Through Her Own Words

February 8, 2010

One of the artist I inner-viewed for my zine “The Inner Eye” has been chomping at the bit to read more on how the other artists answered questions I posed to them, so I thought it time to post another one, now that my group exhibition has been hung.

Today’s Inner-view is about Melinda Schwakhofer.

I first met Melinda a few years ago on her extended trip thru the States to reconnect with her heritage. Although born in the United States, she now calls Devon, England home.

Melinda is a very introspective and spiritual person who loves to cook but especially loves to eat GOOD food. As an artist, she love to tell stories with her art. At the moment she is on a “an inner journey” exploring the sacred aspects of her everyday life and artmaking. As she puts it, she is getting to know her ” Inner Monk and Artist.

Enjoy a little insight into artist Melinda Schwakhofer:

Journey Bundle

Inner Eye: What informs your artwork?
Melinda Schwakhofer: Nature, the ebb and flow of the seasons, certain architecture and urban environments, Jugendstil and Japanese design aesthetics, anything beautifully designed and exquisitely crafted.

inside detail

IE: Why fabric/thread/paint as a means of expression?
MS: I love the texture, fluidity and sensuality of fabric; the process of gathering and stitching materials together is like gathering my memories and experiences and making meaning from my life.  I’m currently exploring its sculptural qualities, combining opacity and transparency, surface design and incorporating text.

Integration

IE: Who continually inspires you?
MS: I’m inspired by the Divine Creator who makes the natural world around me and who ultimately inspires the music, literature, film and artwork which feeds me and my Mom who showed me how to put Love into everything that I do.

IE: What, if anything, precedes the full blow idea for a piece of art?
MS: Certain sights or experiences enter my soul and touch me on a very deep level.  Through my artwork I want to give it back to the world – the experience that I have had, the encounter and the depth of vision.

IE: What matters most to you about the work that you do?
MS: That I am able to infuse it with even a glimmer of the sacred and that the work is beautifully made.  That I make the work that makes me happy and is meaningful to me and that I don’t make work to bolster my ego or get caught up in competition/winning/justifying my work or myself via outside acclaim or recognition.

IE: What do you ask of yourself in terms of your art in the next 5 yrs?
MS: To make things that people can wear or meditate on (or both!), with words hidden on the inside, private and intimate.
– To make and sell my artwork – accordion books, prayer books, altars, wearable art via galleries, design shops and online.
– To make commissioned work for people who crave beauty and soul in their lives and to use my communication skills to connect with and discover what a person would like to have expressed in a piece of my artwork.
– To show my work in places where there is space for contemplation and which invite a sacred and soul experience.
– To work with people in a way that combines my counselling skills with spirituality and art-making.  Not necessarily Art Therapy, but deep, healing work via creativity.

IE: If you could not pursue your art, what other way would you spend your time?
MS: That’s like asking me if I couldn’t breathe, how I would spend my time!  Even when I’m not making art, there is an art to living.  It’s in my perception of the ordinary and every day, bringing mindfulness and creativity to all that I do and really seeing the world instead of just looking at it.

Melinda Schwakhofer

Website: http://melindaschwakhofer.com/
Blog: http://melindaschwakhofer.wordpress.com/

To read about other artist inner-views check here.

To purchase a copy of my zine “The Inner Eye” please check my Esty store.

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Through Their Own Words

December 9, 2009

For my recent zine, The Inner Eye I had to include an interview. Since my zine is an inspirational art zine I, of course,  chose to interview an artist.

The only thing with that was that after I came up with the questions I was nosy enough to want to know how other artists would answer these same questions.

So I came up with a plan and chose to pose the questions to a few artist friends and include all their answers in the zine. Over the next few weeks I will post some of the answers from these individual artists. Since yesterday’s post was about Nancy, I’ll start there.

Meet Nancy Cook

I’ve known Nancy for a few years and was invited by her this year to join Fiberart Options, a fiber art group. In the last few months I have gotten a better chance to get to know her.

She is a wonderfully warm, engaging and inspirational artist, who is always willing to answer any questions we might have about our art in order to help us succeed. And…she loves to laugh, which is always good for the soul.

Her recent work is very much nature inspired. She paints her beautiful art pieces with Tsukineko inks on sumptuous hand dyed fabrics, then expertly enhances them with her quilting stitches.

Enjoy this insightful look into a wonderful artist, Nancy Cook…
Hospitality by Nancy Cook

Inner Eye: What informs your artwork?
Nancy Cook: My work is informed by the traditions of botanical illustrations and quilting mediums.

IE: Why fabric/thread/paint as a means of expression?
NC: I love the textures that result from the quilted line, it is a way that I connect with my past and women from many cultures and across time.

IE: Who continually inspires you?
NC: Women artists, especially fiber artists, women politicians and role models like Oprah Winfrey.

IE: What, if anything, precedes the full blow idea for a piece of art?
NC: Sometimes I wake up with an idea that is pretty close to full blown and that is a gift from the gods or muse.  Other times it is looking, really looking, at a tree seed specimen.  It takes time, perhaps a magnifying glass and, often, sketching the piece multiple times, before the full blown idea emerges.

IE: What matters most to you about the work that you do?
NC: That it satisfies me in terms of concept realized, quality of the production.

IE: What do you ask of yourself in terms of your art in the next 5 yrs?
NC: Have sufficient recognition that it will not be rapidly consigned to a garage sale upon my death.

This last question I thought was the best answer an artist can give…

IE: If you could not pursue your art, what other way would you spend your time?
NC: I haven’t the slightest idea.

I loved her answer especially because I believe that in in order to produce the best art we can, whatever medium we choose, our art should consume our souls. Nancy’s answer (to me) shows exactly this. You can find Nancy’s work on her website and more about her on her blog.

Stay Tuned

Be on the lookout for upcoming inner-view posts, including nationally known quilt artist and designer Sarah Ann Smith and one of our own local artists, PJ Howard.

NOTE: **you can purchase a copy of the first issue of my zine “The Inner Eye” in my Etsy shop.**

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See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,


The Swap Zine is done!

November 12, 2009

lineuppic

It’s HERE! Yippee!

My first zine is finished and on it’s way for the zine swap.  Soon I will be swimming in zines…well..maybe only 10 of them but a happy day that will be. I’ll probably maul the mailman as he drives by.

I have followed Alma Stoller’s blog for about a year now and she kept talking bout this “zine” thing. This past July she put a call out to all zine-sters, new and old and I decided to just jump right in. How hard can it be…right? (famous last words indeed).

Let me go back and do wiki def for you.  A zine (pronounced zeen) is a small self-published booklet. It’s an opportunity for the maker to explore a topic, express feelings, encourage, share, educate and, especially, connect with others.

closeup

So off I went to create. It took a while for me to come up with my topic but, in the end, I kept coming back to the same thing.

I call it “the Inner Eye”, that something deep inside of us that helps us bring forth our art.

So my zine is a little inspiration to propell you along your art-y way.

One of the things we were to include in the zine is an interview. Only problem was….I couldn’t choose just one person.

That’s when the idea for a series of interviews took hold. I preppagesasked a few of my quilt artist friends to answer a few questions and included some answers from each of them.

I chose to call them “Inner-views” (remember the name of my zine—“The Inner Eye”),

because  these words are the innermost thoughts and perspectives about how each artist’s soul manifest itself through her art and throughout her life. paintedcovers2

Each page is created separately using the cut and paste method, then photocopied to make the 10 zines. painted covers

To paint the covers, I spritzed water on poster boards and then washed in two of my fav colours….red and golden yellow to create the 2-colour cover.

Included in each zine are bits of inspiration, articles, projects, exercises, the “inner-views” (of course) and a bag of yummy extra bits.

This zine was a labour (NO KIDDING!) of love. I so enjoyed writing the articles and designing the layout for each page. I made a few extra of them to put in my etsy shop so YOU too can have one to enjoy as well.  When I get my parcel of zine goodyness, I’ll post the pics of them.

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See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,