Monday, August 29, 2011

Featured Seller: Minouette

Our newest featured seller is Minouette.

There's a science to Minouette's art!
I'm a printmaker and a scientist. I joke that I'm a marine geophysicist by day and a printmaker by night. My professional training is all in physics. As a marine geophysicist I use physics and build giant machines to image what's below the ocean floor. I find I really need balance and to also use the right side of my brain,
so art making is very important to me. This might seem a funny combination, but it turns out that printmaking is particularly popular amongst scientists who make art, and science seems popular amongst printmakers.

Most of what I create uses the technique of relief printing. This involves carving an image in reverse, say on linoleum or wood, applying ink and burnishing it onto paper or fabric. Some printmakers use a press. I work from my home so I've adapted techniques from traditional Japanese 'moku hanga' woodblock printing. I employ a baren (a flat disk wrapped in abamboo leaf) to print fine art prints and textiles. When I print on fabric I make pillows and stuffed animals and the like. I first learned printmaking as a child when I had the chance to take courses at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Science often meets art in Minouette's pieces. 
So, now that you know my day job, I think you can see my left-brained interest in science comes out in my art. I have a whole series of portraits of scientists because I love the history of science.

Most of my prints depict some sort of natural history - from microorganisms, to mushrooms; to the moon, to the classification of clouds.There's physics visible in the Cloud Chamber print; and paleontology in my dinosaurs, and ocean science in the abundant sea life.

And travel is an influence, too. 
I love travel! It's one of the great perks of my 'day job' as a scientist. Obviously, I'm inspired by getting to spend time at sea. You wouldn't believe the sort of sea creatures (including jellyfish, octopi, crustaceans, and even microorganisms like giant bacteria mats) you get to see when using a ROV (remotely operated submersiblevehicle) to position equipment on the seafloor. Many marine animals appear in my art. I think also the way one's fate is intimately tied to the weather, inspired the cloud classification prints. The moon reflecting on the water is obviously something inspired by travelling on a boat. I've had the great good fortune of spending weeks off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada and the US (still working on getting to that Arctic coast) as well as in the South Pacific off Chile.

I also had the opportunity to spend a month in Tokyo, where I used my spare time to see as much art as possible. I am definitely influenced by traditional Japanese printmaking techniques. I think I also learned
the importance of business cards in Japan. ;)

On getting started on Etsy.
I create almost compulsively, and used to do a lot of swapping of handmade goods on I first found out about Etsy when it was starting up through Craftster. I didn't join right away; I wasn't sure the idea could really work. Eventually (by late 2007), I thought I was creating so much I may as well give it a try - especially since I make prints and have the benefit of having multiples (so I can always keep a copy for my own collection). Also, many of my close friends are in the arts and make art. I wanted to inspire them to try
to sell their art. In the process, I found I could readily sell my own art.

Minouette loves the international aspect of selling her art.
I love having a creative outlet. It's really gratifying to see that people would like to own my art and know that it's spread around the world.

On handling adversity, Minouette offers these words:
Friends! Seriously - it really is all about networking and making connections. When I was younger I would have thought the idea of a role model was rather corny, but in my professional life, as a woman in a highly male-dominated field, I've found that it is really important to have someone to relate to who has done what you want to achieve. When I first started selling on Etsy I was really pleased to find the TCET so there was a smaller group I could connect to, who had something (Canadianess... if that's a word?) in common. In my personal life, whenever I face any adversity, I always call my friends. You can't discount the help you can get from having people to communicate with, to seek advice from, to offer another point of view or ideas to conquer a stumbling block or setback. You need people you can rely upon for solidarity and support.

 To see all of Minouette's fantastic prints, visit her etsy shop, Minouette.

Minouette is also pleased to offer free shipping, for the next two weeks, to any buyer who includes "TCET Profile" in the messages to seller at checkout.

1 comment:

PrairiePeasant said...

Great interview! It's so interesting to see how her work as a scientist and her art overlap.