Sunday, March 16, 2014

Anne Corr - Handmade Books and Cards

I am loving all the interviews from fellow artists and Crafters and I hope you enjoy this weeks, which is an interview is with Anne Corr  from Handmade Books and Cards by Modestly.  Check out her wonderful Folksy store here;

and you can like her on Facebook here

Please let me know if you would like to feature in an interview in the future on my blog :-)

What is the main, Art/Craft you are known for?

My craft I am most interested in is handmaking books, which came out of making handmade cards.  It started as a hobby and was prompted by receiving a present from one of my closest friends.  After she had relocated to Yorks, I would receive lovely reminders from her, and this particular time she had sent me a blank handmade accordion square book.  I looked at it, and thought " I want to do that" , so I did,  and because I have always loved visual arts and literature, I decided to make one which reflected some of my preoccupations,a sort of keepsake journal.
I still have the original one Karen sent me, I can't bring myself to use it!  I have been creative for years, but have only been making books during the past couple of years.

Could I have a little potted history of your creative life please?

Living half a week in the Midlands, and the other in Essex I live a very simple life, having to travel light and know where everything is!  My family are nearly grown and flown - I have one of my two wonderful boys living with me still (when I am there!), but he will be applying for university this year.
My career before having my family was in printed packaging, and entailed elements of design within it. Staying at home with my boys was a lifestyle choice, and I never regretted it.  One of the aspects of staying at home is developing aspects of yourself that continue to challenge and develop you, just to avoid going completely stir crazy!

What do you love most about what you create and the process of creating it?

I enjoy every element of making my books, but probably the most thrilling bit is the planning - the moment when an idea plants itself and then the research sends me to different places to gather information.  I have loved literature all my life, so I find myself digging for quotations which have been the landscape in my mind.  It feels a little like I imagine archeology- I am mining for secrets in my own life, for self awareness and illumination, and the process is infinitely fascinating and rewarding.  The books are bonuses really!!

Is this your total creative output or do you also work in other areas and if so what are they?

I also love photography and digital illustration, from which I produce illustration for my cards, but also creates opportunity to offer my design work to a broader product base on sites like Society 6 and Redbubble.  I love the idea of someone drinking their coffee from a mug of my illustration, or having an i pad with my design in their pocket. I also like to give personal presents, so the opportunity to put my design onto clocks and mugs and totes is ideal!! It is so fulfilling to give someone a product that has your personal work on it.

An important influence since I was a young adult , literature and history have been more than diversions for me, they have been sanctuaries.  I was always someone who questioned, I distrusted easy answers, I wanted to uncover the whats and whys and hows. I love the connection that happens when I read something that a writer has written , or an artist has painted, because it opens up a channel within me that is often suppressed. Simply put, art and literature help me to feel.  That is why they are critical to me. I think I may be on some sort of spectrum that tunes in at a frequency slightly askew to alot of people. Writers and artists have helped me tune in to the frequency which suddenly clarifies and illuminates the world, and life becomes meaningful.

Do you think that its important to specialise in one area or to have lots of creative outlets?  Can one impact on the other, in positive or negative ways?

We live in a wonderful time of modern technologies and opportunities, but this gives us a paradox - because we can hear the very best music, see the genius paintings and buy designed artefacts that are manufactured in volume, we do not want to surround ourselves with 'stuff' we see as inferior in quality.  I can see why, but we lose a huge aspect of ourselves in accepting that model.  We need to create in order to feel human. I think it is as important as that. What we make is secondary to the function of learning a skill and practising it.  The immersion in a concentrated , focused endeavour is what the psychologists call 'flow' - and we all need it. Some feel it playing sport, or in the kitchen. I feel it when I work with words, and images.  Somehow I have to create something that blends the two things together. This is what I am doing now, and I know it will be temporary - I will want to move on to doing a different craft at some time, I definitely want to learn letterpress printing, but lack the room at present.

 Do you have the support of friends and family when crafting and do you and they value what you do?

My family are very supportive of my craft - they are aware that I have physical limitations to what I can do as I have fibromyalgia, a nasty condition that saps energy and limits physical activity.  They love the fact that I keep busy and focused and have a sense of achievement when I finish a project - it is easy to be defined by our limitations, but I refuse to be!!

Describe what your prefect Art/crafting day would be like

My perfect crafting day would be one where the imagination was immediately available to me ! Often I have to allow myself to be ' empty' in order to be able to create. It sounds a paradox, but the truth is that there's too much going on.  That is why I love travelling to the Isle of Skye, as it recharges me with the desire to be creative.  A creative life is not all making pretty things, alot is slog, taking time to dig deep for something that resonates, that demands to be played with. I love Keat's idea of 'negative capability'. That is the dream I asprire to!


  1. Lovely blog! Anne's work is wonderful! Dottie x

  2. thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed, I loved it!!

  3. Really loved reading this. Your books are gorgeous Anne :)