We’ve featured Joanne’s work before, and now she’s part of our new series: DIY Interview. If you’d like to be a part of it, just check out the end of this post.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I make light sculptures by taking a piece of reed, and bending and twisting it into an interesting shape. Once I’m happy with the shape, tissues and handmade paper are applied over the reed with wheat paste.
My light sculptures have no front or back, up or down. This is because I want the you to feel relaxed and at ease when you view it, to explore my light sculptures however way you wish.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I made my first light sculpture during a one week art enrichment program in high school. During the week, 15 students and I work closely with an artist. She taught us how to form the sculptures, and the techniques of papermaking with plants.
After high school and college, I worked in advertising agencies such as Young & Rubicam and Grey Worldwide as an Art Director. In July 2009 I lost my job due to the company’s restructuring plan. Instead of looking for another job at another agency, I decided to take this opportunity to re-visit the experience of making abstract paper light sculptures in high school.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I work alone, but I get a lot of support from my husband too. I get my work done my making interesting sculptures and experimenting with different papermaking techniques. Not only does this break the daily “assembly line”, but it also allows me to be creative.
If it’s not too cold outside, I take a walk in the garden (along with my two kittens) to see what plant I can gather to make paper. Once I’ve gathered enough plant material, it is boiled for 2-3 hours in a caustic solution. While it is boiling, I start playing with reed to see what interesting sculptural forms I can make.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
My sculptures are sold in two stores in Toronto, Periwinkle on Bloor, and Wise Daughters. Online, my sculptures are sold on etsy: sculptedlight.etsy.com. I also participate in local craft shows and art markets throughout Toronto.
My favorite venues must be at shows – I get to meet my customer face-to-face! This person-to-person interaction is important to me because I like to hear their critiques (good or bad) about my sculptures.
What do you wish I had asked you?
“Why is one-of-a-kind art work important?”
It is important because it keeps life interesting. Life becomes less interesting when you own something somebody else already has; something formed from a mold or manufactured on an assembly line.
Thank you Joanne — that was a fascinating look into your creative life!
If you would like to be interviewed on Try Handmade, just head over to the DIY Interview application page!