Friday, April 2, 2010

APRIL ARTISTS

::APRIL ARTISTS::
as you all know by now, if i want to eat it up even though it is unedible, those are my chosen featured artists.
nom nom nom. yummy. yummy. yummy.
The months are changing and so are the artists!


Joining the "Meet the Artist" in the April Showcase are some REALLY amazing women, changing the world through art - Emma, Sarah, Jeanie and Cat.


WOW. April is coming to an end, but brining about so many NEW beginnings! The flowers are blooming, the fishies are swimming, the trees are gettning green, and what was once in a state of solitude is coming alive! In the midst of all this action, our featherd friends are ready to nest, gathering up this and that and prepping their nests for a birth of an entire new genreration of life...what better way to ring in the celebration of this than to talk to someone who creates fancy beautiful luxury homes to our little tweets, than Miss Cathy McAllister, or Cat as we will call her...creator of much, lover of art, and you decide the rest!!!



I flew into Cathy (ha ha ha) in a chat room. I always seem to find the most captivating, fun and cool people the moment i enter a room, and of course, i was lucky to see one of her bird houses immediatley. They spoke to me, for if i think if i was a little sparrow, or finch, or robin, i would be a picky one. Cat's houses would DEFINITELY treat me well, like a garden inspired luxury hotel. But Cat doesnt stop at birdhouses, her art ranges from jewlery to felting to painting to decor...loads of talent oozing from her!! and Cat is just as sweet and as freindly as can be!  Would you like to meet her? Certainly you would!!! I introduce to you, Miss Cathy McAllister...

Cat is a mother a grandmother! Three children, and a "fiesty" 3 yr old grand-daughter. Isnt family wonderful? But i a jumping the gun...let's rewind back in time. Always having the creative itch and the natural knack for arts, Cat took workshops through her time in highs school, and she originally began as an Art major in college, taking up Social Work as her major later on. She wanted to be an artist but not to be a STARVING artist! Back-up plan, wise idea!! Since then, Cat has worked with mentally and physically challenged people for her entire career.  The thing I found most endearing about Cat was when she said "I had done volunteer work since junior high, and had a strong sense of committment to advocating for equality in peoples lives, and educating others as to how important people with disabilities are." I personally think that shows such a true sense of her compassion for the people, no matter what shape size or conition they are in. Ah, the compassion of an artist, to me, has no boundaries. As artitsts, this can be both all our strengths and our downfall. Well, Cat encountered a different curve ball life threw, as  she has continued doing this type of work until 2004, when, as she says  "fate dealt me a similar hand, and previously latent medical issues rose to the surface, and robbed me of my career, and my entire life as I knew it. Depressed and with an unsure future, I dug out my old painting supplies, and started dabbling. Some trips to the art supply store opened up my eyes to polymer clay, gourds, and other mediums. My sister convinced me to open a shop, but I would not do it until I had everything in place. So, in November,2008, I took the plunge, and opened up my shop here on Etsy"

Well. With her kids and grandkids, Carol DuVall for inspration, and a studio to create works of art in, happily, it looks the world is now her oyster...and it seems that ART gave Miss Cat a second shot of a new life, and her shop is her "small corner of the worl.d" I think you will fall in love with her charm and her artistic groove...i did!!!
 
 

Cat, how did first you get into "crafting" and art?
I have been into art as long as I can remember. I originally, and primarily will always be a painter. I don't seel my paintings in the shop, however. When the onset of a permanent illness forced me to leave my career in 2004, I began to paint again. Visits to the area art supply shops got me hooked on other mediums, and well, I was off and running! It was my sister who encouraged me to sell my birdhouses. I have been making those for years.




Do you have favorite mediums and colours to work with?
Well, obviously, I love my paints. But I have a hard time really picking favorite mediums. They all get me sooo excited at different times. I work with SOOO many. As for colors, I tend to be more drawn to the cool colors. I love purples, greens, and blues in combination.


  

I ADORE your "birdie bungalows"...are you a bird lover? Yes, I am!!!! And I have 8 of my birdie bungalows in my own backyard, along with all the baths, feeders, flowers, etc. I especially love hummingbirds, and love to see the elusive baltimore oriole!!




Does the spring and summer season inspire you alot with the birdie abodes? 
It inspires me a much more with all my art work. I am not a winter person, and, due to my health, winters are very hard for me to tolerate. So spring and summer truly signal rebirth, and the creativity starts to flow!!!




Do you enjoy using a consistent design for you birdie bungalows or do you like to mix it up?
I tend to make all my houses look like it is surrounded by a garden on all sides. That is just the way I have always made them, for the most part. But I am starting to change things up a bit. I am making some mosaics bungalows, and have always made custom ones when people have asked.







Birdies need LOVE too, i find them fascinating the materials they use to make their nests (hair, trash, paper, mud) and i love that you make them homes for them to do that in!!! what are your feelings when you complete a birdiebunglaow masterpiece?
It takes me awhile to finish one, which is why there are not too many listed. I paint it, then sit it somewhere where I can see it from different angles. I leave it there for awhile, adding things here and there, till I feel like I have it all done. Then i am usually very pleased, and want it in my yard!!!! They do last for quite a few years, especially now with the squirrel proofing for the hole.....makes a huge difference. I might make some butterfly houses too.

What other kinds art do you dabble in Cat?
I work with a lot of gourds, and am planning on making some gourd birdhouses as well. I also work with clay, wire and beads, resin, paper, inks, rubber stamps, I do needle felting, resin, wood, glass, mosaics, pretty much everything except knitting/crocheting.
Amazingly, I list fairly few of my things in my shop.....eventually I will add more!!!






THANK YOU CAT!!! You are a *true* delight. I hope that everyone goes and gives her a visit at



Ah, here i give you a snipppet of  the BEST of the BEST with mixed media and expression...
JOUTOMAA
with whom i have totally fallen  in love with


and ofcourse, the GRAND signifigance of something so small...
www.gotcrowcreations.etsy.com

::::a few of the amazing art in this treasury::::


I was thinking today, WHO doesnt LOVE a pink poodle?!??
This one, her name is "FiFi VonPoof" and, ummmm, i couldnt help myself.  Check out this shop! UNIQUE and FUN!






MEET JEANIE
SO, i was thumbling and tumbling around etsy the other week, and i LUCKILY came across this most...magical, amazing picture of a pill box hat. It brought about ALL SORTS of emotions within me, feelings like "classy" and "vintage", "big band" and "swing", "jazzy" and "how it used to be"..."proper" yet "FUNKY" and "FUN", i was so thrilled! SO, you know me, i asked for an interview and YAY, Miss Jeanie was happy to oblidge! I cant say ENOUGH great things about her and her art, and i would love for you meet her! Ready? Here you go....
My name is Jeanie Lanterman-Summers. I live in Redding in Northern California. I moved up here from Southern California in 1995 '. I am married and a homeschooling mother of 2 boys. I have been running an acting troupe for about 12 years in our area. We go by name of 'St. Valerius Troupe of Actors and Other Such Nonsense.' My group and I perform different genres throughout the year including Renaissance, Victorian, 1940's, 1930's and the list keeps growing. Mainly, we like to give to those in our community that we think need it the most. We dress up and sing for Retirement and nursing homes, we perform at Renaissance faires in the state of California and, throughout the year, we hold events such as our annual 1940's Big Band Swing Party. Costuming is a big part of our group's events.



How did you get into making hats?

For the longest time, I would create costuming (including hats) for my group to match the time periods that we were performing. Hats were always something that I enjoyed making from scratch and I have always felt that I was particularly good at them. I also felt as though the costume was not finished until there was a hat on the head! So when my husband was laid off last winter, I started to make them as a business so that we could get bye in our time of struggles. My husband is now working again and the hats have taken off and have become a fun and exciting new chapter in my life.







Do you often think that when people say dressed from "head to toe" they often forget about the "head' part?

I think that for a while, the whole saying of being dressed from 'head to toe' was lost. It wasn't a need (or a want) in our society to wear fine hats. Fine hats were the images of the past. 50 years ago and earlier, hats were a must. My grandmother used to say that you 'never left your home without a hat on your head.' For a long period of time in our society, hats were no longer being used for fashion. They became used for functional purposes only. Baseball caps to keep the sun out of the eyes and beanies in winter to keep your head warm. I don't think that the fashion of hats was really thought of for the the past 50 years or so. Now, it seems as though we have come back to the fashion of hats. I love to see a man in an Irish cap or fedora. It seems classy and worldly for spmeone to wear a good hat. Women that go out in public with a cute hat on their head get my highest verbal praises. I make sure I let people know just how fond I am of their fashion choice. It, to me, is a sign of our society bringing back class and refinery to the eyes of the public and it is quite pleasing. I have longed for this type of style to come full circle.



What are your favorite materials to use in your hats?

I tend to use felt mostly. It it strong, soft, and makes a great form. I also enjoy wools and tweeds. I love the satin I use as lining because I feel that the inside of your hat is just as important as the outside. It is only finished when the lining is done. I love vintage materials as well. Something from the past that might be worn out on one part can be salvaged and made into something new...like a hat. I had an old wool coat from the 40's that belonged to my grandmother but it's lining was ripped and in great disrepair. I didn't want to toss it out because it was sentimental to me. Although it was no longer good as a coat, I ended up using some of it to make a hat so that I will forever have a piece of my grandmother's coat close to me.



Your hats have such personality, do they reflect any part of you or a certain story in your life?

As I wrote earlier, I am a bit of a history buff and being involved in a group of people that like to reenact different time periods, costuming is of the utmost importance. A good hat finishes off your ensemble. I like to create and have never been a big one for patterns so, yes, these hats are very much a part of me. They had a lot of prototypes before them before I was happy with them and their design. I consider myself very in touch with the seasons and like to decorate them accordingly. I enjoy the creativity of the weather and think that truly, there is a hat for you to wear Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall.




What other kind of forms of art are you interested in?

I love all types of art. I appreciate other's creativity and enjoy seeing through the eyes of many artists. I enjoy music, sculpture, painting, decor, and sewing most of all. I like that I can see something and think, 'I can make that.' Art is not only a way to express one's self, it is an enormous outlet that I could not picture doing without. Artist expression makes my life complete.


10 years: where are you at and what are you doing? real or fantasy!?

hmmmm, 10 years from now? I have know idea. I live in the now and even with a great imagination, I find it hard for me to foresee. There are So many possibilities. I suppose that I would like to have a joyous life with my friends and family near me and the freedom to continue to live my life with my creativity on the forefront of it. I hope for continual financial stability and happiness...more trips to Disneyland and maybe a trip to Europe...lol...other then that, who knows, Anything is possible~


Wherever life takes Jeanie, it will be a wonderul space in time. THANK YOU!!!!



~moving onto another delightful artist~
Meet Sarah

before i OPEN the magical door to Sarah's world, I have to tell you, i kinda got a little obsessed with her fairys and trolls befre i even met her!! I think one of the first things i tolf her was "It's like the Dark Crystal meets Techniclour" Once i got to know Sarah, wow, she is has such a gentle and humble personality...sweet as a peach, and so so special. And I mean, words dont really do this artist or her art justice. I wish i could, put into words, the MAGNITUDE of her breahthrough boundaries artwork. SO, i suppose, the best thing to do, is to let you see and read all about her, for yourself. Let's open the door to the Tree of Life, and see what mad yummy goodness awaits us inside!! Take a seat within Faery Ring, and let's drink some Kava Infused Tea while we get to know Miss Sarah Dressler and her creatures of magic together....



Sarah, have you always considered yourself an artist?

An interesting question, when I was a full time art student surrounded by people who called themselves artists, I decided I was really a craftswoman. I did not give myself that name because I was a Crafts major, but because I was creative and was good at what I did.

My “craftsmanship” was good. But I drew a line (in my head) between being a craftsman and an artist. That line was hard to pin down but essentially I decided an artist was someone who was compelled to make art,
 to express themselves artistically. It was not about being recognized by a gallery or buyers but about an internal drive to create. At that point in my life I created because that was expected of me, not because I felt compelled to. I have had period of my life when I did not create much of anything, and periods where my hands have been perpetually employed in something creative. Even at those times I still don’t feel like the title “artist” fits, it’s more like a nervous energy that leaks out of my hands and my imagination. I don’t consciously express ideas through art, so I still don’t feel like an “artist.” All that said I understand that my personal definition does not fit the average person’s definition of “artist,” so in so much as I have been creating most of my life, either drawing, painting, silver smithing, doll making etc I guess I have always been something of an artist.

I love LOVE your characters in your that you create...what materials do you use to make them?

My favorite fabric for making the bodies of my art dolls is tightly woven quilter’s cottons, faeries and mermaids often use batiked prints, but goblins, trolls and brownies are usually in a solid color fabric and then hand painted once assembled. I am contemplating trying super high thread count sheets as a fabric, in my head it will work well. I stuff them very tightly with polyfil, I find it packs well and does not fight me when I try to get it down into long narrow arms or tails the way some other stuffing materials do. For hair I bounce back and forth between a variety of eyelash yarns and Yadeno mohair.



(LOOK AT THAT HAIR!!!!!)

I love the mohair but it’s a bit expensive and really expensive to ship, as it comes from New Zealand. But, it’s worth it, it is heavenly soft to touch and needle felts into doll heads like a dream. My favorite fabric paints are Jacquard Lumiere paints, and for that touch of twinkle I usually use Scribbles 3D fabric paints. Faces are done with a mixture of Prisma color pencils, fabric dye pens and fabric paints. I put a coat or two of 3D crystal lacquer over the eyes to give them some dimension and shine, like real eyes.



(LOOK AT THOSE EYES!!!!)

When my daughter was very young she thought the eyes looked so real that she declared that once the eyes were complete the doll was awake and I could no longer sew anything to it or touch it with anything sharp, lest I hurt the doll. At some point a doll needed repair (a neighbor’s dog removed her hair) and she required surgery. We created doll anesthetic – a concoction of things that smelled good from my spice drawer – we developed different formulas for faeries, mermaids and others. Most of my dolls get some kind of token that gives us a clue into it’s personality. Some dolls take ages for me to finish as I can’t seem to find the right item for that doll to hold or wear. I have a box of dolls that don’t have their totem, once in a while when I have amassed a new collection of interesting items in the right scale for the dolls I pull out those orphans of my studio to see if they are ready to reveal themselves and we match them with the right items. Sometimes it just feels right to leave them without that clue and it’s up to their adoptive owner to work out what they are like, if it will ever be revealed

Does it take a long time to create one of your fairy's troll's and goblin's?

Doll making is a time consuming addiction. I work pretty quickly but I work in a near production line way. When I am in the mood to sew I draw patterns on to a lot of different fabrics and then pull out my machine and sew lots of seams at once. I think at one point I had as many as 4 dozen dolls in some stage of active production. Once all the seams are sewn I have to cut the parts free, and then turn them right side out. Stuffing and closing the stuffing hole usually only takes 5-10 minutes per part. Once all the parts are ready to assemble I can spend a long time working out which parts want to be together. The brownies are the most fun to match up, as I often have up to 10 styles of legs, arms, bodies and heads to put together. I just keep pinning them together until the combination of parts feel right together and when the pose feels right. Once the pose has been fixed I sew them together, and paint/add hair and clothes or other embellishments. From beginning to end (when I am doing nothing but making dolls) can take me several weeks but I usually end up with several completed dolls. On occasion I get a commission to make one start to finish for something (usually an angel doll to give to someone who has suffered a loss of a loved one or is in need of an angel) On those occasions I am usually operating on deadline inspired adrenalin and can complete the one doll in 3 days, but that’s with little sleep and few other distractions allowed.



where/whom/what do you derive your inspirations from?!

Inspiration comes from so many places. The work of Brian and Wendy Froud and Hayao Miyazaki are always a treat to indulge in. I love that they create their own worlds that you can mentally slip into and feel like they could be real places. They do not seem bound to mundane concepts of scale and what characters “should look like.” When first I opened a book illustrated by Brian Froud I felt liberated, who says Fae creatures need to follow human proportions? Why not have feet several times bigger than your head? Or legs a fraction of the length of your torso? Who says a creature should only have 2 eyes? I admit that the more I make dolls that play with proportion the more I want to push those boundaries. I also take inspiration from nature; I love to take walks with my kids and to look for great shapes in trees, and clouds and flowers… Once last spring I almost captured what looked like a goblin face in the bark of a tree. But, when I got my camera out the light was behind a cloud and once the light was back on the tree not even I could quite see that face again. I think it’s a gift to be able to wander the world and find beauty and inspiration in the most mundane items.

Today, while enjoying the warm sunshine after days of rain I took my kids on a walk and they patiently wait for me to stop every few feet (or so it seems) to take a picture. Usually they just accept this behavior, but they did look at me curiously when I stopped to photograph a mass of reeds that were lapping against a weathered log. I’m not sure why, I just liked the pattern they were creating as the gentle waves shifted them about.

Do you ever find it hard to part with one of your dolls?


Yes, all the time. When my kids were much younger we made a deal, every time I finish a batch of dolls they get first pick. Each kid gets to choose one doll that needs to remain part of our household. Some batches don’t produce any that the kids (or I) are completely drawn to and sometimes there are several that we opt to keep. When there are several dolls that we don’t want to part with I will set it aside as a gift for whoever it was that did not want it sold.





do all your dolls have a "story" and spirit attached to them?


I think I touched on this already. It’s not really clear to me what the story or spirit is of the dolls I create. Michelangelo is often credited with the idea that the sculptures were already in the marble, he just frees them. My mom is a wood carver and has said something similar. As I build from scratch I can’t free the spirit inside the materials, I have to bring them together and hope I get it right. Some dolls do feel like there may be something guiding my hand, some dolls seem to create themselves with little more than technical assistance from me. Some dolls I seem to force into being, and they rarely feel right to me, they often feel like a body without a spirit. When I first opened my Etsy shop my daughter helped me name the dolls and she helped me write their stories down. I can’t always tell a dolls story, I’m not sure if it’s a problem I have with constructing a story for the doll or if the doll just does not have a story to tell … yet.


What other forms of art do you dabble in?



Oh I have been quite a dabbler in my day. I am a really terrible glass blower, I am also an accomplished clay lump thrower, but not particularly good at making clay objects that anyone would want to keep. (though my husband and kids are all good with clay). My BFA is in Crafts, focusing on metal work. I learned basic silver smithing and fine jewelry skills. Though I don’t have a studio that would lend itself to working with torches I might someday put those skills back in action. I like to sketch, and have a decent photographic eye and I occasionally dabble in bookbinding. At the moment I spend most of my creative energy bouncing back and forth between cloth doll making, making jewelry, and exploring the arts of the medieval scribe. I teach mixed media arts classes to kids 6-17 years old in the summer which gives me an excuse to dabble in even more techniques  so i can teach them             





Where do you see yourself in ten years?


I have no idea. When I look back 10 years it’s hard to tell if my place on life’s path was predictable. Part of me dreams of being an internationally recognized art doll maker, but the part of me that is shy and afraid of public recognition would rather just keep things low key and putter along at a more manageable pace. In 10 years both of my kids will have finished high school, I will no longer be a Band Parent and can potentially focus all of my energy on … what? That’s the big question. I don’t flip to the back of books to see what happens in the end, so I will keep living life one page at a time and trust that the story stays interesting and hope to be fulfilled and grateful for whatever life presents me with.



wow. wow. wow.
i am mezmerized, and i LOVE it.






~ shall we move along to more goodness and yumminess ~


Meet Emma
lucky me stumbled upon Emma's store in a chat room on Etsy. I kept seeing these pictures show up on the sidebar, and had to find the "culprit" of such soothing, elegant, and beautiful works of art!! Alas, there she was, the CUTEST puppydog icon...and to my even more delightful surprise, she was the sweetest woman to talk with! So gentle and happy, fun and open. Not just your average person, Emma's enthusiam for art, her own and OTHERS, is SO refreshing. She just exudes warmness. I admire her work, her ethic, and her craft so very much, and her art takes me to a place in my mind that makes feel as if i am floating in the sky, on a silver laced cloud...what more could one ask for? Sound quite whispy and sweet? It IS! And, well, i welcome you to take a ride on that cloud for yourself...with the lady of the hour, the artist of moment..
MISS EMMA

 

What is your favorite color?

I change my favorite color every year because I believe that they are all special and unique in their own way. As each year I grow, my tastes change as I learn new ideas and points of views. If I have to stay with one color for the rest of my life I would be bored.



...so beautiful...


                   


What is your style?

"I like things simple but elegant"



I am OFFICIALLY in LOVE
*le sigh*

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from everything. Could be from a conversation, new clothing from the store, a vintage item in an antique shop, and talented people on Etsy.



When you are not creating beautiful works of art, what do you like to do in your off-time?

Besides school I like to play golf, write stories, practice photography, hiking, and exploring.. I try to enjoy my life as much as possible before I have a kid and go back to work.


::wow::

What is the purpose of your blog?

I love making treasures, but I'm rarely around when there are spots available. Rather than waiting for creativity to happen on a schedule, I can post my own treasures whenever creativity strikes me. I also use it as a place to practice my writing.

Please visit Emma ON her beautiful blog at
www.emmall.me/treasure/

store at
www.byemma.etsy.com





~gently moving on to another artist~

 

So I found this artist in a chat room, I was automaticallty intrgued by their avatar...a yellow FuNkY pumpkin. Let me say that the shop blew my away! You can't help bu SMILE when you are in this shop and looking at all the RAD and unique art. Dolls, Stickers, Paintings, COLOUR, wierd illusion, asain culture and cats! how about THAT for variety!?! Deriving inpiration from Tim Burton, Billy Corgan, and what must be all things super and unusual...shake it all up, hang out with Gino the cat...and POW! you have zeropumpkin! I deeply appreciate this art and I deeply appreciate this artist. If you are into the flip side of fabulous freaky fun...meet the ARTIST, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...
ZeRoPuMpKiN


Where do you get your inspirations from?





well i get my inspiration from alot things, from movies to music. Desgin books, magazines, the things i love & i see. Especially from my pet cat "gino".





What is your favorite colours and farics to work with?

i am in love with dark colors such as black grey, dark green, i love white colors as well.

Any favorite music?

yes, i am big fan of the smashing pumpkins, thats where i get my shop name. I love the cranberries, & Joe haisashi music.


Ten Years: what are you doing and where are you at?

hmm in ten years, hopefully everyone  loves  my and I am still doing what i love!

6 comments:

berrybluecreations said...

Awesome Interview.. Love emma!

olivia said...

love the blog...came by the way of etsy chat

BanjoBaySoaps said...

oh how great!!!
glad you came by to leave a comment, and glad you love hte blog!!! THANK YOU!!!

zeropumpkin said...

:D i love your blog..thanks so much for featured here :)

BanjoBaySoaps said...

zeropumpkin alll my pleasure!!!THANK YOU for just...being you and creating such wonderful works of art :) :) :)
em

amy said...

I adore you Em. Love your blog!.