I’m excited to introduce Christine from the Bellablackbird Etsy shop. Christine is based in Melbourne, Australia. You can follow her blog at bellablackbird.blogspot.com.au, as well as her Instagram and Pinterest.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? What is life like in Melbourne, Australia?
I originally came from England where I worked with children under five. In the early nineties, my family and I made a life changing decision to emigrate to Australia. I always had a strong interest in art so began to study both visual art and illustration full-time. Digital media was amazing to learn as it is so versatile, combining textures, painting and Photoshop effects and brushes to make illustrations is so creative and flexible.
Painting is another part of who I am. I’m inspired by nature and the vibrant landscapes and the intense colour of Australia. I’m influenced by visual aspects but I usually start a painting without a defined composition and keep layering until I’m happy, my paintings are often very abstract in style.
What materials and mediums do you enjoy working with? Do you have any specific brands that you can tout?
I paint with acrylic paint and really love the Ampersand boards as a surface. I recently returned to creating softer work with watercolour on paper which is fun to do, using Arches Cotton Rag 300gsm thickness and Holbein paints.
We live in a small coastal town and have a large garden full of native birds, which I often paint in watercolour. It’s very peaceful but different to Melbourne which has a vibrant arts community. I enjoy visiting the designer’s craft markets in the city and buy the handmade jewellery, ceramics and bags.
I do love to listen to music while working and my tastes change all the time. My favourite musicians at the moment are David Bowie, Coldplay and Florence and the Machine. Being a child of the sixties I also love Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen.
I don’t have large goals but I’m focused on constantly adding new work to my Etsy shop. I’m also learning how to block print and have a couple of projects in mind. My social media always needs lots of work and I’m thinking of starting a new website.
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I am pleased to introduce abstract artist Melissa Mary Jenkins, a 2016 Etsy Awards Finalist based in Erin, Canada. Please visit her shop at melissamaryjenkins.etsy.com. In the following interview she discusses the creative design process related to her abstract contemporary art paintings and her small business on Etsy.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and the development of your artistic style?
I was a high school teacher for several years before I began painting. I would say that I was always a creative person, from a musical and artistic family, but I didn’t begin painting till about 10 years ago. A good friend of mine and a very talented artist @kylahkussmannart began painting with me to help guide me through the loss of a pregnancy. I was immediately hooked on the magical feeling that arises from being the sole creative force behind creating a piece of art. I feel as though I progress daily in my artistic style but I struggle between the ease of creating abstract floral paintings and the freedom that abstract painting provides. I love interior design and how art can enhance and “complete” the look of a room.
Do you use any kind of reference for your abstract pieces?
I often try and picture my abstract art in a room in my home. The colours of blankets, pillows and plants in specific rooms will often inspire my paintings. I live in an old stone farm house surrounded by farm fields, a pond and ever-changing gardens which also influence my colour choices. We spend most of our summers up North on a lake, so my paintings often tend to take on the vibrant colours of the lake and trees in the summer months. Instagram also plays a huge role in providing inspiration for my paintings. I live with a chronic illness and often don’t venture out into the world as much as I would like to, so following artists, interior design feeds and travel photography on Instagram helps to spark my creative juices and be connected to a fabulous support network of artists.
Can you tell me a little bit about your mudcloth paintings and the process that goes into creating them?
My mudcloth paintings were sparked by the desire to provide a more affordable alternative to the typical (and gorgeous) mudcloth pillow or tapestry. I wanted to be able to incorporate the mudcloth trend in a unique way.
I was first attracted to mud cloth because it creates a touch of boho with handmade whispers of the clean geometric lines of a modern aesthetic. But when I started to research the process of creating this traditional Malian textile, I was drawn even more to the idea that each symbol creates a story that is meant to be interpreted and that it was believed that the mud cloth had the ability to absorb powerful negative experiences. As I create each piece, I think of my story that brought me to this artistic destination. I suffer from a chronic illness, but when I am able to create, I like the idea that the work of art can absorb my pain and dashed hopes and create a story of beauty.
Are you working on any new projects? How has your experience with Etsy and your buyers been?
I am currently working on a large floral commission and when I need a “break” I am creating mini abstracts inspired by all of my house plants and terra cotta planters mixed with my love of indigo blue and a pop of blush pink. I have been selling artwork on Etsy for about 5 years and all of my experiences with customers have been amazing. All of my commissions have been positive experiences and I am yet to experience a disgruntled customer. I was honoured to be a 2016 Etsy Awards Finalist, my work was featured in a collaboration by @houseandhomemag and @EtsyCA this spring, and I have been selected to be featured on @EtsyCA social media channels in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Etsy has provided me with a platform to sell my artwork without having to leave my home (except to mail the artwork), which works for my energy level and family responsibilities.
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From Roks’ Gallery on Etsy
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Handmade Clay Animals and Textile Art by Caizhen Li on Etsy
Shop: Tiny Mint
This interview is between myself and Ines Rocio from the inesrocio Etsy shop. She is a visual artist living in Portugal and her work is beautiful! Make sure to show her shop some love!
Your wearable art has vivid colors and each piece is stunningly beautiful in a very natural kind of way. What inspired you to create these pieces and what process do you go through to make them?
First of all thank you for the invitation and for your kind words about my art work.
Nature is my great source of inspiration, I am fascinated by the vividness of colors, organic, natural architecture, overlapping tones, rhythms and energy.
The creative process begins by being in contact with the natural elements, like strolling through the park or the beach, as a botanist, collect small natural treasures, with which at the Atelier, I give life and energy to natural wearable art pieces. In the jewelry making, I use these elements as a template for the sculptural process, because I like the pace, energy and organic-ness that they give.
The watercolor is undoubtedly the artistic medium with which I identify most, because as my painting is very spontaneous, allows for endless diversity of hues, besides it is a clean paint technique and more environmentally friendly. Really like to use metallic pigments, especially the gold because in my opinion it adds richness and luminosity to the paintings.
My painting is mostly intuitive, and I like to explore the various dimensions of pigments freeform, almost always with the purpose of transposing the metaphysical vibration and positive energy that nature gives me, through art. The creative act transcends me as an individual.
Do you ever wear them to show them off? They look like they would make great conversation starters.
Yes I really like to wear my pieces, they symbolize a little piece of nature and convey to me a very positive energy. It is this joy that I want to share with my clients.
My pieces are very colorful and get people’s attention. These conversations are usually initiated by my son who is four years old and is a big fan of his mom’s work, and when he sees me wearing my pieces he makes a point of telling people that were made by me :).
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a mother, a women in love and an artist with a background in graphic design.
I’m a dreamer, creative, have liked to paint since I was a child, used to paint flying ponies, rainbows, gardens and houses. I always liked to represent nature in a colorful way.
I really like music, animals (I have two lovely female dogs), love to cook and create different recipes. I like a lot of children’s illustration and romantic stories with happy endings.
How did you get to where you are today, what inspires you to create and to be an Etsy shop owner?
I have always felt the need to create, but was afraid to assume myself as an artist completely, but thanks to the support of my dear husband, I gained the courage to devote myself entirely to art. I find the Etsy concept fascinating , and I love belonging to this effervescent community where creative people support and motivate each other. I think this concept of sharing extremely inspiring! So for me having a store there makes sense.
How is life in Portugal?
We have plenty of sunshine, many beautiful places to behold and shoot and lots of time during the year to enjoy these same locations. We have vast knowledge and very interesting traditions . We have many extremely creative young artists, for which the current financial crisis has been very hard.
For me, human creativity is a global phenomenon, and the internet an open window to the world and that is the way I chose to guide my work.
Do you have any future plans for your artwork and your shop?
My goal is to continue to create and feel happy and privileged for it. I like the idea of creating my pieces and seeing them take their course for their future owners, not only because economic necessity is intrinsic to any store (after all the artists have to eat too) but mainly for the joy I have in creating pieces that also make other people happy. In the short term I am planning to create my own blog, a space where I will share my love for creativity.