In today’s post I would like to introduce our Featured Artist, for May 2011
I discovered her work thanks to seeing her demonstrate on Create and Craft, but for those of you who haven’t yet found Liz, here is a little more about her and her work.
Who you are:
Liz; I am a textile artist and jewellery designer, tutor, author, guest presenter on Create and Craft and small business owner. I have two sons who are at university, a very supportive husband and a dippy-but-delightful dog called Poppy.
Where you are (which country you are based in)?
Liz; My home is in Nottinghamshire in the UK, although I increasingly feel that my network of family and friends extends all over the world because the internet and skype makes this possible.
What you do:
Liz; I am a Friendly Plastic Evangelist! My mission is to get as many people as possible as enthusiastic about this fabulous modelling medium as I am! To that end I write about it, teach it, exhibit work I make using it, make DVDs about it, present shows about it on Create and Craft, demonstrate it, and of course sell it (and all sorts of things directly related to Friendly Plastic) via my on line business Rare Bird Ltd. Because my background is in stitched textiles, I also try to weave Friendly Plastic into the textile art side of my life. This has led me to develop specific techniques such as Lacework and Oooze, and spurred me on to come up with new ways to change the appearance of Friendly Plastic but not its properties. Having worked with the material for more than 20 years, I am still discovering new ways to work with it, new ways to colour and change the appearance of Friendly Plastic and new ways to recycle it too. When I began this journey I did not begin to realise just how involved I would get, and how much it would take over my life.
What got you started in your creative journey?
Liz; Creativity was always encouraged in my family, so I grew up experimenting with things, but particularly fabrics and sewing. It was not until I began a family and I was almost 30 before I discovered Friendly Plastic. We were in New Orleans and I saw a pair of earrings that I liked but could not work out what they were made from. Eventually I found out and, as we were living in America for a year (Friendly Plastic is made in America) , I bought some and began to play. People I knew liked what I made and wanted to buy it – it went on from there, and escalated when we moved back to the UK. I began to work with the UK distributor demonstrating the product and this gave me the spur to come up with new ideas. Eventually when I dreamed up Lacework, I finally managed to bring my love of textiles together with my passion for Friendly Plastic.
What inspires you:
Liz; People – the things they make, relationships, the constructive and destructive force of mankind, their energy, skill, determination and passions. When I look back particularly on my exhibited textile work I realise that much of it is based on all of these things; I love nature, beatiful scenery, sunsets etc, but somehow the sheer ingenuity of mankind makes me want to create art that celebrates something that is less visually obvious than a pretty flower.
My work rarely stays in two dimensions, frequently straying into 3D, and the challenge of varying the scale of things whilst working with new materials is in turns exciting and daunting. A recent project was a 6.5m “necklace” with “beads” varying in size from 5mm to 300mm, some of which were made of Friendly Plastic, and some made of other things. These other things required me to learn new skills and stretch my own boundaries, leaving my comfort zone way behind!
If money,time and obligations were no object, what you would most like to do?
Liz; Travel all over the globe to see the art and ingenuity of other peoples both past and present. By immersing myself in other peoples art, my own creativity and artistic thinking processes flourish and develop. I would need a dirty great sketch book, loads of pencils for sketching and note taking, plus a dictaphone and my camera with endless quantities of memory cards to record all the things that inspired me. I wouldn’t mind a sympathetic porter to accompany me so i didn’t have to carry it all myself. Although I wouldn’t want anyone else intruding on my thoughts as I worked, I would still want my lovely husband with me to share travel experience and help me enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day.
What do you enjoy most about your creative work/life?
Liz; Meeting other people. The more time I spend with other people whether they are creative or not, the more I appreciate that everyone has a story to tell, everyone has something to offer this world, and 99% of the time, their stories remain untold outside their immediate family. Women especially, get to feel that they have no creative talents, and do not have much to offer other than their standard roles of wife, parent, child, colleague. Given half a chance, many blossom when they get the opportunity to explore their creativity and are given the right encouragement. This newfound creativity can be a useful way of expressing a fraction of the experience and complexity of the person behind the hands. I get the greatest pleasure from seeing or even better, being the catalyst for this process.
To find out more about Liz Welch and her work, please visit her blog and website, details below.
Thanks to Liz Welch for being our Featured Artist of the Month for May 2011.
Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon