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the pulse of mixed media by seth apter

first and foremost, i want to congratulate seth apter on his AMAZING, wonderful, absolutely stunning new book.  at the time of typing this post, i have not yet held it in my hands, but i run to my mailbox several times daily with the great anticipation of its arrival.  soon it will be here and i cannot wait!

thinking back to when seth initially invited me to be a part of his now-released book “the pulse of mixed media: secrets and passions of 100 artists revealed” i was awe stricken, dumfounded, proud, humbled and blissfully elated all in one.  i couldn’t for the life of me understand why he would invite “little ol’ me,” the weird girl in mis-matched striped knee highs and uneven pigtails who still, in her adulthood, played with doll parts and was fascinated with bones and other such things but i was so honored that he did.  i was so excited!!  (and still am!)

before i get into that though, i have asked seth a couple of questions that i was quite sure people would be interested in knowing the answers to.  after all, he did ask us many fantastic thought-provoking things of the participating artists so i felt it only fair… not that these are thought-provoking or deep, but i was curious.  🙂

dyad, copyright seth apter

dyad, copyright seth apter

alicia: when you initially started “the pulse” 4 years ago, did you ever imagine it would grow into something so large with such a huge following?  at what point did you envision taking it to the next level and publishing a book?

seth: The size and impact of The Pulse has really taken me by surprise. I remember very clearly that I had 35 artists sign up for the first edition of The Pulse back in January 2008, just 5 months after I started my blog. At that point, my expectations were already exceeded but I had a sense that I had tapped into something special. The 5th edition of The Pulse is now running, with 150 artists participating. That number boggles my mind. I had turned the 3rd online edition into a print zine and had often thought that this project had the bones to become a book. But it wasn’t until I was approached by Tonia Davenport, my editor from North Light Books, that I realized I could make this dream a reality. That was 2 years ago, almost to the day of the book’s release, and I couldn’t be more happy with how it has turned out.

alicia: based upon the gorgeous amazon preview i’ve looked it, it appears that you have a vast array of different styles of beautiful art.  what inspired you to invite the artists you’ve featured in your book?   

seth: There are 2 groups of artists included in the book: 31 spotlight artists that I personally invited to contribute and 102 additional artists that responded to an open call. All of the contributors moved me with their art and their words. I selected the spotlight artists in particular based on a number of different criteria. They were all artists I respected, with a body of artwork that spoke to me. In all cases, at one time or another, their creations had taken my breath away. Although I was already in contact with many of the artists, there were a number of contributors I asked having never connected with them before the book project began. I sought out a very eclectic group of international artists so that many distinct art mediums would be represented and the entire range of the mixed media community would be included.

billboard, copyright seth apter

billboard, copyright seth apter

when i think of seth, i think of an amazing artist, a grand collaborator, a pioneer, and a friend i have yet to meet (soon though!).  he is a thought provoker, someone who makes you really think.  i spent a huge amount of self reflection time when reading through the many questions he’d asked for the book.  several of these were not easy questions by any means, and i think just the process of answering them made me feel like i understood a tiny bit more why i am the way i am and why i create the things i do.  that may sound weird, but it’s true.  so thank you for that, seth!

i have been a huge admirer of seth’s artwork since the moment i laid eyes on it and [so far] am the proud owner of one of his pieces (not shown here).

………………………………………………………………..

the thing that intimidated me most, initially, when being invited to be in the book was that all featured artists were supposed to create a self portrait.  it was actually the only thing that intimidated me.  this was pre-alicia-attempts-to-paint people days.  i tried to paint myself.  i tried to collage myself.  and then i emailed seth and said “wait, can my self-portrait be an assemblage??”  his answer was the best ever: “i wouldn’t expect anything else from you, alicia” (or something to that effect).  at that point i felt totally free and confident, and created my “self portrait” with both passion and ease.  the following is a peek of my piece entitled “exhibition of self”. (you’ll have to get the book to see the piece in its entirety, or wait until i share more about it at a later date).

alicia caudle, exhibition of self, assemblage, doll head, altered bits, bird, nest

the second piece that i created for the book was in response to a question seth asked me: “how do you express anger in your artwork?”  this too was a difficult question for me but after sitting on it awhile and getting good and pissed off (for a non-related reason), i created “feigning death”.  again, this is only a peek:

alicia caudle, art, assemblage, skull, bones, doll hand, antique vial, wood, anger

since creating these two pieces, i’ve started two series of similar works but have been keeping them under wraps.  check back as i’ll be posting about nine of them over the next several weeks as time permits.

thank you so very much, seth!  i feel so honored to be a part of your first book.  you are the best, sir!

if you didn’t start on seth’s blog today, please head over there now.  he’s featuring each of the 31 spotlight artists during this 31 day month and today is my day.  the altered page >>  also, for every comment you leave on his blog or the others in the tour, you’ll be entered to win signed copies of the book.  check out the details on seth’s blog.  exciting stuff indeed!!

i’m sure you’ve already heard, but i’m telling you again anyway because it’s sooooo worth telling!  seth apter‘s very first book “the pulse of mixed media” is due to hit the shelves on 2 march, 2012.  i haven’t seen the inside of the book yet (of course), but i can tell you without a doubt that it is going to be one of the BEST mixed media art books of all times, if not THE BEST.  you can guarantee that i will be buying several copies of this book.  here is a peek at the lovely cover with multiple mini-peeklets of so much gorgeous and delectable art that it makes me with it were march 2nd right now:

the pulse of mixed media by seth apteri’m loving everything on that cover so much i just want to lick it!

i am so very honored to be a part of this book (yeps, i’m in it though would be hugely plugging it either way)!  seth is one of my all-time favorite artists, bloggers and people i’ve never met but plan to so being within the pages of his first-ever book is such a monumentally huge thing to me.  i feel so very grateful to have been invited (thank you, seth!!) and so honored to be in a book with so many amazingly talented artists.  i’m not going to tell you what’s in it or give you peeks… just wanted to tease you with the cover and say you must go get it!  it will be available for pre-order on amazon and i will let you know when that is the moment i’m made aware.

also, seth now has a email list sign-up on his blog so you can sign up there to find out all new deets as he shares them.  go on now… thealteredpage.blogspot.com

free skeleton key image

first, i want to thank all of you who entered my recent giveaway of “steampunk emporium” by jema “emilly ladybird” hewitt and the little bundle of goodies.  the random number generator was a tad testy this morning, first picking every single international person, then kerin whom i know already has the book.  sheesh.

anyway, without further ado, here are the winners:

the winner of the little bundle of watch parts, gears, cogs and vintage beads is…
miss missy majchrzak buckley of the rust button

and the winner of the “steampunk emporium” book is…
miss lynn stevens of trash to treasure art

congratulations, ladies!  please send me your information and i will send yours right out, missy, and pass your mailing address onto northlight books, lynn.  (i will email you today too since i’m not expecting you to be sitting around hitting refresh on my blog all day)

free gears image, collage, art journal, steampunk

p.s. the two images in this post are from some new collage sheets that i have not yet posted on the altered bits website (they are in my etsy shop though) and are free to use for anyone who wishes to snatch ’em up for your collages, assemblages, art journals, ATCs or whatever.

xx

i have had the honor and privilege of receiving a copy of the wonderful book “Steampunk Emporium” by UK-based jewelry maker, costume designer and crafter, jema “emilly ladybird” hewitt. “steampunk emporium” is about creating fantastical jewelry, devices and oddments from assorted cogs, gears and curios. it is vastly full of wonderful jewelry and costumes, many project instructions (20!) and a wonderful variety of intermixed stories.  it’s quite a delightful book for anyone interested in steampunk, jewelry, costume making or just reading adventurous tales.

to be entered to win a FREE copy of jema’s book “steampunk emporium” from northlight books, simply leave a comment in this post before july 19th.  limit to US visitors only, please.  see below for the additional giveaway: a little altered bits bundle of steampunk and vintage bead goodness (no geographical restrictions — i’ll ship it anywhere).

don’t fret — if you do not win, you can still buy yourself a copy on the shop mixed media site here: http://www.shopmixedmedia.com/product/steampunk-emporium-z8074/ or any local bookseller anywhere in the world.

and now, for the interview…

Please tell us a bit about yourself and the art that you create.

My name is Jema Hewitt and I make unusual costumes, wedding gowns and jewellery, particularly Victorian-inspired steampunk styles. I live amid the rolling hills of Derbyshire and have an Aladdin’s cave of a studio in Nottingham. This area of England used to be the heart of the textile and lace making industry back in the Victorian era and I love the fact I am carrying on that tradition. My steampunk alter ego is “Emilly Ladybird” and I use that persona to create fantastical steampunk objects d’art.

steampunk jewelry by emma hewitt, steampunk emporium

What creative paths has your life taken to lead you to where you are today?

Oh so many, I was very fortunate to meet like-minded artists and craftsmen early on in my career and they have remained great friends, inspiring, swapping knowledge and contacts, giving each other jobs and helping find commissions. I worked freelance for so many different places too, always also working part time in shops and cafes to keep my rent money coming in. I suppose working at the bead shop in Nottingham was my first writing break – I did a puff piece for the shop which was published in a magazine and that lead to my first book which was most exciting.

Can you tell us about your art studio?

It is a tiny unit in an old Victorian hospital which had partitions put up in the 1970s to make it into light manufacturing units. It’s owned by the council and is rather unloved and neglected, but we keep our heads down so they don’t put the rent up. 😉 There are lots of wonderful artists and craftspeople in the building so it’s not lonely. My room has a huge window and is full of light, its packed floor to ceiling with cupboards full of fabric and trims and things with a wardrobe full of costumes and props. The studio is my “clean” space for fabric and sewing. My jewellery making tends to take place at home in the cottage, on the dining table. Fortunately my husband is very tolerant of my creative madness. I have boxes and boxes of clock parts, resins and beads hidden away under the stairs.

jewelry by jema hewitt, steampunk necklace, steampunk emporium

What artist would you bring back from the dead if you had the power to do so?

I would love to learn from Lalique. His jewellery is exquisite and I think he’d have been incredibly inspiring to be around, I’d love to see what he would do with our modern tools and materials too. I would love for Van Gogh to see how much his work is appreciated now too.

Where do you find your deepest inspiration?

From the people around me. They inspire, challenge and support.

steampunk emporium, jema hewitt, emilly ladybird, necklace, gears

Have any artists heavily influenced you in your artwork (known or unknown, living or not)?

I think some of my jewellery work is quite Alphonse Mucha inspired, it took a long time for me to find my own style; it’s hard when you are working as a commercial artist sometimes because you are always restricted by a client’s desires, you have to be able to adapt your style or mimic someone else’s. I’m becoming more and more interested in abstract pattern cutting techniques, Vivienne Westwood type Victoriana, proper punk haute couture, and I will forever be grateful to Donna Kato for inspiring me with her books on polymer clay techniques. My longtime friend and collaborator Lyssa has been a huge influence too. We started Kindred Spirits together and although she has gone down a different career path now, our house style was very much developed between us. We still get together every week to talk and enthuse! But really I suppose my influences constantly change as my work develops and explores new avenues.

absynthe steampunk necklace

Do you have a favorite piece of art that you have created for “Steampunk Emporium”?

I love the absinthe fairy necklace; it has that luscious Art Nouveau feel to it, while still being steampunky. I do like absinthe, especially with cream soda, so I’ll admit to a soft spot for the absinthe fairy! I’m also rather fond of the adventurers pocket watch.

If you could give one piece of your art to anyone in the world, who would it be?

I’d like to see Lady Gaga or Dita von Teese in one of my costumes, most definitely!

steampunk costume, tea party, tea time, clockworks

Describe a typical day in your life.

Patted awake by a cat or bunny around 9, gradually come out of my coma (assisted by a nice cup of tea from my hubby), then maybe go out for breakfast with him too. Arrive at the studio by 11.00 and do some pattern cutting or sewing, maybe have a client fitting or prepare for a workshop, exhibition or event. Work through lunch (I often forget to eat when I’m at the studio…). Order fabrics, do some taxes/book keeping or pay bills. Have a cuppa with one of the other studio folks or meet a friend for a chat, leave the studio about 6, get home and have dinner with hubby, watch some DVDs then do some jewellery making or writing, computer type things till eleven or so, then a bath and bed around midnight!

To be honest there’s no typical day though, I might get up at 5 am, drive to be on a film set by 6 and then spend the day loitering, or I might go to an exhibition and spend the entire weekend in fabulous costume, selling my wares!

Do you have any advice you would offer to an emerging Steampunk or jewelry artist?

Don’t undervalue your work. Price it properly even when you are starting out, charging for every minute of time spent on it. If that scares you, consider swapping rather than selling your pieces for things of equal hourly value, babysitting, accountancy or cake making for example.

Make sure your work is unique and marketable; try to find an area of design no one else has explored yet. Make a really spectacular showpiece and get it seen in blogs, Etsy, galleries… everywhere!

jema hewitt
(this is the lovely miss jema “emilly ladybird” hewitt herself)

Where else, online or in print, can our readers find more information about you and your wondrous creations?

There are so many places!

First you can join my Facebook pages, https://www.facebook.com/emillyladybird for all things steampunk and https://www.facebook.com/bridaloriginals for my haute couture.

Then there are my main websites www.steampunkjewellery.co.uk and www.bridal-originals.co.uk

And an Etsy page where you can actually buy some of my one off pretty things http://www.etsy.com/shop/SparkleyJem

I also have a blog which I rather sporadically post my epic costume making processes to http://sparklyjem.blogspot.com/

I write regularly for “making jewellery” and “making” magazines (UK) and I am featured in the new “Steampunk Bible” by Chambers and Vandemeer.

Finally I have written lots of books too, from tiara making to basic beadwork as well as the latest of course, the lovely “Steampunk Emporium”!

.   .   .

as a reminder, all you have to do to enter to win a FREE copy of jema’s book “steampunk emporium” is leave a comment before july 19th.

you will also automatically be entered to win this little bundle of rusty gears, cogs, watch parts, antique brass beads, sea green glass beads, and vintage pearly beads (from the 40s) in a pretty little organza bag from me — maybe you could make a pendant, necklace, brooch or some pretty earrings with them:

free steampunk bundle giveaway
here are the contents laid out for you to see (probably a little more helpful):

free steampunk gears, watch parts, beads, vintage

good luck to all who wish to enter!  i will be doing a random drawing on july 20th for two lucky winners, and will announce them that day.  you may enter until midnight on july 19th PST.

(you can also read this interview on the altered bits website, or view past interviews via the links at the bottom: http://alteredbits.com/guest-artists.php)

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