Interview with DIY Artist, Allison Binger

I was messaging with Allison yesterday about her letter sign making machine, that she utilizes to ensure perfect lines and edges for the DIY projects she creates. It brought back very vivid memories  regarding one finding its way in my parents’ home — when I was a teenager. I was in awe of the clean lines required for professionally designed signs and the care in which the blades carefully sliced into self adhesive vinyl. Looking at Allison\’s pieces — I\’m constantly amazed by the creativity that comes pouring out of her with regards to DIY pieces. I\’m impressed with original vision, to permit yourself to be open to using items for other uses — aside from their intended purpose. I can totally appreciate that — I remember the first time I started making my hourglasses with recycled glass wine bottles — to just look at it — imagine what you want — and voila — it\’s created! That is exactly how Allison\’s mind works if I am to imagine it through my third eye! With an open cerebellum ideas constantly come pouring out — always churning. And the variety designed by Allison is truly wonderful. If you are interested in DIY — definately check out Allison Binger @diyparadiseincnj on Instagram for more optic exposure! 

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?
AB: I don\’t know if I get creatively blocked or just tired! I try my best to do something creative each day, but I allow myself to consider many different things to be creative outlets. I like practicing hand lettering, painting, or even just searching Pinterest for new ideas.
RMMW: We all have to deal with our inner critics — how do you contend with yours?
AB: I am the biggest critic of myself. I strive for perfection and when I don\’t achieve it, I seek the opinions of people I can trust to help me accept the piece or project I am unhappy with. If there isn\’t anyone to consult with, I generally walk away from the project and come back when I\’m feeling more confident.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece? 
AB: I don\’t think so, maybe pouring a hearty glass of wine before sitting down and really jumping in?! Wine totally helps the creative process, and helps let some of my perfectionist take a rest so the juices can flow without judgement.
RMMW: What do you relish about DIY?
AB: The freedom to make anything I want! I think having this business has opened my eyes to just how much we can really make ourselves. I walk through a retail store and see cute wooden signs, shirts with great messages on them, shoes with insanely cute designs, and I almost always say \”we can make that!\” I love to see what others make, but I love to try to make it \”my way.\”
RMMW: When did you complete your first DIY project?
AB: I\’ve always been interested in creating and doing projects, since I was a kid. I used to help my dad with all kinds of wood working projects. We built my dog a dog house (that she never used!), we built bookshelves,  and even build a drive-thru McDonald\’s dollhouse for my cousin when he was young. He has Autism and it was one of the things he really loved. I remember helping painting the small details to make it look as real as possible. It was such a good feeling to give it to my cousin and watch him joyfully play with it. Last I heard, he still has it.
RMMW: Do you think anyone can learn to DIY?
AB: Absolutely. I think anyone can learn anything they put their mind to. I think anyone can be creative. Art is everywhere. Art is what you make it. Each of us views art differently, so surely anyone can make something beautiful.
RMMW: What is your favourite DIY piece created by you?
AB: I would have to say the Giant Recycled Cardstock Flowers are my favorite because it was made completely by me, even the base the flower is built upon, and the hook to hang it is handcrafted and designed by me. I love watching them come together. Especially when they are all displayed together.
RMMW: As an educator, what is your favourite subject to teach?
AB: I love teaching phonics. I think giving students the base skills they need will allow them to grow and flourish. Without the building blocks, how can you build your skill base? If you know the letter sounds, and how to put those sounds together to make words, you can read. If you can read, you can learn anything.
RMMW: Did you go to school to learn how to DIY or are you self taught?
AB: I am self taught. I went to school to become a teacher. I never really took art classes in high school. I definitely didn\’t take any in college or grad school. I have always worked on craft projects on my own.
RMMW: What is it about DIY you find so fascinating?
AB: Art: The ability to make the world more beautiful than you found it.
RMMW: What do you recommend as a first project for someone who may want to start a DIY Project?
AB: Art is whatever you want it to be. Check out some other ideas, and then make it your own. There are so many tutorials and videos out there to help, so I would suggest starting with something you\’re excited about. And then, try to narrow down the one project that requires you to buy the least amount of supplies!
RMMW: What are your favourite tools to DIY with?
AB: I feel like I use so many different tools! I love getting new paintbrushes and new watercolor markers. I have a terrific hot glue gun, I use very often! I wouldn\’t be here without my Cricut cutting machine. It is beyond useful for designing ideas, creating stencils for those who are uncomfortable with imperfection and saving ideas for later.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
AB: If I could pick anything, it would be to wiggle my nose and be able to clean/organize everything around me that\’s a mess! I am an organized person but when I am creating, it\’s the last thing on my mind. My mom spends time at my shop helping me with that part! She\’s a saint who loves to vacuum and sort paperwork. I would be lost without her. She lets me talk through ideas without criticizing, she makes suggestions and never gets upset when I start screaming because I hate something I\’ve made. She\’s the best.

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