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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kelly Correll Brown: The Journey To The Edge Of The Absenscape....

     I have always felt so lucky to have had so many talented, and successful, friends throughout my life. I have always found motivation through all of their stories and journey's towards success as artists in their different fields. I would love to interview all of them, as their footwork in the worlds of arts, crafts, fashion, baking, business, and even wine-making, would make an amazing manual for those of us trying to find our own ways in these arenas. 

     My first interview is with Kelly Correll Brown, an old friend (old in the sense that we went to art school together what feels like ages ago!) who started out in the Fashion Design program at CCA with me, but realized her calling as a painter and illustrator a couple of years into our time at school. Although she is incredibly talented in so many ways, including as a designer and seamstress, and now as a mommy, she has always been an incredible painter whose work I have always been intrigued by. In fact I have a painting of hers hanging in my kitchen that she did as a wedding present for me, before she had even entered into her journey as a painter! I wanted to find out more about her process, and how she manages to find motivation in her busy life as a working mom, because she seems to always be creating, and pumping out a plethora of beautiful new work for her Etsy shop, on top of her day job, and her all the time job as a mom. 
Read on for our interview...

*Where do you draw your inspiration from? What's your process for focusing your inspiration to a specific body of work?
My inspiration comes from a large variety of special places. I like to describe myself as a pretty scattered person that gets extremely focused once I hone in on something that I want to make. Sort of like a messy obsessive compulsive or something. What usually tends to happen is that I am out somewhere driving, or lying in bed...and all of a sudden I get a vision of something that I have to make, whether that be a drawing, painting, or an object. It sort of just comes to me and then I obsess on it until the thing is done.

I am extremely interested in concepts. Currently I am working on a body of drawing/illustrations centered around natural elements. This came from months of research on the art of Alchemy and the archetypes and symbology that is associated with it. ALong with these drawings I am working on a group of 100 sewn creatures that relect the archetypes but are from a purely imagination based visual. I am hoping to do an installation with a sewn/patchwork landscape for these little guys to live in.

I don't like to make things too straight forward for myself in general. I am always exploring materials, nature, and technique and on the other end of the spectrum I hope that my work reflects magic, absence, whimsy, fear, and beauty.

Sometimes the way that I work and am inspired to work kind of creates problems for me because I become involved in too many projects at once and get even more scattered, but somehow it at the end of the process I find that my pieces start to all make sense together as a body of work.

*How/when do you find time to work on your art, being a working mom of a 2 year old
Good question! I usually work when my husband is home to watch Ian or after he goes to bed at night. My husband and I have opposite schedule as he works at night in a restaurant and I work 3/4 time at an office during the is pretty hard, but we work it out. Kevin is a musician as well, so we have a very full schedule between Ian, work, his band, me trying to be productive with my creative endeavors. I'm getting really used to be tired, but Ian has started entertaining himself more and he loves to color so we can start sharing the studio soon!

*Since we attended the same art school, I'm curious as to what you feel was the most important aspect of your education, be it in school or real life (ie: developing concepts, critiquing your work, technique)?
When I was in school I really thought like an art student. I was critical of everything through the eyes of someone who has been trained to look at art through the "Art World Establishment's" eyes. I value that experience, but now that I have been out on my own for 5 years I feel that in some ways art school can blind people to looking at work that they are told to shun. There are a lot of great artists out there that didn't spend 1 dollar learning how to be an artist, and don't get the respect of galleries and the rest of the establishment because they don't have a piece of paper to prove that they know how to be creative. Having said this though I loved being in school and it really helped me in my concept development process. I met a lot of amazing people with whom I am still friends with and see on the regular. My basic techniques and work practices have improved greatly since taking the 40 grand leap into dept for it too. I can't say for sure what the most important aspect of having this education is, it was the whole experience. I was involved in a lot of creative endeavors while attending CCAC, musically and was one of the greatest and worst times in my life really.

*(Because I love your work and always wonder what is the story behind each one) Can you take one of your new works and tell us what the concept, idea, story, meaning (to you) is?
Sure! My new drawing Lake of Blankets started out with my research project on alchemy. Drawing on the side of this practice that had to do with the 4 elements I started thinking about the concept of transformations of the ordinary into the extra-ordinary. That is where the concept for the piece originated. I am very conceptually driven and my thought process is very circular. the story with this piece would be a blanket which has been transformed into a lake. The foliage around the banks has been transformed back to look like a textile. Pretty simple I guess...-- 

Check Kelly's work out at:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A stunning idea...

I have never quite fallen in love with a DIY idea, like I have with this one from Style Me Pretty.I love the simplicity of creating this amazing installation, and the surprise sentiment held inside each butterflies wings. I would love to do this for my daughter's next birthday, in the nursery at the celebration of a new baby's birth, for a baby shower, or at a housewarming party.  The idea of a traditional guestbook has always been rather unappealing to me, however, I do love to read the notes written in our wedding guestbook, and I deeply cherish the album that was made by my co-workers and friends at the baby shower they threw me, which is filled with polaroids taken at the party, and sweet notes from each of them. What strikes me about this variation on the guestbook, is the collaborative effort of those closest to you to create such a stunning work of art, that you can look at every day to be reminded of the support and love you have in your life. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Forever Remembered, Always Loved....

A customer contacted me on Etsy last month to customize one of my journal designs in honor of her beloved grandmother, who had recently passed and who adored butterflies. With the text reading "forever remembered, always loved", the journals were personalized with a photo of her Grandmother, and a personal inscription, and given as gifts to her family members. I thought it was a beautiful idea, and was honored to work on the project with her.

M & C, married at the Botanical Garden....

A simple invite in a bouquet of paper colors, silk-screened in Antique-Mauve ink, for a spring wedding at the botanical garden....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Wedding Under The Oaks....

Last month I worked on an invite for a luncheon in honor of a bride and her bridesmaids, thrown by the brides Aunt. Although the luncheon was held at Savannah's Jepson Center For The Arts (our modern art museum that is actually fairly impressive) I was inspired more by the site of the wedding: the couple was to be married under the Oaks on an island not far from Savannah. We decided to go with the theme "Under The Oaks" as Savannah is known for our Oaks dripping in Spanish Moss, and most of the Bridal Party was flying in for the destination wedding. The invite served a double purpose as a keepsake for those invited, as the invite itself was printed on a vellum insert, tucked inside a deckle edged card silkscreened with a drawing I did of oaks overhead. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Making Paper Cherry Blossoms

I'm so excited about this tutorial from BloesemKids on how to make flowering cherry blossom branches using paper and branches. I have been looking for affordable and realistic paper flowers on Etsy lately, after my valentine peonies only lasted for 3 days. I love the idea of making them myself, especially because the process is pretty simple! All the photos are from BKids:
  The instructions for folding the flowers (below) can be found in animation or diagram here