Obviously I am very drawn to jewelry, and if I am at an art show I will naturally seek it out. But I am also interested in other crafts as well as fine art. I am at the same time blown away and completed baffled by fine art because that is not at all where my talents lie. Give me a blank canvas and I will just start at it for a long, long time without a clue as to where I should begin.
One of best about being part of local artisan groups is being exposed to so many different types of art forms and surrounding myself by such incredibly talented people. My fellow Boston Handmade member, Shannon McDonald, of McDonald Mixed Media, definitely fits the bill. Her mixed media collages are these beautiful works that incorporate images and paint to make bold, vibrant pieces of art that really display Shannon’s passion for her work.
In addition to being a very talented artist, Shannon enjoys cooking and good wine, a zeal for getting her hands dirty, and a very cool and not-so-hidden talent that I learned about through this interview that I will just say involves a giant hoop.
Directly after collage I started interning and working at a few Boston photography galleries. It was such a wonderful and fulfilling experience to be surrounded by beautiful art and photographers. However, whenever I was touching these images I was putting on white gloves in order to not damage and preserve them. I felt very removed from the actual art. When I would come home and make my own art I was searching for a more tactile experience. I wanted to get my hands dirty and make my mark directly on the surface of the piece. I started experimenting with collage and haven’t stopped since. That was about ten years ago. However, it is only in the last 2 years where I focused directly on mixed media collage and nothing else.
Background image by Jaime Buscemia via Flickr
What do you like most about having your own creative business? What do you find most challenging?
Having the freedom to make art on a regular basis is so fulfilling. I also love the community associated with handmade crafts. You can learn so much from other crafters. It is inspiring to see so many people making art as their full time job.
However, there are challenges along the way. Trying to balance everything can be a bit difficult. Creating, marketing, shows, boyfriend, family, friends, exercise all can be a bit hard at times. I don’t have children and I give working artist mothers such props because I don’t know how they manage it all. They are superheroes in my mind.
What inspires you to create?
Love, sadness, longing, happiness… anything and everything emotional. I like to channel these emotions into my pieces. They are a great outlet and I love making them.
What do you think motivates others to buy handmade?
I think that people buy handmade because they know they are getting quality work. They can hold the piece and talk directly with the artists about their process. Even if they are buying from online stores such as ETSY you can ask questions prior to purchasing. Also, you are supporting an artists work so they can continue to create not just some huge corporation.
What is your favorite handmade item you have bought or received?
My favorite handmade item as of this moment is a ring made by Sasha Walsh of Sasha Walsh Designs. It is a ring made with green amethyst bezel set with cool silver crystal like elements. I wear it everyday along with a handmade turquoise ring I bought in Santa Fe. I would rather spend a little extra money on some pieces that I know will last a lifetime. I like to surround myself with handmade piece that are eclectic and convey my style.
When you are not making collages, what do you like to do with your time?
I like to spend time with my wonderful boyfriend, Daniel, family and friends. We love to cook and like trying new foods while enjoying a glass of wine. Also, I am a bit of a movie buff and can’t help the all too frequent Netflix nights. When the weather gets warmer I like to be outside and like to spend time near the ocean. I lived on Cape Cod for several years and will travel there frequently all year round.
What is something people might not know about you?
I don’t think many people know that I love to hula hoop. Also, I can hoop with fire and have gone to hoop camp. I have a fire hoop and performed at a few parties over the years. Two years ago me and two friends went to a a 4-day retreat and took workshops to learn different hooping techniques. It was so much fun and we met some amazing people.
What is one piece of advice you would offer to others with their own creative business?
Be nice and ask questions. I ask other artists all the time about their process, shows they are entering into, marketing ideas, ect. I have learned so much from other people. I am more than willing to share and learn something myself. Just by asking a gallery if they were accepting submission I was asked to be in a show. The worst answer you can get is a no.
Thank you so much for joining me on my blog, Shannon, and be sure to check out her website!