Crystal: Tell us a little about your background.
Dawn: I am a lifelong stitcher and maker of things. Seven years ago my husband gave me the gift of printmaking classes and it opened my eyes not only to an amazing art form but to a world of kind, generous and gifted artists in Seattle. In the four years that I took classes, including critique classes, I found my printmaking style began to incorporate fiber art. For the past three years I have concentrated on fiber art, 3D sculptures made from felt, recycled fabrics, beads and found objects. I have been successful in that I enjoy the work, my pieces have been accepted into several group shows and I have had two solo shows. Most importantly, I have developed the confidence in my work to call myself an artist.
Crystal: What makes this year different?
Dawn: Last year I was stuck in a creative slump that lasted months. I continued to stitch but my heart wasn't in it. Then I read "Steal Like an Artist" and knew that I either had to jump start things myself or continue to wallow. The idea of participating in "Year of Creative Habits" came at the perfect time for me. I want to return to printmaking, to combine prints on fabric with layers of textiles and stitching. And to achieve a super top-secret goal.
Crystal: oh, I love this. We'll let you keep it super top secret for now. Yeah, I think we all hit that moment when we realize that this creativity thing is within our own control and we have to do something about it. Who/what inspires you?
Dawn: The biggest inspiration has been, and continues to be, my first printmaking instructor, Kamla Kakaria. Kamla patiently taught me the basics of printmaking, critiqued my work, and continues to encourage me and introduce me to other Seattle artists. Her work with encaustics influences the layered work of my print/fiber works. My printmaking style is influenced by artists such as Angie Lewin and Yoshiko Yamamoto. Fiber artists I admire include Mister Finch, Zoe Williams and Lauren DiCioccio. And Austin Kleon's writing - hugely inspirational! And even though it sounds goofy, my family inspires me, my husband encourages me, my daughter's self-displine in working in her sketchbook everyday puts me to shame and my son "loves" everything I make. I am also inspired by my natural surroundings, the Pacific Northwest. The forests and beaches are amazing. And the fact that you are never more than a mile or two from an espresso stand helps.
Crystal: Yes to the expresso! I'm finding it so important to have a mentor in your artistic world and it sounds like you have a great one. What creative habit(s) are you currently working on?
Dawn: Right now I'm working on observing and sketching. Each morning after dropping the kids off at school I take my camera and hit a local park. I take a 15-minute, or so, walk and take pictures of textures, colors or objects that catch my eye. Once I'm home, I choose one photo and make a quick sketch.
Crystal: How's it going for you? Tell us about your successes and struggles.
Dawn: I'm really enjoying the walks and the discipline of working in my sketchbook everyday. That being said, it is getting very hard to take pictures of the same trees, moss, lichen and gray skies everyday. The Pacific Northwest is gorgeous but the gray skies of January can be depressing. My goal for the rest of the month is to search out more color when I'm taking photos and luckily, lots of plants are already starting to sprout and bud.
Crystal: I'm ready for more color as well. What tips do you have for others who are just beginning?
Dawn: You know, I get pretty obsessive about starting at the right time in the right place and then quitting if I get off track. This year I started the year of creativity on January 3, I've had to go back a couple of times to catch up on sketches and on one rainy day I didn't leave the house so went back through some old photographs for my sketch. My point, and I do have one, is that you should just dive in. Dive in now, have fun, make this project your own. Look to the blogs (tumblr and Wordpress) for support, ideas and community.
Crystal: Great tips. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I'm excited to watch your journey this year. Anything else you'd like to share?
Dawn: Another habit I am developing is a journal that I fill in at the end of the day, tracking books read, projects I'm working on and how I'm feeling about my efforts towards a more creative year. A shout out to Austin Kleon for this one!
PS. I didn't skip out on my own daily work today...you can see it here.