LINDSEY CARR, THE IMAGINATION AND HEART behind the fanciful Etsy Shop, Little Robot, readily admits that her sibling-hood of six has come with responsibilities and heartache. “I think really that the misfortunes are the things which bind you,” she says, but then also offers this punchline, about the delight of her sister-and-brother relationships: “A story is nothing without someone to share it with.”
Her work seems to cling to the infinite contours of dreams and imaginative wanderings, giving it a strangely familiar edge. She masterfully combines imagery of the past (of almost a Victorian-era quality) with a touch of dark magic—her painting The King is Dead, for example, portrays a dead bird reminiscent of Darwinian sketches lying defeated, butterfly wings and branches emerging from its back in a beautiful tangled mass.
We first noticed—and subsequently fell in love with—Lindsey Carr’s art (which, in her own words, encompasses materials and processes “from paintings to wooden toys to large paper theatres and dioramas”) by way of the list “100 Great Etsy Artists,” which showcased her shop. We were anything but surprised to hear her describe her inspiration as “stories, particularly the stories of childhood and dream sequences,” for that was what originally attracted the TSP sisters to her. Like Lindsey, we see the roots of sisterhood in the narrative of childhood—a tangled mass in its own right of dreams, fears, experience and intuition.
“Make believe and tall tales played a large part in my life as a child,” says Lindsey, the eldest of six siblings. “I read avidly, and my brother and I spent long nights when we were meant to be sleeping, pretending to be other people in other places.”
As a grownup, she remains connected to other-worlds. While Lindsey currently lives in Scotland, “working in a fairly remote location,” she describes herself as, “some kind of English refugee trying to escape from industrial estates and shopping centres.” She works commercially as a graphic designer, but has made her personal work as an artist her main focus.
Q. What does the word sister mean to you?
A. “The word sister brings up all kinds of things. But mostly I think of it as a description of myself. I’m the oldest of the six of us, so it’s quite a large part of my life, in some way you’re always the responsible one.”
Q. You know you’re a sister when…
A. “When you feel the happiness and misfortunes of your brothers and sisters as though they were your own. I think really that the misfortunes are the things which bind you. That might sound depressing, but I don’t think so. Problems happen no matter what, but it’s always the times which have been difficult when I realize what it is to care for someone and be cared for.”
Q. What are your best of/worst experiences with your sibling and your sister-friends?
A. “I have two wonderful sisters who I met relatively late in life and friends who I wouldn’t hesitate to call a sister, we’ve known each other for so long. It seems amazing to me to know someone for that long, to see their changes—watch them fall in and out of love, get married, and to think that they probably know you better than you know yourself. Obviously, that can be very annoying to have someone hanging around seeing right through you when you’d most like to bury your head in the sand. You don’t like to hear it at the time, but you thank god for it after.”
Q. Are there cultural references (books/music/movies) that the sisters in your life love, or love to fight about?
A. “My closest friend practices Buddhism like myself. So we have this shared reference point which runs through everything. My favorite thing to do is to go to a film or the theater with her and then endlessly analyze it afterwards. I don’t think I’ve ever spent a bad minute in her company. Thinking about it, our actual tastes are completely different. She likes foreign films—Swedish ones with no speaking—and I like Austin Powers movies (I try to like serious films but I prefer to laugh at all times). Honestly though, I could care less what the film is, the wonderful part is the late-night dissection of it.”
Q. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from your sister?
A. “The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that to be a sister you have to learn to forget your own opinions, shut up, and just listen…This is something I’m chronically bad at but I hope to practice more.”
A GALLERY OF LINDSEY CARR’S ARTWORK