Saturday, March 16, 2013

Get to know new Boston Handmade Member: Dana Garczewski of The Patterned Peacock

BH: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Dana: My name is Dana Garczewski and my business is called The Patterned Peacock. I’ve had a life-long obsession with color and pattern so it’s only natural that I would make them the center of my artistic pursuits. I went to college for Illustration and my first creative job was working for a company that designed gift wrap and gift bags. In 2007 I had the opportunity to live in New Zealand for a year so I sold pretty much everything I owned and moved to Wellington. After returning, I found a job designing children’s shoes and still work for that company. I started The Patterned Peacock at the end of 2010 and I now sell my prints online, in boutiques, and at local craft shows.

BH: Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Dana: When not designing, I can be found whipping up a new dish in the kitchen, looking for any excuse to travel, enjoying a glass of red wine, curling up with a historical fiction novel, or going on a hike. My boyfriend and I just returned from a trip to Arizona and hiking the Grand Canyon was one of the highlights.

BH: What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
Dana: It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what inspires me. My subconscious must be quietly processing and connecting everything I encounter during the day because it’s usually during those ordinary moments when something great springs to mind and I find myself jotting down a note or making a sketch. My creative process is a like working on a jigsaw puzzle. I can rarely see the whole thing in one flash—instead, my ideas come in pieces. I fall in love with each one and hold onto it until I can figure out the next piece that connects to it.

BH: Please describe your creative process.
Dana: Once I’m inspired to create something, I start sketching to work out the concept and composition. Sometimes I need to do some visual research to learn more about a subject or if I want to draw something very specific. Then I scan my sketches into the computer and use them a guide while I draw and color the art in Illustrator or Photoshop. Deciding on the color palette is my favorite part of creating each piece. This is when the image really comes alive. To see a visual example of how I created Mehndi click here. 

BH: What's your favorite color?
Dana: That’s a tough one. I tend to be drawn to cool colors, particularly blues. You’ll see a lot of blue and teal in my work. But I'm also really happy whenever I look at yellow.

BH: What are your favorite materials?
Dana: Ink on paper. Paper is another thing on my obsession list. There’s something about the tactile quality and the versatility that I love. Most of the things I make involve paper.

BH: Are there other mediums you’re not working in that interest you? 
Dana: I would love to start working with fabric to make things like handbags, aprons, and pillows. Of course, this means that I need to learn how to sew first.

BH: Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
Dana: Yes, get your pricing right. This can be one of the hardest things to do. It’s important to price for profit but so many makers tend to undervalue their work. I’ve found that once you’re able to target the right audience and clearly communicate the value of your work, it’s easier to charge something that’s both fair and sustainable.

BH: Name a few of your favorite books, movies, and blogs
Dana: My favorite books include The Time Traveller’s Wife, The Eight, Nickel and Dimed, and Griffin & Sabine series. For movies I like Before Sunrise, Once, The Road, and Memento. And I typically check out Print & Pattern, Smart Creative Women, Designing an MBA, and Pinterest whenever I need a little internet break during the day.

BH: Where do you see yourself in 5 years with your art?
Dana: I’d love to be able to quit my day job and be working on The Patterned Peacock full time. I see myself doing a combination of licensing my art to companies as well as continuing to create my own line to sell directly to consumers.

To connect with Dana, she can be found on Twitter and Pinterest.

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