Heather Martin is as true to her designs as she is to herself. As a designer and an artist she attempts to explore the spaces between art, craft, design and fashion. Mono clothing is honest and subtle, unique yet still functional. Redia Soltis interviews Heather Martin.
How did the name Mono come about?
Coming up with a word to describe what you do is a challenging task, I wanted to express the minimalist nature of the work yet also characterize the individuality of my client all in one word. I rather enjoy the formalism of the word too, the way the letters interact with one another.
What made you decide to pursue fashion? What were you doing before taking this route?
While working as a waitress in a local bar in Vancouver, I started making my own clothes… I wanted to teach myself how to sew as well as give myself a new creative challenge. People were interested in what I was making, but my skills were very limited so with some encouragement from my boyfriend Jeremy Hof, I decided to go to college.
Can you explain the type of art your boyfriend Jeremy Hof makes? Do you inspire/influence each other with your work?
That’s a hard question. I don’t want to assume that I know what his work means or stands for but I can give you a sense of what it represents to me; Jeremy works with a broad spectrum of mediums yet does not use those mediums within their conventional context. Currently, most of his works are based around the use of paint. He is a positive and constant influence/inspiration for my work, he is very pragmatic and he tends to stabilize my floating thoughts.
What do you think is a common denominator in both your art forms?
We are both very dedicated to our practices; this allows us both to understand one another more intimately.
Do you consider your work ‘designer art’?
My work explores the spaces between art, craft, design and fashion aiming to redefine the categorical convention of these genres as well as their ideals, content, norms, and expectations. Each aspect informs the next.
How old is Mono?
Mono is 4 years old… it started out very small and still is.
Do you think you will ever explore fashion collaboration with other artists?
I do. I work with other artists in almost all of the projects that I do. I see it as an integral part of my practice. Working with other people brings together many facets of creativity, skill and exploration.
Do you believe that the art of craftsmanship is lost in clothing design these days?
Definitely. But I do think that it is a topic that people are becoming more interested and invested in. People want to support work with integrity and they want the stuff that they buy to last, but the majority don’t understand the time invested in making a well-crafted product. By keeping production in the studios or country where the work is designed, offering limited quantities, and putting more patience into the design and marketing processes, we will be in a better situation to offer well-crafted work.
Can you explain a bit of your process when you are hand dying pieces for your collection? Do you think there is a bit of alchemy involved when working with textile in your designs?
Dyeing is probably one of my favorite aspects to what I do. It causes me to slow down and accept all sorts of unpredictable outcomes. Alchemy is a good way to describe the methodology, the transformation of a common substance into another object/or work; I guess the concept of alchemy could be considered in most works of art.
Tell us something that we would find shocking about you?
My life is pretty simple; the shock factor doesn’t really enter into my realm.
edited by Onwyn Stacey