Saturday, November 17, 2012

Funny Talk with New Mass Designs

Two women are responsible for the playful handbags and accessories of New Mass Designs: Caroline Cook and Megan Dye. Each artist brings a set of unique skills to the crafting table, so we decided to dig a bit deeper. In today's interview, they share their backgrounds, funny inspirations, and the crowning jewel of their collection (hint: it features both a mustache AND a monocle).


Craft Attack: What kind of work do each of you do?

Megan Dye: I am a textile artist and designer.
Caroline Cook: I am a seamstress, patternmaker and designer.  We both got to bring our unique gifts to this project by using some of my patterns and Meagan’s silk screening, to make some pretty interesting bags.

How did you learn your craft? Who are/were your greatest artistic influences?

CC: I learned to sew from my mother, but most of my patterning and design skills were learned in college, where I studied Costume Design and Technology.

I think that my greatest artistic influence comes from how awesome I am and the fact that I am fantastic, oh and humble… All things being equal I think I draw a lot of inspiration from the pop art movement of the sixties and seventies, with respect for Victorian inventions and MUSTACHES!
MD: I also learned to sew from my mother.  I went to Rhode Island School of Design for textile design, where I learned silk screening, weaving and machine knitting. 
I am especially partial to a fantastic artist named Edward Rossbach, a fiber artist who incorporated pop images into his work.  They can be quite humorous, and I think that has had an influence on some of the bags that we designed.

Where do you get inspiration? Do you follow trends?


CC: Well, it is hard not to be inspired by the competition for the world’s greatest mustache. 
All kidding aside, I find a lot of inspiration in our textiles. I love designs with a lot of color and fun elements, especially humor. So I guess I don’t follow trends…I MAKE THEM!
MD: I am really inspired by working collaboratively.  I think the talent that we both bring to the table allowed us to take our work even further.  
I follow Caroline’s trends. Just kidding she’s not that trendy. She just has the occasional crazy idea I can’t resist. Like "let's do a craft show, we have two months, GO!"

What motivates your art at the moment?

CC: November 30th [ed. note. the date of Cville Holiday Craftacular] and the color Hot Pink. The fabric we bought online was much brighter than expected.  It was an inspiring and happy accident.

What item are you proudest of and why?


MD: The item for our giveaway is our pride and joy right now.  It came out of a conversation with Caroline’s wife. We were debating where to put the monocle and she said we should put it on the handle.  Thus the In Disguise Oversized Clutch was born!
CC: I have one of the mustache and monocle bags and people are always commenting on how fun it is. 

What are your most popular items?


CC: Anything with the mustache on it.  I don’t really know why. People seem to like them a whole lot.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?


MD: “We’re going to meet the November 30th deadline.” --Caroline Cook
CC: “Hey, that doesn’t suck. I’d buy one.”

How long have you been working together?


CC: This is our first time working together, but certainly not our last. We’ve both been sewing for a very long time, and this collaboration is born out of many mad skills. That’s right I said MAN! 

What time of day do you prefer to work? Do you work at the same time?


MD: I prefer to work in the morning. When I am not working on our handbag project, I love to go to the studio space at the Haven downtown that I share with three local artists. It is a beautiful space, and on the weekends it is very quiet which is a great way to get focused.
CC: With Colonel Mustard, in the Library, with the lead pipe! 
I am a weirdo in the fact that I am both a morning and night person, so I work when I’m in what my wife calls The Zone. It’s a place where I seem to not acknowledge anything but my work.  Everyone gets ignored, except Meagan, and puppies who will pee on my stuff if I don’t pay attention to them.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you (or would never guess at first glance)?


MD: I have a cat named Scouty Scout, and she vaguely resembles a tick. Large body, tiny head.
CC: I guess people would not know that I used to play a lot of contact sports. I'm only pretending to be a lady, but I’m not a MAN! Stop looking for my mustache.

Unless it's on a bag! Catch these funny ladies at the Cville Holiday Craftacular where, God willing, they'll not only make their November 30th deadline, they'll blow it out of the water with awesomeness. You can also read their musings on their blog, Adventures in Extreme Crafting.


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