Day 3/29 Days of Giving is… + An Interview With Susan Tuttle
... would you like knowing you candouble the odds of winningtoday?
ooo, i have your interest now don't i? ....
.... but we'll get to that later
right now i'm simply elated one of my favorite people is our guest today....
... so pull up a chair andsit a spell
afterall we're nothing but friends here ....
.... whenever i hear people refer to Bette Midler
instantly i think'the divine miss m'....
... whenever i hear the name of our special guest today
my lil' mind takes me along those same lines....
though, i tend to think ofthe delightfulvs. the divine ...
butdivine is ever-s0-fitting as well...
... i suppose it would sound better if i added her name there
rather than making you read these rather silly lines...
... how about a clue?
let me get my very best announcer voice on....
Ladies, and probably under a handful of gentlemen ...
... why aren't more male readers here anyway?
sheesh! me & my tangents...
...FINEi'll get on with it already
I proudly present you with :
The Delightful, The Divine, The Talented - Susan Tuttle!
( admit it, you're now saying it in your mind, and possibly aloud in your best ringmaster voice too)
As many of you know, I won't promote something I don't believe in - not people, not books, not products. Is it professionally wise? I dunno. Do people always like it? Nope. But it just feels right and resonates deep down inside of me... at the end of the day - isn't that what matters? I simply just try to do whats right by me, by others, by the world. I don't always accomplish it -- but i strive to. The older I become, the more important living an authentic, genuine life is to me. A wise woman once told me that having the courage to be genuine - to be true to who you are - who you really are - is one of those mythical, magical keys to a happy and fulfilled life. I like happy. Happy is good.
I could probably spend this entire post gushing over Susan; and admittedly I'd enjoy making her blush (but just a lil)... I was fortunate to spend time with her at the ZNE convenZioNE last August (where we were both instructing, and i dragged her on just a few *cough* starbucks runs) ... within minutes of meeting her I felt as if I've known her for years and years. I'm always that squirmy-kind-of-awkward when I first meet folks, but Susan is just.. well.. so damn darn open and authentic... i was instantly at ease. Not often that happens to me. Nope, not often at all. She's one of those special folks - that know just how to touch your heart, and your life - merely by being who she is.
That is exactly why I am so pleased that she agreed to a short interview with us... where we discuss her new book, her vices.. and I shamelessly try to snag a piece of her original art. I think we'd all agree, her voice will be far more enjoyable to you than mine... so without further adieu... let me introduce you to the book, then on with the show as they say...
Exhibition 36:Mixed Media Demonstrations + Explorations
by Susan Tuttle
Within the pages of Exhibition 36, readers will enter a virtual art exhibit featuring thirty-six mixed-media artists whose collage, digital, assemblage, altered and repurposed art adorn the walls and pedestals of this unique gallery. The artists are "present" throughout the exhibit, answering questions, sharing their thoughts, talking about their work and offering instruction. The tour is structured to provide insight into the creative process of the artists whose work is on display and the reader will be delighted with the plethora of inspiration, articles, techniques and general visual candy. As a final bonus, many artists featured in the book have contributed imagery as a gift to readers for attending the exhibit to reuse in their own creations. Possesses great crossover appeal for mixed-media artists of nearly every discipline, including jewelry makers, collage artists and more.
Readers will enter a "virtual tour" featuring art from a variety of contributing artists, including well-known crafters such as Claudine Hellmuth (Collage Discovery Workshop) and Suzanne Simanaitis (Kaleidoscope).Includes bonus collage imagery sheets for readers to use in their own art.
Gosh.. the day this came? I was not only bubbling over with joy for a friend, but so moved by her words that i jumped right between the gorgeous covers and a few days later re-emerged and reviewed it over at Amazon -- I'll let you see my personal thoughts on the book there... so we can move right along and have a delightful conversation with the divine Susan Tuttle now.
( um yeah, questions are mine ... the answers?.. you guessed it.. Susan's)
Let’s just knock out the standard question first,(though common)- inquiring minds still want to know – what inspired you to take this approach to a book? What was your initial vision, and did it change as it came together?
My initial vision was to create a book that featured a large number of artists and their work, a variety of mediums and styles, flat work, 2-D and 3-D pieces, men and women alike -- basically something for everyone. I struggled at first in trying to figure out what the premise of the book would be and how it would all come together in a unified way. I believe if we put our questions out there into the Universe, the answers always have a way of finding us, so I asked for help with the book. I woke up one morning, eyes opening slowly, looking out my window at a sunlit field -- my answer came to me with such clarity, and in such a peaceful way. The answer had been with me all along actually, and from that moment on I knew the book was meant to be a virtual art exhibit -- my dream art show, constructed from within the confines of my little home in the Maine woods.
You see, I grew up in a rural part of New Jersey but made frequent trips to New York City, and later settled down in Boston for many years. In the city, cultural life was right at my fingertips. My book is my attempt to re-create this kind of cultural mecca that is not as accessible to me in this remote, beautiful part of the country. This book would not have been possible without my access to the Internet and the variety of artists that I have made connections with through that venue.
Once I had this vision in place, it did not veer from the initial course, and I believe it went the way that it was meant to. In fact, sometimes I felt like the book was writing itself. Not to say that I didn't work my arse off, but that things unfolded naturally. When it came time to divide the contributions into chapters, the chapter headings came to me with an unusual ease and the contributions miraculously divided themselves amongst the chapters in a very balanced way -- true serendipity! And I would be remiss if I did not give high praise and credit to my editor, Tonia Davenport, who gave me an incredible amount of creative freedom to realize my vision.
I fell in love with the diversity of art, contributors and styles within your book. How did interacting and collaborating with all these talented folks affect you?
First and foremost I felt incredibly privileged to have been able to collaborate with all of the wonderful artists in the book. I felt extreme joy on many occasions and I felt blessed by the generosity of these artists as they shared their techniques and heartfelt, personal stories with me and all of us.
From a technical perspective, my organizational skills were put to the test as you can well imagine, with managing a total of 35 contributions in addition to doing my own artwork and writing. I also got to exercise editing skills and learned a lot about editing another person's writing, while at the same time maintaining their unique voice.
It is rumored you have a sugar addiction while creating – is this true? What is your vice?
Ah yes, this is indeed true! My great-grandmother, whom I called Nana, owned a candy store, so having a sweet tooth definitely runs in the family. My vices tend to have a combination of sweet and tart flavors (Sweet Tarts, Sprees, Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Pop Rocks and gummy bears). I can get a little bit more sophisticated though -- lol -- good chocolate is high on my list! I am also an icing lover -- on cakes, cupcakes and cookies -- the more gloppy, the better.
With so many mixed-media books out there right now – what sets yours apart? What do you hope people will take from Exhibition 36?
I don't know if there is necessarily anything that sets it apart from other mixed-media books, but the one thing I can say is that the book contains a plethora of artists, styles, mediums and techniques -- I think that there is something for everyone. It was important to me that this book not just be a technique-based book, but that it would also include a more personal focus on the lives and artistic processes of the contributors. As I stated in the preface, it is my hope that the reader will find something within the pages that rings true for them -- if I have done that, then I have done my job.
You’ve been slaving for years on your book. Your advanced copy FINALLY arrives…. Did you scream? Call a loved one? Refresh Amazon 100x times a day to see how many sales? What was your first reaction?
Funny you should ask. It was Monday, Columbus Day, and I walked through the door of my house after being out for most of the day at an installation art exhibit. The kids were tired and hungry and falling apart at the seams, supportive hubby was cooking, and let's just say, he needed a little help with everything (as would I if the shoe were on the other foot). I saw a brown box on the floor, that looked about the size of my book, which I had been waiting for with fervent eagerness... only, the box was being used as a kind of base for one of the kid's games -- in fact, my son was jumping on it. I rescued it immediately and looked at the address -- from my publisher! I actually had to put the package aside though, and help with the evening routine, before I could open it... but when I did, it was quite surreal! I sat down that night in front of the woodstove with a glass of red wine in hand and poured over the pages (not the wine... you know what I mean). Although I was very excited, the book felt like a familiar friend to me -- after all, I knew every last word like the back of my hand and had seen initial drafts. But most of all I felt grateful to the blessed people who made it possible and I felt quite peaceful, actually, knowing that I had fulfilled something I was meant to do in this lifetime.
Many of the talented contributors in the book really opened up to you, revealed their secrets, and shared glimpses of their soul. The ‘sitting-on-a porch-talking-with-an-old-friend’ feeling really shines through within these projects, stories and creative prompts. How does art play a prominent role in your personal life?
The first word that comes to mind is vital. I must create in order to feel whole and complete, and alive. The act of creating replenishes me, gives me new energy, and fills me up so that I have more to give back to myself, my family, friends and things I deem important. For me, the act of creating is about seeking truths and revealings. Often I don't know what I am meant to learn until much later. I also find the process to be circular, where life becomes art during the creative process, and because I am left forever changed by the process, the art feeds back into my life.
In the book, you mention how music goes hand in hand with your creative process; what are some of your favorite songs at the moment?
Let's take a peek at the 'ol playlist -- ah, some favorites:
- Hymn 101 by Joe Pug
- Radio Ballet by Eluvium
- The Swell Season by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
- Saeglopur by Sigur Ros
- Window by Guster
- They by Jem
- Lament by Balmorhea
I’m totally stealing a question you asked Claudine Hellmuth in Exhibition 36: tell us something most people do not know about you!
How about a few, 'cause I don't know which to pick:
- I played my flute in Carnegie Hall
- I make miniatures with a haunted theme, and have a spooky dollhouse to put them in.
- I get little chills and cry easily when I witness things I think are beautiful.
Don’t you want to give me the piece shown on page 41 – ‘a bit goth’? Granted, I could follow the instructions you gave us to make my own, but I must have that one! So, should I expect to see it in my mailbox anytime soon?
Sure Chrysti, you can have it, no prob, right along with my first born and my wedding ring! - lol! oh, and I'll also throw in the deed to my house! Now how's that for an answer!?
I knew Susan was kind, but wow -- how's that for generous? Readers --you're my witnesses - you heard her too right? - though my sarcasm scanner is going off the charts...
Has anyone NOT figured out today's fabulous giveaway yet? No, it's not the painting I'm referring to... But a copy of her oh-so-incredibly-inspiring-you'll-jump-in-the-studio-the-moment-your-hands-touch-it-book: Exhibition 36:Mixed Media Demonstrations + Explorations!
Ok lovely ladies and probably less than a handful of gentlemen - to enter today’s giveaway:
- Leave a comment on this post, answering Susan's question for you : “How does art play a prominent role in your personal life?” and/or my question “Shouldn't Susan give me her Original painting I mentioned?” or if you don't want in the middle of that battle -admit you really did use the ringmaster voice. C'mon.
- Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner will be announced then!
- Double your chances of winning a copy! Susan's giving away another copy at her blog as well - quick - go enter!
If you haven't already be sure to enter the other giveaways here too! Day 1 is here, Day 2 is here, and a chance for a $100.00 Gift Certificate to my new site as well as a chance of your wish being granted go here... be sure to follow the instructions for that giveaway, and post a comment on each particular day to be eligible!
Whew! Enough of my babbling for a day eh?
Chrysti -- who has a few wishes to go try and grant..