Travel Technology Services recently sat down with Artist Funlola Coker to discuss her new pieces and her Food Jewelry line.
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TTS- Funlola when did you first delve in to arts and crafts?
FC – I come from a family of artists. Drawing was a daily activity in our house. I’ve always felt like my drawing skills leave a lot to be desired, but somehow I was determined to make art a part of my life. I decided to make the move to Memphis, TN and pursue a degree in Fine Arts from Memphis College of Art. I suppose you could say art is what I know. There are so many aspects of it I am excited to explore.
TTS-Tell us about the first object you drew?
FC- I honestly don’t remember what I first drew, but I have a memory of my earliest drawing. It was some sort of cheesy landscape I made with my brother, Shofela. We ended up standing in front of our house in the hopes of selling it. Business was good that day because a nice man came by and bought the drawing for 5 Naira. Naturally, we spent it on sweets.
TTS-Where does the inspiration come from ?
FC- The inspiration for my food jewelry obviously comes from food. I enjoy looking at elegantly designed plates of food, recreating them and adding a little of my touch to them. My gnomes are inspired by people or situations I am interested in. Right now, I am working on a series of gnomes in different professions. Mostly professions that are considered lost. My metal and wood jewelry are inspired by textile patterns and motifs from Nigeria. I’m actually working on a collection of jewelry that I’d like to launch this year.
TTS- What can you say about your creations that sets you apart in your field ?
FC – Well I think it’s really hard to come up with “original” ideas. I think we tend to recycle ideas and try to make them ours. For me, I try to focus on unusual foods as well as the norm to try to reach everyone. Or at least everyone who is quirky enough to wear food jewelry. More importantly I do research. I can see more what people are making and what techniques they are using. It gives me an idea of how to change things up if need be.
TTS – Have you ever thought about adding inspirational words as names to your Gnomes?
FC – I can’t say that I have, but if someone makes a custom order and wants that, then I’d be happy to oblige.
TTS – Where can our readers purchase them ?
FC – I have a few items listed in my Etsy shop. I also take custom orders. I love hearing creating things for customers and having their ideas realised. I think it’s important to stay open and flexible, so if you see my work, but can’t decide on what I have available, then feel free to get in touch with me and we can work together.
Here’s a link to my shop page, https://www.etsy.com/shop/GnomeoreCrafts. You could also “like” my Facebook page and send a personal message and we’ll go from there. Here’s a link to that, https://www.facebook.com/GnomeoreCrafts
TTS – What’s next for you?
FC – I’d like to work on expanding my business. There’s a lot of organising that needs to be done and a lot of work on more collections. It will take some time since I have a full time job, but I’m taking it one step at a time. I’ll let you know when Gnomeore Crafts is official.