I seek also in books I read and music I listen to. The trial is to say much in the fewest words possible. This leaves plenty of interpretation for the observer.

 Q: The quirkiest item in your studio is...

A: My cat.

Q: The music you listen to while you make dolls is...

A: In recent years I've stopped listening to music while I work. I now listen mainly to lectures. The internet is simply a miracle in this regards. Since my hands are busy when I work, the online lectures are probably one of the best things for entertainment!

You can find Timor at her etsy shop, website and facebook.

Many thanks to Timor for sharing not only her work but the reasons behind it! Stay tuned for the next Artisan Interview next month.  


Judi Hurwitt (Approachable Art) said...

I love the idea behind the Family Dolls, very cool.

upstateLisa said...

I love her style! Thanks for introducing Timor to us!

Jean Baardsen said...

Great idea, Lynn! I enjoyed this interview. Can you imagine getting educated while you're doing your art? That's really multi-tasking! Love the dolls.

Anne Lawson said...

An interesting interview, Lynn. I love her dolls -- what a fabulous idea! I am looking forward to your next interview.