Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi everyone, my name is Jeff. I’m a photographer with a wide-ranging appetite for creative projects, including my Etsy shop Wild Life Prints. I live in Nova Scotia with my wife and five-year-old daughter. It’s a lovely little world here if you don’t mind bursts of horizontal rain. I’m originally from the Manitoba prairie where everything is horizontal. Back there I worked on my grandparents’ farm, staring out at land so flat it could lead you anywhere.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
My non-photography life revolves around my family. I chaperone my daughter on play dates with her “boyfriend.” On the weekend you’ll find us at the Halifax Farmers’ Market, which I recommend if you’re in town. There are a few Etsy sellers who have set up shop there. We also like to go camping, and sometimes we travel farther afield.
What would be the title of your memoir?
It’s a long one, but here goes: I Believe a Blade of Grass Is No Less Than the Journeywork of the Stars. It’s a quote by Walt Whitman. I may shorten it to: The Harry Potter Code Unlocked by Oprah for marketing purposes.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The Wild Life series was originally inspired by a stock photograph taken in India. I think it was on the cover of Photo District News magazine. In the picture a black cow is standing inside a house that is decorated with striking teal wallpaper. The image stayed in my mind. When my daughter was a toddler I looked at her toys and realized I could create a similar image in miniature, using a plastic cow and dollhouse furniture.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade means feeling the singular power of a person’s idea radiating from their work.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
There are so many… I have a great fondness for creative people of all stripes. This week I’m inspired by Lauren Redniss and Maira Kalman. Next week, who knows? There’s an excellent blog called Brain Pickings that works as a sort of flashlight, illuminating intriguing corners of art and science.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
As Picasso said, “Every child is an artist,” but I didn’t know it at the time. Maybe that childlike wonder never went away.
How would you describe your creative process?
First walking, always walking, building images in my mind that I hope to make real. The legs operate as a sort of brain pump. After that a lot of trial and error, sometimes making serendipitous discoveries along the way, and sometimes getting lost in the woods.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Paolo Ventura, a brilliant photographer. I was lucky enough to see a mock-up of his workshop at an exhibition last year.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A dollhouse made by my grandma that she gave to my mom, who in turn gave it to my daughter.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I accept the ruts. As with many aspects of life, creativity comes in waves and after some years I’ve learned to accept the troughs with the crests.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Living in a world where the postal services of every nation are as efficient as bees and faster than cheetahs.