Elizabeth Simpson: Tell us about yourself.
Petra Cuschieri: I'm a Toronto-based graphic designer. I work part-time doing design work for a local record label. I also work part-time at a paper store, and I do freelance design work as well. I love music, cooking & baking, bicycles, furry friends...
E.S: Where/when did you become acquainted with your craft?
Petra: My dad is a tailor and he taught me to sew, so I've been sewing for most of my life. I started making bags when I was in high school, under the name Petrified Baggage. I ran that business for a few years, but it was hard to keep up in college. My mother is very talented artistically, and my grandmother was a knitting/quilting/needlework master, so I've kind of always been surrounded by people who make things. Just recently I learned how to operate a Gocco, so I've been printing my little patterns and illustrations onto greeting cards! I can't wait to start real-deal screenprinting.
E.S: Where do you draw creative inspiration from?
Petra: A variety of places, but I think I am most inspired when learning about creative people's process and how ideas are formed. Collaborating and feeding off of others' creative energy is always good! Debbie Millman's podcast Design Matters is one of my favourites, she asks amazing questions and really knows how to get into her interviewee's head. Also, traditional craft practises often inspire my graphic design work.
E.S: What do you love most about your craft?
Petra: I love textiles, so I love the initial stages of planning and pairing patterns and colours when designing a bag. I want to eventually design my own fabrics because I love designing patterns as well.
E.S: Do you have a favourite place/spot/time of day/etc. to work?
Petra: I usually end up doing my best work late at night. (Or i'm left with no choice, because i procrastinate!) I was the one in college who had no problem pulling all-nighters.
E.S: What are your most favourite materials to work with?
Petra: I've been using mostly reclaimed and dead-stock fabrics lately and I love the feeling of giving them another life. I like mixing heavy tweeds and denims with faded old floral prints. Also now it feels more like a treat to buy a beautiful piece of new fabric.
E.S: Is there another craftsperson/designer/artist that you admire?
Petra: There are quite a few... I love Karen Barbé's needlework. I love Luci Everett, she is a graphic designer who infuses handmade elements and collage into all of her work. Maira Kalman is another big favourite, I love her illustrations and paintings and narrative style. I also love reading about the women of the Bauhaus such as Gunta Stolz and Anni Albers... the work that they produced is amazing and so inspiring.