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MICHELLE ST. VRAIN – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

MichelleStVrainCoverAs children, it is not unusual to find fascination with animals. These creatures are a source to relate to, innocent beings living through the dichotomy of coexistence with man. To me, it makes sense to be drawn to the innocence and wonder of just… being. Children hold this magical quality to them, this ability to approach life with unbridled awe. Life has hopefully not begun to teach it’s hard lessons, to discern one’s path. In the end, we are all drinking the same water, breathing the same air. One should not be so quick to discern the hierarchy of existence.

I wish I had known Michelle St. Vrain as a child. I imagine her exploring through the dense trees of Kentucky, followed by a small body of animals; bunnies hopping at her feet, butterflies flitting above her hair in a blurry crown. This is a delightful image to hold in my mind, but I am quick to point out that Michelle is not some dainty maiden traipsing in the woods with Bambi. She is a strong-willed and mindful soul, and uses her personal beliefs as a point of exploration in her work. Michelle fosters a deep compassion for all living creatures, and continuously develops that connection. Using images of animals, or at least parts of them, she creates moments of interaction with these creatures in their various forms. Instead of focusing on the variance of our existence with the animal kingdom, she finds a refreshing unity in the disparity, and I find that to be just lovely. ~Amy

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LAURA JEWELL – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

LAURA-JEWELL-FEATUREDWhat does home mean? Is it where you were raised? Where you are now? Even if you’ve never left, there is that special gut feeling that just tells you… you are here. You are home. The sanctity of that word blankets many attachments to the notion. That creaky second stair on your family’s porch, the soft nape of your mother’s neck, the warm smell of the wood burning tool you were given as a child. Anything can be home, if it is home to you. Laura Jewell recognizes the importance of knowing your home, and understanding your roots.

 Laura is the kind of person that makes you want to close your eyes and smile. She has a captivating, almost magical quality to her that is effortlessly translated into her artwork. Her most recent series, Rural Superstitions and Astrology, focuses on different lessons she has taken from Old Farmer’s Almanacs. In approaching these lessons, Jewell has had the opportunity to reconnect to her roots as a country girl from rural Kansas, and find re-purpose in the activities of her youth. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to hear her words, and am happy to share them with you. Please read on, and reflect on the lessons that you’ve learned, and the home that you hold dear.  -Amy

What is the path that has led you to where you are today?

I’ve been interested in art since I can remember. I grew up in the country, in Kansas, and my first art set was a wood burning tool, which I thought was the coolest. I did 4H and did the arts and crafts, did that in high school. Then when I went to college I tried some different things, like Agriculture Business. I just wasn’t into the math part of things, so I started taking art classes and went from there. I moved up here and finished school at USD,  and just kept going I guess.

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Were you attending school in Kansas before USD? What was your major?

Yes, I have a BFA in printmaking.

Did you have mentors, or anyone that helped you through the schooling process?

I had a lot of really fantastic professors. I took a couple of classes from Continue reading LAURA JEWELL – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW