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Interview with:

Penelope A Kettlewell [3rdoldhen] 

What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
We are a stained glass & craft shop/studio operating out of our home in the woods of northern WI. We specialize in traditional stained glass, glass mosaics, carved wooden spoons and pyrographic art. An artist is defined by their work and the work we do is primarily original, with some done to others specs or patterns. We love the use of colors & texture in our glass work, plating (layering) as the spirit moves us and including a variety of other material with it (rocks, wood, metals, etc). We do our own framing with a huge selection of solid woods to choose from, we want the frames to complement, not distract from the main art piece.
What is your message?
We tell our students that art is purely subjective & that we all have some sort of degree of artistic ability within us. We strive for them to be as creative as possible, yet stay within the framework of safe construction of their pieces.
Your biography in four lines.
I am a retired/disabled CRNA, VN veteran Army nurse raised as an AF brat. I love creating things of beauty from the most basic of materials but, did not have the time until now. Upon retirement I opened the shop/studio and have shared my passion for art with others for the last 6 years.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
www.theoldhenhouse.com www.theoldhenhouse.blogspot.com
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
Nature is my greatest inspiration... & my best work comes from that concept of nature in all it's phases... I love taking a rigidly created media and creating a free form with/from it... I hate coloring within the lines, as it were...
What role does technology play in your creative process?
I only use modern technology for knowledge to aid with an idea, or a printer to enlarge a pattern. I use the traditional tools to create my art.
What is art?
I feel art is an interpretation of a feeling or a self-expression of something deeply felt within. It is something I feel driven to share with others, how I see or feel the world around me.
When do you get your best ideas?
anytime, anywhere, doing anything.... however I must feel "peaceful" in order to create something I want others to enjoy.... my emotions are borne out in my art, whether in a concrete form or poetry...
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
I gnaw on it, shape it out in my mind & on paper, I mull it over, ruminate on it's possibilities... then I trust my instincts to whether it will be worth my time & effort or not. If I go against my instincts, it will not turn out, regardless of the effort I put into it.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
1. the digital camera 2. a "never fail" computer 3. easy to use software to aid in "artistic ideas", alterations, etc. etc....
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
as a child I saw beauty all sorts of natural things... I was delighted with the outside world of flora and fauna. I loved to paint birds and draw, but it wasn't until 50 years later when my artistic endeavors began to sell that I really felt like an artist. I make little money, but I like what I do, how I do it and the joy from taking someone's idea & turning it into something they are delighted with.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
Because we see things so much more deeply than the run of the mill humanoids. Artists tend to be passionate people, and passionate people are usually living on some edge or another. I find that many of the best artists have felt a great deal of pain as well as a great deal of joy in their lives, which they then try to interpret artistically within their own mediums. Mediocrity is anathema to them, it causes huge amounts of frustration in all their lives, equaling a rather volatile personality.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
I am in the "here & now"....
How should a work of art be evaluated?
How it "should" be evaluated is a question without an answer, because we all evaluate art from our gut... it is an instinctual thing, tho some art does tend to "grow on you"...
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
I think an artist should be what they are... and not try to "re-invent" themselves. Daily we are changed by life...our art will change as we change, whether we realize it or not. I believe we must be "true to ourselves" or it will show in all we do.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
the Wyeths, Tiffany, the Hudson River school
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
I think it is essential we fund art in the schools, libraries, museums, etc. I do not think the gvt. should fund private artists... unless it is to teach
Is art necessary?
Absolutely!!! I allows a communication that nothing else can equal.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
Occasionally, some I can't wait to get rid of, but the ones that demonstrate a lot of who I am and what I like, I hate to see go.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
If the artist releases the work, it is no longer a part of that person... the work then is purchased, NOT the artist, tho it is more in vogue to state you own "......insert artists name....". We do not own our own selves much less another.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
You will know when you get to "it", feel "it", experience "it"...
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
What difference does that make... some die at 20, some at 99, so who is to say whether one or the other should be there... "contemporary" art should be in "Contemporary Museums"
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
Word of mouth is the best advertising...
What types of jobs do you usually do?
We do large church jobs, small individual jobs, medium home jobs.... we are unique in this area of the country where there are not many folks that do what we do, so we get a variety and I like that.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
I like creating intricate natural patterns to be interpreted into glass/mosaics.... I also love doing original pyrographic scenes....
Do you personally collect any items?
Not any more....
Which websites do you frequently visit?
I have no special websites, but I love GOOGLE where I can find answers to virtually any question, photos of anything, ideas, supplies, people who can help, etc.
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Do not give up, keep trying... they will find their own artistic bent... Don't try to be or do what you are not... find your own muse... You are an individual, don't let others discourage you... be your own person

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Penelope A Kettlewell
Antigo, WI 54409, USA

[3rdoldhen] Penelope A Kettlewell
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© Penelope A Kettlewell
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