Thursday, May 7, 2009

May Member Interview: Nanette Zeller

Nanette Zeller

1. What inspires you to create?
I wish I knew what really triggers my creativity. Sometimes I really could use something to kick my behind. The problem, if you choose to call it that, is that I always want to create. I do know that being around creative souls really gets me inspired to get into the studio. Whenever I have a creative outing, teach or take a class, visit a trade show or gallery, or visit a new “supply” store, I always come home fired up and full of ideas. That’s why I love our guild so much. I know on a monthly basis, I’m going to be around some talented people who “get it.” I don’t have to explain my “weird” passions for fibers or the creative process. After each meeting, I’m ready to get busy in my studio.
2. When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?
Professionally, I started pursuing art about 4 years ago. However, it has always been pursuing me. I was always creating things. My mom taught me to crochet when I was about 9 and I was sewing doll clothes even earlier. On days off of school, I was always excited to make paper mache masks using clay, newspaper, flour, water, and glue. My mom was an original mixed media artist. She made dioramas for Easter and Christmas using ham cans and small plastic ornaments (e.g., bunnies, trees, etc). She died when I was 14, but I’m sure she would approve of my mixed media insanity. She’s probably the only one in my family that would “get it”.
3. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
I have been so many different things already; it’s difficult to think of being in another career. I really like this one, so far. I guess if I had to choose and money were no issue, I would be doing something with dog rescue work. I love dogs and it saddens me to think there are so many that are homeless or ill-cared-for.
4. What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
I started my college career as an Environmental Biologist, and then went back to school to become a certified Secondary Science Education Teacher. Shortly after that I went back to school, again, to earn my Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology and worked a few years in that profession. In the late 1990’s, I began working as a web designer, and then later a technical editor for a major craft book publisher.
Although my background is diverse, I feel that all of my experiences have helped me be a better artist. The science training and my love of nature, allows me to see things with great detail. I have had encounters with nature which now provides me with a keen eye. My computer skills, editing experience, and scientific training have enhanced my skills by providing me the courage to experiment, the analytical skills to work out problems, and the creative desire to research techniques. Above all, I think I’m a good learner…I love to learn. Being excited about learning can be a very helpful in the creative process. It opens up new opportunities and techniques and helps you think outside of the box with designs. My teaching allows me to share what I know. I love seeing the “light bulb” effect in my classes. And it never fails that I learn something from my students. It’s all good.
5. At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
I am fascinated by fiber things, but most art supplies stores don’t carry cloth or wool. However, canvases intrigue me and so do paint brushes. I love petting the paint brushes. I’m not sure what most of them are used for, but I like to touch them especially if they are made from animal hair. I have been very tempted to purchase paint brushes just to have them to touch.
Currently, I’m playing some with home-made rubber stamps, so I also like looking at the inks and acrylic paints.
6. What new technique or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
I am fascinated with altered books. I’d like to experiment a little more with paints and fibers in collage. I would also like to do a little more with Polymer clay. The problem is just about anytime someone shows me a cool technique I want to learn it and use it. There’s just not enough time, so I have to hold back on some of my enthusiasm. I’m running out of room in my studio.
7. If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
I would like the ability to travel without concern for money. There are so many places that I want to see. I would love to embrace the cultures of the world. Just experiencing the cultures could open my mind to some creative opportunities. I’ve heard of people who take a year or more off from their jobs and spend the time traveling. I don’t see how they can afford it. My husband and I are just too practical to travel like that. I also have this strong “nesting” gene. I like being in my own home. I like being in my studio. And anyway, how do you find the money for airfare when you’re not working? Maybe when I win the lotto…but I guess first I have to start playing it.

Good luck, Nanette, and thanks for doing the interview!


Mary Stori said...

It's clear you've found your artistic voice! I loved the juggler seeing your studio too....

Jeanne Rhea said...

What a great interview. The juggler piece is fantastic. I am so glad we are learning so much about each other through the member interviews.

I'm with you, too on the lottery. That is what it would take to travel as much as I would like to travel! But home is always calling.

Penny L. Arrowood said...

Great interview, ladies!

Like Jeanne, I am really enjoying this series :-)

Jodi Ohl said...

What fun peeking into your creative space! I've never seen it nor have we seen your juggler piece, which I love!

You are and have been an inspiration to me. I love your enthusiasm and your spirit as it relates to art. You always want to learn and stretch your wings and your growth and development over the last couple of years is truly awesome. You should pat yourself on the back for all the steps you've taken to make your dreams come true!

Unknown said...

This is great!! Nanette, I really enjoyed getting to know you and having a look into your creative space.