Name: Carly DeGraeve (Antibromide)

Occupation: Visual Artist  

Following is a brief list of what I have done and will likely to do again:
Apparel design and creation 
Costume design for film and theater 
Set design for film and theater 
Short film/video creation
Conceptual art 
Functional art
Visual Merchandising (Retail)
and more that I have forgotten or have not yet tried.  

I am an author at HowDidYouMakeThis.com.  

I currently live in Chicago, IL.

Story: I grew up in Iowa.  It was big city Iowa but small compared to a lot of American cities with only around 100,000 residents. 

I come from a very creative family.  Sewing was something that goes back many generations.  My great-grandmother traveled through rural Sweden doing sewing work for families she met.  My grandmother sews, quilts, and weaves.  My mother sews most of the clothing she wears and taught me how to sew when I was about 8 years old. 

I can’t forget to mention that my grandfather built a 2 seater airplane which he flew for many, many years. 

While growing up, creating things was a constant theme.  When it came time to chose a college major, fashion merchandising was the logical choice.  4 years later I had a BA in Fashion Merchandising and a skill set that has proven to be very useful as my interests expanded past making apparel. 

In the years after college, my inspirations and influences began to vary and grow.  I made an effort to read classic novels without the reading list and “guided” conclusions provided in school.  I had time to learn about and seek out art (classic and modern).  I traveled to new places and met new people. 

The biggest life change (so far) happened when I picked up and moved to Chicago.  I wanted bigger opportunities.  I wanted to be exposed to new things.  I loved the idea of living so close to so many amazing museums.  I’ve had several people comment that I “stuck the landing” in moving to Chicago and I didn’t turn around and head back to Iowa.  For me, there was no going back.  

My perspective of the world shifted.  I couldn’t avoid observing the people living around me (now in much closer proximity than when I lived in wide open Iowa suburbia).  I started to question the choices I was making and the impact I was having on the world around me.  I began to carry all of my shopping purchases home in reusable shoppers made from 100% cotton fabric.  I thought about how long the things I was buying, using, and discarding were going to sit in the landfill.  

My thoughts about food waste moved past concerns of the plastic bags and cardboard boxes food is packaged in to how much is thrown out because it spoils to what happens before the food is even placed on trucks to be sent to grocery stores.  

I started asking questions. 

Why are most people okay with using leather and feathers but not fur?  It is all the same part of the animal and in all situations the animal dies.  Why do we pick on some animal hides but not others?

Why is it okay to kill an animal and consume it for calories but not okay to wear the hides of the animal to conserve calories in cold weather?  Isn’t it more efficient to reduce how much we eat so fewer animals are killed as part of our food chain?

Why would we throw out the hide of an animal killed to be food (and waste a useful by-product) and then extract oil from the ground and put it through heavy chemical processes to make a faux version of what we have discarded from an animal we consumed?  Aren’t we creating twice the waste by throwing away the animal hide and then throwing away the faux animal fur when we are done with it? 

I read books on working with leathers and furs.  If I was going to start working with real animal hides, I was going to do it right and not waste the hides do to mistakes and poor technique.  I wanted to use great care while creating out of respect for the animal from which the hide came.  Everything I make with animal hides is designed to be a long lasting addition to my wardrobe and lifestyle. 

Using so many animal products in the things I make has also effected the way I look at life.  These objects have become a momento mori (translation: “remember your mortality”).   Read more about why I use real leather and fur (including referential links) and the types I use by clicking here.

I am one of the main authors at HowDidYouMakeThis.com.  Our goal is to create projects (with complete how-to’s) that go beyond the “30 minute This or That” or “Beginning ______” projects.  We focus on using the right techniques and materials to make objects that are long lasting and highly functional.  If we are going to go through the effort to make something it better be worth making.  

I post some of my projects on Instructables.  If you are not familiar with that web site, dig around on there.  There is so much you can learn!  If you are a member and like what I post, subscribe to me so I know who you are and can see what you make!   I had the opportunity to meet some of the amazing people who run Instructables while participating in Maker Faire Austin (in 2007 & 2008).  They are a great group of people to be involved with and run an amazing web site.  

You can listen to  Antibromide Radio for a sense of the music I listen to as I’m working on my art projects.  I add and remove bands from the list as my interests and moods change.  

Here are a few other places to find me (please send me emails/messages to introduce yourself):
 | Instructables | Tumblr | Svpply | Flickr