Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Anne Marie Desaulniers – Fibre Artist: Interview, Photographs & her Inspiration

Today I will be interviewing artist - Anne Marie Desaulniers who has a very interesting blog that she uses to showcase her her Bead Journal Project pieces. She has been involved in this project for two years.

“The first year I focused on my environment and this year I seem to be doing colour studies based on my serindipity landscapes.  The stories normally come as the piece evolves.  All my work is intuitive, so I wait for the muse to direct me.”

Can you describe your background – location, job, hobbies, when you first began blogging & creating art.

I’m a billing manager at a long term care pharmacy, as far from an artistic environment as you can possibly find. However, I’ve been interested in art since I was a child and during the school years, took every opportunity to exercise my artistic spirit.  After I started working, this was back burnered and didn’t reappear until after I moved to Toronto, ON, CANADA (from Vancouver, B.C.) and took up quilting.  I played with traditional quilting for a couple of years and then started getting interested in art quilting, fibre art and all sorts of other techniques including beading.  I dabbled in beading, but never focused on it until the BJP.  I also love to include unexpected and recyled elements in each of my projects.  I visit thrift shops and have been know to pick up rusty objects from the streets.  My March bjp included a squashed eyeglass frame that I found in a grocery store parking lot.

2. Who or What inspires you?
My muse, my materials, colour, techniques, serendipity and the environment.

3. About your pieces – What techniques do you use? Do you experiment with new ideas? How long does it take to complete one piece?
On the BJP pieces you’ve selected, I create an acrylic paint monoprint on recycled fabric and then use both hand and free motion embroidery to turn them into what I call a serendipity landscape.  I then choose a shape for the landscape and peyote stitch a bezel to fix it to the background.  After that, I choose bead colours that echo the landscape and do a lot of free form bead embroidery.  I mainly use beaded backstitch, stacked stitch and a filler stitch called bocce or picot.  My favourite resource book is Robin Atkins’ “Hearts To Hands Bead Embroidery” book.   You can check your local bead store, but Robin also sells it off her blog. Yes, but probably too many to list and I’d hate to leave anyone out.  For artistic eye candy, I would recommend the bead journal project website and blogs (listed at the bottom of the website).  Stitch – Jan Beaney & Jean Littlejohn, the late Val Harding, Maggie Grey and many, many others.  For pure pleasure, I have a few of the “500″ books from Lark Books.  So far I have 500 Beaded Objects (both Robin and her brother have pieces in this book); 500 Baskets; and 500 Handmade Books

5.  Are you working on any pieces/projects/exhibitions at the moment?
I decided to take a year off from exhibiting, scaled down my swap activity and decided to focus on the BJP.  I’m a little behind, but do expect to catch up before the end of the year. I needed time to tweak my priorities and get back on track for the sake of my artistic future.

& Finally – 6. Are you lucky enough to have your own studio space? If so, what is it like?
My studio space is my very small spare bedroom.  No bed, but full of a jumble of storage solutions.  Not something that I normally show to the public.  It’s humble, but it’s my own and I don’t need to share it.   Beading is done in front of the TV in the living room.  Monoprinting and painting happen either in the kitchen or out on the balcony (weather permitting).

I am so glad I have been able to share Anne Marie’s amazing work with you and I hope she has inspired you as much as she has inspired me! Her attention to detail, intricate stitches and wonderful colour palette are simply lovely.
You can follow her blog by clicking here

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Off on my travels!

Tomorrow I am heading off to the US! I have never been before and I am so excited! I'll be visiting some family in Kansas City, Missouri and then will be heading on to Toronto and New York the week after!
I have loads planned for while I'm there. An art show, galleries, shopping, and looking for fresh inspiration of course!
You can expect lots of photographs and also an interview with the amazing artist Seth Apter for when I get back.
Until then, I hope everyone has a good summer! Any emails or submissions I recieve will have to wait until I get back.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Jennifer Dixon - Jewellery & Fibre Artist: Interview and Studio Tour.

Hello again!
Today I have a wonderful interview with Jennifer Dixon - a fantastic self taught artist who creates beautiful jewellery which include an interesting combination of beads, fabrics, metals and chain.

Hi Jennifer, It's lovely to have you here at Inspired:Finds. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became interested in art?
I am a 43 year old self-taught artist and mom of two girls, 12 and 15 and "almost" step mom to my fiance's three boys ages 11, and 12 year old twins.  My fiance Dan, is my biggest supporter and has always really encouraged me to do my art and share it with the world.  

Ever since I was a little girl I have been interested in just about every medium of art.  My grandmother taught me how to crochet and would give me her fabric scraps so I could sew clothes for my barbie dolls and sometimes I would even fashion a skirt, headband or something for myself.  I also enjoyed painting, drawing and any kind of mixed media and paper arts or even building something with my Dad's tools out of scraps of wood and building supplies.  

I started making jewelry for myself about 12 years ago after my youngest daughter was born.  I gave some pieces as gifts to close friends and family and with their encouragement I started to sell my jewelry through trunk shows in people's homes and in consignment shops.  I love the ever evolving and endless possibilities of the art.  I also love mixed media collage and fabric/fiber arts which has let me to combine all these mediums in some of my jewelry as well as incorporating jewelry and beads into my fabric collages.

So, When and why did you decide to start blogging about your work -Do you feel it has helped your practice at all?
I started blogging about a year ago, although I got a very slow start.  It took a lot of courage to put myself out there for the world to see.  Now that I am blogging on a more regular basis I find I am meeting more and more people that have the same interests that I do and it is so motivating getting compliments and positive feedback from my peers.  I think blogging has also helped me grow as an artist because I find that I push myself to higher standards with every piece I make because I know I will be presenting it to the world on my blog when it is finished. 

& Now for my favourite question: Who or what inspires you?
My inspiration comes from many different sources. I am inspired by the shapes and materials in nature as well as industrial elements such as metal, glass and wire. Sometimes just being in my studio surrounded by all my beautiful beads, fabrics and findings is my inspiration. I am also inspired by other artists and their work.  Ruth Rae, KC Willis, Lisa Jurist, Claudine Hellmuth, Nina Bagley, Cindy Wimmer Sally Jean Alexander and Amy Hanna are just a few, and I mean few,  of the artists who's work and blogs inspire me.

How do you create your pieces? Do you use any interesting techniques?
I use many different techniques in my jewelry.  I use wire wrapping, stringing, soldering, metal smithing and metal work in my jewelry.  I have recently started to play with resin as well.  I have been also mixing mediums in my jewelry and combining fabric and fibers with metal, chain and beads in my jewelry.  I love the the textures of hard metal and wire mixed with the soft fibers and fabrics.  

Okay, and finally... Where can you be found online?
My blog is:, my Facebook name is, "Jennifer Dixon Art" and my Etsy shop is:

Thank you again, Helen, for your interest in my art!  :)

Some Photos of Jennifer's beautiful studio space!

I'd like to thank Jennifer Dixon for sharing her work with us and I'm sure she would appreciate your thoughts & comments!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Suzy Quaife - Fibre Artist & Studio Tour

In todays 'Inspired By...' I have a wonderful interview with fabric & fibre artist - Suzy Quaife with full pictures of some of her beautiful quilts and amazing studio space and also interesting answers to what inspires her, how she creates each individually crafted piece and also her other favourite artists & bloggers!

Suzy currently lives on the far south coast of Australia at Millingandi,
New South Wales. She lives with with her partner of nearly 30 years on 8 gorgeous acres on Millingandi Creek only abut 3Kilometres from the sea but surrounded by pasture and dense bush. They also have an extensive flower garden with roses, lilies, cottage plants, salvias and fruit trees

So Suzy, What is your background as a fabric/fibre artist?

I actually have no formal training in the current work I do – I am what you call “self taught”.  My training is as a Naturopath/Homoeopath where I have practiced for the past 24 years but now am retiring into my new role as a Fabric and Fibre Artist.  I have always played with fabric and fibres through dressmaking, spinning, weaving and dyeing wool but it has been my love of crazy patchwork  over  the last 12 years that has led me to expand my ideas in a much more experimental  way with fabric and fibres.  I just adore rich and exotic fabrics and textures (especially from the East) and these are what I use as my main medium (along with dyed doilies, laces, trims, beads, etc.)

When did you begin blogging and do you feel it has helped your practice at all?

I have been blogging only for the past 5 months and it has opened up a world of meeting other exciting artists as well as being exposed to new and innovative ideas through conversation and videos etc.

Could you tell us abit about your work, what techniques you use and how you created the two pieces as featured above?

My work these days as I mentioned is always experimental and ever changing and now I am moving away from larger quilts to smaller items , e.g. wall hangings, collages, fibre art cards, purses, etc. As well as machine quilting I try to incorporate more hand stitching (see my current wall hanging – Dreaming of Dragonflies) and where possible I like to incorporate embellishments made on my felting machine using especially the mohair from our Angora goats as well as silk and soy rovings.
In fact, the purses shown here are made in the crazy patchwork style using the dyed mohair as embellishment along with silk yarn, dyed doilies, silks and rich velvets.
In the pink and maroon rose quilt I used a lot of soft pink dupion silk, varying shades of pink satins – new and old, maroon lace and the large bold roses I appliquéd from furnishing fabric.  The quilting is both machine and hand done.  The design of this crazy quilt is completely my own.

Once again, to me, there are never ending ways of using crazy quilting and I have applied this technique even to little needle books which have then been appliquéd, quilted, beaded, trimmed in layers upon layers.  The collage effect is what is so creative to me.

So what inspires your work?

I draw my inspiration from many things – it might be:
                A piece of gorgeous old fabric, old cotton handmade lace, a precious given silk scarf,
                A piece of vintage Indian braid, vintage textiles from Rajasthan, an exotic cushion cover.
         The numerous roses in our garden.  I only have to look out of my workroom for that.
         Some gorgeous old tin or brassware
                  A beautiful Pre-Raphaelite painting from the 1800s

    Some hand dyed silk from the rose petals or geranium flowers which I have picked
Photos from Suzy's beautiful flower garden.

Do you have any other favourite artists or bloggers you gain inspiration from?
Pre-raphaelite artists e.g. Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones. Others include; Crazy Quilter – Judith Baker Montano, also Magnolia Pearl – clothes designer of old velvets, brocades and lace, also Kaffe Fassett, the many artists of the Quilting Arts Magazine.
Bloggers inc. Carol Walker, Cecile Meraglia, Solange, Fibre Arts, Mixed Media Blog, India Flint

Can you give us the link to your online shop where people can purchase some of your beautiful pieces?
My work is available to buy on line Through Etsy –

& Finally, your studio space! What is it like?
I have my own studio/work space- it is a large room in our home with gorgeous view to the garden with climbing roses running along the verandas edge.

It has wall-to-wall shelving almost filled with stacks of fabric.  Shelving also for books, boxes of braids, trims, cottons and special threads, like floss, also boxes of special silks, boxes for pelons, cupboard full of wadding for quilts, a dresser with knitting yarn and thread used in fibre work plus stacks of quilting art magazines and other quilting magazines, containers of beads, glass jars full of ribbons, lace bits, motifs and dyed lace not to mention my CD collection which keeps the motivation moving along.  Full of light and inspiration – friends call it a shop!

I'd like to thank Suzy for taking time to answer my questions and for sharing her work and pictures of her stunning studio space with me! She is an inspirational fibre artist I hope you enjoyed this interview.

To follow Suzy's blog and see more of her beautiful work you can click here

Monday, 26 July 2010

Linda Unnur Strong - Thread Painting

Linda is a mother and a self taught artist. Her work combines her passion for painting, needle and stitch.
In this interview she shares with us her beautiful work, techniques and what inspires her to make such exciting and creative pieces.

Hello Linda, Please describe your background and the type of work you create.

I am a fifty four year old mother of two grown boys, originally from Long Island, New York, and now living in Minnesota for the past thirty years or so. My interest in art began when I was around eight or nine years old. I’ve always enjoyed painting and crafts of any kind. When I was fifteen years old, ( back in the hippy days) I decided to try my hand at a little embroidery design. I picked up a needle and a spool of thread and stitched the outline of a cute little bunny on my jeans. Well I haven’t put the needle down since! I never learned any fancy embroidery stitches. I use only a basic chain stitch and not much more. The stitches are very tiny and tight. It is very time consuming! (about 1 hour per square inch.) It actually shimmers like silk when in a certain light. Over the years my embroidery has progressed to what I call ” thread painting.” I have only recently ( within the last couple of years) incorporated painting and beads in combination with my embroidery with amazing results. Not only does it take less time to complete a piece, but it adds so much more texture and dimension! I love learning new techniques and playing with various types of embellishments

2. Who or what inspires your creations?
I am constantly inspired by nature and other great artists.
3. Do you have any other favourite artist or bloggers?
Alex Grey, Robin Atkins, Ray Materson

4. & Finally, what is your studio space like?

My studio is quite cramped! Its very small and cluttered, drawers everywhere. Im waiting for my last chick to leave the nest!

Linda’s work is absolutly beautiful and I hope you enjoyed viewing it as much as I did!
If you would like to follow Linda’s blog or view more of her work you can visit her site here

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Ruth Rae - 'Layered, Tattered & Stitched'

Ruth Rae is a Fibre & Mixed Media artist who I have been following since I bought her book: 'Layered, Tattered and Stitched'. Since viewing the first page, I was hooked on her and her gorgeous work!

Her blog:  'Let the beauty we love be what we do' is regularly updated with her beautiful work, quotes, photography, tutorials and pictures of her amazing studio space.
Her work combines stitch, fabric dying, stamping, collage, mixed media and a number of other things.
I hope her work inspires you as much as it inspired me!


Kathy Crafts Designs



I came across Kathy's beautiful felt pieces on Fibre Arts & Mixed Media Ning website and I was really inspired by her attention to detail and wonderful colour palette she picked.
You can see more of her work on her website: