The Artist Behind the Interviews: Ricë Freeman-Zachery

April 30th, 2012

Today we welcome mixed-media artist and Stampington columnist Ricë Freeman-Zachery to Somerset Place. She shares her creative process, what inspires her writing, and why buying handmade is so important.

Readers might recognize you from your columns published in Somerset Studio, Belle Armoire, and Art Journaling, just to name a few publications. What is the most memorable artist profile that you have written?
I’ve gotten to talk to a slew of fabulous people over the ten years I’ve been doing this, so there’s no way I could pick just one! I really enjoy the profiles in which I’ve gotten to visit the artist’s studio. These tours make the artist and their work really come alive for me, and my husband thoroughly enjoys photographing the artists’ spaces.

What do you enjoy best about interacting with the artists?
My passion is passion: what do people love? What grabs them? What wakes them up in the middle of the night? How do they make their ideas concrete? I’m way more interested in the artist and the process than I am the finished work. My current obsession is the intersection of creativity and curiosity, and I’m asking everyone about it. What are you curious about? How does that feed into your creative life?

What sparked your interest in writing? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I think perhaps in another life my mother would have been a writer, and I think one of her dreams was for me to write novels. Her love of books and reading was surely an influence, and fortunately they were things I also loved. Both my parents were readers, and books were a constant from birth–I’m guessing they were probably reading to me before I was born. I love the way words work together and am fascinated by connotation, metaphor, and etymology. I was always something of an English geek and got two degrees in English, which of course is a guarantee of wealth and fame, right? Other people got degrees in things that lead to lucrative careers; I got degrees in a discipline I loved.

Tell us a bit about the books you have written. What do you hope readers and artists will take away from these artistic collaborations?
I’ve written five books: Stamp Artistry, (artists who show how they use rubber stamps to create a project), New Techniques for Wearable Art (the first altered artwear book, and a tough sell to the publishers who thought altered artwear wouldn’t ever be popular) and then three creativity books: Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. The last one, a collaboration with my husband (he took all the photos), was the most fun. We traveled 19,600 miles in 2010 attending art retreats, taking photographs (Earl), and asking nosey questions (me). We featured five complete workshops led by Jesse Reno and Carla Sonheim and included tips for holding smaller retreats closer to home.

When you’re not writing about other people’s work, what art do you create?
The short answer is that I stitch. The longer answer is that I alter garments into SoulWear–clothes that are expressions of a unique personality. In the past, I have made/shown/taught/sold art quilts and art dolls, handmade books and jewelry, assemblage and collage. But my true passion–ever since I was in high school–has been altering and embellishing my own wardrobe. Since I love finding already-worn clothes, consignment shops and thrift shops are treasure troves for me. I love Goodwill–not just for the selection and great prices but because they employ special needs workers in the community.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you work on a single project at a time, or have several in the works?
I like to work. I like to be productive. I’m incredibly lucky to have jobs that I love–writing profiles for Stampington, writing books, editing a website for my publishers at F&W Media (CreateMixedMedia.com). I like to have a lot of projects going at once, several of them with deadlines that help me create schedules as a framework for everything else. I love the days when I edit audio while doing handwork on a garment I’m embellishing. All the various projects influence each other, with ideas zipping around in my head, and I can move from one to another to another throughout the day.

What do you enjoy surrounding yourself with in your studio?
Color, color, color! Our house is a riot of bright color, just the way we love it. Three years ago for my birthday Earl helped me gut and re-do the office studio. We painted the walls and ceiling a sunny golden orange and stained the concrete floor a gold and reddish-rust hue. Just last week I had the sewing studio re-done, with triple windows and the same color paint as the office. Color + a lot of light = a happy me. Oh, and happy cats. You can’t work when the cats aren’t happy, so the sunny windows are also for them.

How can people support the handmade movement?
Avoid the mall. Seriously. Support Etsy–I love Etsy. I’m at the stage in my life where I’m focusing on getting rid of–rather than acquiring–things, and that’s also a way to support handmade. Use the things you have already to create “new” stuff rather than going out and buying something new.

What advice can you offer an aspiring artist/writer?
Write. Write every day. Learn to be an editor and go back and look at what you’ve written with a critical eye. Read. Read everything. Don’t settle on one genre, but read everything you can get your hands on. Learn the rules of writing. Know what a metaphor is, learn about parallel structure, know how to quote people so you don’t end up falsifying information. Writing is a craft and a skill and an art, and doing it well requires not only that you study the rules, but that you fall in love with words and what they will enable you to communicate with others.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
You can create your own life. There are a few rules you have to follow, things about paying taxes and flossing your teeth and Dressing Appropriately for The Day Job. Outside of those, however, you can do pretty much what you want with your house and your wardrobe, your hair and your routine, what you eat and how you spend your spare time. I always urge people to quit watching television, quit doing what everyone else is doing, and figure out what you want to make of your life. You only get one, so you might as well make it exactly how you want it.

Thank you for sharing your insight with us, Ricë! You can find Rice’s artist profiles in Art Doll Quarterly, Art Journaling, Art Quilting Studio, Belle Armoire, Belle Armoire Jewelry, and Somerset Studio. Her books, Living the Creative Life and Creative Time and Space are available at The Shoppe.

Follow Ricë’s creative endeavors on her blog, Notes from the Voodoo Café: http://voodoonotes.blogspot.com.



Sarah Mixed-Media Art ,

Today we welcome mixed-media artist and Stampington columnist Ricë Freeman-Zachery to Somerset Place. She shares her creative process, what inspires her writing, and why buying handmade is so important. Readers might recognize you from your columns published in Somerset Studio, Belle Armoire, and Art Journaling, just to name a few publications. What is the most […]

Bloom Where You’re Planted DIY

April 26th, 2012

Our mini library drawer has been given multiple facelifts and previously altered into a photo organizer and rewards drawer. Today we’re sharing how this drawer can go au naturel and give your green thumb a chance to shine. This hands-on gardening project is perfect for mother-daughter bonding time or as a quick and easy gift idea!

 

Materials

Mini Library Drawer

Collage Pauge

Small succulents in various styles

 

Instructions

You can find small succulents inexpensively at your local swap meet. Be on the lookout for different species to give your project unique dimension. As the drawer’s primary purpose is for paper crafting, the wood may wear over time. Before potting the succulents, treat the wood with a coat of Collage Pauge to waterproof it. While succulents don’t require excessive watering, it is a good idea to drill a couple of holes in the bottom of the drawer for drainage. Place your new planter in a window with plenty of sunlight and enjoy this bright and sophisticated piece of home décor. This low maintenance and cost-effective project is perfect to make for Mother’s Day and lasts longer than a bouquet of flowers!

Note: Succulents do best in a drier, rocky potting soil. Instructions on the bag will usually indicate if the soil is suitable for cacti and succulents.

For more tips and projects for the green-conscious crafter, see what’s inside the latest issue of GreenCraft.

 

Project and photos by Vanessa Spencer

 



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,,,

Our mini library drawer has been given multiple facelifts and previously altered into a photo organizer and rewards drawer. Today we’re sharing how this drawer can go au naturel and give your green thumb a chance to shine. This hands-on gardening project is perfect for mother-daughter bonding time or as a quick and easy gift […]

Free Ephemera Download: Fabulous Frocks!

April 23rd, 2012

 

TMTBFQ4HDRSB

There’s nothing quite like taking a night stroll on a cobblestone road, having nothing but the twinkling stars light up your path. But when you’re all dressed up, wherever shall you go? Perhaps an evening showing of the newest opera, or a late night tea with your closest friends? Enjoy a night out on the town with these ladies that are dressed to the nines! Download these illustrations here to add a touch of vintage glam to your greeting cards, altered art projects, digital scrapbook pages, and more.

Like these downloads? We’ve got more collections of digital ephemera for you to enjoy over at our e-Crafting site.

Have you dabbled in the world of digital art yet? Share a cool trick, or tell us what you would like to learn in the comments below.

 

 



Sarah Free Downloads

  TMTBFQ4HDRSB There’s nothing quite like taking a night stroll on a cobblestone road, having nothing but the twinkling stars light up your path. But when you’re all dressed up, wherever shall you go? Perhaps an evening showing of the newest opera, or a late night tea with your closest friends? Enjoy a night out […]

Shiva Paintstiks Portrait Tutorial by Guest Artist Pam Carriker

April 19th, 2012

We are thrilled to have Pam Carriker here today to walk us through the process of creating an oil painting from start to finish.

It’s fun to create an “oil painting” using simple tools and Shiva Paintstiks for a non-messy alternative to traditional oil paints. If portraits aren’t your thing, try doing a simple still life “oil painting” using everyday objects around your home to spark some inspiration! Either way, these Shiva Paintstiks are great tools you can use to achieve the look of oil paints without all of the fuss.

Materials

Shiva Paintstiks in the following colors: Prussian Blue, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Antique White, Titanium White, Raw Umber and any background colors you like
Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper, other acrylic paper, or heavy paper with a tooth to it
Blending tool – either a blending stump, rubber-tipped blending tool, Loew Cornell Berry Maker, or an equivalent
Oderless Mineral Spirits, if desired
Pencil
Stencil brush, or old scruffy brush
Sequin waste or other stencil type texture tool

NOTE: You will have to peel off the “skin” that forms on the crayons in between uses. Just grab the tip of the crayon with a paper towel and gently twist back and forth. The skin will peel off onto the paper towel and then you’re ready to go. You can use the crayons for direct applications or color a swatch onto a palette to pick up with a brush or other tool.

Instructions

Thanks for sharing this gorgeous technique, Pam! The Spring 2012 issue of Art Journaling features more of Pam’s painting techniques. Glimpse into Pam’s artful world by visiting her website at pamcarriker.com.



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,

We are thrilled to have Pam Carriker here today to walk us through the process of creating an oil painting from start to finish. It’s fun to create an “oil painting” using simple tools and Shiva Paintstiks for a non-messy alternative to traditional oil paints. If portraits aren’t your thing, try doing a simple still […]

Editor Spotlight: Cynthia Levens

April 16th, 2012

Meet the creative forces behind your favorite Stampington publications with our Editor Spotlight feature!

Cynthia Levens

Managing Editor, Belle Armoire, Belle Armoire Jewelry, Art Quilting Studio; Executive Consulting Editor, Where Women Create 

What is the most gratifying thing about your job?
I love sending out the initial congratulatory emails. Our artists spend so much time and effort putting such beautiful and unique pieces together that appear in each of our magazines. Oftentimes, the act of just submitting a piece of art for publication consideration takes a lot of courage. I have the highest admiration and respect for the artists I work with, and it is so gratifying to tell them that their dedication has not gone unnoticed.

When you’re not writing about other people’s work, what art do you create?
I do love art, and I’m fortunate to work in such a vivid and creative environment. But, the truth is, I’m not much of a crafter. I used to draw, paint, sketch, and work with clay, and it’s been a struggle to find my way back. I spend most of my time on writing these days. That’s my go-to outlet.

Tell us about one of your passions.
I’m passionate about many, many different things, but the first that comes to mind is music. My life literally revolves around it.  It sets my mood in the morning, it keeps me going throughout the day, and it pumps me up before a fun night out. You can always find me at some kind of show at least once a week. Don’t get me started on music festivals — that’s a conversation that would never end.

What is your idea of the perfect weekend?
The perfect weekend…well, first of all, it would be a full week. It would include a combination of music, dancing, food, shopping, fine wine, and amazing company. Vegas, New York, Spain, and Greece are, of course, all great options.

What would you like to accomplish a year from now?
Anything and everything that’s within my reach. I’m an extremely ambitious person, and I’m constantly setting goals for myself.  Who knows, next year I might be speaking another language.

Can you give us a glimpse into the Spring 2012 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry?
I’m in LOVE with this issue. I know I say that about each issue I put together, but it’s true. This one in particular contains a vast range of techniques like wire wrapping, beading, metal work, etching, foldforming, wax casting, stamping into clay, and creating incredibly unique bezels from glass bottles and shotgun shell rings. I can’t really describe in words the level of artistry seen in this issue; you will just have to pick it up.

Where Women Create showcases some amazing art spaces. What would you like to have in your dream studio?
My dream studio would probably be a replica of Matthew Mead’s – crisp and clean with bursts of color. It’s really refreshing, and you’ll be able to see it featured in the “Men Who Make It” department in the upcoming Summer 2012 issue.

What is your favorite style of clothing that you’ve seen featured in Belle Armoire?
The Summer 2012 issue of Belle Armoire will be my first as Managing Editor, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to put my own spin on them. To pick a favorite piece or style from this issue isn’t even possible – I would gladly wear every item featured. I can’t wait for you all to see the gorgeous creations and photography come July 1st!

To catch a glimpse of the inspiration inside Cynthia’s publications, please visit Art Quilting Studio, Belle Armoire, Belle Armoire Jewelry, and Where Women Create. Don’t miss the beautiful jeweled creations in the Summer 2012 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry, available for pre-order until April 25th.

 



Sarah Uncategorized ,,,,,

Meet the creative forces behind your favorite Stampington publications with our Editor Spotlight feature! Cynthia Levens Managing Editor, Belle Armoire, Belle Armoire Jewelry, Art Quilting Studio; Executive Consulting Editor, Where Women Create  What is the most gratifying thing about your job? I love sending out the initial congratulatory emails. Our artists spend so much time […]