Meet the Team - Interview with Lis-el Crowley
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I've always been interested in making stuff. As a child, I believed you couldn't be an artist unless you could draw really, really well. I never quite felt I could draw well enough to be an "artist", so I never tried. It took me many years to realize that artistic expression takes many forms. It springs from the depths of the soul and brings us closer to our inherent Divinity. Once I had that realization, there was no stopping me.
I am married with 3 children and one grandchild. I am an interfaith minister, and have worked as a graphic designer as well. I currently own and operate an artisan art gallery/studio in Windsor, CT where I show my own work and the work of many other local artists and artisans, as well as teach a variety of classes.
Have any special hobbies?
I started as a potter, and then got into metalsmithing, glass fusing, lampworking and metal clay. I also meditate and love to read.
What is your business name and website address?
My Etsy Shop is heartofthefire at www.heartofthefire.etsy.com. My Gallery is Art & Soul Gallery/Studio and my website is www.artandsoulct.com
Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?
I sell in several local art galleries/shops in CT, including Wesleyan Potters, Farmington Valley Art Center, Brookfield Craft Center, Windsor Art Center, Wadsworth Atheneum Gift Shop and my own Gallery.
How did you find out about metalclay and then start working with it? How long?
I think I read about it first and bought a package and just tried it. I loved it right away. I made a decision to immerse myself completely in it about 3 1/2 years ago and became a wholesale distributor for Art Clay.
What drives you to make jewelry?
It's such a wonderful creative outlet. I love making beautiful things that sparkle. The possibillites are endless.
Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
I am totally a go with the flow kind of artisan. I don't pre plan or make sketches, I just take out the clay and see where it wants to take me. A lot of my work is demonstration work from classes and I don't often have time to just make what I want to make, so I cherish those moments.
Won any awards for your jewelry? for anything else?
I have never been one to enter competitions, though I did have a piece selected by Art Jewelry Magazine in the 10 gram challenge on Etsy. I would like to enter some competitions in 2009.
Do you do any other type of art?
I am a potter, fused glass artist and work with fiber, though I would say Metal Clay is my current primary mode of expression. I also want to explore mixed media work and encaustic painting.
What is your art sensibility - precise or organic?
When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities?
Wow, that's a tough question. I don't think I can put my finger on it. I definitely feel confident now, even though I know there is always a lot more to learn.
What is your favorite tool for working with metalclay?
My handy/dandy coil roller, which is an acrylic rectangle.
Where do you work?
I work in the back room of my gallery where I also teach classes in metalsmithing, fused glass, metal clay, mosaics, and whatever else I can think of.
What is your favorite thing to make?
I don't have a favorite. I love different things about making different things. I love rolling coils though.
Do you ever add commercial components?
I use cubic zirconias and commercial earring wires and jump rings. Even though I know how to make my own, I feel they are tremendous time savers and allow me to focus on the more creative aspects of my work.
How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
I work on each piece individually. Sometimes I will focus on a particular type of work, i.e. rings, or earrings, and do several in one session, but I treat each one as one of a kind.
How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
Unfortunately, I don't. I'm always full of ideas, but don't take the time to write them down. Sometimes they stay with me and I realize them, and sometimes they don't. But I don't really ever feel a lack of ideas. Very infrequently do I use a sketchbook.
Do you ever teach classes and where?
I teach a lot of classes, mostly out of my own business. I have also taught at Wesleyan Potters, demonstrated at trade shows, and am scheduled to present at the Art Clay World Conference in July. I don't have time to do much more than that.
Do you make a living at it?
Not yet, but I'm hopeful. If I didn't have the overhead at the Gallery, I'd probably be able to make a modest living, but the rent there is very high and the current economic situation in this country has been a challenge. However, I am reaching out to many people who have no other creative outlet and love everything that I do.
Do you do custom orders?
Yes. I recently completed two baby feet for a customer who was inlaying them on a wooden keepsake box for her grandchild. That was lots of fun.
What are you working on currently?
My main project right now, other than demonstrations for classes, is completing my 3 independent design projects to complete my Senior Certification in Art Clay. I have 2 of the 3 done. I am also looking at new class ideas for 2009.
What's next on your agenda to make?
I am looking forward to doing sculptural work in Bronze clay. I love making vessels and boxes but find the silver clay too expensive to work in the scale I'd like to.
How do you make time for everything you want to do?
It's a struggle. I have fibromyalgia, so my energy levels are sometimes quite low. I am also dealing with non-invasive cervical cancer and have had to have a couple of surgeries and may need a hysterectomy in the near future. That has slowed me down somewhat, but I feel when I get to the other side of this situation, I will be able to do more.
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
As an interfaith minister, I embrace the truth underlying all faiths and beliefs. I believe we all have a higher purpose which involves bringing greater love and light to the world. I am dedicated to living a life of purpose and facilitating others in doing the same. I lead a weekly meditation group and teach classes and workshops and lead retreats in spiritual awareness and growth.
One of my favorite quotes is from Bill Moyers -
"Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous." May you find the marvelous inherent in every moment.
Thank you Lis-el,
It has been a pleasure getting to know you.