Thursday, August 13, 2009

August Member Interview: Amy Kane Smith

Amy Kane Smith

Mixed Media Store:
Lampwork Bead store:

1. What inspires you to create?
My creativity is born of a hunger for and response to the beauty of creation. When I see the beauty in nature it stirs something in me to respond to it. I believe God put it there as a means to communicate with me. He stirs my spirit with His beauty, and I respond in worship by creating something beautiful. Art is worship for me.

2. When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?
Art has always pursued me. I don't remember a time when I didn't feel a pull to create. When I was in grade school I kept a a stack of typing paper and a big pack of magic markers on the top shelf of my closet. I would climb up there and sit and doodle for hours. No one knew about my little studio. It was my secret, and the place where I felt the most at peace.

3. If you weren't an artist, what would you be? "Artist" is not my primary title. I am first and foremost a Mom to two amazing kids, ages 6 and 8. I home school them, so I get to be creative every day in the way we approach the subjects we are learning. Sowing good seed into their lives, nurturing those seeds and watching them grow and bloom is the greatest creative work of my life. My art is a side gig really. I hope that in ten or so years, I will be able to devote myself more full time to art, but if that opportunity never comes I won't regret keeping my focus on the creative pursuit of growing beautiful, joyful, strong, healthy, productive, dependable, amazing kids. If I ever take on any other profession, it will likely be real estate. I am a bit of a real estate junkie. I look at the local listings a couple of times a week just to see what is out there. I get giddy when friends are house shopping.

4. What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
I worked as a technical assistant to the director of research and development for a software company. The company produced a statistical network modeling software. In laymans' terms, the software discovered patterns within numerical data. It could be used to predict trends in markets, and even to analyze image pixels. I learned in that job the relationships between math and art. I became fascinated with patterns. I am very interested in the "golden mean," and its constant recurrence in nature.

5. At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
Paint first, but I tend to explore every area and look for things I can use in unusual ways. I like to push boundaries.

6. What new technique or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
Right now, I don't want to learn anything that is too far removed from what I am already doing. I don't have time in my schedule to have any new addictions. Therefore, I am sticking with acrylics and seeing how far I can stretch and manipulate them. I am interested in possibly taking a class with Patti Brady at "Art of the Carolinas." Her layering of acrylics and mediums is wonderful. I have also recently set up my hot glass studio and am once again making glass beads. I have been a bead maker for 10 years, and am enjoying getting back into it after a couple of years off. I find that making a bead meets my need for instant gratification as I can have an hour torch session and produce multiple small artworks. Painting is a longer process, but I enjoy the layering and building. Both feed my soul in different ways.

7. If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
That is a big question. Failure is not really a fearful thing for me. I have "failed" at a lot, and am sure I will continue to do so. There is instruction in failure. I am going to do what I fell drawn to do whether I feel there is a chance of failure or not. So I can't think of anything artistically that I could answer this question with. I have to go for the fantasy and say if I knew I could fly like a bird and not crash to the ground, I would do that.

Amy will be one of the Featured Artists in the month of September at Artist Alley in Southern Pines, NC
And, her work can be found at the Mylestone Gallery in Farmville, NC, the Pea Island Gallery in Salvo, NC and at Urban Sampler in Pittsboro, NC

She'll also be teaching a class in January, at Jerry's Artarama, entitled: Visual Art Journaling--No Limits

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Amy; we're looking forward to seeing in which direction your art will fly next!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

CMMAG Potluck Planning Picnic

Our first Potluck Planning Picnic (Px3) was held on Sunday, July 26th, at the Chavis Community Center in Raleigh. With the goal of establishing plans for the newly formed CMMAG committees, 14 members participated in an afternoon of fun activities geared toward getting to know each other, team-building and brainstorming.

"More Can Be Achieved in Less Time When People Work Together" --Zack Canfield
The theme of 'Building a Strong Foundation for Our Future' was expertly and artfully carried out in all the printed materials, supplies and decorations provided by our intrepid President Penny. Each member received a personalized workbook and toolkit, and every committee table was festooned with all the color coordinated equipment we'd need for the day.
After some icebreaker activities, including one where each team used the word "possibilities" in slogans to describe the Guild, and another involving a beach ball where we learned that: a member (who shall remain nameless) had some recently purchased 1922 sex pamphlets on her bedside table (!), another member "used to" have a green thumb, and yet another's least favorite color is putty, we settled down at our committee tables eager to enjoy the potluck goodies and to brainstorm ideas.

"Teamwork Divides the Task and Doubles the Success" --unknown
Currently, each committee is chaired by a member of the Executive Board: Art of the Carolinas/Penny; Community Outreach/Jeanne; Hospitality/Debbie; Membership/Michelle; and Programs/Roberta. Each committee answered the question: "What if We..." by writing one idea on the outside of an envelope. Then, each envelope was passed around to every table, so that all members could comment on or embellish the idea on the front. In this way, everyone had input and each committee could benefit from the collective insights of others. When the envelopes arrived back at their originators' tables, they were filled with kudos, suggestions and new ideas which the committee Chairs incorporated into their original thoughts about "What if We...". At the end of the exercise, each Chair spoke about her committee's original idea and what they'd learned from the suggestions of others. Everyone agreed it was an outstanding way to go about brainstorming, and better yet, it was fun!

Coming Together is a Beginning. Keeping Together is Progress. Working Together is Success--Henry Ford
To wrap up the afternoon, Penny presented us all with hard hats, and graduation envelopes, along with her thanks for our participation. And, in our final activity, upon each member's bright yellow hard hat we wrote a one word description of her, (well, some were one word, some were phrases) based upon what we'd learned or observed. Here we are, posing with our hats.

Thanks to Lucy, our 'Official Guild Photographer' for the shots shown here. And, thanks to everyone who participated; we've taken a great first step toward building that strong foundation, and we couldn't have done it without your enthusiasm, humor, great ideas (and of course, scrumptious food)!

If you couldn't attend the Planning Picnic but have signed up for a committee, your Chair will be in touch with you via email between now and our next meeting. If you haven't signed up for a committee yet, but you're now eager to work on one, you may sign up at our next meeting.

Our August meeting is set for Thursday, August 6, at 6:30, at Jerry's Artarama. Roberta will present a demo on creating charms (our 2nd annual CMMAG Charm Swap is October 8th), Committee Chairs will present an overview of Px3, and we'll learn more about the exciting events on tap for us through the end of the year.

See you there!