Hi guys, May may, may may may =)
I am quite excited for May,
I have new arty things planned so hopefully this Month this blog'll be sharing a few more posts.
But right now it is TAT yaaaaay!
And an incredibly moving TAT it is too:
I think the best way to go about describing myself and my artwork is to say that I'm a survivor. I was already somewhat artistic when I was a kid--drawing loads of pictures with my favourite pencils and felts (I got new Staedtler Mars supplies every year for Christmas!) and then I moved into sewing. I had my mom's old (and seldom used) Singer in the basement and I made the usual fare of neon sweat pants, neon gym bag, even a neon blouse. It was 1991. What else can I say for taste? Back then sewing and drawing were just for fun. But then our family moved provinces and made some new friends. One friend in particular was fateful, as he sexually abused me in secret for two years. I gave up on visual art for a long time after that. There was nothing nice to illustrate, so to speak. So I became a poetry major in my new high school. There was nothing nice to write either, as it turned out. I graduated from university with distinction and a bachelor of fine arts in writing, with a focus on the poetry and poetics stream in 2008. I enjoyed being published in a few Canadian magazines. I finished my coursework when I was 8 months pregnant with our daughter, Bronwen. Close call! But her delivery was not what we had planned or hoped for. I once again found myself victimized by the obstetrician and suffered with the issues of being violated all over again. I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt when Bronwen was four months old. I was comatose for two days before I stabilized and was sent to a mental ward. There I learned how to make jewelry, and I also took up needle and thread again and started feverishly embroidering and hand piecing a quilt. I think, on some level, I was sewing myself back together. I never stopped.
What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
I'd say the biggest challenge for me is always trying to find new techniques to execute what my imagination comes up with. Consequently to overcome it I'm a Craftsy-holic. Love that site! My husband, on the other hand, sees how many classes I've signed up for each week and gets very stressed! I also just look through the quilt shop and get excited about the fabrics, supplies, and books they have. The staff are also an endless supply of wisdom!
What is your greatest personal achievement either in your art, or because of it?
One achievement that I think of often is just how interested my daughter is in my work. She loves coming into my crazy office and going out to the fabric store. I always let her pick one or two fabric bolts which she proudly carries around the store. I then go on to use the fabrics in my next projects. She's very much a part of my work. The other achievement is that she always says that I can fix anything. It almost brings tears to my eyes that she says that, since I cannot fix the hardest problems of all. And I've enjoyed a few sales as well.
Have you ever found anything that originally daunted you as an artist that you can now overcame easily?
I used to feel daunted by quilt piecing as a whole in the beginning. I could not match points, I could not sew straight seams! It was annoying! But I somehow managed to keep at it and learn that there are techniques and tools that truly do help. Same with jewelry making--I could not wire wrap anything to save my life, but then I found the right pliers and everything fell into place. I think it's just a matter of finding the right art idiom that you want to practice and you will make progress.
Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
I have a couple facebook pages, one for my jewelry making and a brand new one for my quilting. I also have an etsy shop for selling jewelry. And finally I have a new blog about quilting (and everything). Go check everything out (and like everything!)
Thank you so much for sharing yourself so deeply in this interview Danielle, you shared such a personal and moving story and I thank you for your honesty. I love the title for your blog 'The Quilted Thimble, quilt for mental health', I think that shines a light so wonderfully on what the root of creativity is and I think it is important to show that it is not always about the painting/sewing/jewellery/scrapbook that is in our hands itself but what the process of doing it itself is actually about.
Your words 'it almost brings tears to my eyes that she says that, since I cannot fix the hardest problems of all' touched me a lot but made me feel very sad. I want to share something with you that someone once gifted me in a way, if I may - It is not your duty to fix anything. It is no one persons duty, or possibility. It is simply your duty to turn up, and do your best (paraphrased obviously!). I understand why you would want to for your child though, but again no one can fix the world, we can only turn up and do our best for one another when someone we love needs us (and that includes ourselves). I hope you will lift any responsibility you feel regarding that off of your shoulders so that you can smile brightly & respond 'Yep I'm Super-Mommy!' when she says that one day....coz to me it sounds like you kinda are, and it is obvious that to Bronwen that is already the case!
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