Interviews Day 2! Today is Mythdemeanor and 50 Little Birds!
What do you make? Clothing and Costumes
How did you learn your art/craft? I'm mostly self taught, though I did go to college to study costume design and have a BFA in the field. I started sewing when I was about 16 because I wanted to make historical costumes and quickly outstripped all my mom's knowledge. The tie dye I learned in college through an independent study course that I designed and the screen printing was a much later addition to my skills. I taught myself from a kit and several online tutorials about 5 years ago.
Where can we find you?
Locally The Wandering Turtle carries some ties and silk scarves, and Indyswank in the fountain square area of Indianapolis carries some one of a kind men's pieces - neckties, vests, suits. Otherwise you can find us at the website: http://www.mythdemeanor.com/ and around town at lots of local craft shows.
Name: Geoff Davis
Business Name: 50 Little Birds
Location: Noblesville, IN
What do you make?
I carve and paint small Indiana songbird sculptures. I deviate from this a bit and also offer bentwood boxes, Fraktur (Pennsylvania Dutch Painting and an occasional carved and painted penguin or narwhal. In Bloomington I will be offering bentwood Easter baskets. I won't have many, so please let me know if you are interested.
How did you learn your art/craft?
I grew up in a household where creating things was encouraged and knowledge came from tinkering and exploration. My mother is was an artist and both parents were woodworkers. Tools, supplies and creative role models were always at hand. Over the years I've learned to design and build useful things from wood including boats and furniture. It was when I was training to build ukuleles in Hawai'i that I realized that I had
knack for carving wood. 50 Little Birds began last year as an effort to raise money for Blue Stone Folk School, a traditional arts program in Noblesville, Indiana. I have donated 50 painted and carved birds to the
school. The sale of these birds has raised over $1500 so far. Some of these 50 birds are still in my inventory. A portion of the sale of all of my work continues to go towards the Folk School and it's programs.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
To be honest my wife is my muse. I carve every bird to impress and delight her. Sometimes it works!
I began to carve birds in an attempt to re-connect with my own ethnic heritage. Many of my projects, kayak, canoe and ukulele building, are so connected with specific ethnic traditions that were not my own. My people, the Pennsylvania Dutch (actually German) were fascinated with bird imagery. There was a tradition of itinerant carvers producing beautiful and colorful birds throughout SW Pennsylvania. The birds are also an inspiration. I wake every morning to songbirds and crows. At night nighthawks circle my neighborhood. We all observe bird behaviors as we go through our day. I find that most folks have a bird or two that they consider to be their own. It's a joy to work with themes that run throughout everyone's experience and make a strong and personal connection all people.
Do you have a "real world" job?
I teach 5th and 6th grade at the Key Learning Community, an Indianapolis Public School. I'm also the founder and Director of Blue Stone Folk School in Noblesville.
Your five favorite things:
1 - My Family
2 - Crows in the Morning
3 - Long Solo Canoe Paddles
4 - Really Good Food
5 - Exploring
Who are your favorite artists/crafters?
The great Pennsylvania Dutch bird carvers: Wilhelm Schimmel, George Stapf and "Schtockschnitzler" Simmons.
Charles Hart, a Cape Cod carver of penguins
William Coperthwaite, a philosopher, educator and hand-crafter in Maine
Where can we find you?
Blue Stone Folk School, Noblesville
INDIEana Handicraft Exchanges (I hope to be at the June show!)