What is your creative process like?
When I'm ready to create a new idea, I think about what problem I'm solving, and then sketch out ideas. What I'm looking for during this process is something that will function well for both the pet and their human (comfortable, user-friendly, reliable), is compatible with reclaimed materials (typically there are odd shape or size constraints here), and and has timeless style. Once I settle on a sketch, I calculate measurements and dimensions, and draw up a pattern in Adobe Illustrator. With this paper pattern I start the prototyping process, cutting out a paper version and doing some test fitting or sizing. After the sizing is looking good, I make a version in test fabric, check and adjust, and finally make a version in the final fabric. There's a lot of back and forth -- the process involves refining the shape, size, materials, and construction.
When the final designs are done (after much testing with my sweet little dog, Pipsqueak), I make a small batch to start sharing on my website and at events. I love sharing my work at events because I get immediate feedback from customers. This is a key part of the creative process for me because it's a good opportunity to learn more about how my products can fit better in their lives. And it's this sense of improvement that's really the foundation of my creative process.
What's the coolest artistic tip you've ever received?
My favorite artistic tip is from Elizabeth Gilbert, which I heard while listening to her Magic Lessons podcast. Essentially what she says is that not everything you create needs to be shared with the world -- some things can just be made because you must make them, and you don't need to put any pressure on it to deliver anything to you beyond the pleasure of making it. I love that tip because it's liberating, and it reminds me to balance out my drive to create something meaningful with having fun.
Where can we learn more about you?
My shop can be found at http://oxforddogma.com, where there's also a link to my blog where I talk more about my work and the process behind making it. I'm also on Instagram @oxforddogma, and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/oxforddogma
Anything you'd like to add that I didn't ask....?
I started Oxford Dogma because I wanted to help more pets feel loved. When I think about the things that bring me the most joy in life, pets are right up there at the top of the list, and doing something to help make more of this joy in the world became my mission. One part of this is creating work that fosters happy experiences for pets and their humans, and another part is supporting shelters. With each purchase, I make a donation to a local shelter to help animals in need. So whenever a person buys one of my items for the special little dog in their life, they're helping other animals feel cared for, too.