Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our Interview with Jackies Art

"Mirror of Miro" Jackie's Art
About this featured Item: This fantastic, incomparable, one of a kind table features primary colors and has ceramic, stoneware legs, with clay figure cut outs in the style of artist Juan Miro. The plexiglass table top is cut out to allow the stem of the giant gourd centerpiece to extend past it.

The dry, giant, hardshelled gourd is gessoed and painted with oils. The shapes and figures on the gourd are beaded with brightly colored, tiny glass beads.

The table is 18" in height, not including the stem of the gourd. The table top is softly triangular, each of the three sides measures about 25". This one of a kind table is listed at $700.

Who are you? I am an artist, a teacher, a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a grandma, a reader, a writer, a walker – my name is Jackie Uthus.

Where are you located? We live in Grand Forks, North Dakota – white and freezing in the winter, sunny and hot in the summer and ALWAYS windy!

"Bloomin' Lamp" Jackie's Art

What do you create? I love making lots of different kinds of art, both functional and sculptural pieces. I especially love working with fibers, felting and creating tapestries, and I love working with clay. I have recently started combining the two by making pottery frames and then weaving and/or felting landscapes and madonnas inside the frame. Combining several media is really fun for me, For example, I have a piece, called Under the Sea, with cotton tapestry, brass and beads embellishing a giant stained, sculptural gourd. My featured art work has a ceramic table base, a giant gourd embellished with oil paint and glass beads, with a plexiglass top that I call Mirror of Miro. I create ceramic families and mothers with their children, functional pottery like dipping bowls and butter dishes, prairie items like grain bin piggy banks and bison and fun things like personalized fire hydrants for dogs and wedding ring depositories (ceramic outhouses) for divorced people. I try to follow where my imagination leads – sometimes serious art and sometimes fun! I love word play, too, so I developed a series of reversible ceramic plaques – some serious and some fun, like Friend/Family, Flip/Flop, Welcome/Hit the Road.

Where do you sell your creations? Besides my etsy shop ( I have art for sale at the Canad Inn gift shop, the Dakota Harvest Bakery and Meadowbrook Gifts – all local shops. I participate in a few art/craft shows during the summer and in our city’s monthly Art and Wine Walks in our downtown area. I have good luck selling off my dining room table, too, after I open a kiln!

"Beneath the Sea" Jackie's Art

Where do you create? I have two studios – one for general art making and one for pottery, but I also make creative messes in my living room, kitchen, balcony and garage.

What inspires you? I am so inspired by my family and our love for each other, by the prairie landscape that has surrounded me my entire life, by our small town, nearly-rural atmosphere and by the little kids that I teach –their creative juices are always flowing!

Is your Etsy shop a full-time job, part-time job, or hobby? I consider my Etsy shop a part-time job. I was an art teacher for our local school district for 12 years. Three years ago I decided it was time to start my own studio and I struck out on my own. What a blessing that has been! I teach Mondays and Tuesdays – homeschool kids and afterschool kids. The rest of the week I am able to pursue my own creative interests – after I have my planning done for the following week’s teaching. I was nervous about leaving the secure environment of the school system, but also frustrated by the system, too…taking matters into my own hands put the responsibility for success or failure squarely on my shoulders. It’s been hard but rewarding work and Etsy is a slice of the whole wonderful pie!

What type of marketing is the most effective for you? I really struggle with the whole marketing issue. I’ve found that it is much easier for me to sell other people’s art than it is for me to sell my own. I shudder and shake when I go into a shop to show my work – and have a really difficult time even making the phone call to set up the showing. So I don’t really feel like I’ve mastered any of the marketing business. I’ve gone to the Etsy forums for advice and followed through this week with setting up a blog ( Now I’m trying to figure out how to use the blog advantageously.

What do you do when you are not creating? I love to walk outside for an hour or so every day – weather permitting. I go outside if it is warmer than 15 below F…that is my ‘breaking point’ in the winter months. Reading is an important part of my life, too, but spending time with family is my #1 priority. If I had tons of money, I’d travel lots and bring many family members along for the trips! I’ve been fortunate to travel to Japan, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, New Zealand and Australia, Mexico, Europe and Alaska. I think traveling provides great education!

What role does creativity play in your marketing methods? Oh, I am so bad at marketing – my creativity is six feet under when it comes to marketing!

What are your goals? I would LOVE to be able to sell everything I make so I can just keep making more and more and more…I feel a thrill when I finish something new and it would be so awesome not to have to worry about what to do with the things I finish. Is that a goal or a pipe dream???

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? I would encourage all artists who are debating whether or not to take the plunge and quit a regular job to open their own studios to do it! Life is short, hard work is usually rewarded and it is so fulfilling to know that you are in charge of your own destiny!

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