MEET YOUR MAKERS
Presented by TIX on the Square
Sewing, screen printing, designing, pattern-drafting, knitting—there isn’t much that Shauna Force doesn’t do, and do well. Lucky for little ones everywhere, she’s refocused that creativity on turning her artwork into a beautiful line of illustrated, screen-printed, and hand-sewn home and baby textiles. That labour of love is Fenwick & Co., a new hub for the new phase in this incredible artisan’s path. Meet this week’s maker, Shauna Force.
TIX: You describe your product line as “designed with parents and baby comfort in mind.” What do you hope parents will appreciate about your design choices?
S.F.: By parent comfort, I’m thinking more of the psychological side—knowing that your little one is in good quality, natural fibres, made using socially responsible practices. Choosing locally made doesn’t hurt either.
As for baby comfort, I just tried to choose super soft, cozy fabric they can move in and a nice wide waistband so there is no pressure on the tummy. I find a nice fitted cuff is great for putting under winter-wear gear and sliding into boots without riding up.
TIX: Have both form and function always been paramount to your design sensibilities?
S.F.: I tend to gravitate towards making things that have function and, hopefully, function well. Like Marie Kondo says, “does it spark joy?” I think the things we surround ourselves with should be appealing and enjoyable to look at, as well as use.
TIX: You’ve added pattern-drafting and sewing to your new phase of work. What’s a new life skill you’re bringing with you, too?
S.F.: New life skill, hmmm… parenting? Does that count? Haha. I have been playing a lot with watercolours. I really love how they have the ability to be so fluid and soft. I have worked a lot with just black ink for illustration screen print designs, so the flexibility and versatility of watercolours is fun to explore.
TIX: The shop local movement has resonated with a lot of consumers this past year. How does that support translate to you as an artist, as well as to the local economy?
S.F.: The shop local movement has been growing steadily over the last few years, but this pandemic seems to have made everyone more conscious that if you don’t use it, you will lose it. And, sadly, we have lost many local businesses in the past year.
The support here has been really great—especially around the holiday season—we just need to remember to make it an all-year thing. As an Edmonton-based artist/maker, any money I make goes right back into our local economy and keeps other small businesses alive. I try to support local businesses whenever possible because I know how much every dollar means to them.
TIX: How have you grown as a creative person throughout your career. What’s changed, what’s stayed the same?
S.F.: I have always loved creating wearable things. I have dabbled in so many mediums, from sewing clothing and bags, to jewellery-making and knitting. What has changed is my perspective. I now also like to dress up my surroundings by making home goods, and I can’t resist making things for tiny people. They are just so much cuter.
TIX: On days when you just can’t get started, what’s your favourite way to procrastinate?
S.F.: With a wee one in the house, some nights I don’t get as much sleep as I would like. I find that it is hardest to get started on those days, so if I can, I give myself the gift of procrastination in the form of naps.
TIX: What are you currently working on?
S.F.: Oh, so many things—I really have to remind myself that sometimes less is more. I want to make all the things! I’m currently working on a new print for the baby joggers, a new tea towel print, and just for fun, I’m making a felt animal mobile.
TIX: Who’s an artist inspiring you right now?
S.F.: I have really been loving watercolour lately. I really admire artists like Gloria Ho. She paints beautiful watercolour animals, and I have many of her prints around the house. I also just came across this gal who works under the name Peak Paper Co. She does the most amazing pet portraits, and who doesn’t love a good pet portrait!
Want more? Visit fenwickandco.com and tixonthesquare.ca for the latest from Shauna and other great artists.