Louise Jones or otherwise known as sparklymouse, it was lovely to see your work at New Designers earlier this year! How did the name for your work come about?
Hello! And thank you, and well the name sparklymouse came about a few years ago. I knew that Louise Jones was a super common name, and when I googled myself I got lost in a sea of other artists and so I knew I needed a different name to work under. My cats happened to be playing with a sparkly mouse toy, and from there the name was born.
Who doesn’t love to google themselves once in a while?! Interesting to find the name sparklymouse came from something your cat was playing with as well! Sometimes a name literally is put in front of our faces. Within your illustration work, you’ve taken rather a unique approach to displaying your work through the sewn form. Where did this practice come from and what swayed you away from the traditional hand drawn or computer based mediums?
Ahh yeah, I probably should have come up with a better and more sophisticated meaning for the names whereabouts but it’s that simple. And I first started experimenting with stitch about 4 years ago on my foundation course but for some unknown reason I didn’t begin stitching again until my last year in university when I got bored of the same old thing everyone else was creating and I wanted to do something a bit different. I have started mixing bits of more traditional techniques like pencil and paint into my work recently but I think embroidery will always take a main focus within my work.
Names tend to be more significant if it’s something personal and with a story behind it it’s always a win with a great story. How are you finding graduated life so far having graduated last year in Visual Communications?
Hopefully other people think that too, or that I’m just a mad cat lady. And I graduated just over a year ago now and it’s not been easy. I think once you leave university you suddenly wish you were back there and you have to set yourself little projects to keep you going otherwise like most people you’d just give up. It’s also a bit of a waiting game I think in getting replies from people and waiting for people to find you, Though I think I’ve been pretty lucky in getting a commission to create a birthday portrait for Mario Testino and getting chosen to exhibit at New Designers: One Year On so hopefully the luck will continue.
I’d happily spend half my day talking to cats, so there’s nothing wrong with that at all. When you’re working on your illustration, what do you find are the three motives and three distractions?
Oh wow this is a tough question. Well my three motives would be:
- Wanting to be able to give up my day job in the lovely world of retail and be able to work for myself full time is my biggest motivation and this factor is constantly pushing me into thinking about new ideas and things I can create with my work to expand my practice.
- Does to make your work better count? Well I spend every second of the day thinking of new ways I can use my work, create my work, etc. I have lists and lists of things, mostly which I write when I’m trying to sleep that I want to create and hopefully one day I’ll get through them all.
- Lack of time is a big motivation for me, which is probably the worst thing to admit spurs you on, but otherwise I wouldn’t get anywhere and I always work best under pressure.
And my distractions:
- TV!! I’m sure that’s most people’s biggest distraction though. Luckily though I have the best job ever which means if I’m hand stitching I can multi-task like a trooper, though if I’m using the machine sadly I have to keep my eyes on that unless I want to lose a finger in the process.
- Sleep is another big nemesis of mine; any chance I can sneak a cheeky nap I will.
- The worst distraction, or stopping point when it comes to my work comes down to my insecurities about my work and whether I’m good enough to carry on. Again something I’m sure every creative suffers with but you just have to keep going as the devil fights the optimistic guy in your head.
Those distractions, I’m sure, are the three that many people face! Sounds like you’re fighting them wit a vengeance and using them in your favour though.
What is your process when you begin a piece of work, right from the very initial thought to the final piece?
Well I usually start with research, lots and loads if it, which steers me into different possible directions about what kind of image I want to create. Then my next port of call is usually trawling through magazines looking for body parts or faces I think will work well for what I’m doing and then once I’ve put together the image I want to create I trace the outline and then trace onto the fabric or paper I’m working with. Recently my work has involved using more machine stitching than hand stitched work and experimenting with paint and pencil to mix very different mediums together and see what outcomes arise. I then start stitching and flipping the material and changing the colours and shapes to see what comes out as an end result. This helps me through time and practice discover what works and how to make it work next time, and knowing when to stop is a major factor, but using a sewing machine and watching the colours mix together in all different ways is just so random that you can’t replicate it time and time again.
Unique. As a final question – and let’s go a little bit off here from illustration – answer these following words, with the first that pops into your head…
Favourite cheese: Baybel
Something you love: Nap Time
Place: Wales (it’s beautiful, so go there)