Creative Secrets with Fiona Potter
Fiona Potter is a Powertex artist, design team member and tutor but you may know her from her time working as a jewellery designer and demonstrator on Jewellery Maker television. You can find some examples of her work on Facebook, and at her blog as well as following her blogs at Powertex UK. Fiona has some gems to share about her creative life so read on!
So many artists and crafters start young but not all of us. When did you start creating and what is your earliest memory of making art or being creative?
I have been creating all my life. My earliest memories are making button snakes with my granny, we moved on to learning to stitch and sew from around 3 years old. We used to have coloured chalks to draw on the garden slabs and lots of crayons and paints. We used to save all sorts of things from cardboard boxes to ribbon and wool to make models with…thinking about it I am still doing that now!
Yes, that’s the way with crafters! Did any experiences in your childhood or adulthood influence how you put art and creativity into your life as an adult?
No one thing sticks out but my whole family are creative in so many ways that it is just an integral part of day to day life.
So it sounds like you come from a creative background. Do you have artistic family members?
Yes I come from a very creative family. My maternal grandad, who I sadly never knew, was a brilliant cartoonist and writer. I have recently come across letters he wrote to my granny from the WW1 period and to my mum and her siblings during the later years before he died in 1944, His sister, Great Aunt Lil was an exquisite seamstress who I have very vague memories of. My aunt was a tailor and my mum a fabulous dressmaker. Another aunt was a fashion designer in London in 1950/60s too. So I guess it is very firmly imprinted in my genes.
What an extraordinary family history. You sound very connected to your family stories and it’s fantastic that you’re able to carry that creativity on. I’d like to know, when you create, do you plan first or go with the flow? How do you make time to create?
I always have ideas which I loosely sketch and annotate about what materials, colours and mediums I plan to use. However as I am creating I go with the flow as I like my work to be organic and soulful.
Do you have a favourite product or medium to work with?
Oh dear where do I start? Powertex of course, Stone Art, 3d Flex, texture mediums, paint, pigments, fabrics, threads I really could go on for ever!
I know you as a Powertex tutor and artist but I know you have other creative interests. Describe these and how you balance your time between them.
Before I found Powertex, or did it find me?, I was working as a freelance artisan jewellery designer and demonstrator on Jewellery Maker tv. Before I was a dressmaker, trained to couture standard. I worked for myself for many years creating made to measure outfits and undergarments, particularly corsets and bras. I love the engineering that goes into truly well made well fitting garments. I had a very bad experience 10 years ago and stopped sewing but recently my mojo returned and I am sewing again so watch this space…
The dressmaking sounds wonderful. I’m excited to hear that you are sewing again particularly as it might inspire other creative work too! Tell me about a favourite piece of work you have created. What was it, why was it so special and where is it now?
My favourite piece was a tailored suit in a very expensive knitted fabric by Missoni for a client. By the time she had chosen the fabric there was not enough left at my supplier. It was a very heavily patterned zig zag fabric, however there was an alternative in the same colour palette but in a larger pattern. My client trusted me to use both fabrics, piecing and designing as I chose. It had a bright orange stretch silk lining and oodles of unseen layers of interlining to make the knitted fabric behave and be tailored. I met her several years later and she still enjoys wearing it.
Do you have any other projects you would like to try or creative skills you would like to learn? If so, what’s on your list and what’s important about them?
I’m currently learning photography with my DSLR camera, oh and video editing. I love using the camera to create the image that I see – that is often different to what others see.
What are the benefits of having a creative practice in your life? For you or for others?
It keeps me sane! Creating is what keeps me calm and gives excitement and a challenge. I would be completely lost if I couldn’t create.
Making art and crafting can have huge positive benefits but can also come with some challenges. Do you have any advice for coping with loss of creative mojo or feeling self doubt with creative projects?
Gin! Lol no seriously I do lose my mojo and it hurts but in general my way out is to get out and ride my bike. I always take my camera and a small tripod too. I see patterns, colours and textures in nature that inspire me and if I can’t create or get stuck with one medium I work with whatever speaks to me.
So, who is your biggest cheerleader in your artistic life and do you think it’s important to find a creative community?
I am very lucky and blessed to have a strong group of loyal friends who are there for me both in and out of the creative world. Nikki Killinger, Alison Tarry, Sammi Fletcher, and Hannah Oxberry have known me longest and then my fab friends in the Powertex world Tracey Evans, Annette Smyth and Anna Howlett who each inspire and support me in different ways, often without even knowing it.
Share one thing about you or your work that we would not guess!
Ooh that’s a hard one! Ok in one of my former careers I was an IT lecturer in further education. In that role I became the lead lecturer in staff development on how to successfully create online learning in both live online and offline learning. I was an early adopter of this style of teaching and one of the first to qualify in the area.
Now if you saw my haphazard Halloween Hell video that snippet might make you cry with laughter!
Well for the record the video was great! Thank you very much to Fiona for sharing her creative story. We all have a story to tell about how we got to where we are and it’s good to get beyond the surface and acknowledge the journey and the person behind the profile. Pop on over to Fiona’s Facebook page to follow her and if you’ve enjoyed this interview why not check out these other Creative Secrets blogs.
If you are a Powertex tutor or artist and would like to appear in Creative Secrets why not drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.