Monday, March 23, 2009

Featured Artist of the Month

This month's featured artist is Lori Storrs of McHenry Mississippi. I got a chance to interview her and ask her about her beautiful collection of handmade mosaics. Here is what she had to say...

What type of art work do you do?
Lately I've been focusing on mosaic work, but I'm quite the dabbler. I take mini-vacations from my mosaic work and paint, draw with graphite or pen and ink, collage and occasionally throw in a little mixed media to shake things up a bit. I've recently begun to do a little bead work here and there, and also crocheted scarves chock-full of handmade gifts for Christmas! So far, I haven't met a craft or art form that I haven't loved. Most of the time I'm completely enamored.

How long have you been creating?
For as long as I can remember, and my family tells me I was creating before then. I just got into mosaics a few years ago, and before that it was mostly drawing and painting.

How much time do you spend working on your craft?
Not nearly enough to keep me satisfied! It's hard finding that balance between having a full-time job and a having a full-time passion. When you throw in a family and household obligations, it can be next to impossible to find the time to work on anything that can be seen as less than necessity. When you have a driven need to create, you make time. I would estimate I'm able to make about 20 hours a week of actual studio work time, in addition to countless hours made up of 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there of networking, promoting, researching, designing, daydreaming and planning. When I'm not working on my art, I'm thinking about working on my art.

What inspires you to create?
Everything. Sometimes I'm surprised by it; sometimes I'm completely blindsided. It can be a mood, a song, a smell, an object in the sun and the way the light hits it. It can be a brainstorm or fleeting thought, which is why a small camera and sketchbook go wherever I go. Sometimes inspiration is more elusive, or may even refuse to come at all. Those are the times you've got to dig in your heals, dig out your sketchbook, and dig up your previous ideas. If an artist waited for the inspiration to create, they may just miss out on a whole lot of creating!

Do you have a designing process?
It's hit or miss, depending on how much time I have. I usually sketch out the rough idea and try to get my color scheme and any design issues worked out before I begin. Sometimes I do a little research on my subject matter ahead of time to familiarize myself a bit more, and other times I dive right in and work out any issues as they come along.

Where do you do your creating?
I do most of my work in my studio, which is actually one end of my really long bedroom. I do as much work as I can outside, because I'd rather be out there than inside. When it's cold or rainy, I grout on the kitchen counter because it's across from the sink but also next to the back door where I can empty my water bucket.

Have you always been artsy?
Always. It was a little strange, because I was the only artsy individual in my family, and still am for the most part. I remember being very young when my grandmother would take my crayons away for coloring outside of the lines. I also remember her mother, my nanny, winking at me as she gave them back and saying to her "Now Arlene, that's child's got fire in her, you quit tryin to put it out!"

Do you have another job?
I'm also the office manager at an engineering firm. I'm the token right-brained thinker surrounded by a host of left-brained, statistic speaking, number crunching individuals who regularly greet me with one raised eyebrow and the skeptical look on their face that says "I have no idea what you're going to do next, but I'm willing to bet that I'm not going to understand it at all." I'm okay with that.

Where do you sell your pieces?
I sell them online in my Etsy shop, and will soon be selling them in my ArtFire shop . I also sell my work at a coffee shop and gift gallery in nearby Wiggins, Mississippi, called the Mocha Giraffe, and do a few art festivals and craft shows here and there.

Do you enjoy what you do?
I LOVE what I do, and I hope to be able to do it full-time one day. Creating makes me happy, makes me whole, makes me a better person. What's not to love about that?

Do you have a favorite piece in your shop?
That's a tough call, because I don't sell anything that I don't truly love and would enjoy having in my own home. Since I have to choose one, I'd probably go with this one... Click Here To View because it's different. I hadn't done anything like that one before, and haven't really done anything like that since, now that I think about it.

Do you have a blog set-up?
I do, I originally started my blog as a way to promote my artwork and show works in progress, but it quickly evolved into a way for me to showcase other artists and their work, and a way to let them know I appreciate them and why.

You can see more of Lori's creations in her Etsy shop dirtroadsouth