Elisabeth Dunker is a photographer, designer, stylist, and illustrator.
Can you tell us about some of the things on your inspiration board?
I don’t have a board really, but spots, corners, places in the apartment where I display things, keep them there for a while, then put them away.
It can be piles of textiles, pictures I tear out from magazines, shoes, clothes, toys, old books, etc.
I also have “inspiration drawers” where I keep stuff I find inspiring. Vintage pieces, worn surfaces, and objects that are not so perfect attract me in particular.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
Right now I’m enjoying folk art and 50’s and 60’s books, none in particular. I like to look at old black-and-white photos of people, animals, and nature. I’m always inspired by vintage pieces and kids! Kids’ characters, drawings, and play are an endless inspiration source.
Tell us a little bit about your blog/work.
My blog works like a ventilator for me, and a window to the world. It’s a place where I collect and share what I think are inspiring pictures, connect with people, get feedback and ideas. But most of all it’s about appreciating everyday beauty.
How long have you been making your art? How did you start?
Oh, I don’t know when it started. Like many creative people I’ve always been drawing a lot and making stuff. I was 25 or something when I first realized that I could actually make a living from it.
What is your background?
I worked as a TV photographer for several years before I started studying design. I had my own business for which I produced textiles, wallpapers, and kids’ accessories for awhile. Then I started to work as a freelance stylist and photographer with interior design and fashion.
Now I’m doing all things parallel — graphic design, illustration, photography, and whatever comes my way…
Where does your training come from?
I studied for five years at HDK, School of Design and Craft, Gothenburg University.
How did you get your start in crafting, and what kinds of crafts do you do?
It pretty much started with when I wanted to learn how to sew, so I bought a sewing machine and started to sew bags, childrens’ clothes, etc. After awhile I started my own brand (it doesn’t exist anymore) and sold my stuff in local stores here in Gothenburg and in Stockholm.
Nowadays, when I’m not working on an assignment, I work with my friend and colleague, Camilla Engman, for our company, Studio Violet. So far we’ve done prints, posters, and journals. This spring we’re planning to do some new fun, projects together.
What are some of your current projects?
Except for the projects for Studio Violet, I’m working with logos and web page design.
How do you come up with your next idea?
My ideas always come up by random chance (if I’m not working on an assignment) — at least I think so.
What do you do to “refill the well”?
The best way I know to refill is to go to flea markets and vintage stores. I go several times a week, not to buy stuff necessarily, but to absorb impressions, look in books, and dig into vintage textiles, toys, or children’s clothes.
Have you ever been stuck creatively? How did you get past it?
When I don’t create, I get depressed. I have periods of big doubts. What am I doing, what is it good for, who needs it… But creating is a must for me. I couldn’t stand a life without making. It’s a way of escaping things, I guess, but also a way to express and find meaning. When I’m stuck, I rest for awhile, cry, and clean.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I work hard, but with something I love, that is a condition of feeling well during work I think. But that is also a risk — I tend to work too much in periods. My kids and family life keep me down to earth, though, and make me take job breaks. Confirmations from other people, like nice comments on the blog and commissions, keep me motivated. Progress by learning also keeps me motivated.
How does being a mother affect your work?
I think I’ve been more effective and aware of the fact that time is short.
What’s your perfect creativity-inspiring day?
Sleep long in the morning, out in nature with the kids all day, work late.
Is there something new you want to try?
Sing and dance! (In the next life…)
Any advice to the many people who are inspired by you?
Listen to your intuition, go with the flow, and try to be happy.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
There are no limits.
What activity inspires you?
Besides strolling in flea markets and vintage stores, I like to read, eat good food, look in magazines and children’s books, and travel.
What places inspire you?
The woods, a big city, libraries.
What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?
Japanese crafting books, Milk magazine, all work by John Melin, Stig Lindberg, and Tove Jansson.
The blogs and websites I enjoy are numerous. Here are four:
Kindra is here!
What other talents do you possess that we might not know about?
Well, I like to do animations/stop motion. I was very proud to win a students’ animation competition a couple of years ago. :)
What’s your favorite thing in your studio and/or house?
My computer and camera (a bit sad maybe? but true).
Do you have a favorite spot in your house, in the world?
Wherever my family is. It’s the best thing I know, to be with them.
Spot, I like to be in my imaginary summer house. I’ve dreamt of my own summer house for several years now. I hope that dream will come true one day.
Posted by Lori at 3/25/2009 08:32:00 AM