Ophelia's Collage Creations
1. What inspires you to create?
I find inspiration everywhere. Going into an art store, an antique store or good ole' junk store, being around other artists, art retreats, a visit to the art museum, art related books and magazines. I often find when I am in a slump or feel that my muse eludes me, I go to my bookshelf and look through my stash of books, dig through the treasure trove of art supplies I have, or head out for a little art date, and I'm back to making art that I love. Being around other artists REALLY inspires me. Being in the company of "dreamers" somehow has an energy that truly cannot be described. We have a connection that I don't think others understand, and I love that.
2. When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?
I wish that I could say that I have always been an artist. I have read the stories of others who state that they have been creating in some form since childhood, and I have no such memory. I do think though, that a true love of art has always been in me hidden somewhere, because I just have such a passion for it. I do recall that in third grade I stated to my teacher that I wanted to be an artist, and she told me, not so nicely, to reconsider my career choices. That is my only memory of even considering art as a child. Back in 1996, I was to have surgery and wanted to find something to do while I was out of work. I found a quilt kit in a JoAnn's store (a fan quilt) that I was going to do by hand while I recovered. That quilt landed itself in the garbage, but I searched and found a quilting class with the local parks and rec department, and my journey began. I moved from traditional quilting into "art quilts" because I was still on empty with following someone else's pattern...and I also realized that I was truly no good at the 1/4 inch stitch. I was introduced to rubber stamping and picked up a book on artist journals and sketchbooks, and found myself truly in love.
3. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
By day, I am a teacher....8th grade history. Now that I have finally decided to call myself an "artist," I can never imagine my life without it. Although, I have always thought I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader....better stick with art!
4. What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
I teach at a middle school in Oxford, where I continuously find inspiration as well as guidance and support from the art teacher there, Mr. Massey. He has helped me discover new things both about art and myself as an artist. I have worked at a quilt store store which has helped a great deal.
5. At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
The acrylics call me initially, but I lose time. I find that I can look around an art store with no intentions for hours it seems. Just imagining what can be done with what is there. It seems that I go through the entire store, several times with nothing in mind, just looking. The art store for me is an oasis...it brings me sheer joy just being there. Some days I leave with a whole bag of stuff, and sometimes its just being around the supplies is all I need.
6. What new technique or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
I am totally in love these days with making books. I love working with Art Journals, and would love to make my own books. I recently took a class to learn "Coptic Binding" and man oh man...here we go again!!
7. If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
I would love to put my art into the public eye by entering shows. It has taken me a long time to consider myself good enough to even be called an artist, so my artwork ususally never leaves my studio. I would love to one day change that and enter my work in shows or magazines.
We say: "Go for it, Ophelia!" There are lots of us who'll assist you...just ask! And, thanks for a great interview.
May Member Interview: Nanette Zeller