Ana Alves finds her inspiration for her art from ancestral cultures

 

Portugal

Ana Alves is a self-taught female pyrography artist from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, where she lived until she was 29 years old. After she got married, Ana moved to the city of Cacém in the district of Sintra where she currently lives with her husband and her daughter. Ana has always loved art and enjoyed drawing and crafting, she used to make dolls and paper clothes as a child to play with. She studied at the António Arroio School of Art because she wanted to be an architect. Due to life circumstances, she eventually gave up her studies and got a job. Ana worked in administration in the construction industry for 16 years but eventually became unemployed when the company was hit by the Portuguese crisis and closed down. She always needed to do something to put her hands to work and started crafting jewelry that she sold to family and friends. This kind of craft didn’t satisfy her demands so she and her husband started browsing the internet for other ideas. It was her husband who suggested her to try pyrography.

Ana bought a very basic device and started exploring the art of pyrography on wooden boxes. Her first attempts weren’t good but Ana realized very quickly that the more she practiced pyrography the better she got. After one year of working with the basic device she finally decided to buy a professional pyrographer which brought even more improvement to her art. For Ana wood is a special canvas because the same design may come out differently on different types of wood. Some types of wood are easier while others are trickier. It takes knowledge to control the temperature of the pyrographer correctly according to the type of wood being used. Woods with too much resin can be tricky because burning on top of the resin can easily ruin the whole artwork.

 

 

Ana Alves

 

 

As a self-taught artist Ana had to learn the art of pyrography through trial and error and a lot of practice to perfect her skills. Her husband Paulo is always a great support and a constructive critic. Although their crafts are different, they work as a team supporting and helping each other. Ana gets her inspiration for her art from ancestral cultures like the Celtics, Vikings, Anglo Saxons and the medieval cultures. She loves historical figures and, since Portugal has a lot of that kind of history, it is another great source of inspiration. In the year 2015 Ana and her husband started attending medieval fairs on a regular basis and they ended up attending dozens of them throughout the year, exhibiting and selling their work.

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Freddie Matara b2zone magazine the voice of art 1

The Voice of Art exemplary Freddie Matara

 

Many fantastic artists with their artwork and impressive stories are represented in our magazine. Flicking through the pages and editions one can’t help but recognize the great quality of their represented works as well as the passion of those who made them. During our daily editorial routine we constantly encounter stories and pictures that make us stop and realize there is still more to tell. These untold elements between story and picture deserve a place in our magazine, they deserve an embassy that gives them a voice: “The Voice of Art.”

 

While looking at Freddie’s workshop picture we saw the colors in it and we feel the harmony that arises as we observe it. When we look at his products we find the exact same harmony in them. This shows his authenticity as an artist.

 

 

The Voice: Freddie is authentic as a person and as an artist, this authenticity mirrors in the artwork he creates.

 

 

Freddie Matara b2zone magazine the voice of art 2

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Paulo Alves creates wonderful leatherwork inspired by ancient cultures and tribes

 

Portugal

Paulo Alves is a leather artisan born in Lisbon, Portugal. He now lives in Sintra, Agualva. As a child Paulo was already artistic and he always enjoyed art in its various representations. He enjoys drawing, sculpting on wood and working with metals. Between the years of 2006 and 2008 he worked as a tattooist, which enabled him to practice his drawing skills. His efforts go more towards working with leather these days and he only occasionally implements some hand-carved wooden accessories in his leather items. When Paulo’s wife became unemployed necessity fueled his dedication to do leatherwork. He had created smaller leather items before like coin purses, bracelets, cuffs or belts but they were all rather simple (with no artistic decorations or carvings). After Paulo did some research he realized that in the markets and medieval fairs where he used to sell his simple leather items there was no offer of carved and decorated leather products. All the leather goods were rather plain just like those Paulo offered before. This encouraged him to learn more about leather and what could be done with it.

He wanted to make something beyond what he had made so far, something different from what most people in his country were used to see. The journey into more intricate leatherwork was taken by Paulo on his own because there wasn’t anyone he could turn to for instruction. It might have been easier for Paulo to have a mentor but he is still grateful for the journey he has taken alone. The absence of a teacher or mentor actually allowed Paulo to explore more options and ways to accomplish his objectives. He had to learn from his own mistakes and this made him grow as an artist. Each new item he creates teaches him more of this craft. Most of Paulo’s works are inspired by the ancient Celts, Vikings and Anglo-Saxon tribes but he also focusses on other themes. Paulo likes to explore and try out new things and if customers ask him to make something different or something he has never done before he considers it a great pleasure.

 

 

 Paulo Alves

 

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Christine Onward performs beautiful rock art

 

Australia

Painting artist Christine Onward was born and raised in Romania where she lived and worked most of her life. She recently settled in Australia because she loves the challenges of a transition into a new culture with its different lifestyle and everyday experiences. Christine’s life career has been that of an English teacher. While studying for her second post-graduate degree in Psychology two years ago she realized that creating art was a good stress reliever that made her feel much better. With that in mind she developed the “Choose Stunning” project which attempted to create awareness about the benefits of getting involved in art or art creation. Her focus was on coaching simple mindfulness exercises while having fun and painting rocks. She encouraged the use of bright colors, simple patterns and any style that came natural to her and her media friends. Eventually Christine grouped most of her art adventures under the generic name “The Stunner Boutique,” a media brand with collections of her rock and canvas paintings, driftwood sculptures and pottery.

 

 

Christine Onward

 

 

It has never occurred to Christine to think that she is an artist. She sees herself as a girl who paints on her living room table while pushing her soup bowl just far away enough to not wash the brushes in it. Her firm belief is that anyone can be an artist in their very own way and with their very own style without necessarily holding an art degree. Christine is an advocate of art as therapy and she believes that, just like it feels right to her, it will feel right to others too. Her inspiration comes from social media such as Instagram and Pinterest. She continuously searches for representations that can inspire positive deeds, alleviate low moods or stress and, in general, promote wellbeing. Sometimes she discovers fabulous paintings which she tries to transport or accommodate to the shape, structure or disposition of the rock she wants to paint. She is convinced that as long as a concept pleases it should be given a try. Some of her painted rock collections such as “Ceylon”, “Blue” and “Summer Dream” are her original attempts to create different styles of art on rocks. Christine also paints on canvas and these paintings encompass some folk trends shared by the native or folk art that she shows in her “Quilt” collection.

The joyful moods and colors of this style fascinate her so she is highly committed to work hard on her collection with the goal to open her first exhibition by the end of this year. Nevertheless, painting on rocks is the most fulfilling and beloved experience for Christine. Each stone has a long history of enduring the power of waves, whirling winds and the roughness of sand that has shaped them and given them their individual personality. She deals with that with great respect every time she chooses a rock for painting. Christine believes that her bright, cheerful and challenging colors will remain the same in all her future projects and any new styles she might develop in her art. “Art can make a difference, if not to us, to others for sure. Just give it a try.”

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Unique wood carving by Bill Wright

 

Ohio, U.S.

Bill Wright is a wood carving artist from Ohio who holds a degree in political science from Indiana University and whose professional career had nothing to do with his dormant artistic skills. For many years Bill’s entire family enjoyed vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. In addition to the breathtaking scenery, the entire surrounding area was always populated with all kinds of craftsmen. There was one craftsman, a wood carver, whose work Bill particularly enjoyed and from whom he bought several walking sticks which all had a wood spirit carved on them. Bill eventually started to buy plain wooden walking sticks to take them down to the craftsmen place in the National Park and request specific motifs carved on them. He envied those craftsmen and their skills and thought that carving wood might be something he would like to do himself but felt intimidated by it. He had never worked with any of those tools before and was afraid he would end up seriously injuring himself with a sharp knife. It wasn’t until after Bill retired when he decided to give it a go.

Ten years ago he found and joined a group that met twice a week to carve. From the three basic types of carving (carving in the round, chip carving and relief carving) Bill gravitated towards relief carving, which is what he does today. Once Bill saw that using this technique enabled him to create work outside of the traditional style he started to finish several pieces. He realized that practicing to get better in his craft was crucial and eventually got to the point where he had no unfinished pieces set aside. One of the main reasons Bill likes relief carving is that as soon as he gets an idea he can start working on it within minutes and with no need to have a pattern cut out on a band saw as required when carving in the round.

 

 

Bill Wright Betty

 

 

This started about five years ago, which is the amount of years Bill states to have been carving seriously (although he made many attempts earlier). The entire process has increased Bill’s confidence, something he considers a vital element of success. When Bill first started this craft he was told that a woodcarver could never have too many tools. After carving for a while Bill understood the truth of that statement. Bill no longer works exclusively with one tool. He mostly uses hand tools but will occasionally do some power carving, all on the same piece. What Bill enjoys the most is that in each work he can create some sort of optical illusion. The carving should trick the viewer’s eye into seeing things that are not actually there, like a great depth which might not even be real.

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Kim Holowatiuk creates beautiful items out of leather metal and beads

 

Canada

Kim Holowatiuk is a beadwork, leather and metal artist from Canada. She was born and raised in Calgary, a big city in the province Alberta in Western Canada and today she resides in the Caresland area on a small acreage together with her husband. One of Kim’s grandmothers taught her all sorts of handicrafts including sewing and quilting. Her other grandmother crafted beaded flowers and Kim was always so fascinated by these creations that she picked up the craft and has been doing for 32 years now. In 2009 Kim needed some supplies and while looking for them she stumbled upon a local Tandy Leather Co. She purchased a membership there and found out that it also granted her free classes in leatherwork. She decided to give it a try and got hooked right away. After following the leatherworking path for quite some time Kim was encouraged by a Facebook friend to start beading again. Ever since, Kim has been enjoying incorporating her bead work into her leather projects and she loves to collaborate with fellow leatherworkers. In the year 2016 Kim added metal work to her pallet of crafts. She took some silver smithing classes and set up her own home studio where she works on pieces that incorporate all three materials, metal, beads and leather.

Kim works as a full-time medical transcriptionist so it is sometimes really challenging to find the time she needs to keep up with all her ideas. Kim’s mentor is a local saddle maker who has been helping her with her leather carving skills along with metal smithing and the business end of things. This mentorship includes insights into the history of it all. Kim is the only certified Canadian instructor for Mirrix loom and a beadwork online instructor through Learn Leather classes. She won first place in the Springfield Leather Bronc Band competition in the year 2014 and in 2015 she received second place in the International Federation of Leather Guilds Advance Partnership Division. Kim constantly strives to learn more about her crafts. She likes to incorporate traditional beading techniques in lesser traditional ways to be innovative and unique. Kim always tries to think out of the box in order to offer additional value to her customers through something new and exciting. Kim’s favorite life quote is “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” by Thomas A. Edison.

 

 

Kim Holowatiuk

 

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Sherry Brown transforms her admiration for turkeys into wonderful art

 

Montana, U.S.

Sherry Brown is a multi-facetted and completely self-taught American artist. She grew up in the state of Montana U.S. but has resided in Wisconsin for the past 25 years. Sherry has always loved creating. As a child she would create art through experimentation with any materials she could find, including the natural dyes in berries, leaves, roots and ash. She also used different clays and stones for making her own sculptures and carvings. Her parents not only encouraged and supported Sherry in her art, they also taught her the ability to see art in everything and everywhere she was. During her childhood Sherry was intensely inspired by western artist Charles M. Russell and she always wanted to be a great artist like him. The schools that Sherry attended kept her projects and art assignments going and Sherry and her parents discovered later that her projects were put on display to the public after she had left school.

After high school she wanted to explore the country and visit the beautiful places she had only heard about or seen in pictures of. She never felt the desire to go to art school. For her there was no better way to study art than to experience life and the world that surrounded her. Sherry has always been an adventurous person. While travelling the country as a young lady she absorbed in everything she saw or felt and incorporated it into her artwork. She funded her travels with whatever jobs she could find and by selling a few of her creations she made along the way. Sherry deeply loves the outdoors and wildlife. Since childhood she has was always been charmed by the song made by animals during the mating season and she has a great admiration for turkeys. Sherry always wanted to make her own turkey calls. In early 2016 while she was in the process of figuring out how to make them she was approached by a call maker asking if she would be interested in painting a few calls. Of course Sherry agreed and she now works with three call makers, turning their turkey calls into tiny pieces of art. Sherry doesn’t make any calls herself so far but she plans to create her own artistic versions of turkey calls in the near future, while continuing to work with her call makers.

 

 

Sherry Brown

 

 

Practicing her art fills every one of her days and she truly loves what she does, often finding herself completely lost in time just to watch the awakening of the new day. The main art forms Sherry practices to date are painting, graphite drawing, pyrography and carving but her favorite form of art is actually sculpting. Sherry loves lost-wax sculpture and eventually hopes to be able to create a couple of bronze sculptures herself. Sherry’s ideas for future art projects entails a life-size sculpture of a tom turkey in full strut with his hen and the same life-size motif in a detailed painted picture, both artworks mirroring each other. “To me art is much more than just a brush or a pencil, it’s a part of who you are. With every piece you create, a part of your heart and soul is shared.”

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The art of Trish Gallatin is influenced by fantasy and steampunk designs

 

Pennsylvania, U.S.

Patricia “Trish” Gallatin is a leather artisan from Monroeville, a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Trish grew up with five sisters and with her mother in a three bedroom house. Often as a child she would go wandering through the forests close by to escape all the constant chaos at home. She would just sit for hours watching the wildlife and letting her imagination fly.Trish’s mother, an acrylic painting artist, encouraged her daughter’s creativity in various forms from drawing and painting to paper making, woodcarving, working with clay, jewelry making or even building things from scrap items lying around. Trish got married at the age of 23 and had a son. Once her marriage ended she took fencing and sword fighting lessons with her best friend who later became her second husband.

After they attended their first Renaissance festival they realized that since they could fight like Musketeers they should also have matching clothes and equipment. Trish’s husband, Shannon, took some leather working lessons at Tandy’s to gain knowledge on how to make their own gear and it was not long before he also started making items for friends. After one year Trish had her husband teach her how to work with leather. She was overwhelmed with what could be done with leather and that she could even combine it with some of her other artistic talents. At this time, Trish and her husband worked full-time jobs and it was quite a challenge to get things made in their rare free time. Eventually, as her life circumstances changed in 2012, Trish decided to do leather work full-time which she does still today taking care of custom orders and creating all the items for the shows and fairs she attends with her husband. Trish is a lover of Science fiction as well as fantasy films and books from which she gets a lot of her inspiration.

 

 

Trish Gallatin

 

 

Her fascination for Gothic and Victorian architecture made her fall in love with the steampunk genre and designs which she beautifully merges into her leather items. Trish loves seeing the images come to life through her tools. A maiden piece of tooled leather without color reminds her of a beautiful piece of architecture. Nonetheless, the artist in her wants to see it pop out through the right application of matching colors. Even after twelve years of working with leather Trish still sees herself as an amateur, always learning and exploring on her way. She is grateful for the help, inspiration and idea-sharing she receives from the internet and from the leather groups she has joined in the past. Trish could never imagine doing anything else as a job but leatherwork.

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Adrian Bell enjoys carving colorful motifs of Australian flora and fauna

 

Australia

Leather artist Adrian Bell was born in the U.K. in 1958 and has resided in Australia for 51 years. Adrian and his family operate a 100 cow dairy farm in Tallygaroopna, in the state of Victoria. In the early 80s when Adrian’s passion was showing cattle he began making leather halters and leads on the side. He also tooled a handful of belts, wallets and bags. After a while this grew to the point where Adrian had to choose between working with live cattle or with their hide and time showed the wrong choice had been made. For over 30 years his leather tools sat in a box and he never gave them a second thought. Then, one day five years ago, while surfing the internet for something totally unrelated to leather, he stumbled across the work of David Nelson and the spark was reignited. Besides contributing to the operations of the dairy farm Adrian also works a 40-hour weekly nightshift. So his only real opportunity to do leather work is in the wee hours of the weekends but he still dreams about pursuing the craft full-time one day. Adrian doesn’t have any personal mentors as such.

While he would really appreciate having somebody taking him under his wing he has always felt intimidated to ask somebody with greater leather-working ability for help and advice. Adrian gets inspiration for his work from all forms of realism art as well as from the usual suspects in the leather world. If he had to single out a couple of them it would be leather artists Tracy Mayes and Atsushi Kitazaki. Adrian is a big fan of well-done Sheridan-style carving but has yet to get his head around its execution. His style has developed towards the use of colorful motifs of Australian flora and fauna. He particularly enjoys it when a project lends itself to include embossing to create a nice three-dimensional effect. While many purists feel that leather should be left with its natural color (or at the least be antiqued) Adrian feels “torn between being a leather smith and a painter” and is constantly developing his skills to combine both.

 

 

Adrian Bell

 

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Terry Diveley brings a dimensional leather picture to life

 

Missouri, U.S.

Terry Diveley is a talented leather artist from the Midwest of the United States who lives near St. Louis, Missouri and who is known in the leather world for his beautifully colored pictorial carving. He has loved drawing and coloring since childhood and would always practice when he was ill and had to stay indoors. In 1967 he got his first taste of leather working in high school where he took a basic leather class choosing pictorial carving and completing four pictures. After high school he had to put his leather art aside and started a career as a pipe welder which he followed for 42 years. Terry also taught welding at the community college level and sees welding as an art form in and of itself.

Once he retired from his welding career in 2008 he wanted to get back in touch with his love for leather work. He jumped right back into doing leather pictures and joined the Gateway Leather Guild in St. Louis and also began competing in the IFoLG (International Federation of Leather Guilds) achieving the Master Level in 2015. Silva Fox was Terry’s first mentor; her leather art inspired him a lot. She was also the one who encouraged Terry to join a leather Guild and compete. Terry met his friend Galo Garcia at the Guild as well as Roz Kaohn who encouraged him to think outside the box. He met many other well-known artists along the way with whom he established friendships such as Bob Beard, Kathy Flanagan and Consuelo Glemby to mention a few. He feels like all of them have been a mentor to him in some way. Every day is a practice day for Terry because his goal is to always improve his skills and techniques so he spends at least 8 hours a day in his studio.

 

 

Terry Dively

 

 

He loves bringing a dimensional picture to life from a flat piece of leather. His inspiration sources are nature, flowers, wildlife and the beauty of the world around us. Using primarily dyes and a few acrylic colors he adds further dimensions to his pictures. Most of his labor goes into making leather frames to make his pictures more personal and detailed. His goal is to create a truly unique piece of art that will bring joy to people. Terry’s work is currently on display at the Vondell Art Gallery in Wood River, Illinois.

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Inventive and provocative art by BJ Talor Canoutas

 

North Carolina, U.S.

BJ Talor Canoutas is an American artist and author from Wilmington, North Carolina U.S. Her art and writing career developed early on. She was a young girl with a zealous imagination who would draw in the sand and anywhere else as she made up stories for herself to pass the time. Art played such an important role in her life that after high school BJ chose to study art at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, California. Her art is so connected to her that through each line she draws or paints BJ describes a precious moment in her life. For her the interplay with materials is a visual diary of her life experience and her contemplative journey. BJ finds implied answers to the nature of art itself in the quiet pursuit of her exploration of life through her art.

These explorations of the boundaries between life and art have allowed her to move from conventional painting methods into experimental materials. BJ interest is more towards the spirit of art than to the style of art. It is during the processes of drawing, layering and watching where she immerses herself in what she is creating. She sees her art as an ever present and challenging balancing act between quality control, compulsive thoughts, dreaming, construction, movement, fullness and emptiness. Her art has been described as inventive, caustic and provocative. She especially enjoys incorporating the use of gold leaf in her latest works.

 

 

BJ Talor

 

 

BJ derives inspiration from artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso. She sees these great artists as her mentors. BJ is a member of several art Associations such as The National Association of Women Artists, Artavita, Wilmington Art Association, Allied artists of America Inc., Colors of Humanity, Artworks Fine Gallery, Saatchi Art Gallery and Blue Moon Gallery. Her artwork has been featured at these galleries and Associations.

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Nick Finocchio enjoyes creating something from nothing

 

Massachusetts, U.S.

Nick Finocchio is a scrimshaw artist from the south shore of Massachusetts, U.S. After a vacation to the island of Nantucket and a trip to the whaling museum in 1980 he was inspired to give the art of scrimshaw a try. Nick dabbled in it for two years, but eventually left it aside for many years due to life’s changes. Nick has always enjoyed creating something from nothing. His creative process usually starts with a quick thought. For example, seeing a twisted branch could remind him of a song, a person or an experience. A smell, a memory or the lyrics of a song can be the source of inspiration to create a work of art. Nick describes it as a fusion of thoughts, a combination of things he thinks about that usually gets him excited to create something new. Nick becomes completely involved when working on a project and he hardly ever stops until he sees his artwork completed.

His return to scrimshaw happened in 2010 while he was looking for employment on craigslist in the CAD disciplines where he saw an ad for a scrimshaw artist. This made him pick it up again and has been back at “scratching things out” ever since. His mentors were Bob Hergert, Ron Luebke and Katherine Plumer. The first piece he did in 2010 was a dragon that he created using a sewing needle. As time went by Nick discovered more and more that scrimshaw was like meditation to him. The materials he likes to use the most are mammoth and water buffalo horn and bone, which he also uses to create beautiful carvings. Nevertheless, Nick enjoys every medium with all their advantages and disadvantages and which he turns into his beautiful pieces of art.

 

 

Nick Finocchio

 

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Paul Schleicher is dedicated to leather crafting

 

Kansas City, U.S.

Paul Schleicher is a leather artist from Kansas City. Before he started working with leather he was a hospice and home-health nurse for almost 20 years. He was also developing successful solutions for homecare as a business. When his business partner suddenly passed Paul retired from healthcare and enrolled back in school to change professions and to expand his knowledge beyond healthcare. He wanted to become well versed and well rounded. In his mid-life Paul felt rejuvenated, vibrant and vivacious. He wanted to learn, build and construct as it was important for him to leave a legacy with deep purpose and meaning. The same purpose and meaning as nursing but in a different environment.

He got introduced to leatherwork in the spring of 2016 by Filipe Arellano and Greg Connor. Watching them build an ostrich patch purse with tooled accents got Paul hooked immediately. For him it was the most beautiful constructed artwork he had ever seen and he was astonished by what could be created from bland pieces of flat leather. Filipe and Greg taught him leather tooling and assembling and pretty soon Paul could fabricate a great variety of leather goods himself. Since then, Paul has watched a myriad of leather-crafting videos on YouTube and devoured information on the topic from the Leather Crafters Journal, which features all the great and well-known leather crafters and leather artists.

 

 

Paul Schleicher

 

 

Paul is grateful for leather artist Gina Adam who has encouraged him to search deeper within himself to verily explore his love and passion for leather crafting. He anticipates building relationships and performing works of art in the future. But more importantly Paul is looking forward to passing his experiences on to his fellow students. He wants to create an internship program for students to learn and grow because he thinks it is very important to give back to the community.

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Joy Sturgess performs traditional mosaic art

 

United Kingdom

Joy Sturgess is a female mosaic artist from the United Kingdom. She was born and raised in the Midlands and resides now in West London. Joy was born into a working class family. Her Dad used to work on the production line in a car factory but was a painting artist in his leisure time. As a child Joy used to sit in front of him to admire his work, she actually thought everyone’s daddy was an artist too. In her younger days Joy wrote stories and poems and she thought that writing was her destiny. She also painted pictures at times but she never took her art seriously. Years later, while she lived on the island of Lesbos in Greece, she became inspired by the remains of a Roman mosaic and fell in love with this art form.

 

 

Joy Sturgess

 

 

She started making mixed media mosaics to put them up for sale, learning the craft by working with women artisans in a craft cooperative. After returning to England she volunteered at South Banks Mosaics, a studio which combines community access with high quality fine mosaic art, where she trained with mosaic artists Jo Thorpe and Maria Palmieri. It was also there where she discovered the Roman-style mosaic work done by Tessa Hunkin. Joy became self-employed in the year 2014. She went on to fulfill private commissions but found it even more satisfying to collaborate in community projects in her own West London area with artists Sue Edkins and Susie John. Joy gets very inspired by being in a creative cluster with other artists because she loves what can be achieved by sharing skills and knowledge.

In her artwork Joy likes natural forms and organic shapes. It is especially the human form and face that inspires her and she highly enjoys creating mosaics based on male and female deities. Joy works with traditional materials such as smalti, glass and ceramic tesserae, as well as natural stones, broken pottery and other objects she finds. Just recently she exhibited a piece called “Footprints” which includes modern materials along with old pottery, bone and metal taken from the river Thames. “Footprints” is the featured photograph and it is intended as a reflection on human interaction with natural matter.

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Wilson Orozco relates engeneering to leather art

 

Lakewood, New Jersey

Wilson Orozco is a self-taught artisan from Lakewood, New Jersey who comes from a line of artisans such as his accomplished saddle maker grandfather. As a child Wilson took apart any object within his reach just to see end explore how it worked. If things didn’t come apart easily he would figure a way to break them just to see what was inside. It was obvious that Wilson had an affinity for breaking and investigating things so it was only natural that he gravitated towards the classical arts of engineering. However, this time around it was about learning how to make things that would not break like bridges, buildings or even propellers that don’t fall of the plane. Wilson’s early years of deconstructing things were his training for his occupation and, at a certain stage of his life, his avocation. Engineering has also taught Wilson the skills of computer aided design.

Using the acquired skills he developed ideas that could incorporate leather and, soon after, the idea for his first leather design came into being. Wilson modeled several gears, a mounting plate and a pressure gauge to the leather to create a steam punk book cover. Even though the result of his first leather project did not live up to his expectations it still taught him the basics of sewing leather and gave him an understanding of the versatility of this material. Once Wilson’s confidence boosted he decided to post pictures of his designs online. The positive and constructive feedback of other artists encouraged him to develop and create even more. Wilson told us that he gets the inspiration for his projects from classical books and studying nature but, most importantly, from his heavenly father.

 

 

Wilson Orozco

 

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Native art by Jeff Burr Garetson

 

Wyoming, U.S.

Jeff Burr Garetson is an artisan born and raised in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, U.S. He has always loved anything artistic and growing up in the Teton Mountains he liked to use his environment to create. His mother was a lover and collector of Native American Indian art and artisan work. When she was a young girl the old Indians would give her things because they knew she appreciated them so Jeff got also intrigued by Native American Indians at a very young age. Growing up in the mountains he used to imagine how they lived and how they made the things they needed using just their hands and only using materials provided by Mother Nature. Jeff was drawn to ancient arts such as scrimshaw and flint knapping because he could create things using items from nature.

 

 

Jeff-Burr-Garetson from Wyoming

 

 

He was fortunate in today’s world to have a scrimshaw teacher in the 7th grade and has been practicing this dot-art form ever since. But he has also been a flint knapper for 23 years now. After high school Jeff became a commercial artist. As a mountaineer in Wyoming he worked as a fishing guide and taught the Stone Age in schools for about 15 years. He is still teaching survival skills and primitive weapon making to children and continues to be a bowyer and an Atlatl practitioner. Jeff does not only create native art, he lives it. He is a real Wyoming Cowboy of five generations where cattle is still moved as it was done over 150 years ago.

Doing flint work, creating beautiful knife blades and arrow heads is Jeff’s favorite artisan work. “Because it’s raw, to bleed and sweat in order to create a beautiful blade without modern amenities is a high for me. I’ve always leaned towards primitive art forms. I like to feel the connection to my ancestors in what I do. I try to use what the land gives me and this allows my work to represent my life in the mountains of Wyoming.” Jeff has had many mentors over the years, some of them thousands of years old. He feels he can never learn enough to be satisfied.

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Felicity McNamara designs beautiful leather art influenced by the South African culture

 

South Africa

Felicity is a female leather artisan from Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State, South Africa. She lives on a farm where she and her husband raise Bonsmara cattle on a 1000 hectare farmland surrounded by many other animals she owns like horses, dogs and cats as well as an abundance of wildlife on her doorstep. When she looks out the window of her leather workshop she overlooks a beautiful valley covered in natural bush where kudus, impalas, bushbucks, warthogs and a variety of other small buck species are her neighbors and the call of the fish eagle is often the only sound she hears.

 

 

Felicity_McNamara

 

 

Horses and leather are Felicity’s first love. She got her first pony at the age of 10 and insisted to keep her saddle and bridle in her bedroom because she loved the smell of leather so much. At the age of 15 Felicity bought her first leather craft starter kit since she wanted to make herself a western bridle for her pony. That was to be the start of a life-long addiction. She bought every Al Stohlman book she could find and is convinced that her love for doing her leather craft properly evolved from those books. Felicity belonged to a Leather Guild in Bloemfontein in the 1980’s and had a lot of fun meeting and sharing ideas with fellow leatherworkers, holding little exhibitions and competitions. She made a lot of smaller items like wallets, purses and belts back then and displayed and sold them at a monthly “Art in the Park” Venue.

Eventually, life took over and between raising a family and working full-time her leather craft took a distant back seat for many years until her life schedule allowed it to rise again. Felicity has made all sorts of beautiful and unique items over the past years like purses, belts, handbags etc., many of them inspired by the environment and beautiful nature that surrounds her. She recently discovered the joy of creating her own designs and driven by the desire to create unique, attractive and functional items she even “often forgets to eat, sleep or feed her husband” once she focuses on a new leather job. She is very passionate about what she does and tries to improve with every beautiful item she makes. The highest honor for Felicity is her customers’ appreciation for her work and she is also grateful for her family’s input, tolerance and enthusiasm when they are subjected to examine and criticize her efforts.

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Sylvia Pozeg nurtures an enduring love and respect for women and nature in her art

 

Ontario, Canada

Sylvia Pozeg is an artist from southern Ontario, Canada. Most of her earliest memories involve the creative arts, from countless drawings and homemade gifts, recording audio tapes with cousins, to decorating her room and anything else she could get her hands on. Her childhood creativity was fostered by her family’s colorful Croatian heritage and the abundant time she spent in nature. She was surrounded by music and participated in dance groups for many years. The beaches of Georgian Bay opened up her world just as the forests near her home became a wondrous playground. She wrote poetry lying on her back watching the clouds roll by and learned at an early age that these reflective moments would always be there to find solace in. Sylvia credits supportive family members and several art teachers over the years for the encouragement to keep on her artistic path. Her local secondary school has a renowned vocational art program, Bealart, which introduced her to many artistic disciplines.

 

 

Sylvia Pozeg

 

 

She focused on painting and ceramics, although she enjoyed textiles and photography as well. By the age of seventeen Sylvia began exhibiting and selling her work. After inspiring road trips across Canada and the United States she completed a Fine Arts college program and began specializing in portraiture and murals as well as working with community art galleries to foster the arts across age groups and cultures. Sylvia’s favorite artists include Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and Canadian Northwest Coast artist Emily Carr. Workshops with multi-talented Celtic artist David Rankine were also a strong influence on her sense of design and color but she treasures many other artists, painters as well as musicians. In addition to music, she finds inspiration in the faithful turning of the seasons and the living library of nature. Primarily a painter and poet, Sylvia’s work holds both a reverence for the healing journey and a spirit of celebration. Her illustrations are created with multiple drawing mediums and she enjoys working with natural materials as well as the digital realm.

Her favorite creative moments are seeing these diverse disciplines cross paths to create a new wild beauty. In her images she seeks to nurture an enduring love and respect for women and nature. Music is a constant companion and dance continues to enhance her life. Sylvia is working on a series of poetry booklets by local writers and is deeply encouraged by the determination of her peers to continue their creative work throughout all the challenges life can present. She admires kindness and compassion, courage and vision.

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Michael Dale is a leather crafter out of passion

 

Wisconsin, U.S.

Michael Dale is a leather artist from Wisconsin, U.S. who now resides in Rhodes, an Island in Greece. He has not always been a leather worker even though he has always admired people’s ability to create things. Mike grew up surrounded by family members who were artistic in a variety of ways, but he never had the confidence or desire to make anything himself. As a 20-year veteran police officer Mike carried a gun daily in a variety of holsters but was always disappointed with their performance. One day in late 2012 this led to a conversation with his father who had made rudimentary holsters when Mike was a child.

His dad pointed him in the direction of Tandy leather where Mike bought a beginner’s leatherwork kit and a few scraps of leather. While his first attempts at tooling were abysmal, he was enthralled by the process. The smell, the feel and the satisfaction of leatherwork made him look for more knowledge wherever he could find it. In the year 2013 Mike attended the World Leather Debut in Sheridan, Wyoming for the first time. This show opened his eyes to the amazing, diverse world of leather craft and allowed him the opportunity to meet several of his mentors like Bob Beard, Bob Park, Chan Geer and others.

 

 

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Greatly impacted by the friendships that evolved Mike’s desire to learn and improve grew. He took classes and, seeing the need for an educational option for folks who could not attend a trade show, he started a website as an on-line resource to share the great benefit of live instruction that he found at Sheridan. Mike continues to pursue knowledge relentlessly and willingly shares his knowledge with others (also as a regular contributing author in the Leather Crafter’s and Saddler’s Journal). This year in Sheridan Mike won third price in the tooled holster division. Mike has many mentors, including greats like Peter Main, Robert Beard and George Fraker, but he is also inspired by the enthusiasm and drive to improve of amateur and beginner leather crafters.

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Michaela Luttyova crafts unique leather items

Czech Republic

Michaela was born an artist in the Czech Republic and began her path to try out every possible fabric-based craft (such as knitting, crocheting, bobbin lacing, etc.) very early on. Her interest in leather crafting started some 15 years ago after receiving a leather purse as a gift from her mother. It was the first time she had actually seen tooled leather and she desperately wanted to try it out. About 8 years ago, when her daughter was old enough to stay alone for a short while, Michaela coincidentally found out that the leather artist who made her purse was still teaching the craft at a leather crafters club. She joined immediately. The first lesson was enough to get her addicted and actually ended up running the club herself for four years.

Michaela works fulltime on her craft nowadays. Creative, as artists tend to be, she loves to work with colors and likes to try out new techniques and tools. “For me the worst would be to have to make the same item all over again,” she says. What Michaela enjoys the most is making book covers and knife sheaths. What she likes about book covers is that such a big piece of leather allows her to apply an entire story. But she also makes all sorts of exquisite leather items. Master leather crafters like Peter Main and Al Stohlman are a central source of inspiration for Michaela but she also gets inspired quite often by her customers who come up with ideas that would never have occurred to her.

 

 

 Michaela Luttyova

 

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