Artist Interview: Morris and Essex

Craftland is excited to introduce you to Eliza Jane Curtis, the Maine-based artist behind Morris and Essex! We proudly carry Eliza’s cards, scarves, tea towels, and tote bags. Check out some of Eliza’s work in our online shop, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

What is your background and how did you get into creating what you make now?

I’ve always been artsy-craftsy, since I was a tiny kid! I studied printmaking in college at Parsons School of Design, and fell madly in love with the magic of silkscreen in the Parsons printmaking studios. Since then my work has changed and evolved as I’ve moved houses, cities and studios, and adapted my business and my crafting process along the way, but I’m still a printmaker at heart and I make all my designs with this in mind.

What is the source of your inspiration?

I love design history, I’m always digging through thrift stores and flea markets and checking out vintage patterns and postcards and snapping pictures of beautiful tile patterns or Victorian architectural ornaments. There’s so much pattern and detail around us all the time! It’s out in the woods and the meadows too, nature makes the most perfect/imperfect patterns and shapes.

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What do you think makes your process and product stand out?

I think my work is a nice combination of beauty, utility and craftsmanship… It’s all about designs that I love, everything is meant to be fun and pretty, but I also try to make sure that the products are well crafted and functional, and created in an environmentally and ethically responsible way.

Where do you see your buisness/your work in 5 years?

I would love to be doing more of the same thing in 5 years! I’m starting to do more designs for other people to create – I’ve enjoyed working with other artists and collaborating with other people so that I can expand my business and make different kinds of products, so I’m hoping to keep growing and adding new products through collaboration with other makers… I’ve always loved making everything myself, but that limits how much I can do. Once I’m collaborating with other craftspeople, it opens up lots of new possibilities!

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What is your proudest creative achievement?

Two amazing little children. It sounds kind of corny, but right now they are so intensely beautiful and exciting and magical and I can’t believe they’re mine. I think parenting isn’t just a biological process, it takes so much creativity to figure out how to survive every single day with two small children, and how to keep everyone happy and entertained. It’s incredibly exhausting, but I love the new creative challenges that come every day.