We all love getting to know the people behind the work, what inspires them and what drives their business. Today we hear from Becky Potter of ForgottenLand.
1. Please can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and what drew you to your chosen craft?
I’ve been an active artist for about twenty years now. When people ask me what kind of art I make, the most honest answer is “Yes.” I’ve tried my hand at almost everything and most of them stick (at least for a little while). I fall in love with materials, objects, ideas, philosophies with equal amounts of ardour and just do what comes naturally! My favorite medium, at the moment, is pen and ink.
2. Who taught you how to do your craft, and how long have you been creating?
I spent the first several years of my college art career making mostly giant oil paintings and tiny little prints. I found the process and detail of acid etching to come more naturally than anything I had tried previously, but was still enamoured with the drama and color of oil painting. Throughout my graduate school experience, I became disillusioned with my own skill, as I met far better painters than myself, and began the wonderful process of experimentation. It was during this time, that I tried fabric sculpture, embroidery and pen and ink for the first time. I left graduate school as a “sculptor,” still favoring dramatically large works with conceptually complicated explanations. During the intervening years, as my living/working spaces grew smaller and smaller, my chosen mediums grew smaller, more intricate.
I had formal art education, covering the usual broad subjects of composition, seeing and thinking. My “craft,” however, has been learned mainly through playing and experimentation. I had one amazing teacher who told me “You can draw with anything,” and I think about that no matter what I’m making with, be it thread, clay, rocks, fabric, paint or ink.
3. How would you describe your style? Are there any crafters/artists/designers that you particularly look up to?
I don’t really describe my style, as I’m not necessarily seeking to imitate any particular already-named style… I tend toward hyper-realistic depictions of elements in places or ways they are not usually seen (i.e. mouths growing like flowers, STIs as animate creatures)
I am inspired on a daily basis by artists, objects, ideas, books, weird facts (yesterday, someone told me why pearls are formed, THAT one will have me going for a while!) The last time I really studied particular artists was in graduate school and one of the most powerful, to me, was Lee Bontecou.
4. Where do you seek inspiration from?
I rarely need to seek inspiration. I feel like the flow of ideas and beauty is so ever-present, the challenge becomes to play with as many ideas as I can find the time for!
5. What are you focused on right now?
Right now, having become gainfully employed in another field I am in love with, I am enjoying the shift from desperation-for-sales-to-make-ends-meet to being able to make whatever I want. I am sticking with pen and ink, for the moment, and am starting a series of larger drawings on the very broad theme of love. The first is called “My Garden.”
6. What are your can’t-live-without craft-room essentials?
A table: a nice, big flat one. Light! Music, or a book-on-tape. Depending on the media, the tools of the moment!
7. How do you combat creative blocks?
I am lucky enough to rarely have these, but when they do come, it’s usually due to a struggle with a particular material. I find that switching to another medium or another idea for a while can sometimes help. If I’m really frustrated, sometimes the best thing I can do is to make something that doesn’t require as much from me, like an apron or a weird piece of found-object jewelry or just go read a book!
8. Why should people buy handmade?
I don’t like to say that somebody “should” do anything, I think that the reasons people make certain choices are complicated and subjective. However, the reasons I buy handmade, are numerous! Something that was touched by a person’s hands, shaped by inert materials into a thing created both in the mind and with the heart, carries an amazing energy. It seems, to me, to have a continuity with the history of humanity that an object mass-produced, without the creativity of an individual, does not seem to possess.
Also, I think that part of the desire for objects (utilitarian, artistic, a combination) is desire for connection with other minds and other beings… Something made by hand is so much more satisfying, in that way, than something made by machine.
I also prefer to support individuals than corporations; it seems like a more direct and honest way to trade. I like to know where the things I use and cherish come from.
9. Anything else you would like to share and where can we find you?
You can find Becky and her wonderful creations at
You can find my work on Etsy. www.etsy.com/shop/forgottenland is my “art” shop, where I post drawings, paintings, embroidery and my more involved jewelry. www.etsy.com/shop/rainbowecology is my “crafty” store, where I list aprons, purses, other jewelry, etc. I live in Denver, Colorado, quite possibly the perfect city ;)
I would like to thank Becky for taking the time to write this wonderful interview and give us an insight into her world!
Clare Martin - DreamDifferently