Answering Questions


I've known Bridgette since LiveJournal was THE Thing... 2004ish? I know I have one of her very first mixed media pieces from 2005, titled "Hold Me". Faded over time. Words almost obliterated. And it is one of my very favourite pieces. Because Bridgette is one of my very favourite people. We have been through so challenges, changes in direction, moves, births, deaths, failures and successes...virtually. We, finally, got a chance to meet in person a few years back which I think has cemented our friendship for the long haul. Through thick and thin, baybee! ❤

Hold Me 2005 Bridgette Guerzon Mills

When we both committed to a #365writingchallenge (writing every day for a year) I knew we needed to collaborate in some way. After deciding on posing 5 questions based on "Things I Want to Know About You" here are Bridgette's questions for me. You will find my questions to her over on her blog.

Without further ado here are her questions and my answers:

1. I love your studio space and I know it's new and was part of your build - what were the important things you thought about in designing/organizing your studio space?

Our initial intention was to have a completely separate building for my studio space as I wanted a "dirty work" side ...woodworking, metalwork and hopefully, eventually, welding...along with a "clean" side for everything else. And I spent a lot of  time planning it: orientation, size, window placement, water supply etc etc. But when the build went to hell in a hand basket, things changed really quickly, with my studio being moved into the basement of the new house, the build plans I'd worked so hard on, went out the proverbial window. And yet, some of them WERE transferable. In preparation, I'd listed all the things I do (or wanted to do) and came up with two main categories: Standing activities and Sitting activities. And, of course, storage. I wante lots and lots of storage. After the house dimensions came into focus and therefore my studio space, I came up with a step-back cupboard design the full length of one wall (15 feet long) with the upper section having adjustable shelving  to the ceiling at a depth of 12". And the lower section at counter/standing height with an extra depth of two feet so I could stand as well as two big shelves underneath for storage. Then at a right angle forming an "L" under the two east-facing windows is the 8 foot desk portion, lower by 7" so I can sit down. 

My studio

The walls are plywood so I can bang nails in to my heart's content, the floor is concrete and heated, and the shelving is all wood. There is also a walkout to a deck overlooking the lake. I know. Truly blessed.

Organization/systems are my jam. So I already had that pretty much figured out. My "Go To" storage containers are clear plastic (shoe) boxes (think Costco), storage boxes with attached lids, and a local find, domino tins. Our sheltered workshop makes wooden boxes for dominoes games so they always have a surplus of these 5x7x1 1/2" tins that the dominoes come in. I have way. WAY. too many of these tins. But I love them. And of course. A label maker. I divide and sub-divide, every few months. If I need to think, or calm down, I dump out a container of stuff or ten and organize.

2. You encompass "multi media artist" with all that you create. I respond strongly to your assemblage/sculptural pieces. Especially pieces that include your metal work. Please share all the media you work in and what is your favourite.

Firstly, thank you so much for your kind words and your undying support, it means so much to me! xx

Okay. So by time period... before children then into my early 20s, I started with black ink illustration and watercolour. I had (have?!) a tendency to burn things when in a fit of pique so there aren't very many things left from those days. I marvel at those who have artwork right from the beginning of their careers! But I digress.

I had a long, dry, no-tactile, all digital period right into my 40s and then discovered mail art. And then altered books. Which led to mixed media...collage along with some three-dimensional adds to mostly two-dimensional pieces... and for a time, an absolute obsession with figuring out the. perfect. image transfer technique. And I was pretty successful. Until paper formulations changed. But by then I had discovered assemblage.  And it felt like I'd finally found my niche. Until I wanted to learn metal skills. Are you sensing a trend here?!?

Living at the end of the world, I often have to resort to teaching myself the skills I want or need so I completed every single project in both Linda/Opie O'Brien's book "Metal Craft Discovery Workshop" and right after, Stephanie Lee's "Semiprecious Salvage". And a whole new world unfurled for me. Until I took a 4 year(ish) sabatical while attempting to be an athlete.

Upon my return to the world of art making, I became somewhat of an online class whore, learning chainmaking and plaster techniques, rudimentary encaustic, along with form and line and mark making. And now I'm trying to figure out how to make them all work together! 

As for which is my favourite, as you can read in my last few posts, I am struggling with exactly that. I love the simplicity of paint. And I love imagery. But show me a second-hand or antique shop filled with vintage treasures? Or heart-shaped stones? Or bones? Or rusty metal? And my brain goes into overdrive. I am a passionate lover of STUFF. I can flipflop between the two ...paint/encaustic images and assemblage pieces. Or I can try to combine them. That, I guess, is my current Capital "G" Goal.

3. When your were a child, what was your favorite past time? (I have a theory about this and ask other creatives all the time 😄)

I was a pretty solitary kid. I had two much older brothers, 15 and 13 years apart and an older sister, though only 4 years older, was in and out of hospital for a good portion of our childhoods. Two things that were pretty darned constant were BOOKS and "playing horse".

By the time I left elementary school, I had read every age appropriate book in our school library and was making a decent dent in the town library. And I had a hard, mad crush on horses. They played a pretty dominant role in my young life, riding from the age of 10 until my 20s. (Fun Fact: we bred Norwegian Fjord horses when we first moved back to Nova Scotia in the early 90s). I still love horses. And while maybe not quite as prolific, I still read anything. (Let me know your theory, Bri. Did I win?!? 😁)

And I'm gonna call it a day here. 

Don't forget to visit Bridgette and read her answers to my questions.

Thanks for hanging out with me. Until next week!

Next Week: Part II answering these next two questions.

4. Through the years I have learned that you have experience in so many things from tech to art making to gardening to living with nature - where does this trait stem from? Is it inherently a Canadian self-reliance thing or something taught to you from a parent or something that is just you?

5. How does the above influence your creative process/ art making?

1 comment

  1. Loved reading your answers, thank you! Love your studio and wish I had heated concrete floors. Genius. I have a similar organization - standing area and sitting area. Standing is where I paint and make a mess. Sitting area is dry and where I have my sewing machine. So many friends I’ve talked to who are creative seemed to have been solitary types as kids and most of their time split between reading voraciously and being feral outside. I worry about today’s generation because they don’t seem to have that freedom/boredom to ignite their creativity or being comfortable being alone. So you fit my theory!!


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