Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meet the artist. . . Jane Davies

Early this summer, Jane LaFazio, emailed me with a fabulous idea that she had nurtured, involving an interview with me, the owner of Random Arts. 

Not having thought much about it in the last 2  months, it came to me that maybe this would be a good way to introduce  our new instructors who are coming here to teach.  With that being said, I thought that I would start with upcoming artist and author Jane Davies. 

Jane Davies will be here on September, 7th, 8th and 9th, teaching 3 separate workshops:
Fri. 7th - Unlocking the Secrets of Color
Sat. 8th -  Scribble Collage
Sun. 9th - Unbinding the Visual Journal

Read on to find out more about her, her work, her aspirations and her passion for art and the world around her.......

Unbinding the Visual Journal
• Please start by telling us a little about yourself and the place you live in Vermont
I live in a rural area of Vermont, and my studio is in what used to be a barn just behind my house.  I work full-time as an artist and teacher, my main media being painting, collage, and encaustic.  I started my adult life as a potter, and did craft shows and galleries for about fifteen years.  After ten years I transitioned into licensing my designs to manufacturers, so there was some overlap there.  Licensing as a freelance artist threw me into an entirely different world, one that was immensely creative and high pressure, but ultimately left me feeling disconnected from my work.  When I took the plunge to make fine art and teach workshops full time, I felt reconnected, and well supported by a huge community of other artists and students.

• What is your favorite part of the day?
Morning.  That is when I get my brain work done -  writing articles and blog posts, crafting newsletters,  brainstorming about new workshops, brainstorming about anything at all, and organizing my day.

• How did you get started teaching?
I've always taught workshops now and then, on the side.  It was only about three years ago that I decided to stop doing the freelance work and discover Who I Am as an artist.  Teaching was a natural way for me to not only support my work financially, but to share my experience and learn from others.

• What is your most favorite thing about what you do?
I love the flexibility of it.  By defining myself as an Artist, I don't feel locked into one medium.  I get to choose the topics of my workshops, so they can keep evolving as I evolve.  I love the multi-faceted nature of the work: I create art, I run a business, I teach, I investigate materials and processes, I write, I shoot and edit video, I do bookkeeping, make travel arrangements, the whole nine yards.

• How far do you travel to teach?
I'll travel as far as anyone will pay me to travel.  So far I've taught in the United States, as far as Oregon and Arizona.  I would love to take groups of students further afield - to Nova Scotia or to Europe - but it isn't the highest priority right now. 

• Who do you credit for inspiring you to "make art & be creative"
I don't know that I've ever considered not doing some kind of creative work.  My father was an administrator at an art college while I was growing up, and though he is not an artist himself, most of my parents' friends were artists and academics. I'm sure that had a big influence.  I was never considered a black sheep or anything for choosing the arts.
Scribble Collage

• When did you decide that this is what you wanted to do for a living?
I've always been self-employed, so there was never a question about making a living at what I do.  What I Do has changed a few times, and my yet morph into something else, but, as I stated above, creative work always seemed to be my calling.

* What's the best thing about teaching art?
  I just LOVE sharing what I know and learn, and I'm always learning new things both from my own experimental style and from students. I think I'm hard-wired for teaching: whenever I get jazzed about something, I want to teach others and share my enthusiasm. I teach yoga, and I'm teaching several neighbors how to raise and process chickens.  My latest book, "Adventures in Mixed Media"  (my fourth) includes projects in book arts, fiber arts, foam core assemblages, jewelry, collage, box construction, mixed media dolls, and a few other things.  I think that teaching is the glue that holds all my interests together.

• What books are you reading now?
Apart from Dickens, Jane Austen, Richard Russo, and Louise Erdrich, I'm reading a book recommended by one of my students, called "Refuse to Choose".  It's about people like me who have lots of different interests and have always had a hard time in the world of "normal" people, who can stick to one career or one main field.  It explains a lot and gives me a framework for thinking about my wayward career in a new light.

• You are still very young, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Well, in ten years I'll be nearing sixty; does that make my young?  Undoubtedly I will still be making art of some sort, and probably teaching in some capacity.  By then I hope to be spending a little more time on home activities - raising my chickens, gardening - and on travel that is not related to teaching.

1 comment:

  1. I took a class with Jane at CREATE in July and loved reading this interview. It brought back to me her candor, passion and enthusiasm. She is a wonderful teacher and exudes the most positive and supportive energy.