February Member Interview: Michelle Bonds
My Fiber Art can be found at: Eye of the Eagle Art, Clayton NC
Michelle's Upcycled Jewelry and Eco-friendly Gifts can be found at:
The Scrap Exchange, Durham NC
When Pigz Fly, North Raleigh NC
Raleigh City Museum, Downtown Raleigh NC
Art & Soul, Beaufort NC
Hopper Hills, Victor NY
In addition, Michelle attends several festivals and art events each year, and attempts to keep a listing on her blog, as well as posting reminders on Facebook.
Michelle's work has been published in the following magazines: Cloth Paper Scissors, Sew Somerset, and Art Doll Quarterly as well as online by Fiber Arts Magazine and Cloth Paper Scissors.
1. What inspires you to create?
In life, in general, I am inspired by nature, animals, and the myriad of cultures around the world. In particular, I find inspiration in the ocean, sacred geometry, the texture of stone, petroglyphs and cultural symbols that withstand the test of time. When I create, my true inspiration comes from the materials I work with. The focus of my art is recycled/trash materials. I enjoy finding beauty in things that would otherwise be discarded. Each piece leads me on its own journey.
2. When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?
I would say that art pursued me. I never studied art beyond the obligatory classes in school, but I always enjoyed writing, collage, and making scrapbooks for my friends. I later learned to quilt, and enjoyed that for a while. As an adult I took classes in fine art. It wasn't until the idea of mixed media was presented to me that my artistic desires bloomed. I was able to release the idea that perfectionism was a requirement, or that there were any rules at all, and just go with it.
3. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
I always thought I would have enjoyed architecture or meteorology. I enjoy numbers and analytics. I am very structured and left-brained. When I create, it is time for my right brain to come out and play.
4. What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
In college I worked for a garden center/florist and a landscaping company. While I did not participate in the design process, I did learn a lot about balance and perspective, focal points, etc, and developed a stronger appreciation for nature. I also worked as a preschool teacher for a short time, which helped to remind me how fun it is to mess around with paint.
5. At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
If I don't have a particular purchase in mind, I will often gravitate to the dyes. I love to dye fabric, socks, shoe laces, and anything else I can get my hands on. I love the spontaneity of manipulating a piece of fabric, covering it with dye, and watching it choose the pattern that emerges.
6. What new technique or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
I would like to experiment with soy wax batik. When the weather warms, I hope to play around with this technique. I would also like to improve my drawing skills, but have no immediate plans to take any classes.
I would probably be an animal rights activist, or an environmentalist. I have such a soft spot for animals and truly feel that we are shepherds of creation, not rulers over it. I would love to see the problems of homeless pets, and loss of habitat for wild animals, solved through positive means. I believe that valuing the sanctity of the life of our animal friends is a good step towards peace on Earth.