"Hope" indeed! Amy Coldren of Amelia Mae first listened to her creative energy winds when helping her sister and brother-in-law adopt a child. Happily, she has continued her artistic devotion and given time to a line of endearing pieces. Today she has offered to share some thoughts on her work and inspirations.
(AW) How did you get started as an artist?
(AC) I've always created things, and feel a strong need to do so, but other than a basic drawing class that was a requirement for my degree in Theatre Performance, I've never been formally trained. I initially started selling my work as a way to help my sister and brother-in-law as they worked towards adopting their first child from Ethiopia. I sold prints and original pieces on Etsy and at local boutiques, and donated all of the profits to their adoption fund. The endeavor was called Project 8256, and they should be going to Ethiopia in the very near future to meet their beautiful daughter and bring her home.
Project 8256 gave me the boost of courage I needed to start sharing my work with others. It also opened a lot of doors for me, which I don't think I would have let myself dream of previously. Most of the pieces centered on themes of love and family, and many customers shared with me the reasons behind their purchases--an engagement or wedding gift, a present for an adoptive mother, a celebration of the life of a cancer survivor. It created an extremely warm and positive environment for me to grow in, and has continued to be a huge influence in my work.
(AW) Where do you like to create?
(AC) I have a studio space that is tucked away in the back of my house. It is a fairly large space with lots of natural light. It's an amazing, and necessary, thing to have a disignated creative space. I can make a mess and no one has to know, and when I need to escape for a bit, unfinished projects don't stare me in the face.
(AW) It seems that much of your Etsy shop work is collage-based. What is your creative process?
(AC) I try to let ideas float around in my head before trying to make something of them. Then I'll typically decide on a color palette and select materials. I really like to mix patterns and add texture whenever possible. My more recent work is extremely tedious, and if I'm not careful it can start to feel monotonous. I try to keep music on or a movie playing an make myself take lots of breaks, so it still feels fresh.
(AW) You mention in your artist statement that you're inspired by nature, music, love, and kindness. Can you talk a bit more about how these inspirations have evolved and influenced your work?
(AC) Certainly; the patterns and colors found in nature are very inspirational to me. Living in Oklahoma you become very tied to your environment. The weather can change drastically from day to day, so there becomes a greater sense of dependence on the world around you. I lived in Chicago for some time, and while there is definitely some extreme weather, there is a predictability to it that you don't experience in Oklahoma.
Music has always been a huge influence in my life. I play the piano and guitar, and am always seeking out new and interesting music. It is a necessary part of my life, and while I'm not entirely sure how to articulate its influence on my work, it is safe to say it has a lot to do with the emotions and images captured by certain songs and artists.
Love and kindness--these are the things I am always hoping to bring into my life, and would also hope to send out into the world. While there are certainly issues and ideas for which I am extremely passionate, I prefer to create pieces that hopefully elicit a smile, a fond memory, or the hope for what the future may bring.
(AW) What makes you happy?
(AC) My family and friends. Coffee. Rainy days. Antique stores and estate sales. Documentaries. Beautiful typography. Laughter. Cupcakes. Nail polish. Music. My niece. Christmas. Loving and being loved.
(AW) Well said; you've got the important things covered! And it seems you've found a way to bring these joys into your work. Thanks for your thoughts today, Amy.
Amy's print, "Forever," is available in the Master Bedroom on Art Wall. For more prints and other lovely earthly delights, check out her Etsy shop. And her blog, Splendid & Swell, is an internet treasure!