Field Interview: Leigh Medeiros
Today's interview is with artist, Leigh Medeiros. Leigh sold with Field of Artisans for the first time this month and we're lucky enough to have her in the Field again this coming Sunday, 12/17! Leigh is an inspiring soul, especially for those of us who sometimes feel that we have too many great ideas and not enough time to make them come to fruition. Leigh "makes things". She is always exploring, experimenting, and perfecting skills, mediums and creations. She shows us that one of the best ways to take care of ourselves is to follow our intuition. We don't have to be an expert at just one thing and following every inkling and every curiosity can lead to fascinating work!
Find Leigh in the Field at Whalers Brewing Company on:
SUNDAY, 12/17 11:30-4:30
1. "I make things." Is how you describe your collection of creations. You have experience in fine art, collage, screenwriting, crafting and even art teaching (I'm sure there's more). You seem to be multi talented, curious and a master of all things creative. Would you say you work best when you have a wide variety of projects going on, rather than focusing on one thing at a time?
Being creative from day-to-day keeps me fulfilled. I can go long stretches without making visual art when I’m working on a writing project and vice versa. I think in terms of small bodies of work and projects, and I do toggle between them all very easily. Sometimes I do have to reign myself in, because I’ll realize I’m taking on too many things. My interest and exploration of so many mediums satisfies my curious nature, and also helps me better support other artists as it gives me a more well rounded understanding of their projects.
2. Would you describe your aesthetic in a certain way? Is there a common theme amongst your work?
The only common thread between all of my projects is that I feel moved in some way. I could be moved by the beauty of the medium as with the indigo dyed linen, or I could be moved by subverting a masculine paradigm as with my found poem collages, or I could be moved by other people’s creativity as with my online artist support programs. If I feel moved in some way I’m inspired to create.
3. Do you create in one space/studio? Or are you creating everywhere, all the time?
I have a “nook” in my home where I do most of my creating. It’s probably 6’ x 8.’ But, yes, I’m surely working through the creative process when I’m out walking the dog looking at nature, or, say, when I’m at the art supply store pondering new materials. I’d guess most artists would say that the creative process is fluid and uncontained and extends well beyond the reach of the studio or work space.
4. You were a middle school art teacher for a time, develop creative workshops and have taught continuing education classes at RISD. Do you find that consulting and guiding others in their creative pursuits compliments and inspires your own work?
I’m passionate about supporting other people’s creativity. I’d say that’s a lifelong pursuit. I believe the more fully expressed a person is the healthier they are. And the healthier each individual is, the healthier the collective is. When I work with other people I often feel I’m participating in a healing process – for them, for me, and for the planet. My work with people these days is mainly through an online program I run called “48 Days of Creative Devotion” where me and the participants create one complete work per day (except the long form writers) and post it to our private forum. Everyone is asked to post their work without apology, justification, or complaint, which can be a real challenge for certain people. Additionally, there is no critiquing, only encouraging comments. Many of the projects you see of mine have been made during the 48 Days program. That’s a place where my work with others dovetails with my own creativity. And, certainly, I get really inspired by other people’s successes. Almost nothing moves me more than watching an artist blossom!
5. Out of curiosity, why 48 days?
48 Days was an intuitive choice. For some reason it seemed like just enough time to really kick start people’s creative processes.
6. Do you have any upcoming workshops or classes?
I have ongoing indigo dyeing workshops at our home in North Kingstown. Right now, I’m doing holiday scarf dyeing parties where folks can come with 4 friends, learn two different shibori designs, and leave with dyed scarves all while enjoying complimentary wine and nibbles. Kind of my own twist on those wine and paint nights. I also will start another “48 Days of Creative Devotion” in January. (Anyone interested can read more details on my website under the “Services” page.)
7. You've created commemorative magnets and ornaments of deceased artists. Who are some of these artists and how do they inspire you?
We lost a lot of remarkable artists in 2016 and I wanted to celebrate them in some way, so I created memorial magnets and ornaments as mementos for fans. I specifically choose artists I felt connected to – Leonard Cohen, Harper Lee, Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Florence Henderson, Gene Wilder and Carrie Fisher. Each ornament or magnet is hand formed from paper clay, baked, hand painted with acrylic, then sealed and packaged. Like most of the things I do, they’re pretty labor-intensive. What I like about them is that they can be little works of art we see every day. I believe when we remember someone who’s died we keep a part of their spirit alive.
8. What can we look forward to from your booth at the holiday series?
Goodness, I like to think there’s something for everyone! I’ll have a really diverse collection of things from indigo dyed baby onesies, scarves, and tea towels, to landscape paintings, to collages with vintage papers, to my Animal Messages coloring book, to the artist magnets and ornaments, to my Rhode Island Naturalist photo packs and more.
9. what would your advice be to a fellow artist who has many interests, passions and ideas but feels pressure to narrow their focus?
Hmm. The older I get the more I understand that advice is so specific to the individual. What’s right for one person, isn’t right for another, so it’s hard to make a general statement in that regard. However, I think there’s a big difference between feeling internal pressure to narrow one’s focus and external pressure. Knowing which is which can help. I believe one’s own intuition and heart contain the highest answer for that person, so my blanket advice would be to uncover the path forward through self-searching. And, bear in mind that acting on one’s intuition often requires great leaps of faith, which in turn requires bravery. My recommendation on all matters kind of boils down to cultivating courage and listening to one’s inner guidance.
See more of Leigh's work through her online site!