Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Featured Member Interview: Cathy Mitchell

Blog:  http://theenchantedforestspirit.blogspot.com/

What inspires you to create?
Inspiration is so abundant. Colors, textures, light and shadow, nature, music, the written or spoken word, all will motivate me when I least expect it. Looking at the work of artists gives me perspective that energizing and invigorating.

When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you? Art has always played like a song in my mind. When I was small, crayons, bits of yarn, paper, glue, and blunt-nose scissors were my favorite toys. I often played in my Mother’s button tin, sorting endlessly by color, size and shape. I watched my Dad build bookshelves, TV cabinets and repair items. I played with the remnants. The first “assemblage” I made was a bedroom for Barbie from a square bread box my Mother spray painted gold. Accessories were fashioned from cartons, wood blocks and fabric scraps.

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
It would be amazing to have the attention span to study history and literature. I so admire writers who change perspectives with their words. Sometimes I’ll read something provocative feel the urge to write a bit or decide to study a period in history. That doesn’t last long before I feel the pull towards abstracts like shape and shadow.
What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
I have been so very fortunate to have worked with elementary and preschool kids, summer camp and specialized recreation. These settings allow me to plan and implement arts and crafts instruction although the best inspiration comes from being with children and adults who shine when bursting with creativity and ideas. As well, many years behind a desk in the world of finance led me to realize my mind works in movement and color rather than static black and white and that is ok, too.

At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
Initially I go to the markers, pens and pencils then onto paper, paints and brushes. And journals; I love to handle and look at journals even if I don’t need one. Exploring techniques that I have not yet tried and poking around in the children’s supply area; to find something fun for my grandson. A visit to the art supply store is energizing for me.

What new technique or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
I would like to learn more about alcohol inks and watercolor. I have played around with both and find the color mingles and dances in much the same way with both mediums. As I spend time with our most talented group of artists here within the CMMAG, I learn so much and find opportunities all about. As I am just breaking into this beautiful world of art making, I tend to practice serendipity and see what happens next.
If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
Wow, so many adventures to be had. If I knew I wouldn’t fail, I would begin work on a novel or a non-fiction book dealing with cultural history.  Add to that a huge farm where stray and forgotten pets could come and live out their lives, healthy and happy, would be a dream come to life.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Featured Member Interview: Liz Miller, CDA

"Under the Old Maple"
Visit Liz's website:  Artful Endeavors
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/artfulendeavors
What inspires you to create? 
Creating is a part of me. I’m inspired by the world around me, colors, textures, lines, light and the way they interact. I’ve always gravitated to the creative part of any of my jobs or activities.
As an art teacher, my students inspire me with their desire to learn and their questions about art theory or techniques.

When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?
I’ve been involved in art in one form or another as long as I can remember. As a child my favorite activities involved crayons or building something.

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
At this point in my life if I weren’t an artist I would be retired and still involved in creative pursuits.  I’m not sure you ever retire from being an artist.

What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
Before I worked at being an artist I was a nurse, a belly dancer, and a dance therapist. I’ve always enjoyed the creative aspects of each job.

"Waiting to Hatch"
At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
An art store is like a candy store to me, so much to look at and explore. I usually end up at the paints, or pencils, or anything involving color.

What new technique or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
I’ve been exploring textures and mixed media, colored pencils, and watercolors. More portrait work is high on my to do list.

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
I would provide an art studio/gallery/venue where any of my talented students or artistic friends could come to teach, create, dance or follow their creative urges. I would involve as many people in art as possible. I would have a large room for dance performances and Zumba workouts.
I would be an artist, wife, horsewoman, cat lover, Zumba enthusiast, belly dancer, art supporter, teacher, and friend. 

Sounds like you're living your dream, Liz!  Thanks for the interview.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Featured Member Interview: Katherine Stein

Nuno scarf I
Visit Katherine's blog, Designing Dragonflies
and her Facebook page, here.

What inspires you to create? 

Everything inspires me.  Trees, grasses, birds, berries, fruits, vegetables, sunsets, sunrises, gloomy days near water (a perfect example of monochromatic) buildings, mountains, oceans, deserts, cities, villages, people, dogs, cats, the moon and stars, books, the Milky Way, fiber, fabric and color, color, color!

When did you decide to pursue art, or did art pursue you?
I grew up wanting to be an artist so I guess I pursued it.  I LOVED art class in school and when I was able to choose classes in high school I took every art class I could. I wanted to paint and was really into embroidery in high school. I took some pottery classes but I just couldn’t get into it. After I got married at the tender age of eighteen I was broke and got into sewing, recycle, and nature art (anything I could do cheaply) In my thirties I started to work full time and went to (shudder) business college at night…which did require some creative thinking but kept me so busy I had no time for art. Ten years later, when we moved down to North Carolina, I found some boxes of my old projects and it was like finding a forgotten old friend. I’ve decided that this is my time to get back into what I loved doing, so here I am. I’ve declared to myself and to others that I AM a Fiber Artist (who meddles in paint, art journals, and whatever catches my attention) and I’m never going to let that part of me go for anything or anyone. Whether I stay in fiber or move on to the other mediums who knows, but it’s a journey that doesn’t really end and that’s the best part.

Nuno scarf II

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
Hmm...been there temporally already, bored, frustrated, television watching zombie (and kinda bitchy as well).

Fairy Grandmother

What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?

Different scarves
Working at a flower shop was really awesome because of the different colors of the flowers and plants.  But what gave me the discipline of color was working at Perrigo in Allegan, Michigan in the Graphic Arts area (Print Shop) I had to learn about four color processes, and the printing process, flexo and offset. It has turned out to be my favorite job so far.

At an art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
It depends on which art store, what day and what whim.
At Jerry’s I go for the fabric dyes, however I may want to check out what is new in paper, pens and paint. At Askew-Taylor I just want to slowly explore the whole store bit by bit, it’s like going into Aladdin’s cave. At Ornamentea I start with wool fiber and then look at seed beads and any other sparkly item that catches my eye. Quilt stores and Joanne’s is totally fabric.

What new technique or art form would you like to learn?  Do you have plans to do so?
Since I’ve joined CMMAG, I’ve been exposed to so much beautiful art, I want to learn and master it all. However my top picks are to learn how to Art Journal, paint, draw better, and expand my fiber art knowledge. My New Years Resolution for 2012 has been to learn a new technique every month and so far I’ve done pretty well. January I taught myself Nuno Felting, February was portrait drawing, March was making a sweat shirt jacket using layered waves,  April I designed and made cell phone bags, May, I learned a new way of appliqué, June I started to learn how to Batik. July is furthering the Batik to a new level. I need to pick up some painting classes, an Art Journal class and possibly book binding to finish off my year.

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
I would buy an old warehouse or mill, renovate it into a combination of Art studios, meeting rooms/ class rooms, gallery and an inn. This way, I’d be able to accommodate different artists needing space, provide space for guilds to meet, as well as classrooms (at a reasonable rate).  Also, I'd sponsor weekend workshops and the inn aspect of it would accommodate students. The gallery would be a co-op of all the artists in the studios.

Sounds like a wonderful place, Katherine...sign us up! 

Thanks for the interview, and best of luck meeting your New Year's Resolution goal...you're well on your way.

Raleigh 004

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Featured Member Interview: Mary Neligan

Mary at work

What inspires you to create?
Sometimes it’s the wood with the different patterns, knots or shapes.  Sometimes it’s the odd metal parts that I‘ve found or been given.  Lately it’s been a theme or concept of a fish that makes me laugh and I search through my hoard of parts to create that fish.

When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?

I’ve always been a piddler, tinkering with tools, wood, glass, and the like.  When our talented member and my good friend, Jean Skipper, told me she could sell my fish in her gallery I was amazed.  I had a reason and a purpose behind my piddling.  I later realized Jean bought most of my first fish, but it got me started.


If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
I would still be working in the Emergency Room.  With 12-hour shifts you always had 4 days of the week to decompress and work on projects.

What other jobs have you had which aided you on your artistic path?
Daddy Gar
When my boys were young I was able to be a stay at home mom.   My friend Joanne and I taught ourselves how to use a miter box and chair railed everything.  We laid flooring, painted, and wallpapered.  We mastered the bigger saws and built a dog house.  My dog never slept in it.  It has a bit heavy… needing a forklift to move it, but it looked good.   

 At the art store which section do you gravitate to first?
The one with the most colorful display.   They may be displaying something I know nothing about or have no need for, but I will be sucked in.   I have bought amazing things I know nothing about from fabulous colorful displays. 

What new technique or art form would you like to learn?  Have you made plans to do so?
Sally Sells
I have always wanted to learn to batik.  This past Monday I took a class with our own Liz Miller. I liked the element of surprise in a completed batik work.  More batik projects are now swimming through my head at an alarming rate.  I have fish orders that need to be filled first. So much art and not enough time. Batiking will happen, but back burner for now.

If you could do anything, and could not fail, what would you choose to do?
Mrs. Latchy
I’ve toyed with the idea for years of acquiring one of little cinderblock buildings you see dotting the rural highways of North Carolina.  You know the ones… mostly abandoned now, they use to be mom and pop stores, repair shops, and the like.  I would like to completely mosaic the exterior of the building with a landscape theme with monsters, gargoyles, and of course fish.  The store would become a junk shop with displays of found and upcycled art.  Give ideas to all on what they can create with discarded items.  They have the choice to create or to buy from all of us who create, tinker, and piddle.

There'd be lots of CMMAG members who'd be regular visitors to your store, Mary!  Thanks for the interview.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

2012 Challenge: "What's on Your Palette?"

Our challenge for this year will be our take on the Capital One slogan ("What's in Your Wallet?").  No Vikings, no Alec Baldwin, no goats...well, unless that's what you're into. 

At the August 9th Guild meeting, all members will be given a 12" x 12" canvas (a gift from the Guild), and a template with the outline of an artist's palette.  The challenge will be to show the world what's on your personal palette. 

Anything goes!  If it can fit onto the palette, and be permanently attached to the canvas, it'll work.  The only requirements are that the outline of the palette must be visible, and a solid color background (which continues around all four edges) must surround it.  Finished work is due at the October 11 meeting (no exceptions!).  As we did last year, the completed canvases will be displayed at Art of the Carolinas (November 8--11). But unlike CanvaSynergy, these will not be attached, or in a frame. Instead, we'll forgo the table we normally have in the hallway leading to the trade show at AoC, and display them on a grid wall.  After that, who knows?  Maybe the Mayor has some more empty wall space...

Intrigued?  Got plans whirling in your head?  Great!  The fun begins August 9th.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Featured Member Interview: Ilona Isaacs

What inspires you to create?
The rush I get from making something - anything really, an event, dinner, a simple greeting card, etc.

When did you decide to pursue art, or did art pursue you?
Art and aesthetics have always been part of my life.  Beautiful things bring me joy. But, I felt I was an "appreciator" and my sister was the talented one. Being in the Guild has given me the courage to begin labeling myself as an artist-in-training and every opportunity I get to do something artistic counts toward my 10,000 hours toward actually being good at it. Most of all, I have always loved the feeling of getting lost in the moment when I am working on an art project. The rest of the time, my brain whirrs around, a dozen trains of thought at a time so this is a welcome respite for me. As I've gotten older, I recognize the value of this focusing more and am encouraging it. Again, the support and inspiration that I find in the Guild is awesome. They do not label anyone and are extremely encouraging and if it takes me a decade to get to the next level ... that will be ok.

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
The artist in me comes out in always viewing the world through an artistic lens. I don't think I can look at things any other way.

What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
A simple design class in college - 20+ years ago, has stuck with me and I have used the things I learned in that class forever. Working in an antique shop and being an auctioneer helped form one of my core values: old things are of value and need to be appreciated and now, with mixed media - given new life. Being a Girl Scout Leader for a decade really gave me insight into how making things affected me... and a comfort level with imperfection because I always focused on process not product with my girls. Being a mother launched me into scrapbooking and that is one area that I do feel very competent about my skills. And, my family has always appreciated old skills; hard work and making things by hand. These are gifts in today's world. I am very excited about my new job at TechShop since creativity runs rampant in a million different ways at our shop. I am looking at this as a big step in my development as an Artist - Maker, an opportunity for me to learn a lot of new skills that I can use later in my artistic endeavors.

At an art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
Paper... always paper. And not just at an art store but EVERYWHERE. Thrift stores, flea markets, antique malls, dumps... maps, books, images, calendars, tickets, spatter scraps... Paper, paper, paper.  I love paper.

What new technique or art form would you like to learn?  Do you have plans to do so?
I like to learn almost anything but my top three desires that have been with me longest are: drawing, watercolor and calligraphy. My current plans are to keep dabbling in whatever comes my way and over time, my skills will grow and things will coalesce into the next level - I will be an Artist. Also, collage is very, very satisfying and a lovely exercise in composition and color so I  pursue that in whatever spare time I have. It also uses up some of my Paper Hoard since I cannot stop accumulating.

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
This question required a lot of thought. So, after World Peace of course, ;-)  the most gratifying thing I could think of would be to create a public park with spaces for people to nurture their creativity and connection with God: gardens with gazebos, walking paths, outdoor performance areas, easily accessible, encouraging community, multi-use, public art, playgrounds,  outdoor rooms designed and cared for by different people/groups, one running into another, free and open to the public.

Thank you for this opportunity to reflect on my path. - Ilona

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April Member Interview: Jean R. Skipper

Jean R. Skipper
Jean Skipper Originals

Online Stores: www.jeanskipper.artfire.com or www.jeanskipper.etsy.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JeanSkipperOriginals
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/jeanskipper
Blog: http://www.jeanskipperoriginals.blogspot.com/

Inspiration from a recent afternoon on a farm
1.  What inspires you to create?    
Inspiration surrounds me on a daily basis.  Buildings, machinery, natural elements, industrial implements, and found objects are all fodder for my imagination.  Each piece of jewelry that I craft has a story of its own.  Time spent with family, friends, and customers drives me artistically, and solitary moments are also a necessary part of the process.  They allow all of the creative stimulation to transition into workable concepts for my jewelry design.    

2.  When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?  In my childhood, Art and I enjoyed a mutual attraction.  Creating was easy, and I always seemed to have time for it.
As a young adult, Art pursued me as I was diligently establishing myself as a professional in the financial services industry.  When I would slow down enough to be aware of it, Art was ready and waiting in periphery of my mind.  It eased its way into my life slowly and steadily.  First there was a watercolor class that led to the awareness that photographing the subjects of my paintings was infinitely more interesting to me than actually painting them.  This was followed by membership in a local photo club, a series of awards, and eventually my first solo show on Ocracoke Island, NC.  This show ushered in my first sale, my first gallery representation, and the publication of one of my photos on the front page of The Ocracoke Island Observer.  Each of these milestones increased my confidence and established the fact that I was really ready for a committed relationship with Art.
In midlife, I’m pursuing Art with a passion, and it’s an integral part of every day of my life.  I’m a full time working artist, and I’ve never been happier. 
Memorial Bracelet
3.  If you weren't an artist, what would you be? 
If I weren’t an artist, I’d be a gallery owner.  I owned Artist Alley in Southern Pines, NC for five years, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I adored my customers, my artists, and the thrill of being surrounded by amazing artwork.  My decision to leave the gallery behind was one of the most challenging of my life. 

4.  What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path? 
I established my first business when I was eight years old.  During the winters in Pittsburgh, PA, I would shovel a sidewalk for $ .50 or a driveway for $ 3.00, and I had the self-produced business cards to prove it! 
Since then I’ve worked as a waitress, a retail salesperson in a fine jewelry store, a laborer in a dry cleaning facility, a waitress, a telemarketer, a Mary Kay Lady, and did I mention a waitress?!?!  I often worked two or three jobs at a time before beginning my career as a banker.  In banking I worked as a teller, a customer service representative, a marketing officer, and eventually a cash management officer.   The skills that I developed throughout my years in these positions are still aiding me in my artistic life today.

5.  At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first? 
The last time I was at Jerry’s Artarama I went straight for the journals.  I have a thing for buying and starting journals.  Finishing them is a completely different story!  I also love to search for unexpected finds in the aisles; tools and supplies that can be used in my jewelry in surprising ways always fit the bill.  During my last visit, copper mesh and Prismacolor Pencils snuck their way into my shopping cart.  Watch for them in my work in the near future.
Jury Image Collection Necklace
6.  What new technique or art form would you like to learn?
I adore a good class; but my longing to fully explore all that I’ve already learned trumps my desire to enroll in any new ones at the moment.  I’d really love to have the opportunity to participate in a solo retreat or an artist-in-residence program.  The notion of dedicating several months to the development of my craft thrills me to no end.   
7.  If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?  If I could do anything… I’d create art for the sheer joy of it without consideration of the financial consequences of my actions.  I’d give most of my creations to those who love them or to organizations that could benefit financially from them.  And I’d also start an arts incubator program to give a hand up to those who are just beginning their artistic journeys.  

Believe Necklace from the Baker's Dozen Collection

Thanks for the interview, Jean, and we'll be on the lookout for your newest creations with those sneaky pencils and mesh!

Monday, January 23, 2012

January Member Interview

"Brown, Red & Green"
mirrored pendant
Jennifer Partridge

What inspires you to create?
My first response is to say everything because my work is an exploration of life, its various stages, and the paradoxes and beauty that are inherent to it. Depending on my mood anything can spark my creative muse. Sometimes inspiration comes from a quietly withering rose and other times a boisterous belly-dancing hafla. And it seems the more I explore, the larger the breadth and depth of my inspirations become. This journey of discovery is also greatly aided by the other wonderfully creative souls I am meeting along my path. Their loves and passions have inspired me in ways that I found quite unexpected!

Photograph from theater performance of "Cntrl+Alt+Dlt"
Did art pursue you or did you pursue it?
Both. I grew up in a home full of crafts and music. From age five to fifteen I took dance
lessons and acted. When I went to college I tried to negate my love for the arts and pursue science but ended up frustrated. I left college with a media communications degree and wandered through several jobs, many of them in the arts, trying to find my niche. I realized during this time I really wanted to be a selling artist; however, it wasn't until very recently, through perseverance and divine intervention, I created art uniquely my own and also commercially viable.

"Wild Roses" hand made cards
If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
Sad. My creativity is a huge part of who I am and not honoring my artistic soul would leave me very unfulfilled. With that said I think that my artist can have many different outlets. Currently I'm enjoying creating a business to sell my art. I love talking to others
about art and teaching people about it so if opportunities arise to do that too I will!

Attendees at Bonded Llama open house working on
my first Re-arrangeable painting
What other jobs have you had that aided you on your artistic path?
Oh my goodness I don't even know where to start! Many of the jobs I have had validated how much I wanted to be an artist although sometimes it was because of how
miserable I was when not working in a creative environment. Let's see... in college I worked as an on-air d.j. and manager at WKNC. I was also chief promotions officer
for a local promotions agency and record label. Out of college I became a band's tour manager for a summer. Then I returned to NCCU to pursue an art education degree. While there I worked at the NCCU art museum as part of my work study and loved it. Learning about artists and art history is so exciting! After that I worked at a photolab; printing photographs, installing murals, mounting slides, laminating signs, and trimming prints. While working at the lab I learned all about photography and became a photographer. I worked with other photographers around Raleigh as an assistant and second shooter. I love to take photos although my favorite photo shoots are when people are having fun and mostly pretend I'm not there. I also enjoy going out on photo adventures just to see what I can find! While working on my photography business I waited tables...a lot. blah! Although I laugh because waiting tables seems like such an
artist stereotype :P Most recently I was the production manager for an independent
"Red, Green & Black" Tennis court
abstract series
artist. This was probably the most helpful in recognizing that I could go into business for myself selling my own art. It just took me awhile to discover what art I could make that was commercially feasible. Currently my biggest and most important job is being a mom. I have learned patience, compassion, selflessness, perseverance, and loyalty. All of these gifts I had touched upon through art but never grasped them the way I have through parenting. Now my art has far more meaning and depth.

At the art supply store which section do you gravitate to first?
Where I go usually depends on what I'm working on. Recently I've been spending a lot of time creating jewelry. My shopping cart has been full of adhesives, plastic gloves,
metal working tools, butane torches, wire, jump rings, and resin. Although I always enjoy just wandering around to see if anything new catches my eye ;)

Asian-inspired photographic
What new art techniques would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
Right now I'm working on expanding my metal-smithing and acrylic painting skills. I have some experience with both but would like to achieve a higher degree of skill in these areas. My plans are to take another jewelry metal smith class through Pullen Art Center in March and a few painting workshops with Liz Miller in the spring.

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
Make the Arts a core part of schools' curriculum. It saddens me deeply that Arts are not valued (by some) within our schools. Arts teach self-expression, compassion,
tolerance, diversity, self-awareness, appreciation, critical thinking, and perhaps most
importantly creative problem solving and emotional intelligence. Arts reflect our culture,
our beliefs, our fears and our desires. It baffles me that some people do not see that
these attributes are just as important to society as science or math. If I could not fail
I would help the blind see that it has been creativity which has driven us forward. All
the math and science in the world won't solve problems, it is the people who seek new
ways to answer old questions that bring about change. It is my greatest hope that as
our technological engine plows forward people have the forethought, self-awareness, and
emotional intelligence to steer it in the right direction.

Thanks for your thoughtful answers, Jennifer...we're really looking forward to seeing your new work this year!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year from CMMAG!

In this brand new year, we wish you good health, happiness, creativity and fun!

Watch this space for more artsy events, images, and the work of our members...

It's going to be a GREAT year!