Bonnes Vivantes

Stampington & Company could not produce the flourishing and beautiful Somerset Life magazine we do without the amazing and giving artists we call on time and time again. This group of women surpasses the ordinary and mundane as paper and mixed-media artists. This talented bunch lives life to its fullest and views the world through art-tinted glasses. We consider them part of our extended family, calling on them to participate with the Director of Publishing and editorial staff as an artistic think-tank for ideas, executing extraordinary and unique pieces. These Bonnes Vivantes are well versed in the art world, finding new ways to bring art to the ordinary and everyday. These amazing artists — for which we are truly grateful — have been presented here so that you may learn more about them and how they live artfully.

 

For as long as she can remember, Sandra Evertson has been making. Somewhat of a magpie-collector of all things old and unique, her home is somewhat reminiscent of the Adams Family house, with a workspace surrounded by all kinds of odds and ends, bits of mismatched jewelry, shiny whatnots and lots of crumbly old books.

Her whimsical creations are instantly recognizable. A self-taught artist, her influences are many and varied; everything from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the detail work that is Faberge to Dr. Seuss and Alice in Wonderland inspire her. These muses are visible in her pieces that tend to be off the beaten path. The beauty of Sandra’s artwork is in the meticulous hand working of the designs that give each piece individuality and character. Her original pieces are not only unique in their design, but meant to be passed down through generations to become heirloom antiques in their own right.

Sandra shares her life with husband David, kitty Romeo, (“we found him in the engine of our car!”) and a teeny 4 pound Chihuahua named Juliette. Sandra has been published in many of Stampington & Company’s magazines and has authored several books, the latest of which is Fanciful Paper Flowers: Creative Techniques for Crafting an Enchanted Garden (Lark/Chapelle, 2007).

Visit Sandra’s blog at www.sandraevertson.blogspot.com or e-mail her at parisfleamarket@mindspring.com.

 

Pam Garrison’s degree in psychology from UCLA complements her artistic side; she loves to motivate and encourage others whenit comes to art. This southern California based mixed-media artist is passionate about creating and inspiring others to create.

You can see herlove of art and teaching from her feature on HGTV’s“That’s Clever!” and her frequent contributions to Somerset Studio and many other Stampington publications. You can also see her work in the book, Crowns and Tiaras. Pam also teaches at Artfest, Artfiberfest, SilverBella,TheArtNest and many other national and international venues.

Her inspiration comes from many things, but she loves to go to flea markets and find supplies “any and everywhere.” She loves to combine her main loves of paper, fabrics, millinery goods and sewing notions in her vintage/modern style creations.

Pam lives in southern California with her husband and two children. Visit her blog at pamgarrison.typepad.com or her Web site at www.pamgarrison.com.

 

Lisa Guerin believes it’s important to create art every day. Growing up in Washington, DC, she spent a lot of time visitinggardens,galleries and museums. These early experiences sparked the creativity within her, and she’s been making and appreciating art ever since.Much of her artwork is inspired by the True Colors artists, as well as colors, patterns, fabrics, books, food (the packaging mostly), music, junk and trash. “You name it and it can be used as an art supply!” says Lisa.

Lisa’s favorite technique is creating beautiful collage scrap art. Herwhimsical and elegant designs are flawlessly executed in what she calls her “laid back work style.” She’ll work on a piece, take a break, and then go back to it until she feels it’s right. “On the other hand,” she says, “if I don’t like it, I’ll just let it sit around and live with it for a while.”

Lisa lives in San Clemente, California with her husband Richard and son Brandon.

Lisa’s a busy lady. She works part time as a massage therapist and does a monthly art swap with her sister, artist Kim Grant. When not creating art – which is rare – Lisa likes to read self-help or art books, watch movies, cook, snowboard, or scuba dive with her family.

She may be contacted by e-mail at lisa.guerin@sbcglobal.net. Also visit her blog at lisaguerin-artblog.blogspot.com.

“I love that I can touch my art,” says Rebecca Sower, “I love the textures of the materials, love pulling needle and thread through fabricsand I love incorporating meaningful thoughts and words into my art.” Rebecca calls herself a made-by-hand artist. Her collage and mixed-mediaworks come from the large attic-turned-studio in her old restored farmhouse outside Nashville, where she lives with her husband and three children. Vintage postcards and old photos and letters inspire Rebecca, “I never pick one up that I don’t stop and spend (probably too much) time thinking about its history and the lives it has touched.” She also has a weakness for vintage buttons, game-pieces, monograms and keys.


Incorporating meaningful thoughts and words into her art is how Rebecca’s masterpieces shine. Materials turn words into art as one fluid motion from her imagination. Working without a plan makes Rebecca feel most comfortable and learned long ago that art is something she cannot live without. Her “keep it simple” mantra emerged from a quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder: “It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” This idea allows her to feel at peace with her art and life. “I found myself rushing about in my self-inflicted chaos and realized I was missing everything that is beautiful and authentic about life,” she says.

Aside from being a mom, Rebecca feels accomplished knowing she has positively affected others through her workshops, books and art. And when she isn’t in her studio or working on her Etsy boutique (www.rebeccasower.etsy.com) you can find her at sunset baking in her kitchen or watching the cows graze on her farm.

To learn more about Rebecca visit her blog at rebeccasower.typepad.com.

In a past life — before she became a full time jewelry maker extraordinaire — Amy Hanna was flight attendant. Her previous work, traveling to and exploring new places and cultures, is present in the multifaceted and versatile one-of-a-kind work. The unique creations she sells come from the art studio in Amy’s house, “I usually have a creation going on in every corner of my home,” says Amy.

Amy loves the detail and craftsmanship of items prior to the 1800s and is often inspired by anything French and after spending time at flea markets. These passions lead her to work with tarnished silver, mercury glass, rough gemstones and rhinestones. Vintage items from the 1800s often become centerpieces in her jewelry; a shell cameo will make its way into a bracelet and vintage chains will become the backdrop for detailed necklaces.

When she is not busy working as an artist, Amy is home in Laguna Niguel, California with her husband, Todd, son, Bailey Cruz and identical twin daughters, Isabella and Sophia (and their crazy Peekapoo named Coco.) She considers her life accomplishment to be raising her three children to love the Lord and be comfortable with themselves, “anything else is just icing on the cake.”

Amy has had her work in Somerset Life and Belle Armoire magazines and has also been featured on HGTV’s “That’s Clever!” She has taught at Artfest and will teach at Artnest.

Visit Amy’s online shop at amyhanna.etsy.com

With international flair, Hanne lives her life with a spiritual, idealistic and simple living approach. From her home in Denmark, she createsmixed-media art, where every room has become a creativity zone, “I have one zone for writing and organizing, one for stitching — by hand or machine — still another for the ‘dirty’ processes where oil, grease, gesso and paint is involved.”

Working with mixed-media collage allows her to incorporate recycled and second hand items in her work.

“I think, the reason I love expressing myself in the terms of mixed-media and collage is the great deal of unpretentious beauty, straightforward freedom, fun, even abandoned frivolity you find here – as well as the totally unforeseen and surprisingly interesting and inventive solutions.”

Hanne has had her art featured in galleries all over the world, from Japan, Korea and New Zealand to Luxembourg, Brussels, Germany, Lithuania and France.

Visit her website at www.hannematthiesen.com

Pretty in pink is a mantra for artist Analise Sledd. Her heaviest influence for art is color and if you hadn’t already guessed, her favorite color is pink. “I can see something sparkly or pink and already have something in mind to make,” she says.

She loves to create paper crafts andmixed-media and sewing projects for holidays and special occasions. Being a thrift store junkie helps her in her second hobby; putting together unique craft supplies for others to use. “When I put together kits for others to use it’s like passing on a passion rather than [just] something tangible,” says Analise.

Although it is hard for any artist to pick favorites, Analise finds millinery flowers, vintage trims and “lots and lots of GLITTER!” to be her top three materials to work with. Another favorite medium of hers is baked goods. Cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and breads are all hobbies of hers, “probably because they are also like a blank slate … Fun to decorate!” Her love of these tasty sweets is apparent in the title of her online store Sugar*Sugar (leesiebella.etsy.com). Her bright and colorful designs make her pieces fun and youthful. Which also works out well since aside from her job as an artist and mom, Analise is also a children’s pastor.

To learn more about Analise’s work visit her Etsy store or her blog at
leesiebella.typepad.com.

In order to understand Melissa you must understand her background. Growing up in Manhattan blocks from the Central Park Zoo and the Metropolitan Museum of Art with artist and designer parents (with their friends all designers, artists, actors, etc. too) is only part of her upbringing. Alternately, her summers were spent in Westbrook, Connecticut with her painter grandmother and craftsmen grandfather in a beautiful 300-year-old saltbox house (with sheep, chickens and geese).

Her varied background makes her passionate for art, color, nature, architecture and design. Not only does this help Melissa in producing amazing mixed-media art, using paper, paint, textiles and 3-D objects, but it also helps her in creating the art zine Erraticus.

Keeping up with such a whirlwind of projects and passions is on par for the busy life Melissa leads. Living in Connecticut with her husband, Andrew, two daughters, Sarah and Emily, Max a tuxedo cat and Holly Golightly their miniature long haired dachshund is only the beginning of the story. Along with being an at-home mom, artist and zine producer, Melissa also keeps up with a small home studio (“that is packed full of treasures and materials,”) an online Etsy shop named “Meliscellania” (“because I sell a miscellany of things!”) a blog and a Web site, which she is currently renovating.

Visit the plethora of Melissa’s works at her Web site www.melissamccobbhubbell.com, her Etsy shop Meliscellania at www.melissam.etsy.com, or her blog at www.thegardenofpinkshadows.typepad.com.

Suit by day, artist by night. If you met Lori at her day job you would never imagine she had such a creative personality. As a full-time worker in the retail industry for a major Consumer Packaged Goods company, Lori’s day is spent dealing with large sums of money and many, many spreadsheets. But her creative juices are only temporarily bottled up inside. Once she gets home she pours out all of her creative juices into her blog, www.vintageflair.typepad.com.

And Vintage Flair isn’t just the name of her blog; it’s the inspirational mantra of her artwork, Etsy store and her life. Lori loves to work with vintage papers and old photos of children, and her desire for flea markets runs rampant in her blood. She also drives to impart some of this principle into her children, “I want them to grow up to appreciate items of the past.”

Even though she may live in Fayetteville, Arkansas with her husband and three children, Lori dreams of the times they spend in northern Michigan at their summer cottage house. Not only does it mean peace and quiet and time spent with family, but it also means great antique shops, “It is not a vacation if you can’t bring home a new treasure,” she says.

Lori Oles uses her art as her relaxation and escape from the pressures of full-time work. Visit her Etsy shop at www.vintageflair.etsy.com.

Imagination is truly the ruler of this mixed-media artist. As a young girl Kristen created cities from shoeboxes, dolls and found objects, “I spent hours creating imaginary towns. I believe I began creating artwork as a way to bring all of the stories that resided within my imagination to life.”

 

Her Art Salon, a treasure-trove of Victorian and Regency ephemera, books, fabrics and textiles in her home in southern California, is where Kristen finds the spark of inspiration and creativity for her jewelry, paper arts, trinkets and baubles.

As a full-time artist, her career brings a lack of boundaries and constraints, allowing Kristen to live out her dream as a creator and a mom. Through her online store and being included in two books, Creating with Fabric and Altered Art Projects, Kristen feels she is able to share her work with others.

If she could go anywhere it would be Morocco, “it is truly a country with its own heartbeat, incredibly seductive sights, smells and sounds that taunt the visitor to look deeper at each turn in the road.”

Kristen is an art storyteller who lives in southern California with her husband and son. Visit her blog at www.kristenrobinson.typepad.com and her Etsy store at www.kristenrobinson.etsy.com.

Since she started oil painting at 7 years old, Cynthia has never stopped loving arts and crafts. And now that she is older, she is teaching her sons everything she knows. She volunteers at her sons’ school and baseball league and finds that her studio (an extra room in her house) tends to be the favorite place in the house for the family to be.

Her admitted obsession with imagination is a virtue. She devours her books as much as she masters her art, “It seems like I ‘master’ something, and work really hard at it for about three years, then move on. And I love to read. If I am reading a really good book, I’ll mow through it in a weekend … I get a little obsessed with things I get excited about.”

Cynthia’s work with paper, clay, fiber, quilts, and garments (to name a few) is as diverse and colorful as the culture of Japan, which she adores. “I was just there a few months ago, and am returning soon. The people are kind, the children are beautiful, the fashions are wild and the food is to die for,” she says.

Cynthia Shaffer is a mixed-media artist and photo stylist for Stampington & Company. She welcomes e-mail at cynthiashaffer@pacbell.net.

From her home studio in northern California, Connie combines paper with fabric, stitching and 3-D objects to create artfully designed and elegantly crafted functional pieces. She describes her work as “Found treasure collage, mixed-media, altered art and jewelry from found vintage treasures.”

Her love for timeworn and small antique findings led her to find a way to make her own, “I wanted to age something, and make it appear older, I did not realize there was a name for it. I challenged myself to age things when they were not old, and learned so much in the process.” Connie’s desire to antique items has influenced her art in many ways. Altering and hand dyeing comes in the first stages of her art making process and her pieces exude a traditional and timeworn feel.

Connie Govea Stuart is a mixed-media artist who has been featured in Somerset Studio, Somerset Memories, Art Doll Quarterly and Belle Armoire and serves as a Director’s Circle Artist for Stampington & Company. She welcomes e-mails at connieart@aol.com.

 

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