Monday, 21 February 2011

Troy Lacey

Blethering Portrait

Troy with her work


Who is Troy Lacey?

I am a dreamer. I feel life has many twists and turns that are unexpected. The one thing I can depend on is my imagination. Being and artist allows me to explore my inner self.

I have studied acting and fine art in college. I have written movie scripts and I produce fiber art.


When did you decide to become a maker?

My parents nurtured my creative side. They searched for a School that would concentrate on enhancing my personal abilities. I attended Highland Hall School in California. The creator of the Waldorf School was Rudolf Steiner. The goal of the Waldorf School is to enable students to choose their individual path through life.


Bubble Purse

Bubble Purse – Felted and Crocheted


What made you choose the materials that you work with?

I love natural fibers. When I spin wool, I think of the history of the animal. There are farmers that can examine fleeces and know if the ewes were healthy through their cycle of life or recovered from some illness. Being at one with the environment puts life in perspective. I am recycling nature to create my personal story.


What other materials would you like to work with?

I would like to learn more about printing on textiles. I think it would be interesting to add a block print to my felted projects or knitted pieces.


Felted Bowl

Felted Bowl- Raven Eating Sumac


Where do you get your inspiration?

Post-Impressionism has always inspired me. Vincent Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin and Pierre Seurat began a moving force to change the perception of what painting should be. The Vibrant colors they created and the raw passion in their work has influenced me in so many ways. I also admire Andrew Wyeth’s ability to capture a moment in time with such clarity.

What motivates you?

I think of new ideas when I workout. The constant movement clears my mind and produces clarity in my life.
I can also access a plethora of on line sources, magazines and books to provide inspiration in this field.

I have been living in Nashville Tennessee for many years. I visit farms and enjoy the beauty of the southern landscape. I love selecting wool to spin or felt. I also socialize with fiber enthusiasts once a month at a spinning meeting.


Handspun Yarn

Hand Spun Yarn – Romney Wool


Do you create your work in a studio at your home base?

I am lucky to have a studio at my home. I truly like the solitude and the freedom of closing the door to the outside world so I can concentrate on my work.

My husband Mark Lacey also is an artist and constructs amazing guitars in our basement. He has sold his instruments all over the world. Many books and magazines have featured Mark’s guitars.


Wall Hanger

Wall Hanger - Crocheted


Crafts in the 21st century – what does it mean to you?

So many Schools in the states do not emphasize creativity in their curriculum. I have noticed children are fascinated with computers or a simple rock. You give a child a smooth grey stone and he will play with it for hours. The rock is allowing the child to access his imagination.
Many children need a certain magic and calm in their lives so they can enjoy the simple things and not take them for granted.

We as a society should embrace the gifts we are given. The process is the key not the destination.


Lady With Turban
Lady with Turban - Felted and Needle Felted


How do you sell and promote your work?

Many of my textile pieces have sold at art boutiques. I have attended numerous art shows. Once a year I sell my hand spun yarn and roving at the Middle TN. Fiber Festival represented by Three Creeks Farm.

I am currently selling my work at Laurel Leaf Gallery, the Artisan Market and Ewe And Company. I am a member of the TACA guild. I have joined Ravelry and Etsy on line stores. Spinning Web is the name of my Etsy shop. My main website is


Mohair Scarf

Mohair Scarf - Knitted and Silk Pods


What is your typical working day?

I listen to smooth jazz and drink my java to wake up. I usually work on different projects during the day. I will hand card different types of fiber to make a custom color. I will use the wool I just carded to needle felt a wall composition. Sometimes I will spin the fiber to make a purse. My goal for the year is to finish one major project. For example, I would like to illustrate a book and use textiles and watercolor as my medium.


Mudd Daubers

Mud Dauber – Hand Spun Wool, Crocheted, Felted and Needle Felted


What is your working style?

Contemplating an idea is the first step. I ponder about colors, texture and theme. The process has started and all I need to do is enjoy the ride.

Three words of advice for an aspiring craft artist/maker….

  1. Follow your own path and intuition!
  2. Complete your goals!
  3. Enjoy being in the present!


Stick bug Vessel

Stick Bug Vessel - Felted and Needle Felted


Who is/are your favorite artist(s)/maker(s)?

I am always amazed to see my husband carve a guitar from a block of wood. Not only is he an artisan he also is a technician. His guitars sound astounding.

I admire Lacey Guitars, Frida kahlo, Klimt, Hokusai, Lexi Boeger, Lisa klakulak, Chad Alice Hagen, Lynne Vogel, Jacey Boggs.


Two Felted Scarves

Two Felted Scarves -Gauze and Silk


What music do you listen to?

Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny, Acoustic Alchemy, Santana, Lee Ritenour, Maxwell, Rippingtons, Stevie Ray Van, Robben Ford, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Earl Klugh.


Three likes and dislikes?

Likes - Kindness, Uniqueness, Self-confidence.

Dislikes - War, Greed, Arrogance.


Two Felted Purses

Two Felted Purses - Silk and Merino Wool


What do you do to relax?

I enjoy a glass of wine or a chocolate stout. I watch a movie or read.


Troy Logo

Friday, 18 February 2011

Kate Anderson

Kate in Studio Kate in Studio
Q So who is Kate Anderson?
I was born in London. After a foundation year at Hammersmith College of Art I completed a three year B.A. course within the School of Painting at Maidstone College of Art and Design, graduating with a 1st Class Honours degree. A few years later, having worked as an Art Instructor at a Grammar School and various other jobs to earn a living, I was awarded a Post-Graduate Commonwealth Fellowship in Sculpture to India which was taken up at the University of Viswa Bharati, West Bengal. My artistic background lies in painting and sculpture, the interest in modern mosaic came much later, and it evolved in some ways from both these disciplines.
Q Where in the world are you?
I now live in rural Dumfries and Galloway in South-West Scotland. I work from my studio near Kirkcudbright, as well as still teaching some courses in painting and mosaic at colleges and centres in Scotland, Cumbria and elsewhere when time allows.
A 9587 Shadow Play – mosaic with natural wood frame
Q When did you decide to become a maker?
There has never been that conscious decision, and although the techniques that I use are quite distinct in some ways, they are very much part of the wider way I have lived my life. The route ideas and recurring themes are integral to my other activities whether written, painted, or constructed. I have never differentiated between Fine Art and Craft, because for me, personally, that would be negative. I can’t remember a time since early childhood when I haven’t been exploring these elements and combining them in various ways. I am unhappy with categories in general. I think with experience you gain the integrity to draw the boundaries where they need to go.
A 2106 Surface Traces 2
Q What made you choose the materials that you work with?
I had been teaching painting and drawing courses at colleges in Oxfordshire and was asked if I would also run a mosaic course. In the past I had worked on large 3-Dimensional work which had sometimes used mosaic techniques, so I agreed. The appeal of using materials like vitreous glass, ceramic and smalti began to grow. It took a lot of experimentation to adapt these and other mosaic materials so that they worked in a way that suited my objectives. I have never been interested in the purist approach to Mosaic that is trying to produce something like the Romans or making purely decorative pieces. I needed to adapt a wide variety of base materials to make the kind of mosaic that was distinct as my own.
I use hand-painted ceramic when I want a painterly approach to surface and texture. I also combine the traditional, perhaps stone or gold leaf, with the more unexpected such as resins in some three-dimensional work.
A 1211270aWhere Shadows Go – triptych 
Q What other materials would you like to work in?
I’ve got a fairly wide base of materials that I use already; it’s more a case of finding further interesting combinations when the need arises.

Q Where do you get your inspiration from?
History, myth, the written word. I am fascinated by the language of symbols and how we use (and abuse) them. Visually, I have always been absorbed with Shadow Art from the earliest cave paintings to Shadow Play, Goethe and the European illustrative influence.
Travel when it occurs is inspiring. Somehow the mind starts spinning to a different rhythm and ideas and memories get recycled in vibrant way.
A 1211297 Where Shadows Go – detail
Q What motivates you?
The need to re-organise my experiences and give them concrete expression. Modern life is highly confusing. So much is trivial and wasteful. Works are small testimonies to what I think and feel, I am a fairly private person who needs to communicate, and I love the selective, fining and perfecting processes that happen gradually on larger undertakings in whatever medium it is I tackle. Imagination is crucial to all my work. Like travelling the processes allow you to move down new paths of discovery.
Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?
I work from my studio in the grounds of my house unless I need to work in situ elsewhere.
Studio at The Smithy Studio at The Smithy
Q How do you sell and promote your work?
Some of my smaller work is shown in galleries locally and further afield. The nearest is the Scottish Showcase Gallery in nearby Kirkcudbright. Regionally I am one of the artists who exhibit annually in the Spring Fling Open Studio Event. This is Scotland’s largest and most popular studio visiting scheme, and provides artists and makers with good promotional support. I have shown work in exhibitions in England, Scotland, France, and America amongst other countries, and various websites such as Axis and Craftscotland add to my own in further promoting my work.
Most of my income is from commissions of various kinds. Last year one was from Sulwath Connections here in Galloway. Often they are private individuals. A collaborative mosaic that I made with equine artist Peter Howell sold to an American collector at the Saratoga Arts Festival two years ago, this being an unusual venue for my work. My solo exhibitions are usually theme based and take several years to build up. I am a member of BAMM, (British Association of Modern Mosaic), and I exhibit in some of their shows.
Q What is your working style?
Definitely lateral! I like to approach large pieces of work from a wide angle and slowly move in. Where quite a challenging idea is involved I need to treat it like an excavation, gradually honing in on the most important components. My sketches for mosaic work are all about direction, the way the pieces will ‘move’ visually, and if there are multiple panels how the colour, lines and reflective elements relate to each other. I like the research involved in literary based pieces, but I also work in the semi- abstract which needs intuitive judgement.
A 9601 Mini Screen 2
Q 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...
Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
No one favourite, artists too numerous to mention but including Bruegel, Samuel Palmer, Gaudi, Herge, Mervyn Peake, Anselm Kiefer, Desmond Kinney, Dale Chihuly and the work at the Sharmanka Kinetic Gallery in Glasgow………the anonymous builders of ancient British sites and Early Gothic Architecture.
Q What music do you listen to?
An eclectic mix! Brahms, Ghulam Ali, Spanish Sephardic music, Ry Cooder, Arvo Part, some old Rock, Kurt Weil songs to name but a few.

Q 3 likes and dislikes?
Likes: Cats. Green. Reading.
Dislikes: Celebrity culture, pillar-box red, the expression: At the end of the Day!

Q What do you do to relax?
Cook. Walk.
Saratoga collaboration with Peter HowellSaratoga Collaboration with Peter Howell
Related websites:
All Images & work copyright Kate Anderson, the Saratoga image is also jointly copyright of Peter Howell. Photography by Euan Adamson.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Andrea Graham


Adaptations (detail image): Wet Felted Finnwool and Silk Fibres.

At the Canadian Guild of Craft in Montreal.


Q So who is Andrea Graham?

I am a full time artist as well as a wife and mother to three boys. I have a home studio which allows me to be available and keep everything running smoothly. I am active in my arts community locally, provincially and nationally, connecting with other artists and promoting fine craft.

Q Where in the world are you?

I am in village in Ontario, Canada with Toronto and Montreal 2.5 hours away in opposite directions.


adaptations2 006

Adaptations 2

Currently Touring Europe with International Felt Exhibit - "The Climate is Changing"


Q When did you decide to become a maker?

I decided to become a full-time maker 10 years ago. I found the craft of feltmaking shortly before and joining an artists in business group was the catalyst in making it my official “job”.


Q What made you choose the materials that you work with?

I spend my early art years feeling like I was not good enough. There was not a medium that I felt I could truly express myself creatively, one that I could immerse myself in with every sense. The materials restricted me. When I found feltmaking, I was able to experience the material with every sense. The fibres are tactile, malleable, colourful (or not) and smell close to the land. It was completely intoxicating and had me addicted. The versatility of the medium was like an open door to my creative soul.



Liberatio Captivus: Wet Felted Finnwool on Wood.

Currently touring with FiberArt International (USA)


Q What other materials would you like to work in?

There are many breeds of wool to explore, and infinite combinations, all with a story to tell. My friend, mentor and author, Christine White, speaks of “Fibre Dynamics”. Through her I have learned that each wool has it’s own language and, with every experience, I gain a deeper understanding of the medium. I feel little need, at this point, to seek other materials.


Q Where do you get your inspiration from?

The materials are an inspiration to me, architecture, photography, forms in nature, destruction and decay. I try to live each day with my eyes open and inspiration is something I am never short of.


Big Pods: Installation for Andrea’s Solo Exhibition "Adaptations" (8ft tall)


Q What motivates you?

Deadlines! I have commitments to galleries and clients that I must meet to maintain my image as a professional business person. My other work often is set aside until it cannot be contained any longer. I often wonder if this tension and anticipation is part of my necessary process.


Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?

Both. My studio is in my home. I have a large space in the basement with all my materials, sinks, a window and large high tables. It is my sacred space. The children know there is no fighting, no sneaking up on me and no nerf guns allowed. They respect this… most of the time.



Andrea with Big Pods – Adaptations Solo Show


Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?

Being a mere 10 years in the world of craft, I am just a babe. I am not sure if I can answer this with any educated or historic perspective. This being said, as an Ontario Craft Council board member and active crafts person, I can say I am frequently awed and moved by the work I see in craft right now. There is both technical and design excellence and, on the other side a strong movement in conceptual art expression in craft medium (with less focus on the execution/craft excellence) and the DIY movement. I proudly consider myself a craftsperson and strive to achieve technical excellence, good design as well as concept. I think “craft” is at an interesting time as I our ideas of “function” evolves. By this I mean our changing perception of what we “need”.


Q How do you sell and promote your work?

I sell my functional craft in a couple of galleries and sculptural work at others and I accept commissions. I promote my work through exhibitions, my website (, and in magazines and books.



Adaptations 3: Collection of Wet Felted Sculptures


Q What is your typical working day look like?

“work” as an artist includes computer work, correspondence, applications, photographing work, reviewing contracts, packing to teach, developing workshops, etc. What “work” I do is determined by my schedule which is often set a year in advance.


Q What is your working style?

When in the studio, I get distracted easily and often take breaks or switch gears. I used to think this was a lack of focus, but now know these are necessary breaks in my creative process. I just know it will take me lots of time to get something done.


specimens 019

Specimens: Wool and Silk on Clay


Q 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...

  • First and foremost: Commit. Commit to your craft. When people ask, “What do you do?” Tell them without reservation. If you don’t believe it, how will you convince others?
  • Back it up by becoming the best you can become in your area. Make a “bucket list” of who you would like to learn from and make it happen.
  • Treat your craft/art as a business. You are a small business owner. Get a tax number and march into the local business development office and ask what support/education they offer for small business owners. Connect with your arts community. Enter shows. Get involved, but not so involved that you have no time to create.



Unearthed: Wet Felted Finnwool

Image by Tracy Olan. On exhibit at the Canadian Guild of Craft in Montreal


Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?

There are so many around the world in so many different fields. I love political work and work that possesses terrible beauty such as in the photography of Lana Slezic. I also love land art which is practically synonymous with Andy Goldsworthy. I also love the architecture of Frank Gehry and Michael Graves. The technical excellence of Jorie Johnson is what I strive for in felt.

Q What music do you listen to?

I listen to very little music. I am a public talk radio junkie.


exposed 013

Exposed: Superfine Merino Wool and Karakul Wool Locks


Q 3 likes and dislikes?

Likes: good food, red wine, time with my family.

Dislikes: clutter, telemarketing calls, excessive noise.

Q What do you do to relax?

As with most people, I have to think about what “relax” means to me. With 3 boys and a busy life what do I do to relax? I think being in the studio and giving myself permission to create something that is not to sell, not to show, but just to play. That is relaxing.



Harvest: Andrea’s Installation Piece

Performed on the International Day of Felt (FeltUnited 2009.)

Image by Tracy Olan