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In the Field with Stacey


In the Field with Stacey

Field Interview: Stacey Messier


Today's interview is with geometric abstract artist Stacey Messier.  After interviewing Stacey it's clear that her daily life and creative work are tightly intertwined.  Her abstract imagery is full of depth and representation.  She sees emotions, interactions, and sounds in shapes, translating to vibrant and eye catching work.  We can't wait to dive into her work this Saturday in the Field!  


Find Stacey in the Field at




1.  You describe your work as geometric illustrations of a feeling or statement.  Do you find that you often respond to visuals over audio or kinesthesia (doing) when learning/creating/working?

I find that kinesthesia follows me when I'm NOT trying to learn new things, but rather in moments when I'm purely allowed to absorb the content. When I read a book for pleasure, you'll see me seated with pen in-hand, underlining, scribbling ideas in the margins, and dog-earing pages. When I learn, I prefer to read first, look at pictures second, and watch or listen last. But, in a former part of my life, I was a singer and co-writer within various music projects. Studying voice and discovering what it means to write meaningful lyrics has always led me to be pulled in by words and phrases that evoke a distinct emotion or visual. Beauty, severity, ambiguity – these concepts ring true in how they feel on the tongue as well as the images they may conjure. 

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2. What feelings or statements translate to your favorite images?  Do you find that more passionate feelings translate to intricate or simpler illustrations? 

It's not the most passionate, the strongest or most colored feelings that translate to new work. Rather, it's quite often smart mash-ups of clever words that yield some of the best imagery for my paintings. For example, currently, I'm reading a book on the science of persuasion. In one chapter, the author speaks to how much, we, the public, hate laugh tracks, and yet they work every damn time. He refers to this as "technically augmented mirth." It's so complex! And engaging! What an incredibly deft piece of vocabularian art. In my mind, I can see small grouped shapes resembling crowds, I see larger rectangles referencing the laugh track and then us, the audience, on the other side of the TV... Let's see how it shakes out in sketches.

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3.  Your color palette is so eye catching and cohesive across all your work.  Do you use the same palette all the time or does it vary while staying complimentary?

My color palette has followed me around for many, many years. There's something so satisfying about working with "gem tones," hues that sing in deep, warm notes in the proverbial cool air. This palette has also been heavily influenced by a love of midcentury shades combined with those we find around us today. Peacock feathers, chartreuse stirred into a cocktail, your grandmother's shag carpet in the basement. 

The other key behind the consistency of my color palette? The climate we live in today is filled with such social smog; I need colors that make me happy when I make work. I have no interest in making statements in color that match the fear around us. I create to stay balanced so that when I escape the news, I truly feel like I've left for a vibrant place I'm pleased to come back to, again and again. 


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4.  Your process is multifaceted and with many steps!  How long does the average piece take you? What mediums do you use in one piece?

Small pieces (4" - 6") can take anywhere from 12 to 20 hours. Larger pieces can take a couple of months. The bigger the canvas, the longer it takes. That said, I would MUCH rather paint large than small! But I waiver between loving the portability of the "compact" and being able to use my whole body when I paint large. In terms of mediums, I paint with acrylics. I have a few glazes and thinning techniques I use, but they are quite sparse. If I can find a mason jar, water, and some paint, I'm ready to get started. 



5.  I love how you pair your illustrations with found and vintage objects like cork or bingo cards.  Is there a relation between the statement and the canvas?  Or is paired based on solely aesthetics?

You are correct; often the found materials drive the direction of the paintings. In formal art training, one often begins with traditional materials like canvas, linen, and wood. But much of my inspiration stems from street artists to Marcel Duchamp – how might a found object lead to a new body of work? Currently I'm working on a large body of work based on the poetry of Luke Bradford. The poems inside his latest release (Abacus) are so intensely cinematic! I had picked up a handful of vintage film canisters waiting for the right project, and now, there are three pieces under way thanks to this glorious combination. 


6.  Are you professionally trained in this technique?  Or is this skill something you've developed on your own?

My degree is in painting, and yet I spent most of my career as a graphic designer. So, the answer to your question is "both," because the skills I was able to hone in college led to feeling like a true craftsman. The design career, however, was built on creating logos, illustrations, and other marketing materials which really pushed my creative problem solving. I was constantly constrained by having to embrace the abstract requests of, say, a healthcare company, who wants their website redesign to make their patients feel more secure  – but in a sophisticated place of care. How does one create a virtual environment that makes new and current customers feel a specific way? Now, these thought experiments drive my thought process whenever I discover a new set of words that inspire a new idea for a painting. 


7.  Is there a favorite piece that you personally use in your home?  What do you use it for?

The painting that is highly coveted and rarely allowed to leave the house is the very first piece I ever created in what is now my geometric abstract style. We were living in Boston and had just moved into a new apartment in Jamaica Plain. "JP", it's filled to the brim with color and funky houses. I was really inspired by my surroundings when simultaneously, we had a need for some sort of art to be placed above my husband's midcentury radio console. Usually I would never make the time to actually make something, but this was different. I created three studies in different styles and the geometric version won us both over. "Morse Frequencies" is now the first painting visitors see when they walk into our living room in our home in Exeter, RI. 


8.  Do you create stickers or apparel of your illustrations?  If not, do you plan to?

I have a shop where many of my originals have been translated into a digital format that allows me to offer apparel as well other home goods, including stickers! The incredible thing about Society6 is that it's always amazing to see who has purchased a comforter of one of your paintings. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Stay warm and cozy my friends. 


9.  With your multi-stepped process, you've mentioned that you're always looking for ways to work more efficiently so you can have more creative freedom.  What would your advice be to a fellow artist who wants to work more efficiently but is wary of adding shortcuts or lessening the one of a kind quality behind their work?

Oh my, what a wonderful question. First, I'd say, take a step back. Ask yourself, "How might I remove any barriers or things that keep me from truly creating the most meaningful work?" For me, I recognized that I was constantly hand-mixing the same tones over and over again. Clearly my color palette wasn't going to change for a while, therefore I moved to pre-mixing my palette into larger air-tight containers. Second, I started to work on 4-5 small pieces at a time. I loved being able to rotate them in and out, but hated how much I was sitting (sitting is the new smoking, right?). In response to this, I built a cork-board lazy-susan so that I could stand, pin smaller works to said board and rotate them around while painting.  

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10.  Dream collaboration?  Can be a specific person, general person, company, etc.  What would you create together?

Oof. My dream collaboration would be to create the album art for Bonobo and hopefully feed that into some of the digital animations he uses when playing live. It would be MIND BLOWING to sketch while they're still finishing up the next album, pull in lyrics and sounds for inspiration, and do a live show / gallery pop-up combo in the same night. Lordy. I might need a paper bag to breathe in just thinking about this.


See more of Stacey's work through her Instagram!



In the Field with Cindy


In the Field with Cindy

Field Interview: Cindy Tischer

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Today's interview is with artist Cindy Tischer of Mabel's Mugs.  Cindy's pottery is earthy yet vibrant.  Each piece adds beauty (and a smile) to everyday activity.  Her spirit is just as vibrant, and she uses her pottery business to support a cause she feels strongly towards, animal rescue.  We are so happy to have Cindy returning to the Field this summer!


Find Cindy in the Field at




1.  Tell us a bit about why you chose the name "Mabel's Mugs" for your business!

LOL! The actual story is PG13 and probably shouldn't be retold here! Suffice it to say that Mabel was my beloved first rescue dog and mugs rhymes with another word.....


2. How would you describe your aesthetic?  Do you find that there are consistent themes or colors in your pottery?

People have described my work as "rustic and primitive".  I'm learning with every piece I make so  I like to think of it as more light hearted and fun. I make functional work, it knows it has a job to do, but it doesn't take itself too seriously :)  I tend to favor the earth tones and deeper, rich colors.

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3.  You create using both wheel and hand building techniques.  What do you think is the main difference?

Time. Hand building (simple forms) is a much quicker process.


4.  Do you have a professional training background or did you teach yourself your craft?  

I do not have a professional background or degree in Ceramics. I started late when my children got older.  I have taken classes at the Guilford Art Center and Wesleyan Potters. I am a long time (and current) student of Nancy Johnson Mercado, potter extraordinaire & clay guru of Fire Witch Pottery.  There is so much to learn in ceramics!  I am learning the business and  marketing and design as I go too!



5.  Where do you find inspiration for the cheeky phrases often incorporated into your work?

Social media, politics, advertising and family are all fair game. I'll have more freedom to create the "cheeky" ones when my own studio is finished!


6.  Do you create custom work for customers (or pet owners;)?

Yes I do custom work. I have had the honor of making personalized urns for pets. The owners share their memories and ideas and we work together to design a unique memorial for their furbabies. It is extremely rewarding and healing,

My rescue Mom/Dad mugs are also fun customized pieces to work on, as are mugs or wine goblets for engaged couples.

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7.  What is important to you when it comes to a workspace or studio?

Space and light of course. For inspiration I have pots that my children made when they were very little and pots that I've collected from artists who I really admire. 


8.  Do you have a favorite piece you've created that you personally use in your home?

My favorite is a set of 2 simple little cereal size bowls.  They are a warm pine color and the glaze broke cream colored on the rim, they have the appearance of being salt fired. I call them my "Charlie Brown" bowls because no one wanted them. I love them and use them daily!


9.  What would your advice be to a fellow artist who wants to incorporate a passion or cause into their work?

Pick a cause you are passionate about. Mine is animal rescue. Bring materials about your cause to your shows. Be prepared to talk as much about your cause as your art. I have a donation jar and also donate a portion of any sales to local rescue groups. Most people have no idea of the scope of need for rescue. Best show moment ever; I was doing a show in a church basement, very little traffic or sales. But one lady came by, who had recently lost her dog and she saw the adoption info I had on a dog named "Diamond". She wasn't looking for a new dog but the stars were aligned and she adopted Diamond and became a huge supporter for her rescue group! I am so grateful for having a part in that happy ending .


10.  Dream collaboration?  Can be a specific person, general person, company, etc.  What would you create together?!

Interesting question. Well.... My pottery dream crush is Bill Van Gilder. Bill is a master potter who's work is functional and beautiful and his how to videos are informative & amazing. I love that he is so unpretentious , he always says, "there are many ways to do thus and such... here's how I do it"....  I'd love to do a series where the sales would fund spay and neuter efforts and educate people on the importance of them. 


See more of Cindy's work through her Instagram!



In the Field with Lynn


In the Field with Lynn

Field Interview: Lynn Bouchard


Today's interview is with artist, Lynn Bouchard of Legendary Lynn.  Her illustrations are so recognizable and evoke such happiness and wonder.  The Legendary Lynn booth is a refreshing addition to the Field!  Pick up some adorable stickers or prints for a loved one tomorrow!  She also can do custom pet portraits in 20 min!

Find Lynn in the Field at

Whalers Brewing Company on:

SUNDAY: 2/11


1.  Your Legendary Lynn collection is full of magical illustrations!  What intrigues you about fantastical girls and animals? 

Thank you! Fantasy girls and animals intrigue me because they take me to a different world. There's a lot of darkness in real life and my drawings make me believe in magic and romance. I like to be able to share those themes with everyone.


2. Have you always been focused on these themes?  Or has your focus changed over time?

For as long as I can remember, I've always focused on these themes. Growing up I'd draw fairies and Sailor Moon. Fairytales were a constant source for imagination.



3.  Your girls are very recognizable.  Did it take you a long time to develop such a personal drawing style? 

That means a lot. I've made it my mission to harness my style and it did take time. I started to take my illustrations seriously for the first time in 2016. Drawing every day helped so much for developing my style.  


4.  Do you have a pool of characters/personalities that you epeat or is each illustration a new girl or animal?

My top three ladies are witches, mermaids, and fairies. These personalities all mean so much to me. I quickly realized they resonated with others too. It's nice to form a connection with someone who gets excited about a character you love! 

My go-to animal is always a cat! I love cats. That's a fact that I think anyone who has ever met me will say they know.   


5.  Do you use a combination of mediums in one piece?

Yes! I typically use a mixture of colored pencil, Copic markers, and watercolor. I've been working on some digital for future works.


6. Your pet portraits are adorable!  What's the lead time on one and how should a shopper go about ordering a custom pet portrait from you?  Do you do people portraits as well?

Thank you so much! For my simplistic, whimsy, head shot animal portraits, they can take around 10-20 minutes. For a full portrait with detail and background, it takes more toward an hour. Shoppers can come to my table at the Field for a whimsy pet portrait to be made right there! Email or show me your pet and I can work on it as you shop around! Shoppers can also find me on Etsy where they can purchase custom portraits of animals and people! My people portraits typically are fantasy types and take the longest to complete.


7. I've noticed you do a lot of competitions, partnerships and group drawing exercises on Instagram.  How has social media helped your business evolve?  

Art challenges and art swaps on Instagram helped me greatly. I started creating illustrations by joining in a month long Halloween drawing challenge hosted by one of my favorite artists, Mab Graves. The positive community that came along with the challenge was incredible. Everyone was at different levels and supportive! I honestly might have stopped drawing if it weren't for the amount of support. I've made so many friends and learned so much. Having prompts and themes to your art can push yourself to create things you might not have on your own. Instagram has its problems, but it definitely helped me be confident to share my work in order to start a business.  


8.  Do you think it's necessary for an artist to have an online presence in order for them to succeed financially or have a chance at making their art a full time job?

I think it is. It's necessary to be present and active in your community. Which online is a huge part of the art world now. It's still difficult to get noticed but it's a tool that helps me to push myself.


9.  What would your advice be to a fellow artist ho wants to network with similar minded artists?

Social media platforms are great to find like-minded artists. My start was on Instagram. There are so many art challenges for all different themes and mediums. It's a lot of fun and creates a fast community of support and advice! Another tip would be to look at local classes or artisan shows to stay connected in your state.


10.  Dream collaboration?  Can be a specific person, general person, company, etc.  What would you create together?!

What a great question! My dream collaboration would be with the artist Mab Graves. She paints pop surrealist girls with large eyes, among many other talents! It would be amazing to create a story book with her. 


See more of Lynn's work through her Instagram!



In the Field with Kelly


In the Field with Kelly

Field Interview: Kelly Allen-Kujawski


Today's interview is with artist, Kelly Allen-Kujawski of Rarities Bindery.  Kelly preserves treasured memories and the endangered art of writing, pen to paper.  Her technique is labor intensive from start to finish.  Owning a Rarities Bindery journal is so special.  You can feel the amount of love, dedication and work that Kelly has put towards your piece!  Kelly is a positive light always and we can't wait to have her in the Field all winter!

Find Kelly in the Field at

Whalers Brewing Company on:

SUNDAYS: 2/11, 3/11 + 4/8  


1.  Rarities Bindery preserves the art of writing through handmade journals and special memories through preservation boxes.  Has preserving these personal art forms always been important to you?

I would honestly have to say no.  I'm not a writer by any means, but for as long as I can remember, my nose has been buried in books.  This led to me collecting antique books.  (They smell so good and are so pretty!) This then led me to wanting to save the ones that needed some love.  As for preserving memories?  I come from a LARGE Portuguese and Sicilian family with a small side of old English and Native American.  We have some memories to save for sure!

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2. Can you elaborate on the purpose/thought behind a preservation box a bit?  What are the different things that people use them for?  What makes a preservation box a better option for storing something special?

A preservation box is exactly what it sounds like.  A box to preserve or protect a book or artifact.  While I specialize in books, I've made a few boxes for family heirlooms as well.  When my grandmother passed, my mom and I found her wedding prayer book and gloves she wore.  I designed a box to house them together to keep them safe as not only are they over 55 years old, but they're covered in a delicate lace. The boxes are made with all archival quality materials, meaning, it will help protect the item, slow disintegration down, and keep the item clean without risk of elements touching it.   It truly is one of the best ways to protect and preserve something of importance. 



3.  How did you learn the art of book/journal binding? 

Though many classes, after discovering the art through a YouTube video.  I started with some basic bookbinding and box making classes at the Creative Arts Network in New Haven, CT.  Once I realized I wanted to stick with this and move into conservation and preservation, I began taking classes (whenever I was and am able to) at North Bennet Street School up in Boston. 


4.  Is it more time consuming to work with leather versus the paper covers?  Or are they both a long process?

Using papers and making the hardcover books is the most time consuming.  Hardcover books have to have the pages cut, folded, and pressed so they’re flattened out.  Pressing takes 4 to 12 hours depending on thickness. Once pressed, sewing holes need to be punched, and pages sewn together.  Spines need gluing and backing to protect it from usage.  Then boards are cut, decorative papers and cloth all measured, cut, and glued, and everything attached before being pressed to dry.  And that's the condensed step by step!  Leather is much easier as there are no pastes, no pressing, and it's a much more rustic design so measurements don't need to be as perfect or precise. 

5. I know that you take pride in the vintage papers that you use for covers.  What is your most prized vintage paper find?

Oh boy.  There have been a few sheets I've had that I've had quite the internal struggle with about cutting up when the time came.  My absolute favorite though, is a handmade paper from Nepal that is about 30 years old and is just stunning (to me).  The paper and designs are all hand done.  I bought 2 sheets of it at the time and am kicking myself for not buying more!


6.  What types of journals do you offer?  Are they mainly for writing or sketching? 

Mainly for writing.  But I'm branching out a bit and custom orders are always welcome.  I have some that I've made recently in leather that contain water color paper.  I've done a bridal planner for a new bride; guest books for a wedding; a photo album as a wedding gift; and one of my favorites, a pocket sized wine journal.  Record you favorite wines while you're out enjoying it! 



7.  Do you personally journal on a regular basis?

Eh no.  I'm a terrible writer.  I tried for years to keep journals but usually would forget about it after a week or two.  I prefer to nap away what's bothering me I think.  Haha!


8.  Tell us a little bit about custom orders that people have come to you for.  What is the usual lead time if someone would like to order something custom?

Ooo custom orders are fun!  I received a custom order last year for a new bride (the one I mentioned a few questions up).  The customer wanted a bridal planner for the bride, and 2 regular journals as well.  These were all going to be gifts to her daughter's teachers at the end of the year.  The customer provided bottles of wine, and I put together a whole end of year gift basket for them.  Baby books get ordered a lot… usually gender neutral but those are fun too.  The most recent order I had was for a mini leather journal with matching leather 6 ring planner.  Time varies on custom orders depending on what is being ordered, if I need to order specific supplies, etc.  Typically, 2 weeks to a month. 


9.  What would your advice be to a fellow artist who wants to embark on an intensive new process or medium but isn't sure where to start?

My advice is to just do it.  Start where you feel you should and it'll build from there.  Don't sweat small stuff like having a name brand or anything like that.  Start with learning your product and passion and go about making it.  Find classes somewhere, go on YouTube, read some books on the subject.  Be confident in what you want to do and go rock it.

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10.  Dream collaboration?  Can be a specific person, general person, company, etc.  What would you create together?!

Favorite authors!  Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck, Neil Gaiman, J.R. Ward, David Mitchell, and Jay Kristoff.  What would we create?  I'd have their minds all work together to write a fantasy, old world, psychologically mind bending and hysterical yet romantic and sexy novel that I would then bind in a fabulous leather and keep all for myself. 

See more of Kelly's work through her Instagram!



In the Field with Amy

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In the Field with Amy

Field Interview: Amy Salomone


Today's interview is with artist, Amy Salomone.  Amy is a science teacher by day and jeweler by night.  Her work is an amazing tribute to the purpose behind the beauty of nature.  Amy is such a pleasure to have in the Field.  She's been selling with Field of Artisans for the past couple of years and she always brings a smile and friendly vibe to all fellow artist vendors and visitors.  We loved learning more about her science, nature and vintage inspiration!


Find Amy in the Field at

Whalers Brewing Company on:

SUNDAY, 3/11  11:30-4:30


1.   You call your jewelry line, Functional Whimsy.  Can you give us some insight into how this name came to fruition?

I first started refurbishing furniture about 15 years ago.  Basically, I would use stained glass and mosaic dressers and tables.  Any piece of old furniture that I could get my hands on.  I was brainstorming at the time with my then boyfriend, now husband what I could name a business that does this.  I liked functional whimsy as a name because each piece was both a work of art, and a functional piece of furniture.  My idea came from peacocks, who carry this large ornamental tail on them so that they can find a mate.  So functional whimsy.  I am always inspired by nature and this name expresses that.  Even now that I mostly make jewelry, I still think the name works.



2.  Vintage inspired imagery seems to be a huge focus of Functional Whimsy.  Do you have favorite places where you look for vintage inspiration? Any fun magazines, blogs or social media accounts?

I am not a big social media person, its my downfall as a jewelry business creator.  I love anything vintage and graphic and usually get my inspiration from all over.  I get a lot of inspiration just walking down Westminster Street after work and going in the shops.  They just have this really cool vintage aesthetic to them that I gravitate towards.

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3 .   Nature is also a common theme in your work.  I love the butterflies!  You recently embarked on a rigorous camping adventure.  Do trips like this inspire your work?

I am a science teacher by day and a jewelry designer at night and I have spent a large portion of my childhood and life camping and backpacking. I love to figure out and communicate the way that the universe works and so, nature clearly inspires me.  My favorite quote is by Einstein: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” . So, I am inspired by things such as butterflies, peacocks, bees, the human body, nebulas, etc because of what they teach me about the world rather than just what they look like.  


4 .   Did you teach yourself the process in your jewelry making?  Or, do you have a mentor?  

 I definitely taught myself and it was definitely a learning process!  I am always changing and developing the way that I go about making jewelry and definitely find it hard to stay in one place.


5 .    Do you work out of your home?  What's your ideal studio setup?

I do work in my home, although sadly, I don’t really have a great set up.  My supplies are all in my basement and I usually bring them upstairs when I work.  I have this dream of building a mini home or container home in my backyard and having lots of light and a wood burning stove in my studio.  I don’t have a big backyard so this is kind of a pipe dream, but I would be in heaven with my own space.  We have a guest room that essentially my parents stay in once in a while and I would love to just change it into a studio.  Unfortunately the bed in the room is my earliest mosaic creation, so it would break my heart to part with it.


6 .   Do you ever offer custom jewelry?  For instance if someone had an image that was special, could you make it into jewelry for them?

Yes!  I can make anything into a necklace using any image!  I could also alter the image in a cool digital format and integrate it into a piece.  Just ask!


7.   What's your bestselling piece?  Your personal favorite piece? 

My best selling pieces are the pins, magnets and butterfly stud earrings.  I would have to say that my favorite pieces are probably the graphic vintage/butterfly necklaces or butterfly studs.  I started making the butterfly necklaces because I wanted one and couldn’t find it, so those will always have a special place in my heart.

8 .   Any expansion plans for Functional Whimsy?

 I need to expand and develop my online presence but other than that, I go where the wind takes me.  If I am inspired to make something, I will just go for it and see if anyone is picking up what I am putting down.  My Functional Whimsy endeavors are usually funding my travel endeavors.  This year I have a lot of travel planned, so I will definitely be devoting my time to developing some different ideas for Functional Whimsy.


9 .   What would your advice be to a fellow artist on how to make oneself personality and individuality shine through their work?  (I think you do a really good job at this.)   

Gosh, I would say that you should make pieces that you would want and do what excites you.  I also think that its important to make pieces that are of a quality that you would expect from a purchase that you make.  There is nothing worse than being really excited about a piece of jewelry that you buy and having it break within a week.


10.  Dream collaboration?  Can be a specific person, general person, company, etc.  What would you create together?!

So my idols who I aspire to be more like are typically scientists and educators rather than artists.  I would love to develop a line with someone like Richard Dawkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson or E.O. Wilson, that spreads scientific literacy.  So essentially a butterfly necklace, that has interesting information about butterfly evolution or behavior imprinted in the packaging and some of the proceeds could go to butterfly migration conservancy or something like that.  That would be amazing.


See more of Amy's work through her Instagram!


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In the Field with Leigh

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In the Field with Leigh

Field Interview: Leigh Medeiros

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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. 

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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.


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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.

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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.  


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See more of Leigh's work through her online site!


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In the Field with Ghyllian


In the Field with Ghyllian

Field Interview: Ghyllian Conley, Picture-esque


This week's interview is with Ghyllian of Picture-esque.  Ghyllian is multi-passionate and multi-talented.  Through lots of self teaching and experimenting, she's created a completely unique form of art that combines everything she loves.  Ghyllian's love of the environment, photography, and doodling is evident in her work.  Picture-esque is one that you can't miss for a completely one of a kind gift!  


Find Picture-esque in the Field at Whalers Brewing Company on:

SUNDAY, 12/10  11:30-4:30


1.  Your work embodies your many passions including art and nature.  How did you come up with Picture-esque as a name?

Well, its supposed to be a play on words. I chose "Picture", because every piece has a photo or image and "esque" as the definition is, "in the style of; resembling".  Though there is a "picture" in each piece, there is more to a piece than the photo- I sometimes paint or sketch over the image and even the transfer process distorts or changes the original photo.  And finally, I chose "Picture-esque" because I feel that my pieces are also picturesque- "visually attractive, especially in a quaint or pretty style." 


2.  The process of your creations consists of multiple steps and I'm sure a lot of time and planning.  What are the steps in creating one piece?

It starts with the photos.  I'm constantly taking photos and doodling whenever I can and every now and again one will inspire an idea of how I could combine a photo I've taken with one of my sketches. For example, a common one would be a photo of flowers and some flowers that I've sketched in a notebook.  Once I get an idea I lay out and cut the photos and sketches in a way that I think will layer together nicely and I fit the images to the size and shape of the wood I have to work with.  Once I have everything laid out I start the transferring process- I have to be careful because everything transfers backwards.  But basically I glue the images to the wood.  Once dry (a few hours) I remove the paper using water and a sponge, let that dry and then apply the next layer. When I've finished transferring, I begin painting over the collaged images to try to bring them all together.  I tend to favor flowers and geometric shapes. Finally, I pour resin over the whole thing to seal in the images, brighten the transfers and protect the wood.  I've actually been experimenting a bit with this last step and have some exciting new additions coming soon- one more component being added to the collage.


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3.  How did you start working with this unique process?  Did it take a lot of experimenting?  Self teaching?  Or, did you learn from someone else?

Honestly, I saw a random DIY video on Facebook.  I experimented at first because I didn't believe it could be so easy to transfer photos.  When I saw how straightforward it is I realized how many options I had. I figured I could not only transfer family photos like in the DIY video but ANYTHING I wanted.  My very first idea came from a photo of sunset in Arcadia and I thought of how cool it could be to paint a continuation of the photo.  The ideas grew from there and through some experimenting I kept adding layers. I feel like there has been a lot of "self-teaching" but it's more of a continuous trial and error.  I learn as I go what works well and what could be done differently.  


4.  You capture a lot of nature scenes.  Where is your favorite place to get nature inspiration? 

Honestly? Work.  Being at my full time job I have to take photos as part of my job all the time.  I'm on different farms and forests all over the state and sometimes the weather is just perfect and the lighting, incredible and I end up capturing some pretty special photos. Taking pictures at work is actually what inspired me to get more into photography and buy a camera. To give you a more direct answer- one of my favorite places to explore and get stunning sunset photos is Arcadia management area in Exeter.  


5.  While your pieces have a main nature theme, some of them incorporate an element of fantasy (like an octopus taking over the Atlantic Ocean).  Where do these ideas come from?

I love to read.  I've always been fascinated by fantasy novels and I feel that all the reading I've done has expanded my creativity and opened my mind to the unreal and my imagination. 



6.  Do you have a favorite tree wood to work with?

Well not a specific type of wood but I do prefer the wood that I've gotten locally.  Some of the wood I use, I've purchased from AC Moore. It works great and is easy to source and they offer all different shapes and sizes- so convenient. But I still prefer the wood that came from someone I know or a forest I know simply because of the connection I have to it.  Getting the different wood creates interesting effects when the resin is poured- some wood has more prominent rings or features (like wormwood) and oftentimes has really cool bark with lichen still on it!  With time and more trial and error I'm sure I will develop a favorite type of wood but for now its super interesting seeing how each of the different wood reacts when the resin is poured.


7.  You offer custom work as well.  What are some of the reasons people have to come to you to create customized scenes?

I've made things such as wedding presents, anniversary gifts, and birthday presents.  I especially love incorporating/transferring maps that are significant to the person receiving the piece.  For example, for a recent wedding present I transferred maps of the places where the couple met and grew up, the photo taken after he proposed and then I finished up by painting flowers that signified the months of their anniversary and birthdays.  I really enjoy doing custom work and plan on creating an Etsy page so I can expand the custom work. 




8.  You do a great job at channeling your passion for the environment through your art.  What would your advice be for someone who cares about a cause and wants to use art as a platform to gain awareness for that cause?

Well in my opinion, the most important part of any cause is education on the topic.  People can't be passionate about something that they don't understand or know about.  Art is a beautiful way to get the word out and gain awareness in a positive light.  There doesn't have to be fighting or yelling or protesting in art; instead its a way to shed light on a cause and show the beauty of what it is you believe in.  Even when it comes to causes that are horrific and terrible/not thought of as "beautiful", art is a perfect platform to expose that raw pain, without fighting or violence- we have enough of that in the world.  When a person creates, they have the opportunity to bring attention and educate other people on things that they believe in, so why not do it? Even if you only get one new person to feel passionate about your cause- that's one more person aware than there was before :) So I guess my advice would simply be "Just do it." 


9.  Dream collaboration?  Can be a specific person, general person, company, etc.  What would you create together?!

I think it would be a dream to collaborate with any of the many amazing local artists and photographers here in RI.  I would be so honored and flattered if someone wanted me to transfer a photo or drawing of theirs and create something we made together :) I can transfer most anything onto wood but I try to use only things I draw or photograph (except for the maps I use obviously lol) but it would be super cool to be inspired by someone else's photos or drawings and add "my touch" to create something totally unique.  One of my closest friends is a photographer and she's been teaching/helping me from the beginning so I've been hoping to do a collaboration with her soon ;) 




See more of Ghyllians's work on Instagram and Facebook!