Meet Andrew Jagniecki


What do you love about where you live?

A large print from Andrew's ArtPrize entry.

I have the lakes at my door step, and the four seasons.

What might your perfect afternoon look like?
My perfect afternoon would be a bright sunny day with the sliding door open to my studio and getting lost in my art project.

When you need to simply take a breath and reground yourself, what do you do?
Stop, look and listen. Then go to the kitchen and get a cup of coffee, a drink of water, or a cup of tea. Call my son or daughter, or hug my wife.

When did you know you were an artist?
I am not sure, I feel like I may not be able to answer this question. I always made things even as a child. I would always be drawing things, or perhaps doodling. I kind of carried a belief that anyone could do the things I could do.

What are your secrets for finding time for your art or how do you manage your time?
Time is valuable, we are only here for the time we have.  I have no secret for finding time, if I have “free time” I know how to spend it.

What advice would you give someone starting out to turn their creative dreams into reality?
Don’t hesitate, you have nothing to lose from trying. You can find direction almost any where. Try your local art center for some quick available lesson, or even register for a class at the nearest college.

printing notecards

What is your preferred medium and why?
I like printmaking with several different methods. Woodcuts, engraving and different hand tools. I like using different etching methods. I also like painting and drawing, and carving three dimensional forms. I like making things with my hands that come from that spot that is part brain, and part heart.

What’s your background?
I am educated in studio fine art, and education. I also have studied Industrial Art. I have had the great fortune to study under some of the best art instructors at Muskegon Community College, Grand Valley State University, and the University of Iowa. Trips to other cities and states always include finding an Art Museum, locating Galleries, or finding someone’s studio.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I have had the privilege to teach Cabinetry & Wood Shop at the high school level.  I’ve also worked in the casting industry, and a couple of different areas in rehabilitation.  I am a licensed builder experienced in carpentry and the areas of painting & decorating. My experience allows me to combine my art skills with architecture.  I have made many relief panels for custom signs, decor fixtures, and installations.

a copper plate for printing

What do you like about your work?
I like to work with things that are in my immediate environment. It could be the lake, the trees, or maybe a bird pecking at a seed on the ground. There are many things in our living spaces that seem to go unnoticed at times. If anything, what I like about my work is the process of making it.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
When there is nothing else you can do about your present situation, or when you are waiting for something to occur, this is the best time to be working on something you like to work on.

One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?
I’m still working on it. I believe that how we make things is influenced by our perspective of the world we live in. Life continuously changes, at times when we don’t even want it to. When I think of a “personal style”, I’m not too sure of what to say. We go through so many changes that it has to show up in the art we make.

What is your inspiration for your pieces? What keeps you motivated?
Most of the time I think I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. In terms of making art, for me, it is the action of making it. In printmaking, carving out the plates is most gratifying. During a drawing session, the act of placing the figure on paper, then allowing the development of composition to unfold has a sort of fascination. There are times when I find myself in the Muskegon Museum of Art, standing in front of the Curry painting, or looking for the Charles Burchfield trees. If time allows, I might look up some other printmakers on the internet.  There are all sorts of areas in the world where you will find art history to look at.

What was it that made you want to start creating? Did something specific trigger it?
I come from unusual circumstances as a child.  The farm my father bought when we were young had some really old books in the attic that explained and schematically showed you how to make different things, from building a boat to drawing a wild bird. They even had plans for carving animal figures. I really liked those books, sometimes I think they saved me from some of the other extremes I could have chosen.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?

I do think it affects my work, I like landscapes and nature. And then we also live in a throw-away society. We all need to take an active part in knowing what we throw away, and how we throw it. Most of the plastic we use is oil base, and more than likely oil is a foundation for other products other than burning it in cars. When I think of cars, I then think of crows and other scavengers that clean up the road kill that we cause from being in a hurry. I am also drawn to the age old folklore connected to the creatures in our environment. Technology will always have an effect on our immediate environment. Many things become common place in such a short amount of time especially when it improves “quality of life.” Most of our neighboring states have wind generators that seem to flow over the rolling hills, they create an interesting landscape, not to mention long term employment.

For more information, please see:

Blog – http://andrewjagniecki.blogspot.com
Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/shop/andrewjagniecki

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Meet Bette DelVecchio

When you need to simply take a breath and reground yourself, what do you do?
In the summer, I sit on the patio at my house under an amazing maple tree, it is a very healing place to be.

© Bette DelVecchio

When did you know you were an artist?
That’s a good question, I think when I was a child creating clothing, or arranging things just the way I thought they should look. This continued on for a while, until the world said, “This is the box you need to fit in.”

I always felt as though I was an artist, I always had a different vision of what something should look like. When I changed things that were ‘store bought’ to what I wanted and others started saying how cool it was, I guess that is when I finally believed it.

I didn’t really get back into art until I had 2 little kids. I took a pottery class and l fell in love. But, raising children,  the art went out the window. After the kids left, I took another clay class at MCC. I also went to Oxbow 3 or 4 times.

What is your preferred medium and why?
I’m currently using acrylics. I’ve worked with clay for so many years, and it’s a long process. I think I like the immediacy of acrylics.  Two years ago Christy Dreese Carter did a painting class and she wanted me to take it. I took it and I was in love! I’ve been painting ever since. I get so immersed in what the paint does, and how it moves.

© Bette DelVecchio

What’s your background?
I worked as a mortgage loan office for the last 20 years of my career. I’ve almost always done office work.  Thankfully, I retired before the banking disaster.

What do you like about your work?
I like how open and free it feels, I’m just in another world when I am painting.

Professionally, what are your goals?
I’m not looking to make a million dollars, I mainly want to make a connection with my art, for someone to look at what I make and say, “I want to live with that.” I don’t need to be rich and famous, I just want that connection with others. The money is a good thing-then you can buy more art supplies, and pay the rent, but the real gift is somebody connecting to your work. Someone saying, “I really like that.” That’s important.

© Bette DelVecchio

One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?
I don’t think I have a signature style yet, it continues to evolve, and I hope the evolution continues.

What is your inspiration for your pieces?  What keeps you motivated?
Nature is the biggest inspiration-rocks, water, plant life.  I also get a lot of inspiration from architecture. The motivation that keeps me going is that people want to take my art home to live with it.

© Betty DelVecchio

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
Of course, I do have some concerns, but I take appropriate precautions, so I don’t believe it has any effect on my work.

Are you concerned about health risks, if any, of your medium?
No, because I do take appropriate precautions. I’ve learned more about working with acrylics, and I follow those things. I also keep clay vacuumed up, so I don’t breathe silica dust.

© Betty DelVecchio

If you could change one property of your chosen medium, what would it be?
It would magically do what I see in my mind’s eye!

Bette’s work is for sale at the Art Art Gallery and Gallery Uptown in Grand Haven, Dreese Carter Gallery in Spring Lake, Muskegon Museum of Art, and the White River Gallery in Montague.

She also has two pieces in the Grand Haven Artwalk, a cardboard crane and a triptych, both at the Grand Haven Museum. Bette also has work in the Lakeland Artist fall show at the Grand Haven Community Center.

©Bette DelVecchio

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Meet Rebecca Lindquist


Who are you?

Wow! This is a tough one. I feel like I should have a clear, concise, beautifully packaged definition of who I am, but alas….. To keep it simple and straightforward: I am a fiber artist, a wife, a sister, an aunt, and a daughter. A rug hooker, primarily, and an embroiderer who uses wool, linen, floss, cotton and paper as her supplies of choice.

What do you love about where you live?
The peace. The solitude. I can feel completely alone and isolated in this lovely corner of Michigan.

What might your perfect afternoon look like?
It’s a hot summer day… Blue sky, puffy cumulus clouds drift lazily across the azure stillness, and I sit, at the water’s edge, a cool beverage in my right hand. My soul expands…

When you need to simply take a breath and reground yourself, what do you do?
I sleep. Sleep is the perfect escape, it’s free, it’s uplifting, it’s inspiring. (Of course, I wouldn’t mind spending the day at a spa, wearing a fluffy bathrobe and sipping cucumber-infused water!)

How do you nurture your creative dreams?
I listen. I step outside, close my eyes and hear. The manmade sounds, the ruffling wind, all the little bird/animal/insect voices. I focus on the whole and on each separate sound. I realize that each thing I hear has a place, a right to be. And, so do I ~ my dreams are as valid as I allow them to be.

What is your preferred medium and why?
Textiles, especially wool. The first time I actually saw a hooked rug was at the Fallasburg Art Festival in 2001 or 2002. The rug was no bigger than 6”x6” and the design was very simple, very childlike. I was suddenly transported to a place of comfort. That probably seems silly and melodramatic, but it’s true. There was an instant connection between me and this very small rug I was holding. I wanted to know how. I wanted to participate in this medium. Up until that epiphany, I ‘d always thought of wool as itchy, scratchy and uncomfortable… suddenly, wool became as soft and pleasing as an embrace.

How do you work?
Quietly. Even when my surroundings are overwhelming to one or more of my senses, I can quiet the “noise” if I have a hook or needle or bit of wool in my hand.

I start with the design, either one I’ve drawn myself or found online, and then decide on the colors. The design is drawn on primitive linen, a binding is sewn around the edges, and then the piece is attached to my frame that’s on a stand so I can sit comfortably and work. I dye most of the wool myself with Cushing acid dyes. I used to use exclusively recycled wool but it has become so expensive, and clothing manufacturers aren’t using 100% or even 90% wool-which is what I use.  I need to prepare 4 times as much wool as the size of the backing.  It takes me two minutes to hook a section one inch square, so a rug that’s 2 ft. x 2 ft. takes between 8 and 12 hours, just for the hooking. After I take it off the frame, I steam it, trim off the linen, and finally hand sew the binding to the back.

What’s your background?

In college I was an English major. After college, I worked with clay ceramic sculpture. I had a kiln and did raku for  9 or 10 years. Paper, embroidery and rug hooking fiber arts are my primary interests right now.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Draw outside the lines.” This was my mother’s message throughout my childhood, and she wasn’t referring to just my coloring books, but to my life. I think she recognized that I felt different, undeserving, “outside” somehow, and she wanted me to know that imperfection can spark creative thinking, and creative thinking can open doors you’ve kept under lock and key.

Professionally, what are your goals?
To be a part. A part of the artistic community, a part of the conversation, though I’m at my most comfortable on the periphery. I like the concept of being “a part”… it’s not all about me, I’m not the “whole”, I’m not lonely in my aloneness ~ I am “a part” without pressure to be the “whole”. And, to feel. To feel valid and vital. (Of course, I wouldn’t mind selling a few rugs!)

One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else.
How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?
Comparatively, there aren’t many rug hookers, at least as far as I can tell. It’s not a hugely popular medium like photography, painting or drawing, so I’ve never felt like I needed to try to be different from other rug hookers. However, it has taken me several years to find my niche, to find the method that leads to the outcome that makes me proud to admit that I created something.

What is your inspiration for your pieces? What keeps you motivated?
What inspires me most is color, then texture, then design. My preference is for the
soft… soft, neutral colors, and soft textured wools and backings. I lean toward the simple… simple, naïve, childlike, designs. That’s how I’d like life to be; soft, simple, straightforward and innocent.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I’m concerned about environmental issues in general. I liked using recycled wool but a lot of clothing that I was purchasing had not been previously worn and I felt in some way I was supporting the sweat shops. So, now I buy wool and dye it myself. I’m not concerned about the dyes because from what I’ve read, almost all of the dyes are absorbed in the wool although I do wear hand and eye protection when dyeing.  What I like about wool is that it’s a renewable resource, they don’t kill the sheep to get the wool. It would be awesome if I lived in Scotland and had a farm right next to me. On the other hand, the process employs a lot of people.

Are you concerned about health risks, if any, of your medium?
As I mentioned earlier, I wear gloves and safety glasses and I use tiny, tiny amounts of Cushing dyes.  I did have a problem with carpal tunnel but I got a brace that I now wear and I bought a better hook.


Rebecca’s work can be found on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/goodwool.

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Art Prize


What? ArtPrize 2011 The web site is full of information!

Lure/Wave 3rd place winner 2010

When? September 21, to October 9, 2011

Where? Over 150 venues around Grand Rapids, Michigan including galleries, office lobbies, restaurants, courtyards, and parks

Who? Almost 1,600 artists from all over the globe and YOU, the public. Become an active participant in ArtPrize by voting. Anyone 16 years of age or older with an email and valid government ID can vote. There is no charge for voter registration. You can register online or at the event but all voters must activate their voting status in person at the event. There’s even an app for that!

Two of the artists who have been featured on this blog are participating in ArtPrize this year:
Lee Brown

Linda Dimitroff

Last year's Steam Pig

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Meet Carl Luther

Carl Luther in front of an exhibit of his work at the Bettye Clark-Cannon Gallery.

Who are you?
I see myself as an observer with a short term memory. Photography allows me to capture the moment so I can study it later. I have a tendency to wander and look at things longer than most people. I always want to see what is around the next bend or to see it again in different light or season.

What do you love about where you live?
I have always loved western Michigan, the sand dunes and the lake are the big draw for me. I was born and raised in northern Ohio. My family loved camping and we frequently visited Michigan. I chose to go to Olivet College and upon graduation took a teaching position in western Michigan. I remember arriving for an interview in Muskegon and after seeing the beauty of the area I decided this is where I wanted to live!

What might your perfect afternoon look like?

Bug Eye © Carl Luther

My perfect afternoon would be a road trip without any time restraints. It would be a drive down back roads in familiar territory or maybe new territory. The light would be favorable and maybe there would be a dramatic sky. A surprise subject matter would be nice, but something familiar would be okay, especially if seen in new light.

How do you nurture your creative dreams?
Because of the fact that I work on a limited income, I can’t just go anywhere I want to, so I look for opportunities that allow me to travel and take pictures. I have volunteered as a guide in a lighthouse, taken mission trips to other countries, and worked on restoration projects on South Manitou Island. If someone needs a driver I am available. When something like that comes up, I jump at it!

When did you know you were an artist?
I was told I was artistic when I was in elementary school, I did a soap carving of a horse that my mother thought was just wonderful. It sat on the shelf until it got moldy!
I always saw art as kind of a goof-off course, so I chose to take the more academic courses and just did average. I discovered that math was not my forte, no matter how hard I worked at it, it was not going to come together. It really wasn’t until college that I dove into art.

What advice would you give someone starting out to turn their creative dreams into reality?
Choose to do what you do well and enjoy it.

Appalachian Spring © Carl Luther

Has your preferred medium always been photography and why?
My training was in printmaking and drawing. Photography was a teaching tool I used in my classroom. I found that it allowed me to bring subject matter into the classroom, in the form of slides, that I could project onto a screen to teach perspective drawing, watercolor painting, examples as far as landscapes (the contour of the ground). With a slide on the screen, I could bring a tree into the room or a building. I enjoyed it but I wasn’t good at it. I slowly built up my subject matter because that was before digital photography was available and it was costly.
I’m using it now because when I retired I had more time. It’s an excuse to see things, to travel, to move around, to look for new adventures and to record them. It gives me a purpose…”I need to take a picture of that.”

Is the main subject of your work nature?
I would say landscape, but I am always open to whatever catches my eye. I love ghost towns, thunderstorms, junkyards, auto shows, anything that makes an interesting subject.

Indigo Eve © Carl Luther

How do you work?
I work alone. My studio is in the basement, the “man cave”, away from everything else in the house. When I’m out taking photos, I always feel uncomfortable if someone is with me because I feel like I’m infringing on their time. I’m always the guy who wants to drive around this next corner or go down this road. Artists have a tendency to be selfish, writers need to hole up someplace and be by themselves, etc. I think that most artists are very comfortable with themselves most of the time. Working alone allows me to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. My wife has gotten used to me saying that I’ll be home in an hour and then showing up three hours later.

Carl at work in his studio.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I wasn’t given this advice directly but, when I was reading about the life of Andrew Wyeth, his father told him to be a sponge, soak up as much as you can and then wring yourself out every once in a while.

One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?
I can tell you the transition and how it came about. I’ve been a member of the camera club for 6 or 7 years. Things were becoming so technical with photography software and all of the programs that came on the scene, that I plateaued with camera skills. My computer skills are basic. I use Photoshop Elements 9 and that’s all I need. On a trip last fall I went to Smoky Mountains and took pictures of moving water. When I got home one of photos that I looked at, I decided that I wished I had included more of the scene in the image I captured.  I saw that a log stuck out one way and I thought, “Well, I can draw those in!” I expanded the image beyond the print by drawing it in. That was just the beginning.
I now photograph with that process in mind. I used to keep true to the photo, now I use more of a creative license and use my imagination more. I also take wider shots than I used to.

Carl with some examples of his work.


How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
Since the main subject of my work is nature, I’m concerned about public property, big developers threatening to take over areas that are now open to everyone. What a tragedy it would be to see an area that was formerly public property turned into private property. If Yosemite National Park had not been made into a park for everyone to enjoy, it would be private property that only a few could enjoy. My biggest fear is loss of public land.

Carl is a member of the White River Gallery in Montague, MI. He can be reached at carluther58 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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Live Visitor Feeds

NASA. earth.jpg. . Pics4Learning. 15 Aug 2011 <http://pics.tech4learning.com&gt;

Julie and I frequently teach others how to blog. A comment we hear from beginners is that nobody is reading their blog. They base this remark on the fact that they aren’t getting many comments on their posts and wonder why they should put the effort into writing posts. What they don’t realize is that most readers prefer to “lurk” and only occasionally comment on a post. Our suggestion is to add a widget to the sidebar that tells blog authors when someone visits their blog and from what location. There are several free tools available for blog authors to use, including feedjit and clustrmaps.

We recently added a live feed reader from FEEDJIT. Although Julie and I knew from the blog software how many hits we were getting on our blog, we didn’t know the location (geographically speaking) of the readers. It’s been fun seeing that we have visitors from all over the world. In the last five days, readers across the U.S. as well as others from the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, India, Italy, South Africa, the European Union, and Israel have read our blog. We hope that, wherever you might be as you read this blog, you enjoy reading about the artists we’re featuring as much as we enjoy writing about them.

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Chester at Maker Faire

If you’ve been following this blog, you probably remember our interview with Chester Winowiecki from last April. Last weekend, Chester and his wife Cara O’Brien participated in Maker Faire in Detroit, MI. This two-day event at the Henry Ford is described as “an interactive and family-friendly fair that takes arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology projects and the do-it-yourself (DIY) mind-set to a next level. It’s a celebration of creativity and discovery that will blow your mind.” Chester took string instruments that he’s made, including his tin pan banjos and was featured in a post on BoingBoing.

Posted by Mark Frauenfelder at http://boingboing.net/2011/07/30

Here’s the video they posted on YouTube.

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Meet Suzanne Moynihan

Who are you?
I am an artist, a friend, a teacher and a student.

What do you love about where you live?
I love the four seasons…the way summer moves so fast and winter so slow. The woods that I live in affects the work that I do because I’ve started using pieces of wood in my sculpture. I’ve just started to notice how the bark is so different – I want to use it in my jewelry. In the fall, I notice the twigs on the sidewalk and it’s like it’s framed for me. I’m inspired and motivated by the ever changing  water and sky around my west Michigan home.

What might your perfect afternoon look like?
Hmmmm, I’m working in my studio, just looking out the window, and all of a sudden I see or hear something amazing. Whatever it is leaves me in awe of our world.

When you need to simply take a breath and reground yourself, what do you do?
Hike to water. Or eat chocolate. or walk the labrynth in my studio.

How do you nurture your creative dreams?
I stay in touch with other artists, listen to their ideas, ask them what they’re working on, soak up the feeling in their studio. I like to read art blogs, some I check at least every week.  These people amaze me, I’m not much of a writer.

When did you know you were an artist?
We’re born artists, I guess I just didn’t give it up.

What are your secrets for finding time for your art or how do you manage your time?
It’s like that old fable about overcrowding a house, then removing things one at a time to see how much space you really have. At one point my life was really busy with family, teaching, friends, and art. If I would just drop one commitment it would seem to open up a big window for something new.  In terms of managing time….I don’t watch TV, a very easy sacrifice. Now that I’ve retired from teaching K-12, I’m hoping to be a full-time, all-the-time artist.

What advice would you give someone starting out to turn their creative dreams into reality?
Find a place in your home, or very close to it, where you can have a studio space.

What is your preferred medium and why?
Metals….I enjoy making  wearable art and small sculpture.

What’s your background?
I have a BFA from Michigan State, and a MA from Grand Valley. I’ve entered lots of juried art fairs: the most brutal and honest of teachers. Commissioned works provide another lesson, this time in cooperation.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Bar waitress, lifeguard,  I’d like to say brain surgeon and jungle explorer but I don’t think I can get away with that.

Professionally, what are your goals?
Well, it would be the same goals as I’ve always had: create and communicate.

What was it that made you want to start creating? Did something specific trigger it?
Nope, just always was making things. I even had strange little studio spaces where I’d leave my projects up when I was a kid.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I have a great respect for nature, I think this comes through in  my work.

Are you concerned about health risks, if any, of your medium?
There are some things to be concerned about, and since I was an art teacher for so long I’d like to think I know the risks and respect them.

If you could change one property of your chosen medium, what would it be?
Gold would go back to $30 an ounce, where it was when I started to make jewelry in 1972 instead of $1500 an ounce.
You can find Suzanne’s work at the Gallery Uptown in Grand Haven, MI and Synchronicity Art Gallery in Glen Arbor, MI.

Suzanne recently participated in the Pentwater Art Fair and will be in Art on the Riverfront on Saturday, August 20, 2011 from 10:00am to 5:00pm at the Grand Haven City Marina.

Check out her web site -  Moynihan Design.

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Meet Peter Johnson

If you’ve spent any time in the White Lake area, then certainly you’ve heard of Peter “The Potter” Johnson. He has been a fixture in West Michigan since he built his studio, Terrestrial Forming Pottery, over forty years ago on Lamos Road at Michillinda. Until recently, Peter and his family lived above the working studio. He and his wife, Jan, now live in a house nestled in the woods by the studio.

Peter is one of the few potters who accepts apprentices in his studio. Over the last 40 years, thirty-two artists have worked with him, honing their craft. The majority of those artists have gone on to become full-time potters with their own studios around the country, as well as in Canada and Japan.

Who are you?
I am my parent’s child. I’m an artist first and a potter second. A potter is an artist who works with clay. I think that an artist is always working towards an elucidation through the craft. There are a lot of ways in which a potter can be an artist. How can you do anything without doing something artistic? I’m a 66 year old man who wants to do a lot more. It’s the same as in let’s go exploring today, but it’s different in that it’s let’s get off in some new terrain, I’m definitely into adventure.

What do you love about where you live?
I like the seasons and the fact that none of them are particularly harsh, which is kind of ironic. I remember being in Mexico once, their average day is beautiful on a level. I like the levelness of this but on a bigger average – the mean and the deviation, and from mid-Michigan you can go south for more of that and north for more of that. I find myself going north more than south.

When you need to simply take a breath and reground yourself, what do you do?
I set myself up in the scheme of the landscape. I try to go completely outside myself, I connect completely with nature. I get completely out of my ego. It works real well and real fast.

When did you know you were an artist?
That confidence comes and goes. I think graduating from grad school was a very big step in the consideration of myself as an artist. When you analyze that a little bit, you see that it’s more about confidence than realization.

What are your secrets for finding time for your art or, how do you manage your time?
I try to multi-task as much as I can but I’ve got to acknowledge that I’m pretty closed-focused, it makes it a real problem for me. How do I balance between work and play? Intensity. Balance is achieved by getting a good dose, if I haven’t had a good dose of something, I’m not in balance.

What is your preferred medium and why?
I’m heavily invested in clay. Why clay over a medium that has instant gratification? In a lot of ways, I don’t know the answer to that. I like the malleability of clay before it’s fired, but the rigidity of clay, ceramic fired clay, is not particularly attractive to me. I like the finished fired things only as much as they resemble what it was I attained when it was malleable. I enjoy the inert stability of the finished product but I don’t love it. I love it before it’s finished. I love it when it’s moving in my fingers. That really goes deeper into the aesthetic of being an artist. The closer that I can work with my medium, with just my flesh and bones, the better I like it. I, the organism, am touching the clay, an organism…it’s alive. I would not be happy as a computer graphic designer, the crystalline world is alive as well but it’s a distant cousin.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I was a camp counselor, I taught sailing and I kept the boats up. I apprenticed with a boat builder and learned how to replace masts and drill holes and refurbish. I’ve lived in a tent in the summer, ever since I was 10.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Look before you leap.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I’m very concerned. It actually does bother me that the transformation of clay to finished ceramic requires so much wasted heat release. It’s one of the things I would say that is at the top of my list of what I see as sad, unfortunate. It’s not that the fuel is burned, it’s that the heat is wasted. Why does the fuel have to be used in such a blunt way?

Are you concerned about health risks, if any, of your medium?
I was early on but I learned what I had to do.

If you could change one property of your chosen medium, what would it be?
That you wouldn’t have to fire it to such a high temperature to affect changes.

You can find Peter’s pottery in his studio in Whitehall (Terrestrial Forming, 5385 Lamos at Michillinda Road), the Gallery Uptown in Grand Haven, and the White River Gallery in Montague. He has also been selling his work at the Artisan Market in Montague on Saturdays this summer. A large vessel of Peter’s was accepted in this year’s Regional Exhibit at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

Peter has a Facebook page for Terrestrial Forming Pottery Studio, check it out for news and updates.

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Local Artisans’ Markets

In Michigan, art fairs abound during the summer months. Recently, both Grand Haven and Montague have added a weekend Artisans’ Market in their line-up of attractions. Both markets are juried to ensure that quality items are available to purchase and organizers promise an ever-changing variety of art work. Organizers also point out that the markets provide another family-friendly activity for residents as well as tourists visiting the area.

The Montague Market’s opening was June 4 and will continue from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. each Saturday, rain or shine, until October next to the Farmers’ Market at 8660 Water Street. Members of the Montague Artisan Marketplace Steering Committee are: Co-coordinators Lou Ann Shaw and Carol Wood, treasurer Kim Rosema, Helen Allshouse and Sharon Smithem. The market offers 12-by-12-foot spaces for $12. Artists can commit to one weekend or the whole season, according to committee member Lou Ann Shaw. Up to 32 vendors can fill the marketplace each Saturday. The market’s mission statement is to “build and strengthen Montague’s reputation as an artist community and contribute to the success of the local economy.” See the Montague Artisan Market Place page on Facebook.

Grand Haven’s Artisan Market is open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, under the big green canopy on the beautiful waterfront at Chinook Pier. This is the location of the city’s Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In its second year, many of last year’s popular artists are returning and new artists have been added to the list of more than 55 West Michigan artists selling their wares in Grand Haven.
The Sunday Art Market is the joint effort of the Art Market Committee, the Chamber of Commerce that sponsors it, and the Grand Haven Area Arts Council. For more information, go to http://visitgrandhaven.com or call 616-842-4910.

Several of the artists that you’ve met here in the Artists in West Michigan blog are selling their creative wares at art fairs and markets this summer. We encourage you to give them your support.

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