ADDRESS Interview with Coastal Craftwork.

Define your craft in 3 sentences or less. Coastal Craftwork is a Vancouver, BC company, which designs and handmakes a collection of simple, beautiful and useful coiled rope vessels.  The product line includes storage baskets, bowls and bags, with each piece constructed by hand with attention to detail.

Describe your creative process. I want to make useful things.  Nice to look at, yes, but it is the combination of function and beauty that I love best of all. The inspiration for each piece starts with an intended use, and then explores the potential forms for that use.  My work is inspired not only by utility, but also simplicity and the natural environment, resulting in useful products with clean lines and aesthetic appeal.

When a piece is simply designed, individual nuances can be played with which results in pieces with a different feel, a different look, a different energy.  Sharp edges versus curved, a pop of color, a different finish – I love how these small changes result in unique individual pieces.  When you pare design down to its simplest forms, every detail is visible, including every flaw. No piece is ever exactly the same, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Where do you find inspiration when experiencing a creative block? When I feel blocked, I challenge myself to approach my work from a different direction.  Instead of starting with an intended use as is my usual process, I will simply play with the rope, creating shapes that I can’t at first see the end use for.  At worst, this is simply a lot of fun but doesn’t result in anything “useful”.  But at other times the potential use becomes apparent as I play, or the seed of an idea for a new piece is planted as I sew.

What advice would you give to young designers / makers / artists / creatives aspiring to make it in their field? Believe in yourself and your ideas.  Don’t give up.  Step through when doors are opened for you, and give them a nudge when they are only open a crack.

What’s your dream project? I’m currently excited to explore collaborations with other artisans, playing with bringing in other materials and with co-design.

What art / design trends are you excited about? As an owner of a small artisanal business, I couldn’t be happier that the trend for unique, well crafted and handmade items continues to be strong.  More and more people are making conscious decisions to shop local, to support small businesses, and to appreciate quality craftsmanship.