Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Part 1: Interview with New Member Hibou Designs

by Anne-Claire of Hibou Designs

My name is Anne-Claire and I'm a new member of Boston Handmade :)
If you want to learn a bit more about me and my work feel free to read the answers to the questions asked below. Thanks for welcoming me into your group.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself:
A: My name is Anne-Claire Regan but I often go by Hibou (“eeboo”) which means “owl” in French. My shop’s name on Etsy is HibouDesigns and I live and work in Jamaica Plain, MA. My husband and I moved from NY about 7 years ago but I am originally from France.

We have a little boy… scratch that… we have a big boy named Jack who just turned 5 and we have a happy bilingual/bicultural family (from Tours France to Princeton New Jersey… never a dull moment!).

Q: What is your background?
A: I went to the Ecole du Louvre in Paris where I majored in Art History and Egyptian Archeology. I then moved to New York where I did a Master degree on the "business" side of Art at the FIT. I worked in contemporary art galleries for a while and then in an amazing Decorative Arts Gallery before I moved to Boston. That is not going to sound very original but I had always loved Art, design and anything creative in general. I was always making things from clothes for my dolls when I was little to greeting cards for my friends and family later… (told you it wasn't original ;) There finally came a time when I decided to give it a shot and actually create full time… Plush making is my life now.

All boring things aside though I really think my background helped fuel my creativity. Also I'm French (nobody's perfect ;) which adds a touch of kookiness to the mix… according to my husband.

My family is actually a great source of inspiration too. My husband is a musician and always helps me find the best names for my plush characters. As for my son Jack who is 5, he just always has great unexpected comments on what I do and his world inspires me on a daily basis.

Q: Apart from creating things, what do you do?
A: If I don’t make things I get cranky so I’m always making something (whether it's for real or just in my head)! I’m also a real book worm and couldn’t live without music.

Q: What first made you want to become an artist?
A: The amazing art exhibitions my mom took me to in Paris when I was little. I particularly remember the Douanier Rousseau one, it was so incredible.

Q: What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
A: A cone puppet covered with felt and that you could move with a wooden stick and a little clay mold that represented the stables of Augias (episode from the greek mythology of Heracles’ 12 labors). I loved those art classes and I believe that’s where it all started for me.

Q: What's your favorite color?
A: I love all bright colors but as far as colors to wear I like black and fuchsia.

Q :What are your favorite materials?
A: I mostly work with felt. I also use vintage buttons and fabrics from France. I love felt because it is very versatile, the possibilities are endless. The fact that it comes in so many colors never cease to amaze me. This is what makes me most happy in my creating process, to just sit there on the floor surrounded with all my felt and try to find a good color combo for a new plush!

The second thing that makes me happy is to forage into my vintage button stash. They were all given to me by my mom and my grandmas back in France and I love them dearly because they all have a story…. I can spend a lot of time just looking at them and think about what type of a second life they will have.

Finally my dearest treasure and most favorite thing to use when I have the opportunity is the big box of vintage lace, ribbon and fabric my grandma Paulette gave me last year. Some of it is really old and came from great aunts… I feel really lucky to be able to use it today in my designs.

Tomorrow we'll post Part 2 of Anne-Claire's interview!

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