An active mind is an active spirit. People repress their inhibitions, and rob themselves of the opportunity of creation and discovery. You’re tired from work. The kids need a bath. Maybe you’ll have time this weekend. It’s easy to put things off until they exist merely as a floating drift in the recess of your forgotten thoughts. Trish Mayer is not one of those people. A self described butterfly, Mayer opens herself to those whims, those bits of intrigue that lead to actualized ideas. Her work is bright, cheerful, and reflects the awe and wonder she puts forth to seemingly every aspect of her life. She reminds me of an old friend, someone with a warm familiarity in her voice, and a constant smile. Read on to learn about her methods and inspiration, and what gives her that extra special zest in her life. ~Amy
What is the path that has led you to where you are today?
I probably started when I was four or five years old. My mom began to teach me how to knit. I always had energy that I didn’t know what to do with. We didn’t have a lot of money, so mom and dad would give us things to do with our hands. It’s just always been a part of me. All the kids in my family are really talented, my mom and dad are too.
When did you start making jewelry?
It started maybe… twenty years ago? I was taking some of my grandma’s pieces of jewelry or stuff that people had given me and repurposing and making things out of them. I got so addicted to it, I would start collecting. I’d go up to Minneapolis and just get way too much. I’ve always really liked tiny things. I like sorting them.
You just began making your collages in 2013. What sparked that interest?
I took a class over at Avera Cancer Institute. They offer free classes, or sometimes for a small fee. I got invited to go to a class, and I just loved it so much that I got hooked on it. I’ve been cutting out over the years though. I’ve kind of always had that collage thing going on, but not like anything formal.
Do you sell any of those works? How can people view them?
People haven’t seen much of them in Sioux Falls, but I had some stuff in Unglued when it was here for the Christmas Market as a pop-up store. They did not sell. (Laughing) It didn’t disappoint me though, because it was worth trying. I know a curator out at a gallery in California, it’s called the Pence Gallery. She introduced my work, and they took a few of my pieces, and I’ve sold some work. There’s a place in Minneapolis called Paper Hat, and she’s expressed interest, and has sold some small pieces. In Sioux Falls, I don’t really have a venue to sell them at or anything. With a lot of what I do, I just do it for fun. I don’t ever know how far I want to take it. I don’t know if I’m really mentally ready to force the art. That’s kind of what happened with the jewelry. Femail Creations, which is a catalog, wanted my stuff. They told me what they wanted and I just jammed to get stuff out. I couldn’t get it there in time, it was too much in number for what they wanted.
How often are you creating new collages? What’s a typical day for you like when you’re creating?
I always go to the gym, then I’ll spend around two to three hours on collaging. I’m also an on call employee for a dental practice, so that can take up time too. I’ve always done that, ever since I lived on the West Coast. I’m kind of like a butterfly; I don’t have a real strict aligned schedule.
What are you drawn towards in relation to your subject matter?
I’m really inspired by nature. The flowers and the butterflies… love. When there’s love in your life, it’s nice to express it, and I feel like you do so by choosing your colors. Does that make sense? (Laughing) I get inspired when I see other artists work. Whether it be pottery, silkscreen, anything really. I grew up camping all the time, so I was always in nature. I used to draw all the time.
What kind of materials are you using for your collage pieces?
It’s a little tricky. I use children’s books and old magazines, but that’s a little iffy because there’s always copyright issues. You can’t copyright the image used unless you get permission from the owner of the book. If it’s over 100 years old then you can use it. You’re fine. The children’s books are really fun. I’ll take little images from them all the time. Sometimes I’ll see a napkin and get inspired by that. Just put it right on the canvas. Old dictionaries are the best too.
How long does it take to complete a piece?
It varies. Also never does a project turn out the first time the way I like it. My husband often says that I don’t know when to stop, but that is just my personality! I would say the average time would be maybe six hours, and many times over the course of a few days.
What is your favorite piece you’ve done?
Without a doubt it is an 18″x20″ flowers in a vase with a background of vintage sewing patterns and muted corals, soft browns and turquoise. I made little cut outs from a novel from 1890. That one just really came together.
Are you attending art shows?
Yeah! If I’m in town. I love to go and see what people are doing.
How do you plan to push yourself with your work?
I just like challenging myself. I really want to keep seeking out people who do the same thing, that can share with me. Even online, just somewhere to trade ideas.
What would you like to see for the Sioux Falls arts community?
I want to see artists having more of a quorum. Sharing supplies, helping people where they may have a weakness. People providing a mentorship!