Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Featured Member Interview: Penny L. Arrowood

What inspires you to create?
It seems lately that inspiration lurks everywhere!  …the color of the sky at a certain time of day, the patterns found in the leafy shade of trees, the refraction of light through raindrops suspended on the hawthorn tree, the turn of a well crafted phrase, song lyrics…  The hits just keep on coming.  I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never catch up with the idea factory churning away in my noggin.  I am embracing “go with the flow!”

 When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?
Art and I are much like the iconic image from the Book of Kells depicting a trio of dogs chasing the tail of the one in front – ha!  Who is pursuing whom depends on your perspective – or perhaps where you enter the circle.  The 3rd element in my trio?  Time!  Art, Time, and Me – endlessly chasing one another’s tails – it seems oddly fitting. 

In Celtic lore, the dog (hound) symbolizes hunting, healing, and the Otherworld – also oddly fitting my relationship with art/creativity.
I am often on the hunt for the perfect “something” for any number of projects/ideas.  I find the practice of art to be a soothing one – there is nothing like being ‘in the zone’ – a balm to the weary soul, indeed.  As for the Otherworld,  I reckon that could easily be the profound power of art to transport us; whether to another time, point of view, or state of mind.
Just last year, I formalized my relationship with art by ‘hanging my shingle’ so to speak.  I gave my pursuer a name:  Arrowood Paper Arts.  In addition to offering my wares *handmade books and paper finery* at various creative venues, I also teach workshops under this mantle (a complete listing of this year's events is available at my blog under the Where to Find Me tab).   

In the spirit of “go big or go home,” I also entered into partnership with two other incredible artists *who are also dear friends,* Jean Skipper and Jodi Ohl, last year to establish ReMe Retreats.  We have joined forces to produce small-scale, all-inclusive art experiences.  Our first event, in Ocracoke, NC in May of this year, sold out within 36 hours of ‘going live!’  We were fortunate enough to be able to secure the location for a 2nd offering in 2014, and will be returning to Ocracoke in October!  All sorts of exciting things are in the works, and it is quite exhilarating!
Given all of the above, I’d say the pursuit is over (?)  …and it’s a Win for Art!

 If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
All of the developments of the past couple of years would indicate that my fate is sealed!  I can think of no other thing that would afford me the joy I find in every aspect of my artistic endeavors:  creating, teaching, and hosting others within the light of both.  The only thing that could possibly make this ‘better’ for me would be the ability to focus all of my energies toward that end – for now, there is the day job to attend to. 
At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
As a card-carrying Paper ‘HO *Heartily Obsessed* I generally navigate toward the paper:  handmade, decorative, full sheets, padded stock.  I enjoy a moment of contemplation among the writing implements, as well.  I cannot seem to exit without a dervish-style whirl through the coloring agents:  paints, inks, pastels (!)

More and more I find that other outlets have ‘become’ art supply stores – thrift stores, reuse centers, estate sales, and the like.  I love finding a cache of vintage paper that I can repurpose into creative book forms *sw00n!*
What new technique or art form would you like to learn?  Do you have plans to do so?
OH, boy!  With my Magpie-like attraction to “the new,” there are too many to claim.  However, I decided (at the traditional time for ‘resolving’ things) that this would be the year of No New Stuff.  So far, outside of specific needs for committed work, I have managed to keep to this dictum. 
No… this year my focus is on honing my craft – there are countless ways to construct a book that I do not know *yet* -- in addition to design ideas that are confined to an assortment of notebooks, random loose pieces of paper, and rattling around inside my head (!)  As I say in conclusion to my *much more regularly updated* blog posts, “Onward & Upward!”

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?

I am on top of the world with the progression of what I AM doing.  I feel incredibly fortunate, and would wish only for the continued success of my current endeavors – may they take hold, and flourish – that would be the ultimate “thing at which not to fail” for me!

We're all pulling for you, Penny. We can't wait to see what art-filled delights this year will bring. And of course, we want to see your swoon-worthy photos of Ocracoke in May and October! Thanks for the interview.

Penny's Links:
Arrowood Paper Arts:  http://pennylarrowood.blogspot.com

ReMe Retreats:  http://remeretreats.com
Workshops:  http://www.jerrysartevents.com/pennyarrowood.html