Monday, July 25, 2011

Artist Interview: Amy from Fate-Filled Times


I met Amy in May of this year on Prince Edward Island in Canada.  We were there to attend a workshop taught by one of our favorite artists, Sabrina Ward Harrison, and our time on the island was beyond magical.  Amy is kind, creative, and full of positive energy.  She is simply a joy to be around, and I think you will be inspired by her artistic journey and her words found below...  Visit her blog, Fate-Filled Times, for more of her lovely writing and inspiration.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. 
 
My name is Amy, and I live in Toronto. I'm a registered social worker, currently working with children and youth at a prominent Canadian performing arts school. My two passions are people and art/expression. I truly believe we are all artists.  


 
How do you express yourself creatively?

I struggled with my own identity as an artist growing up because I was surrounded by talented fine artists. When I was very little, my father learned how to make stained glass windows, which my dear mother ended up picking up as a lifelong hobby. My father moved on to refurbishing and rebuilding antique cars. My brother inherited my mother's artistic skill of sketching and painting. He also picked up the art of making stained glass windows along with handmade wooden frames. Lately, he has been working with found objects. Being surrounded by people with obvious, undeniable artistic skill, shaped my idea of what an artist was. Until my 20's, I sure didn't see myself as one.

In my early years of university, I found my inspiration in the books of SARK (Succulent Wild Woman, 1997) and Sabrina Ward Harrison (Spilling Open, 2000). I started to see how I could use my personal expression (I've kept journals since grade 4) and blend it with collage and paint in a way that was messy, honest, raw and focusing on the power of connection between people. I started to see how I could be an artist, too! 

In reading the works of SARK and Sabrina, the power of connection between writer (artist) and reader is such a strong and moving force. This is evident when you look at how many books these lovelies have published and the grand following they have of other sensitive souls seeking connection. After reading my first SARK book, I set out to make my own book. That first book turned into close to ten books that span over a decade.   

I express myself mostly through journaling and then I tend to build the collage around it. Sometimes I start with the collage or the paint and then work the words into it. I work in vintage journals and on canvas. I have many art bins that are overflowing with scraps of paper, ribbon, lace, paints, vintage wallpaper & wrapping paper. I usually throw a quilt on the floor, grab a bin and just start ripping up papers and gluing them to the page. I never really know what kind of images will spill from me in these sessions, but I consistently find myself in a meditative space when I explore my creativity in this way. It is a quiet and peaceful time. 



Where do you find your inspiration?
 
I find that art is usually a necessity for me. If I am going through something difficult or I feel "off" and I'm not sure why, I know I need to express myself. It helps me to cleanse myself of the pent up feelings. As a sensitive person, it is easy for feelings to get trapped in me. This leads to ruminating, stressing, feeling guilty, jealous, frustrated and sad. In order to get these toxic feelings and thoughts out of me, and in order to pinpoint what I am feeling, I write and I create. It is all a part of my healing journey.

What are some of your creative goals and aspirations for the future?

My passion is to blend social work and art. I would like to be able to help people help themselves through their own creative expression. I would to eventually be an expressive arts therapist.

What do you consider to be bad art? What is good art? 

All art is expression and therefore, in my opinion, is good. Whether or not a person likes a piece of art is subjective. What I want to hang on my walls is probably not what you want to hang on your walls. I can appreciate all art, but the art I like the best is the stuff I want to hang on my walls.

What completed creative project are you most proud of in your life so far?  

I am most proud of my Master of Social Work thesis paper which was completed in 2009 at Ryerson University. It is titled Expressive Arts as Holistic Healing: My Journey. I wrote about art and healing based on my own journals and connected it to current research. It was the first time I really exposed pages of my journals to the public. I realized in writing it that art can be used as an effective tool for healing, not just for me, but for others too.  



Name a few creative individuals you admire and explain why. 

As noted, I adore:

Sabrina Ward Harrison, master of photography, collage, emotional honesty...and embodying an artistic life: www.sabrinawardharrison.com

SARK, master of self-esteem, self-love and living juicy: http://www.planetsark.com/

I am also very excited to explore a new book by Pia Jane Bijkerk called My Heart Wanders: http://blog.piajanebijkerk.com/WordPress/stockists/
 
I love these women because they have successfully blended their very personal and raw experiences and feelings with artistic expression. They make a living by embracing the bumps along their paths of life and also diving into the spontaneous moments of life that offer insight, laughter and inspiration. They share with the world their internal dialogue. This allows the reader to feel they are a part of the author's personal and revealing world, sharing their secret thoughts and feelings. When the reader feels those moments of connection, there is a wonderful realization that she is not so alone in the world. 

 
What are some of your current obsessions? (Art, craft, musical, or completely random.) 

My current obsession is homemade iced tea. I have a fancy steeping pot (http://www.davidstea.com/accessories/the-steeper) for loose leaf tea, which makes it super fun! My current favourite teas for iced tea are Midsummer Night's Dream (http://www.davidstea.com/iced-tea/midsummer-night-s-dream) and Northern Lights (http://www.davidstea.com/northern-lights)

Any non-Canadians can order from David's Tea online (http://www.davidstea.com/). They happily ship internationally.

Do you collect anything?

I collect everything! Rocks and crystals, jewellery, tea, art, vintage dishes, pottery mugs, bits and pieces for crafting/art making and dresses.

Recommend some inspiring books/websites/music/movies to us... 

Books: Currently reading the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron for the first time! Thanks to the recommendation from friends I met on our PEI adventure workshop with Sabrina Ward Harrison. You can read about the adventure here (http://fate-filledtimes.blogspot.com/2011/05/pei-adventure.html)

Websites:
I am excited about:
For a good laugh, I love Regretsy: http://www.regretsy.com/ 

Music: Forever and always, I will love and support my favourite Canadian band, The Be Good Tanyas! Also, check out Frazey Ford's solo album Obadiah (http://frazeyford.com/), and all of Jolie Holland's (http://www.jolieholland.com/) solo albums. These ladies are divine. 

Movies:
My So Called Life (the tv series from the 1990's)



Do you have any advice you could offer to someone who wants to start expressing themselves creatively but doesn't know where to begin? 

"A work of art is good if it has risen out of necessity.” - Rilke

You want to express but you don't know where to start? Start anywhere! Grab a journal (and a pen) or a canvas (and some paint) and start playing. When using paints, I usually use my fingers rather than brushes. When writing, I often compile lists. Start with the basics! Just try to enjoy yourself and don't over think what you are doing.

Use your life as the base to your art. It is important to begin with what you love and grow into other new artistic areas. Don't make it overly confusing or technical.

Make sure to create an artistic space. This might include a certain type of music, or even silence. It might occur during a certain part of the day, maybe at home, or maybe on public transit. It is wise to keep a small journal handy in your bag or save notes on your phone. I find many ideas spring to mind when I am on the go. As much as we all want an art room, for many of us it is not realistic. Use what you have! A local park bench or cafe are great spaces most people can access. 

Also, don't try too hard to make art for others. I find this leads to perfectionist tendencies, which are usually not helpful. Create for your own enjoyment... or think like Rilke and create because you need to...and see where it leads you. 

An excellent book for creative inspiration is Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. 




 

5 comments:

lilasvb said...

i like your post good questions nice to know about your inspiration

Jane B. said...

Such a good interview! I miss you both - big hugs..Jane

Jane B. said...

Such a great interview! I loved reading it - miss you both, Jane

Tessa said...

I miss you too!! :)

AmelieSkippingStones said...

Thanks for the kind words, friends.

Jane - I think of you often and miss you too! I really want to make a Florida reunion happen. Any excuse to go back there is good for me!

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