FK talks to Hanna Mancini, from her Melbourne based creative label Hannakin who will be at the upcoming Melbourne Markets.
Tell us about your label Hannakin and what the concept is behind it?
The name Hannakin was originally a nickname given to me by a friend; it’s sweet and kind of silly, which represents me just perfectly! The label itself includes the varying range of funny little things I do, which all come from somewhere in dark recesses of my mind! My creative practice involves all sorts of different mediums and techniques, I often can’t stick to one thing, I jump around with drawing and illustration and making 3D soft sculptures, Hannakin is a way to encompass all of these things and then to share them with the world! My tagline is “Hannakin: Pretty pictures, strange creatures and other bits and bobs by Hanna Mancini!”
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I have always been drawing and creating from a very young age. I grew up in a very creative family; my dad is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer and my mum was always creating some amazing tactile craft; knitting, sewing and generally creating. My older brother is now a concept artist for a computer game company. He and my parents have always been a huge influence on my work. I couldn’t imagine not doing something creative with myself! After finishing VCE I went on to study Visual Arts at Swinburne University of Technology, this helped me discover many new mediums and techniques while also inspiring me to develop my existing styles. Since then I have just continued to develop and explore.
What do you love about working in multiple mediums? and what keeps you creatively motivated?
I feel as though I am predominantly an illustrator but I’d find it very stifling to be tied to one medium. I think it’s hugely helpful to my general creativity to dabble in different mediums, it keeps me inspired and interested. I think I need to be working on a few things at once, or at least have the option to drop one project completely and change my thinking space for something else entirely when I hit a wall. I’m a very tactile person, I love creating with my hands and feeling the different textures, and although I do work in different mediums there is this synergy in my pieces. My illustrations are mostly traditional rather than digital, incorporating a lot of collage (so much cutting and pasting!) and I include many different fabric weights and textures in my textile/soft sculpture works. I’m happy as long as I’m using my hands to create!
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
I work from home, and my work spaces are a bit all over the place, which I guess goes hand in hand with my creative practice! I am constantly fighting a battle with paper and fabric scraps escaping everywhere. They are neatly folded and packed away in boxes and shelves and are then rummaged through and somehow make it all the way across the room and into numerous corners! My main work desk is rarely entirely clear of started projects, snippets of inspiration and sketched ideas, which get pushed to the edges to make way for whichever project I’m currently working on, only to creep back again when I leave.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
In the early days of Hannakin, everything happened very slowly. One of the biggest challenges was finding the time to get on top of everything in between a part-time job; applying for artists markets, sourcing packaging materials for prints and cards, and getting a reasonable amount of stock made was all hugely time consuming. Finding and deciding what works and what doesn’t is a slow process too. I have since quit my part-time job and am working just for myself and really loving it. Working for myself means having to be hugely motivated to get up and get right into it, but I am doing (and making) the things I want to do and I have the freedom to have a cup of tea and listen to loud music while I do it!
What can we expect to see from Hannakin at the upcoming Melbourne Finders Keepers?
I have lots of new prints on 100% French cotton rag paper in archival quality inks of works I did for a group show in February and they are lovely! The paper is so lovely they almost look better than the originals! I’ll also have lots of art dolls made using vibrant pure wool felt, pretty vintage fabrics and trims which are each packaged in their own little ‘shipping crate’ with their name and personal information on the top. Each is an entirely individual one of a kind creation, so they are pretty special.