Maggi here with an awesome Artist Spotlight to share with you! I’m so excited to introduce this talented gal with you all, we’ve been visiting each other’s blogs for a while and I’ve found her to be the sweetest and one of the most creative ladies I know.
Please help me welcome: Theresa MacNaughton!
Theresa graciously agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her work for Gauche Alchemy. She runs an Etsy shop, maintains a blog and Twitters like a mad woman. You can also find Theresa on Flickr and Facebook.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you are from, how long you’ve been creating and why you like to create.
I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember. Whenever other kids were outside playing, I was always in the family room listening to music and drawing away. I used to create my own “comic strips” – although I have no idea where those have gone to. Fortunately, I still have my portfolio of work from high school – and it’s a lot of fun to look back on what I worked on back then, which is often whatever I wanted. I drew endless portraits of rock musicians and actors.
I also was able to make some pocket money from commissioned portraits from other students and even teachers! I think I always knew I wanted to do something creative. At one point, I had an interest in attending school for fashion design. I had lots of notebooks filled with my little drawn models wearing outlandishly fun fashions that I created. I so wish I knew what I did with all those journals!
I love to create because I need to express myself. A life without art or music or literature or film is just meaningless to me. To me, the perfect day would be spent in an art gallery followed by a concert, play or film. I’m fortunate to be married to a man who feels the exact same way. We live in central Connecticut with our two dogs, Willow and Neo. I’m a New England girl to the core. I was originally born in Massachusetts, but I’ve spent the majority of my life in Connecticut. I’d really love to live in Maine or Vermont, though…maybe someday!
What crafts do you currently create and what do you enjoy making the most?
I create beaded jewelry, hand knit accessories such as scarves and fingerless gloves, and mixed media paintings – which I offer for sale in my etsy shop. I love to dabble in poetry and photography. And I just purchased some paper clay, so hopefully that little experiment will work out well! I love creating all of them equally. I think that the paintings allow me to express myself more freely, however. My mindset when I create is to please myself first. If I’m not happy with something I’ve made, then how could someone else be?
Who or what inspires you to create?
My inspiration table
The seasons definitely influence my creations. I’ve been feeling the urge to knit again – now that fall is almost here (thank goodness). There was also a show on Bravo called Work of Art. I’d watch every episode at least two or three times. It definitely inspired me to get cracking on my art. My husband and I enjoyed critiquing each show. My favorite artists were Abdi and Peregrine. I’ve also become fascinated with mixed media art, which combines collage, pencil art and painting. Suzi Blu has helped me learn this medium and I love it! It was through her wonderful and fun online art courses that I’ve been able to reignite my passion for creating art. I’ve always enjoyed folk art (Tasha Tudor, Grandma Moses) and many new online friends were creating mixed media art – and I so wanted to learn!
I love the whimsical look and feel of your jewelry! I noticed that you and your husband design and collaborate on the pieces you make. What is it like working with your husband? Is he naturally creative or did he just get on board with you? lol
Some of my husband’s work
My husband is an artistic soul, and he loves exploring new mediums. When I first started creating jewelry, I was only using digital collage images and pasting them onto little glass pendants strung onto ball chain. I wanted to do more – and my husband came along for the ride! He creates the wire and hammered copper jewelry pieces. I conceptualize and approve everything! He enjoys doing it and has said the entire process has helped him “think like a woman.” He’s actually done pieces over because they were not “in my style.”
You own and run Faerie Moon Creations on Etsy. What it’s like selling your creations and making it a business? Any tips for our readers that might be thinking of selling their work online?
It’s really fun to sell my creations. I am always amazed and grateful when someone purchases an item from me. It’s like the first sale over and over again. I never take it for granted. I’m somewhat of a shy person, so I enjoy the “anonymity” of having an online shop as opposed to a brick and mortar store. But I work just as hard to make the shop pretty and offer new items and sales. I’ve only been selling my creations online for one year – but it’s been great. There has been some uncertainties along the way, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world. I would say to readers interested in selling to not get discouraged. Plan everything out well in advance before opening your shop…your name, graphics, photographs, shop policies. There is always much to be learned – I am still finding things out!
You host Terrifically Talented Thursdays on your blog to spotlight other artists. Can you tell us more about that?
I LOVE discovering new artisans and shops. I rarely buy goods at big name stores any longer. I prefer to shop handmade – there is quality and care and a story behind each and every item. I initially did a little “featured artisan” of the day on Facebook, but I wanted to do a little more. So, I created Terrifically Talented Thursday on my blog as a way to more fully feature artisans and their products. The feature ran each Thursday and put the spotlight on two different artisans. Oftentimes, they would be kind enough to offer a giveaway item or great discount at their shops. I had a lot of time to do this during the summer months, but with the busy season approaching – I have decided to put the weekly feature on hold and will revisit it at a later date. I think it would be fun to run the features seasonally. I have an idea for a Halloween-themed feature already!
You’re recently started sharing your original mixed media pieces. Can you tell us your history with mixed media and what has inspired these latest works?
I only started creating mixed media pieces this summer! I really wanted to learn the technique. I found the art to be such a wonderful mix of modern collage and folk art, both of which interest me greatly. Suzi Blu’s classes are phenomenal – she teaches you her technique while allowing you to develop your own style. They are affordable, as well, and you get to view videos – which is very important because you get to see how the process instead of just reading about it.
What is your favorite mixed media technique?
I assume there are lots of different methods in which to create mixed media. But with the way I’ve been learning, I really love working with colored pencils. I was SO afraid of them years ago and avoided them like the plague! They were more like glorified crayons to me. LOL But now that I understand how I can successfully create depth and shadows, I love using them!
You share a lot of the pictures of nature you’ve taken while on walks and the like. What is it that appeals to you about life outdoors and does that influence your creations?
My butterfly muse
I love nature and animals and faerie tales. I’ve always been kind of a dreamer. I’ve always tended to treat animals like people. I carry on conversations with them and play with them. Nature inspires me – as it captures the raw beauty of this world. I find endless fascination in discovering beautiful new flowers and scavenging for seeds and mushrooms, searching for animal tracks in the mud or snow, sneaking up upon butterflies drinking nectar, staring out at the wide open ocean dreaming of being a selkie. A lot of my work features nature-inspired elements – I like to make things that are pretty and fun and feminine.
You have different sections in your shop specifically for Marie Antoinette and Alice in Wonderland pieces. What is it about Antoinette and Wonderland that inspires you?
Marie Antoinette is the epitome, to me, of elegance. I tried to capture her elegance in some of the jewelry I’ve created. And I just LOVE Alice in Wonderland – all the colors and characters and craziness. We really tried to make some fun and zany pieces to reflect the whimsy and wonder of the world that Lewis Carroll created.
What are your top 3 “must have” art supplies?
Paint, yarn and beads
Any last words of creative wisdom for our readers?
“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination.” — John Keats
If there is something in your life that you are passionate about, go for it! You’ll never know if you’ll succeed if you don’t try. For so many years, I felt a bit of emptiness inside and now I’ve come to realize what it was. I need to create, to live a life filled with passion – and to be able to share that with others is icing on the cake.
**Theresa is offering Gauche Alchemy readers a 20% discount off any regular priced jewelry or knit item from her shop, Faerie Moon Creations! You MUST reference this blog feature (so she knows you found it here!) to receive the discount. Offer good on jewelry and knit items only until September 30th.**
Thanks for the interview Theresa, we here at Gauche Alchemy love discovering artists to share with our readers! You rock!
Have a great day everyone and don’t forget to go glue something awesome onto some awesome something!
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Filed under: artist profile, eye candy | Tagged: inspiration, mixed media | 11 Comments »