BRIKA Inspiration: Amanda McCavour


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BRIKA believes that in order to support the next generation of Makers and artists, we need to help them get the education they need to succeed. That's why BRIKA decided to sponsor the Design*Sponge Scholarship program, which assists design and art students in pursuit of their creative endeavours. We caught up with one of the winners of the graduate school prizes, Amanda McCavour, to talk to her about her studies the Tyler School of Art in Philidelphia, PA, her amazing threaded drawings and installations, and how she sees the beauty in the small things.

[caption id="attachment_1070" align="aligncenter" width="486"]BRIKA Amanda McCavour Design*Sponge Scholarship Amanda McCavour is one of the graduate art students who received a BRIKA-sponsored Design*Sponge Scholarship.[/caption] What inspires you to keep studying/learning?

The more I learn the more I know that there is more out there I do not know. It is kind of an endless cycle. There are so many interesting things to learn and read about...I think my curiosity is what inspires me to keep learning. Making art also pushes me to keep on learning.

How did you discover Design*Sponge's scholarships?

I heard about the Design*Sponge Scholarship last year when I was on their website. I was impressed with the applications and spent a lot of time looking at last year’s applicants' websites.

What will you do with your winnings?

I will use the money for supplies this semester because the cost of materials really does add up. It will be really helpful to me for completing some more ambitious projects.

[caption id="attachment_1071" align="aligncenter" width="504"]BRIKA Amanda McCavour Design*Spong Scholarship Winner An art-covered wall in Amanda's studio (left), and her agenda, stuffed full of to-do lists (right).[/caption] Why did you decide to study art at university?

I chose to go into an art program because that is what I enjoyed and spent most of my time doing when I was in high school. I went to figure drawing classes and spent a lot of time drawing and working in my sketchbook. I applied to York University (in Toronto, Canada) because I thought it would have a good and high quality range of classes outside and inside of the Fine Art Department as well. (Amanda is now completing her MFA at Temple University.)

When did you start making art? 

I think that I have always been making things. When I was young, I drew a lot and was generally interested in making things. I liked cutting paper, gluing things together, putting googly eyes on things, making friendship bracelets and using glitter. It really didn't matter what we were making.

[caption id="attachment_1072" align="aligncenter" width="486"]BRIKA Amanda McCavour Design*Sponge Scholarship A collage Amanda and her grandmother made together when she was a child.[/caption] Can you remember the first art project you ever did?

This collage (above) was a collaborative effort between my grandmother and I when I was young, maybe five years old or so. It must have been one of the first times that I combined textiles and drawing with the help and guidance of my grandmother.

I think my Grandmother did most of this, and I remember loving the way that she could draw. But this piece wasn't all about skill — I think at the time, I didn't really compare myself or I wasn't too critical, I just drew! I drew one of the faces and I can remember feeling really proud.

What drew you to making threaded sculptures?

I was really interested in line, and that is how I came to making the work that I make now. I have always loved drawing and when thinking about line in its simplest sense, as line, I began to think about how threaded line is interesting because it appears flat but it is actually a sculptural line.

[caption id="attachment_1073" align="aligncenter" width="504"]BRIKA Amanda McCavour Design*Sponge Scholarship "Crumpled Paper"[/caption] How did you learn to sculpt with thread? 

I didn't really learn the technique. Instead, I had a visual problem or challenge for myself that I wanted to solve...how do I make a piece that only exists only out of sewn line? What materials would allow me to do this? How much thread is needed to hold a work together? And maybe later on, what does the material mean and what is its relationship to the image? Working with a sewing machine is sometimes like working with an uncooperative partner — sometimes it seems to have a mind of its own, sometimes it breaks!

Why is “handmade” important to you?

I think "handmade" is important to me because it involves interacting with the world around me in a physical way. There is something I really enjoy about physically making a piece, altering materials, making something different, altering something or making something new. Handmade is important because it is a way of understanding things — making things helps me to work through ideas.

Where do your ideas come from?

Lots of things! It is hard to say what things will stick...some of my previous pieces came from ideas around the temporary nature of my apartment spaces and also kids crafts. Now, I am making some things where it is more uncertain where the images have come from. Natural forms like coral and seeds and plants are where some of my sculptural ideas are coming from now....it is much more loose and kind of open.

Which BRIKA value speaks to you the most?

A world of beauty lives in every small thingAll you need to do is look! I think that there are a lot of things that can be missed when we don't look at the world around us.

[caption id="attachment_1074" align="aligncenter" width="504"]BRIKA Amanda McCavour Design*Sponge Scholarship "Accumulate" (left) and Amanda's work space (right).[/caption] Did you like this story? You’ll probably like these as well!
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