Friday interview: Daria Tessler! September 16, 2011 11:33

Happy Friday, everyone! This week I'd like to introduce you to Daria Tessler, one of our printmakers based in the creative hotspot, Portland, Oregon. Read on to learn more about Daria's work and what handmade means to her. 

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business.
My name is Daria Tessler and I am an illustrator and silkscreener. Animalsleep is the name for my line of handmade silkscreens and stationery and minicomics. 

Describe your studio for us.
My studio is also my apartment's living room, or rather, it is the reason I don't have a living room. A silkscreening table and tubs of inks replace a sofa space. I have a record player and listen to lots of books on tape while printing away.

Tell us what the handmade scene is like in Portland, Oregon.
I spend a lot of time with cartoonists here. We meet up a few times a week and draw and draw and draw together and other fun things. It's great meeting so many people who are involved in independent publishing on every level, they offer tons of advice, support and inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, we're planning a birthday trip to The Enchanted Forest mini theme park here where we will all be dressed up as witches!

What is your process like when you're designing and printing a new print?
I have a pretty ridiculous collaging process of taking separate drawings and layering them, I do a ton of photocopying, cutting and pasting. When they phase out the last of the good black and white copy machines I am going to have a creative meltdown. I'm addicted to the copy machine. I draw every color layer for my silkscreens separately with pens, crayons and markers, make photocopied transparencies of each color-layer-drawing and then turn each of those into a stencil. Then I can push that color ink through the stencil onto the paper using a squeegie. I don't use computers at all when making my work, its totally hand made every step of the way.

What do you do when you need some inspiration?
I listen to 60's sci fi audio books, poke through vintage children's book illustrations and get lost in the library. It's easy for me to be inspired by a bajillion things, but it's much harder to sort through all of those ideas and concentrate on working an idea through to the end.

What does handmade mean to you?
For me, a sense of treasuredness is connected with the idea of handmade. It is something irreplaceable, something non-disposable, a keepsake. The creation of something individual, each piece having its own little idiosyncratic flaws and oddities.

How did you first become involved with Craftland?
Dan Butler, of Handmade in Brooklyn, told me about your holiday extravaganza.

Guilty pleasure?
Buck Rogers, the late 70's space action TV show set in the future. They sure know how to disco dance in an awsome way 500 years from now!