Thursday, December 8, 2011

Studio Spotlight: Graceful Arts

The creative hands and mind behind Graceful Arts is Katie Forbes.  She's our next Studio Spotlight from our guild.  

I'm always interested in where someone is coming from... what's their background that got them to this place of creating and making things by hand. 

Katie's personality comes through in her own words:

I've always loved making things!  I made handmade gifts for friends and family for many years, and actually  have nothing to show for some of my creations.  Gave them all away!  When I began planning to open an online store, I began making handmade note cards.  I guess it was my current craft at the time.  I quickly got more involved with jewelry making - another thing I'd dabbled in for awhile.  

However, one thing I'd always done is sewing.  My Mom taught me when I was about 10, on a well-used Pfaff.  I swear that machine had a personality of its own, and it did not like this new "pup" coming in and messing with it!  It was always jamming up on me.  It took quite some time for us to come to a good working relationship!  When my younger sister started learning to sew, it was the same scenario for her.  Because I've been sewing for more than 40 years now (I can't possibly be that old!), it's what I do best.  Everyone knows me knows that I can sew - anything!  The quilting was an off-shoot from the sewing, inspired by my youngest sister.  I think what I enjoy the most about sewing and quilting is the design factor. I really love the act of selecting colors, patterns, prints, and learning what works and doesn't work.  That whole color thing is where it's all at for me!  (For me, too, Katie!)

Who or what inspires you?

I love to look at quilts and artistically designed and created clothing and accessories.  There again, it's the color and design thing, as well as learning the techniques used to accomplish a look.  One of my favorite quilters currently is Gwen Marston of Liberating Quilting.

Where do you create?  Do you have a studio space?

My studio space is, well, all over my home!  My husband and I built our home about 15-20 years ago.  In designing it, we put a sewing "desk" with storage drawers at the inner wall of the breakfast room - right in the middle of the kitchen/breakfast/family room.  This was a dream come true; I no longer had to clear my sewing in order to set the table for a meal.  And, I could keep an eye on the stove and sew at the same time.  I also ended up with 6 feet of floor to ceiling cabinets for fabric and craft supplies just around the corner in the family room.  Heaven!  And, no, it can no longer hold everything!

My beading takes place in a 
corner of our guest room 
upstairs, which works well 
except for when our married 
daughters are visiting.  
do much of my photography 
in the guest room, as well.

My papercrafting takes place 
at my desk in the office, 
where it seems much of my 
time is spent. 

What is the best experience you've had with a handmade buyer?  

My best experience with a buyer is ongoing.  I sold a baby blanket to someone in Connecticut a couple of months ago.  She wrote that she loved it, and her baby boy did, too.  Soon I received a request for another blanket, but I could find more of that flannel, so we agreed upon the same print in a cuddly fabric with satin binding, along with some "loveys."  She loved those, too, and asked if I could take one of the flannel ones in similar vibrant colors but a different print because her older boy wanted his own.  And now I'm working on 2 more blankets and a few "loveys" in similar colors and print, because her little guy won't sleep with any other blanket.  They aren't using their store bought blankets at all anymore!  Oh, how I love a happy customer!

What is something others may not know about you that you'd like to share?

Before I went into business with my creativity, I worked for many years as an administrative assistant.  But my job responsibilities had changed greatly and the workplace atmosphere was becoming intolerable for me.  I was quite literally ill from the stress of it.  So, I ended up resigning and going into business.  I have learned that my level of creativity is a very strong indicator of how healthy I am.  I can easily say now that I love what I do.  And, I know that as I make my business more profitable I will enjoy it even more!

My favorite items of Katie's are her quilted table runners.  This graphic red and white one I just love!

Posted for the Pacific Northwest ArtFire Guild by: Honey from the Bee

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Studio Spotlight - Honey from the Bee

Janet Bocciardi is the artisan behind the Honey from the Bee studio. She makes lovely, artistically designed one-of-a-kind jewelry. Her pieces are original and they have a strong inspiration from nature. Janet started making jewelry just for herself around 1998 while living in Vancouver, Washington. She said she’d been a craft and fiber fanatic since she was a kid, but it was the opening of a bead shop near her home that literally sold her on beads. She went into business officially in 2004 when her career in high tech came to an end. She started out selling her jewelry at art shows and to her friends. Online sales came into the picture several years ago.

I had noted that Janet lives in Port Angeles, Washington; but, Janet didn’t always live in Port Angeles. She grew up on the East coast and has lived in a lot of different places. After high school she moved to California and later to Washington State after she and her husband had vacationed here a few times. I can certainly understand why they made the move to Port Angeles. It’s a beautiful rural wooded area set between the Pacific Ocean and the foot of the Olympic Mountains. What an inspiration for creating artistic jewelry!

Janet noted that nature was certainly a huge inspiration to her. She also said that she and her husband have traveled a lot, which has opened her eyes to other cultures, art and architecture. She also finds inspiration in books, period movies, decorating, her dogs, and with other artistic mediums. I completely agree with Janet’s statement that she “can find inspiration in anything, but it's when she feels the passion to create something from those inspirations that makes her happiest.”

I wondered what other artistic endeavors Janet had dabbled in. She said that she dreams of spending more time drawing and creating mixed media works. Janet said that she “loves” fiber and enjoys knitting to relax. She’s also finding that she enjoys weaving, and wonders where this will all lead her, but she’s sure that metalworking and beads will always be a part of her work. Janet admits that she is quite possibly passionate about too many things!
And where does Janet create her artistic jewelry? Usually in her family room she says, which is showing the effects of doing a lot of work lately. But, like many of us, she has been known to use the porch, deck, pool side on vacation, or the kitchen table as her studio on occasion.
And now that you know more about Honey from the Bee’s Janet Bocciardi, go take a look in her ArtFire studio.

Here are some other links of Janet's you may be interested in:


Posted for the Pacific Northwest ArtFire Guild by: Katie Forbes of GracefulArts

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rosy Glow

This time of year we love the sunrises even more.  This gorgeous collection was created by Linda of Steider Studios.  Here's a snapshot of her studio to browse:

Posted for the Pacific Northwest ArtFire Guild by: Honey from the Bee

Friday, December 2, 2011

Studio Spotlight - Roban Studio

Today we are going to visit with Rhonda from Roban Studio. I've visited her blog, studio and her web site and all I can say is wow. Here is a sample of some of her work.

As anyone can see from your studio and blog fine art is your passion? Have you always created art? How and when did you get started?
 Yes, art is my passion. As I tell it, "I have the art monkey on my back and he's relentless".  I have been making art since I was very young. I love especially to make art gifts for people. As a child I was always begging my  mom to buy me a craft/art kit. I would make the craft and give it to my mom. She has my art all over her home, and has saved the things I made as a child.  I got started or "hooked" on art, in kindergarten, when I used fingerpaints for the first time. I still remember that day, standing at an easel with a paper apron on and being allowed to smear wet, cool paint all over the paper with my hands. I still remember the smell of the paint and the vibrant colors. I was hooked for life that day.

What is your favorite piece you ever made and why?
My favorite piece/s are two oil paintings I did of my children. One is of my son when he was little, walking down a path dragging a stick on the fence. The other is my daughter and her best friend sitting on a blanket in the park. Her friend is gazing into a mirror wondering if she's pretty.

Do you create Art full time or do you have a hobby that supports your Art?
I create art full time. I am currently unemployed so my husband supports my art. I hope to find a way to make a living at doing what I love, to find a niche, a place for me in the world as a working artist. So far, that hasn't happened.

Describe your typical day.
I wake up around 7 am, brew a pot of coffee and while I drink my coffee, I check emails, check my ArtFire account, update my blog, etc. Then I'm in my studio by 10 am and work until 7pm on current projects, etc.

What keeps you motivated?
That's a hard one. I get easily distracted and easily discouraged. Because of this, I joined a group of artists in a year long project called the 365 Art Project 2011, where we pledged to make a piece of art everyday for a year. It's winding down, as this is the last month and I've only just missed my first days this past Thanksgiving weekend. It's been tough trying to come up with art everyday for a year, but I have been able to keep up. I like to create Artist Trading Cards, and this group I joined is at  Making small art, ATCs, has allowed me to make art everyday, quickly and efficiently. I'm going to put my pieces up for trade in January when the project is over.

Besides creating your art what else do you like to do?
Watch TV. I'm really a bad couch potato, especially in the winter. In the summer, I like to spend time outdoors with my husband, biking, kayaking, scooter riding and picnicking. I also try to read as much as possible as I love to read.

What other artists are you inspired by?
I admire artists who can figure out their passion and become successful as a working artist. Thomas Kinkade is one of those who has a very inspiring story of how he came to be known the painter of light. I also like Anita Davies. She lives in England and makes sketches everyday in her sketchbook. I love her style.

Do you feel it is important to have your own space to create or do you create anywhere?
It's not important to have a studio to create art, as art is portable. I do have my own space to create art in, and I am grateful for that. I can leave a mess and not have to worry about it bothering anyone. There was a time while our home was being built, that we lived in our 36' motorhome, and I painted oils in it, the largest being the 36"x 48" canvas of my daughter and her best friend. I look back now on that time, and can't believe I pulled it off.

What is the best part of having your own business?
The best part is being free to do what I want, when I want, and how I want. The worst part, is not bringing in a paycheck. This isn't the first time I have been a business owner. I used to be a photo retoucher and photo restoration artist and provided services to local photographers and the public. I did it for twelve years and loved every minute of it. When it came time to close, I mourned the loss of my business as if someone had died. It was very personal. My business provided a nice living for myself and my family. I would love to have that back again, through my fine art, but alas, it hasn't happened yet.

What advise would you give someone who wanted to start their own business?
If you can do so financially, go for it. There's nothing like the feeling of being a successful business owner. But be prepared to work more than 40 hrs. a week. You have to do everything from the marketing, to the paperwork, to the making of the art, the shipping, everything; unless you are successful enough to hire employees. But at first, it's just you doing the work of five or more people. To me, that all doesn't matter as I love the independence. 

As an artist how do you market yourself and your art to the public via web or other means?
Marketing myself is my downfall. It's hard to toot your own horn. Right now I have a website: my blog: Musings on Art, and of course my ArtFire shop.  I used to be on Facebook, but never found it to be worthwhile, plus when they changed the privacy policies, I didn't like it and so closed my account. Occasionally I will send out email newsletters to advertise my work, but that's only when I'm feeling good about things. It can be very discouraging not to be selling work.

Where would we be able to find you and your art?
As stated above, on my website, blog and ArtFire account.

I would like to thank Rhonda for sharing a part of her life with us here today. Be sure to check out her blog and her ArtFire Studio.

Posted for the Pacific Northwest ArtFire Guild by: Dana James of Dana's Jewelry Design