Interview with Fiber Artist Mandi Smethells | Maker of Imaginative Fiber Wall Hangings

I’m so excited to introduce everyone to fiber artist Mandi Smethells! Her imaginative fiber wall hangings are just the thing to brighten a room. You can find Mandi’s work in her Etsy shop, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Mandi’s work was also recently featured in the Mollie Makes magazine!

Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with sculptural fiber arts?

I am a full time fiber artist living in St Paul MN. This “job” is a dream come true and something I have been working towards since the moment I decided as a child I wanted to be an artist. I only discovered fiber art a little over four years ago, and I have been obsessed ever since. I spent several years working in weaving techniques, and felt driven to discover new ways of working with the fibers and colors I loved so much. Eventually the sculptural elements I was adding to my weavings started to stand alone and are now the wall hangings I create.

Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

What is like as an artist/creator in Saint Paul?

I feel so fortunate to be a fiber artist in this vibrant community. Neighboring Minneapolis has a wonderful Center for Textiles (I teach a few classes there), and there are so many incredible artists working in the area. The seasons of Minnesota impact my work as I “feel” different colors and shapes associated with the weather. It’s inspiring!

Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

Where do you draw your inspiration?

I definitely have developed a collaborative relationship with my older daughter who is nearly seven. We have brainstorm sessions to discuss colors and shapes, and she will even sketch ideas to work off of! She will tell everyone she meets that she suggested I make a sun. Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children, is my biggest inspiration.

Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

 

Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

Do you ever receive custom requests?

I frequently have the opportunity to create pieces based on beautiful spaces, often nurseries or children’s rooms. I truly enjoy imagining the families spending time in these spaces with my work, and it brings me joy.

Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

What has business been like on Etsy?

I am so very busy with orders and all the other facets that are a part of being a “one woman show,” and Etsy has made it so simple for me to manage listings, shipping, sales data and marketing. I value anything that makes my life easier, and I do find a lot of new customers through the Etsy marketplace.

Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

SHOP MANDI’S WORK


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Fiber Art Wall Hangings by Mandi Smethells Speak to the Beauty of Nature | Minnesota Based Fiber Artist | "Being a mom, and observing daily the wonder and imagination of my children is my biggest inspiration." #fiberart #wallhanging #sculpturalwallhanging #fiberartist #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesigninspo #wallhangingideas #cozybedroomideas #livingroomdecor

 

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Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

*This post contains some affiliate links – if you purchase something it will be at no extra cost to you and helps support my blog!

It’s my pleasure to introduce Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings! You can follow her on Instagram, as well as check out her Etsy shop and website. 

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Can you tell me about yourself, your journey with weaving, and the story behind your shop? What’s life like in Manitoba, Canada and the balance between being an artist/crafter and a mother?  

My name is Rebecca Riel, but most people call me Becca. I have degrees in Political Science and Social Work, but after having my son two years ago, I decided not to go back to work. At the time we were living in a very small town in rural Manitoba and childcare was limited. While on my extended mat leave, I became a little stir crazy and got really into DIY projects. I actually started with woodworking and re-finishing furniture. Until that time (like many other people I’m sure!), I had always said “I’m not the creative type.” I now realize it’s not that I wasn’t creative – it’s that I had never given myself the opportunity to BE creative.

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

I had always excelled in academia, but never explored my artistic side. As I got further down the DIY rabbit hole, I started signing up for some workshops – one of which was weaving. I have to tell you that I was a disaster at my first workshop! I tangled my warp thread so bad, even the teacher was surprised (haha)! In any event, I fell in love that day – despite the fact that it didn’t come naturally to me at first. So I took my loom home and slowly traded my woodworking projects for fiber projects. I had the idea to try to weave a map in the shape of my home province of Manitoba and suddenly people were asking to buy them. It started with friends and family but sort of organically grew into something else. Last fall, after much encouragement from loved ones, I gathered up the courage to open up an Etsy shop and haven’t looked back. That’s how Riel Finishings was born. It’s pretty much the ideal job for me! I’m someone who has struggled a lot with anxiety in my life, and I find weaving so therapeutic. The fact that I get to do it as my job now is just unreal to me!

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

How do I balance being a mother and an artist? In short, not very well! I am so grateful for how busy I have been since my shop opened. That said, sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. We have had to seek some childcare for my son, just so I can keep up – and most of the time I still feel way behind. My house is usually messy and I don’t cook as often as I’d like. That said, I wake up every day being so grateful for this opportunity and the growth I’ve experienced!

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

Can you tell me a little bit about your ‘mapestries’? How did you term that awesome phrase?! 

The most popular items I sell at the moment are “mapestries” (map + tapestry). While I began weaving maps of my own province of Manitoba, gradually I started getting requests for other states and provinces. The term “mapestry” came to me one night at 3am when I was up with my son. It literally just popped into my head, in a rare moment of genius!

Fresh week, fresh warp. Get it, hustle, go 👊🏻! 📷: @jfphotoanddesign

A post shared by Riel Finishings (@rielfinishings) on

What kinds of yarn and looms do you use and recommend?

Yarns: I love using a variety of textures in my tapestries. My favourite yarns to work with are hand spun and hand dyed, which I source from other small shops around the world. I’m also passionate about using recycled and reclaimed fiber in my work. You can frequently find denim, mudcloth, and recycled wool in my tapestries. They look unreal, and are also better for the environment. In terms of yarn I would recommend, it really depends on your textural preferences. I would caution against using anything acrylic, because it totally messes with your tension. Some of my favourite yarns to weave with are from: Knit Collage, Fly Yarns, Love Fest Fibers, Divinity Fibers, and Silk Divine.

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

Looms: I have a LOT of looms! Some of them are handmade, but my favourites are from Lost Pond Looms and Funem Studio. Both companies make excellent looms in a variety of sizes – really perfect if you’re just starting out.

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

 What have been some of your favorite projects and commissions?  

I was recently commissioned by a resort in Manitoba to weave some tapestries for their suites. This commission was the first larger-scale order I’ve ever received, which was a huge milestone for my business. The catch is that they wanted me to weave a buffalo. Yes, I said buffalo and I’m not talking about the place, I’m talking about the animal! When I read the request, I instantly panicked! If you have some familiarity with weaving, you know that some shapes are more difficult than others. I figured there was no way I could do this tastefully, but I challenged myself to give it a try. To my complete surprise, it turned out really well and I’m proud I was able to push through that challenge. I’m somebody who has always been a little insecure. I worry about failure and about what others think of me, and the thing about art is that there’s no room for those fears. You have to push through them. I try a lot of different things and they don’t always work out, but that’s okay, because sometimes they do and it’s magic!

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

Do you have any advice for artists and crafters just getting into weaving?  

I don’t have much in the way of advice for new artists, because, well, I myself am still so new! I would have to say that it’s really important to find your own voice as an artist/weaver, which sometimes means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. When I put on my artist hat, I try not to let the rational/analytical side of my brain rule, and instead follow my heart and my gut. Sometimes that is the scariest feeling, it means being totally vulnerable and putting yourself out there, but you will never know what’s possible until you take risks. If you would have told me when I first opened my shop that by April I would have a waiting list of commissions, I would have laughed in your face.  So I suppose at the end of the day, it’s really important to believe in yourself and just keep weaving. Oh, and never take yourself too seriously! Weaving is all about exploring different fibers and textures – it’s as much about the journey as it is about the final tapestry.

*Some photos featured in this post were taken by talented photographer Janique
Fortier, see her website here

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Weavings and Wall Hangings by Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

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Learn how to weave your first woven wall hanging in this Skillshare class!




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Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka

Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking

It is my pleasure to introduce Kat Lendacka, a printmaker from the UK. Please make sure to give her Etsy shop a visit!

l me a little bit about yourself and your journey with printmaking?

I am a printmaker and my favourite technique is lino cutting. I live in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom, with my family and a whippet called Spot. After studying Graphic Communications (Illustration) and working in the graphic design industry for some years, I gradually moved away from sitting at the computer all day to using my hands (although a bit of computer work still remains)!

Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking
Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking

I was born and grew up in Litomerice, a rather picturesque small town approximately 40 miles north of Prague in the Czech Republic. My first ever try at lino cutting was when I was about 13 years old with a retired art teacher and an academic painter, to whom I used to go for art lessons with several other youngsters. I wish I liked the man more! I might have done a lot more lino cutting! Next time I had a go was while a first year student of Graphic Communications (Illustration) degree at Northampton University. This time, I fell in love! Linocut images appeared in many of my student graphic projects as well as in the final major project.

Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking

It still took some years before it became my every day obsession due to a full time job, lack of space and then babies taking over my time and the house! In the last 3 years, lino cutting has taken over the dining room and conservatory which are essentially my make shift studio. It is also where I run very small workshops.

Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking

Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you use references for your work?

Inspiration for me is everywhere. While walking our dog, exploring the countryside with the children, day trips to old cities (Oxford being my favourite), visiting my old home town Litomerice which is adorned with the most beautiful old houses! Animals in the British countryside and some fabulous gardens (Coton Manor Gardens being my absolutely favourite place on Earth). There are also a few artists that I find mind blowing  – Angie Lewin, Emily Sutton being a couple of them.

Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking

Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking

Your work is so detailed. What does the process look like for one of your multicolored animal prints?

In the last 2 years, I have moved away from only black and white (one layer) images to multi block lionocuts. I prefer this technique to reduction linocuts. Using various materials (Japanese Vinyl, soft lino and old flooring vinyls), I like to cut out shapes and play ‘jigsaw’! Usually, I stick to 2 – 3 colours.

Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking

How has business been these days? Are you working on any new and exciting projects?

What next? I am happy doing what I am doing, more images as they pop into my head. Grow my Etsy shop. Pluck up courage and try a couple of art fairs! Experiment with some more products. But most importantly, have fun (as my Uni teacher Ian Newsham used to say ‘if you are not enjoying it, you are doing it wrong!’).

Interview with Printmaker Kat Lendacka #linocutartist #etsyartist #uniqueartprints #originalart #printmaking

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Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons

Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons #dreamymoons #universe #art #artbusiness #meditation #socialmediamarketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #artwork #artblog #lunar #howtosellyourartonetsy #inspiration #annietarasova #crystals #homedecor #boho #celestialbodies #create #astrology #roomdecor

*This post contains affiliate links

I’m so excited to introduce Annie Tarasova from the DreamyMoons Etsy shop. Annie is 21, from Australia, and has a beautiful and successful shop. You can follower her on Instagram and watch her videos on Youtube.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with your art and business?

I have been drawing, reading and creating ever since I was very little. All throughout high school I knew I wanted to go to university to study either art or design, however at the very last minute I changed my mind at the fear of too much competition in the art and design businesses. Instead, I went on to study health science. It was wildly interesting, however after two years I realized something was missing. I didn’t have any time to express and explore my creative side – the side I treasured the most since childhood. I felt like it was leaving me.

Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons #dreamymoons #universe #art #artbusiness #meditation #socialmediamarketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #artwork #artblog #lunar #howtosellyourartonetsy #inspiration #annietarasova #crystals #homedecor #boho #celestialbodies #create #astrology #roomdecor

Click here to buy the Your Own Universe print

I took a break, started traveling, and opened my Etsy shop DreamyMoons which very successfully took off and filled my life with more purpose than ever. I made a difficult decision to leave Uni to follow my heart and intuition. I knew that I needed to pour all my energy into creating.

Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons #dreamymoons #universe #art #artbusiness #meditation #socialmediamarketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #artwork #artblog #lunar #howtosellyourartonetsy #inspiration #annietarasova #crystals #homedecor #boho #celestialbodies #create #astrology #roomdecor

How has social media impacted your business?

Social media made a huge impact on DreamyMoons. Before opening my Etsy shop I already had a following as I absolutely loved expressing myself through photography and videos. I am so thankful for the audience I already had on Instagram that followed every bit of my journey and supported my business from the beginning. I feel like nowadays there is no better way to promote your business other than on social media – it is what we check if not every day, then most days.

Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons #dreamymoons #universe #art #artbusiness #meditation #socialmediamarketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #artwork #artblog #lunar #howtosellyourartonetsy #inspiration #annietarasova #crystals #homedecor #boho #celestialbodies #create #astrology #roomdecor

Click here to buy the Sun and Moon postcard

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw my inspiration for my art from our beautiful Universe. Through my art I am exploring the divine connection between us and the world around us. I am very interested in astrology and celestial bodies – I find it unbelievable that we live on a blue ball rotating around a star in nothingness. My artworks often contain stars, planets and moons.

Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons #dreamymoons #universe #art #artbusiness #meditation #socialmediamarketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #artwork #artblog #lunar #howtosellyourartonetsy #inspiration #annietarasova #crystals #homedecor #boho #celestialbodies #create #astrology #roomdecor

Can you tell us more about your Year of Growth Calendar?

I wanted to create something more than just a calendar. Year of Growth is a 2018 lunar calendar which shows what phase the moon is in every day of the year. Most importantly, the reason why I chose to call it “Year of Growth” is because every month has it is own goal and/or intention, whether it is meditation, spending more time in nature or writing. Each monthly goal is designed to help your journey to opening your mind and heart.

Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons #dreamymoons #universe #art #artbusiness #meditation #socialmediamarketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #artwork #artblog #lunar #howtosellyourartonetsy #inspiration #annietarasova #crystals #homedecor #boho #celestialbodies #create #astrology #roomdecor

Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons #dreamymoons #universe #art #artbusiness #meditation #socialmediamarketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #artwork #artblog #lunar #howtosellyourartonetsy #inspiration #annietarasova #crystals #homedecor #boho #celestialbodies #create #astrology #roomdecor

Interview with Artist Annie Tarasova from DreamyMoons #dreamymoons #universe #art #artbusiness #meditation #socialmediamarketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #artwork #artblog #lunar #howtosellyourartonetsy #inspiration #annietarasova #crystals #homedecor #boho #celestialbodies #create #astrology #roomdecor

Click here to buy the Year of Growth Calendar for 2018

What do you do to stay creative?

I travel. That is just as important to me as painting. I can not stay creative and productive if I am home for a long time. I have this crazy urge to travel. It is the best feeling coming back home from a trip, feeling fresh and inspired and motivated to make things happen. It really helps that my partner is a photographer – if he is away for a job overseas, he is able to take me. Travel is a break from expressing myself on paper, however not a break from creativity. I still love to take photos and film videos and share them on my social medias.

Annie’s Trip to New Zealand

Click Here to Shop DreamyMoons

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Take Melanie Greenwood’s Skillshare Course on How to Sell Your Art Online with Etsy. All of my readers get the first three months for $0.99 a month by following ✿my link!

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Artist Interview with Meri Gold from Pale Illusions

It is my pleasure to introduce Meri Gold from the Pale Illusions Etsy shop! Meri Gold’s shop is filled with curiosities, and we hope you’ll take a look. You can also follow Meri Gold on Facebook. Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as check out her website!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? 

I’m a lost cause living on the West Coast of Canada fighting against “adulthood” one day at a time.
I have always loved making stuff. I come from a family of makers. Music, art, clothing, woodworking, it’s in my blood. I painted my first canvas when I was 14 but I was painting and drawing all over my walls long before that. I had a few other careers before landing on art only 2 years ago. I still feel pretty fresh at the whole making a living out of it thing, but I’m addicted to the rush.

What materials do you use in your mixed media embroidered pieces? What draws you to those materials?

Well, I thrift all my embroidery materials so fabric, hoop and thread wise, whatever I dig at the thrift store will end up in my piece. As for the paint, I bought this dry pigment in Peru when I was there 2 years ago. The colours are so highly concentrated so I’ll mix those with water or white acrylic for the background. I really enjoy the typical paint on raw canvas because the threads of the canvas provide a grid for me to use. But I like expanding too. Velvet is great, anything thick enough to not show the mess of the back is great. That being said I’d like to try embroidering some sheer fabrics. That would be a challenge.


Can you tell about your Patreon initiative? 

Yeah! I made it as a way for me to have an excuse to do cool things for people who feel compelled to give their support. I want to personalize my relationship with people who buy my work and show their support as much as I can so this just gives me a platform to do so. I love being able to show people my weirder creations and give sneak peeks. It’s fun for me. Plus it lets me live a regular life with some income stability which is a huge benefit to my creativity.


Do you listen to music while you create? If so, what are you currently into? 

Yes. And everything. Folk is my staple. But I love hip hop for painting, ambient is good for embroidery. Classical when its raining or in the morning. Shoegaze anytime. I’ve been getting more into Vaporwave. Podcasts are an always thing. I hop around a lot. And sometimes I really like sitting in silence. It almost feels noisy at times. But right now I’ll probably put on some soul/r&b and groove out a bit.

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Interview with Artist Taylor Mason from Mason Makers

It is my pleasure to introduce Taylor Mason from the Mason Makers Etsy shop! Taylor and her husband Ryan are both designers living in Portland, Oregon and run their Etsy shop together, please visit their shop and their website to show some love after the interview! You can also follow Taylor on Instagram @taylormasondesign.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art?

I am a graphic designer and painter living in Portland, OR. Art has always been fascinating to me, as a kid I played movies in the background and poured over library books, trying to replicate the sketches I studied. I was in love with the magic of creating, to see a pencil sketch come to life and create an illusion on paper was mesmerizing to me.

Today my passion for drawing and painting has only continued to progress. I love painting in oils and gouache. I primarily create landscapes and animals from my travels. I love plein air painting as well, there is something peaceful and challenging about being in the middle of nature and attempting to capture the light and colors in the moment.

Where do you draw your inspiration from for your oil paintings? What draws you to painting in miniature?

My inspiration for my paintings comes primarily through my travels. Locations such as Wyoming, Maui, Canada, California and Montana offer sweeping fields, large open skies, mountains, desert plateau’s, lava fields and rainforests. There is so much variation in nature and I find inspiration everywhere I visit.

I decided to paint in miniature when I ran across interesting wood rounds in a craft store. I like how small they are and how painting or staining the edges can mimic the frames of larger classical paintings. I’ve also found that people enjoy owning smaller, more affordable pieces, in contrast to larger commissions.

How did your series on Maui come into being?

My Maui series came to be through my trip to Hawaii last spring. I’ve visited the island several times, but on this trip because I’ve been more focused on painting landscapes, my eyes were more attuned to noticing details I hadn’t before. One thing I enjoy is the variety of climates in a relatively small area. Visiting volcanoes, rainforests, coastlines and wildlife provided me with an abundance of inspiration, and led to this series.

Can you speak to the creative partnership between you and your husband?

I met my husband Ryan through the graphic design program at our university. His humor and love for drawing really captured my attention. Today we enjoy sharing creative time side-by-side, sitting at our desks in the evenings as he draws comics and I sketch or paint. We also enjoy creative days outdoors where I paint en plein air and he sketches beside me. Ryan challenges and encourages me on a daily basis, helping me with my compositions and not letting me take shortcuts. I’m thankful to have a spouse who values creativity just as much as I do and enjoy pursuing our passions together.

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Delphine Leviste: Collage & Diorama Artist from Amboise, France

 

It is my pleasure to introduce Delphine Leviste from Amboise, France – collage & diorama artist from the Atan Mouala Etsy shop. The following interview contains both English and French translations.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? Pouvez-vous me parler de vous-même et de votre voyage avec l’art?  

As far as I can remember, I always drew. While I was a child I was rather reserved and shy, and this was my way to light. I remember that on each of the doors of my elementary school, the teacher had hung one of my “works”. Childhood is golden…something to continue to cherish  and especially not to forget for the rest of your life. No doubt this is why I naturally became a teacher. I work and attempt to convey my passion every day to youth 10-15 years old. Each of my activities feed each other, being an artist at home and a teacher
the rest of the time.

D’aussi loin que je puisse me souvenir, j’ai toujours dessiné. Alors que j’étais une enfant plutôt réservé et timide, c’était ma façon à moi de me mettre en lumière. Je me souviens que sur chacune des portes de classe de mon école primaire, les maîtresse avaient accroché une de mes “œuvres”. Pour moi, l’enfance représente l’age d’or…celui qu’il faut continuer à porter et surtout à ne pas oublier tout le reste de sa vie. Sans doute est ce pour cela que tout naturellement je suis devenue enseignante. Je travaille et essaie de transmettre chaque jours ma passion à des jeunes entre 10 et 15 ans. Chacune de mes activité nourrissant l’autre, plasticienne à la maison, enseignante le reste du temps.


Where do you get inspiration for your art, in particular your art boxes? Où obtenez-vous de l’inspiration pour votre art, en particulier les boîtes d’art?  

I arrived at drawing through observation of by studying the natural world. My sources of inspiration are often from nature and cabinets of curiosities. I’m constantly producing work on large format canvases…this was a challenge for me being a small woman! And then when I became a mother, we had to find another way to work for lack of time and space! As I tired of pencil drawing, I began to create dioramas, which allowed me to go smoothly to creating a larger volume of work. I currently have a collection of 100 small boxes (but I’ll probably not stop here!). I found the idea of a new diorama from my collections of “little things” that accumulate at the bottom of my drawers, and I’ve noticed that the link with childhood is more present in the latest boxes I’ve created. My starting point can also be an old photograph. In that case I then feel very invested in giving new life to the forgotten faces in the photo.

Je pense être arrivée au dessin à travers le dessin d’observation de mes leçons de sciences naturelles. Aussi mes sources d’inspiration ne sont jamais très éloignées de la nature et des cabinets de curiosités.
Pendant longtemps j’ai produis des toiles de grand format…c’était comme un challenge pour moi qui suis une toute petite bonne femme! Et puis lorsque je suis devenue mère, il m’a fallu trouver une autre façon de travailler afin de composer avec le manque de temps et de place aussi! De coup de crayon en coup de crayon, j’en suis venue à créer des dioramas, ce qui m’a permis de passer en douceur à la mise en volume. Je me suis fixée comme objectif de constituer une collection de 100 petites boîtes (mais je m’arrêterai sans doute pas là!). Je trouve l’idée d’un nouveau diorama dans mes collections de “petits riens” de “pas grand chose” que j’accumule au fond de mes tiroirs…je remarque que le lien avec l’enfance est de plus en plus présent dans mes dernières boîtes. Mon point de départ peut être une photographie ancienne. Je me sens alors comme investit de la mission de donner une nouvelle vie à ses visages oubliés.


How is life in Amboise, France? Do you enjoy selling on Etsy? Comment se passe la vie à Amboise, en France. Aimes-tu vendre sur Etsy? 

I just moved to Amboise this summer, which is in the center of the France: this is a big change in life for me my husband and two kids! (before we lived just north of the France). Amboise is a beautiful city that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage cultural landscape. It is also the city of François 1st and Leonardo (his tomb is here in the castle of Amboise). This life change has slowed down my artistic activities in recent months, but I have just finished installing my new studio – photos on my blog – and I cannot wait to get back to it.

Etsy was a revelation for me. I can create without stress and at my own pace,and I have fun seeing my dioramas go to the four corners of the world. It is a possibility that I would have never been if forced to use the classic exposure systems. It was also an opportunity for me to gain regular clients. I also spend a lot of time browsing on there (and sometimes buying). I’ve found so many varied, inspiring and high quality creations.

Je viens d’emménager à Amboise, au centre de la France, cet été: C’est un grand changement de vie pour moi mon mari et mes deux enfants! (avant nous habitions tout au nord de la France). Amboise est une magnifique ville, classée au patrimoine mondial à l’Unesco.C’est aussi la ville de François 1er et de Léonard de Vinci (son tombeau est ici, dans l’enceinte du chateau d’Amboise). Du coup ce changement de vie à quelque peu ralenti mes activités artistiques ces derniers mois, mais je viens tout juste de finir d’installer mon nouvel atelier –des photos sur mon blog– et j’ai hâte de pouvoir m’y remettre.

Etsy a été pour moi une vraie révélation. Je peux créer sans stress et à mon rythme, et ,je m’amuse de voir mes dioramas partir au quatre coin du monde. Possibilité qui m’aurait jamais été offerte si par le systèmes d’exposition plus classique.Ce fût aussi pour moi l’occasion de faire des rencontres, avec des clientes régulières. Je passe aussi beaucoup de temps à m’y promener (et parfois à acheter). Je trouve qu’il y a des créations très variées, inspirantes et de très bonne qualité.

What kind of music do you like to listen to while you create? Quel type de musique aimez-vous écouter pendant que vous créez?   

I have very eclectic taste in music. When that I create I need music that moves, often something like rock, but sometimes Bjork…the atmosphere has to be playful!

J’ai des goûts musicaux très hétéroclites.Lorsque que je créer il me faut de la musique qui bouge, souvent du Rock mais aussi parfois du Bjork..il faut que l’atmosphère soit enjouée! 

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Papermaking Kit Giveaway with Wooden Deckle!

Papermaking Kit Giveaway with Wooden Deckle!

Message from Wooden Deckle Shop Owner Elizabeth W.

Wooden Deckle papermaking kits were a natural progression from my love of making botanical art, and wanting to equip others to do the same, right along with me.

Enter to win your own papermaking kit from Wooden Deckle!

At Wooden Deckle our mission is to get you up and running at making paper, so that you can make great things. Our kits enable you to recycle paper to make handmade paper in a variety of sizes, for a variety of purposes.

We specialize in small and sturdy mold and deckles for practical everyday paper making. By shredding used printer paper, wrapping paper, sheet music, greeting cards, etc., and processing them in a kitchen blender, new life is given to what was once destined to be thrown away.

Finding a second use for something instead of throwing it away is good for our earth, and honors the One who made it.

Enter to win your own papermaking kit from Wooden Deckle!

-Wooden Deckle LLC is located in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.

-The frames for our mold and deckles are handcrafted in the U.S.A.

-We get a little help from our friends… our boxes are folded and the labels for our paper making kits are applied by hardworking individuals at VIP Services.

-We assist educators/teachers interested in papermaking in the classroom.

Enter to win your own papermaking kit from Wooden Deckle!

Wooden Deckle Paprika Paper - Enter to win your own papermaking kit!

You can follow Wooden Deckle on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

We are offering a papermaking kit of your choice – whichever one you could best use, to make great things!

Please explore all of our papermaking kits woodendeckle.com or at etsy.com/shop/WoodenDeckle.

Papermaking Kit Giveaway




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Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob

It is my pleasure to introduce Ioana Iacob from Bucharest, Romania who creates small paintings on local reclaimed wood roof tiles. Her Etsy shop is filled with colorful paintings that are perfect for small spaces.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? 

I have been dreaming of this all my life. Having grown up in a family where almost everybody was drawing and painting, art and colors have fascinated me since I was a little kid. Both my grandfathers painted and I loved the smell and feel of the painting studio. However, I always believed I was not good enough. Fast forward many years later, after finishing photography school and having had a few group exhibitions, I started believing in myself as an artist.

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

As I got older, I also realized that life is too short and that we should do what we love. Painting came easy, after I discovered acrylic painting. I could not stop painting after discovering the little wooden tiles I use as support for my mini paintings. I came across them when refurbishing my parents house, in the mountains. What are they? They are actually pieces of wood used for roofing houses, the traditional way, in some areas of Romania. They are hand carved by local craftsmen and nailed like pieces of puzzles to make a perfect cover for any house.

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

What is life like in Bucharest, Romania? Do you have any favorite spots you can recommend visitors?

Life in Bucharest is great. So is Romania. Do come to see for yourselves! I have lived in the city all my life, but rural life and Romanian traditions and country lifestyle have always attracted me. You can catch a glimpse of these by visiting Bucharest Village and Romanian Peasant Museums. There you can also see houses that have roofs tiled with small wooden tiles, like the ones I use for painting.

Where do you draw your inspiration and vibrant color schemes from? Why the use of wood?

I like living a simple life, enjoy spending time with my family. They and my friends are my main inspiration.

I also love the bright colors that bring life to the wood, make it more animated. Each small painted wooden tile can sparkle up any room.

 Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of ArtInterview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

Do you have any favorite music that you like to listen to while you create?

The laughter of my three children is music to my ears and the one I listen to every time I paint. In the rare moments they are asleep, I like to listen to classical music or turn on the radio.

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

Are you working on any new and exciting projects, or have any outstanding artistic or business goals for the near future? 

Plans for the future? I have read that you become a real artist after you have painted 1000 pictures. I have yet to reach that number and call myself a true artist :). I also dream of my own studio with a garden, where I can paint under the sun.

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

You can like and follow Ioana on Facebook to stay updated on her latest tile paintings!

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