Name That Influence – Starving Artist Team Blog Carnival

Every month some of the members of the Starving Artist Team participate in a blog carnival.  This month we were asked to discuss some of the people that have influenced our work.

That’s a pretty tall order for me.  At this stage in my career, I only take technique classes (meaning I don’t choose classes to make a thing, but rather to learn a process), so I could say that every teacher I have has an effect on my work.

I think, though, that probably the person who has had the biggest effect on me is Kate McKinnon.  Not because of her artwork, but because of the way she approaches it.  Nothing I make looks anything like the work that Kate does – I don’t even work in the same media for the most part, although I’d like to one day, but her absolute dedication to the highest quality of work is impressive.  She taught me to make sure that each piece is the best I can do; if it isn’t, make it so, or start over.  I also learned from her to think about the person who will eventually wear the piece.  Make it comfortable, easy to wear, safe and solid, all of which can be done without sacrificing beauty.  You just have to think about it a bit.

Now I test every new style myself.  Hey, if a bracelet can last a day with me, it should stand up to anyone.

The other thing I learned from Kate is how important it is to consider safety in the workshop.  Not just the obvious things like don’t burn yourself, but things I wouldn’t have thought of, like the proper way to hold a hammer and how to use it.  You’d think you could just pick it up and start banging away, but over the long term you can hurt yourself if you’re not careful. 

 Kate is the author of several books on metal clay and seed bead weaving.  You can see her books and some of her work  here.

Another person I find positively inspirational is Margie Deeb.  Margie is well-known as the color queen of beading, having written several books about color specifically for beaders.  Her books contain numerous examples of beadwork and many color palettes, but that’s not what does it for me.  I’m not really one for using someone else’s recipes. Again, it’s her whole approach to color.  I’ve read a number of books on color theory, and enjoyed them, but Margie has a whole different take on it.  The three-dimensionality of beads makes a difference, as do the finishes.

After reading several (maybe all) of her books, I signed up for a class with her just to meet her.  I didn’t think I’d learn anything new, since I’d devoured her books, but I came away with a whole new attitude about color and a burning desire to get me to the bead store so I could play!  And boy, was I mad that I had to go to back to work, so it was a whole week before I could do so.

You can sign up for Margie’s free color newsletter here.

Read about the influences in the artistic lives of other members of the Starving Artist Team at these links:

5 Responses to Name That Influence – Starving Artist Team Blog Carnival

  1. Bonnie Lee says:

    Great post Sophy. I think the most important thing you have learned is to set high standards for yourself and your work. Thank you for introducing me to 2 artists whose work I was not familiar with.


  2. Great post! I think that being influenced to do your absolute best quality work and constantly strive to improve is about the best ethic to have in jewelry making. I was excited about Margie Dee, because of the mention of color. I will be learning from her ver soon. I would love to learn more about color and she seems just the right person to learn from! I even mentioned you as the referral… maybe you’ll get a prize! lol


  3. Lynne says:

    I’ve got a couple of Kates book… I find them great references! Colour theory is so important when I’m making glass beads… but even the most carefully planned out beads sometimes have colour accidents! I hope my fish are colourblind!


  4. Caron says:

    What talents both Kate and Margie are, thanks for the links, they are both inspirational artists. I love your work and you certainly have created a wonderful style of your own, thanks for sharing your story, it was very interesting.


  5. Cat says:

    How interesting, thanks for sharing!


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