Festa Italiana 2011 Artisan Interviews

Festa Italiana Artisans & Authors Interviews for 2011

Each year at festa we bring  you Artisans from around the country during Festa Italiana’s four-day event, this year July 20-24th yes that is the fourth week in July versus the third. We pack our space with as many artisans that can fit and this year we are proudly showing Two Authors, and the following Fine Artisan mediums; Wood workers, glass Artisans, Photographers, Wearable Artisans, Jewelers, Hand Painted ornaments,  hand-made ring artisan, a ceramicsist a sculptor and ornamental plaster artisan and painters.

You can read about the selected artisans and their work below.

Adrienne Dyer Shea

Descends from the DeStefanos line

First off – can we have a little background information on you – Where
you live? (if you don’t mind answering)

I am currently living in Chicago, but am originally from Milwaukee.

What first drew you to Art?
I was drawn to art at a very early age. I had the great privilege to grow up with an artistic mother. Ever since my early days of finger painting, I haven’t stopped exploring my own creative interests.

How long ago was that?

Wow… that was at least 27 years ago.

How would you describe your medium?
I am currently in a transition/discovery period with my art. I’ve been photographing scenery for a number of years now. My greatest inspirations are in the locations I travel to.

While working in digital photography, I’ve also created an interest in usable art. In addition to the photography, I now work with recycled wine bottles to create lanterns and outdoor torches.

Why did you choose this forum to express your art?
The photography started as a way for me to document my life. However, I quickly began to explore different perspectives and subjects as a way of expression. A few years later, I started working in photography as an art form.

I started working with usable art while examining my own carbon footprint. I realized that some of the materials I was recycling could be repurposed into beautiful art pieces. After stumbling around with my ideas, I began creating the recycled outdoor torches and other items.

What does it feel like to create?
In one word – wonderful! I spend most of my days running my boutique, graphic design firm, Inizio Creative. After spending so many hours in front on a computer designing logos and web sites, being able to use my hands to create art is liberating. I am still working on finding my ideal balance between the computer and my art.

What motivates you?
I think my need to be constantly active motivates me. I tend to get anxious when I don’t have projects to work on. By letting my creative juices flow freely, I can always fill the slower hours in my day with my art.

What inspires you?
Chicago. While I am still settling in to my new city, I constantly find places I want to explore and settings that I want to photograph. The inspiration is really endless every time I walk out my door.

Are you working on any new Art Projects (if more than one);
Unfortunately, I am not. Although I have lots of ideas that I’d like to explore, I am just too busy right now with current projects to start working on them. Hopefully, my time will free up soon.

Tell us about your main project?
With warm weather in full swing, my main project is working on the recycled outdoor torches. They are perfect for any outdoor area and I create a variety of different designs for them.

Where are you at with your main project now?
My main project is always an on-going process. Right now, I have some recycled outdoor torches that are finished and others that I haven’t even started.

What advice would you a young Artisan in promoting their Art?
A huge resource that has worked for me has been having a brand and a web site. I can always refer boutiques, interested buyers and friends to view my work online without needing to carry examples with me always.

Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood
or is it something that can be learned?

I think everyone has the ability to be creative. For some people, it is like second nature. For others, it takes work and effort to find where their true talents lie.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?
To only make what I love. As long as I follow that advice, the art I create stays fun and exciting.

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily
tasks for your work?

Working on my photography and usable art, I spend an average of an hour a day. My daily tasks fluctuate from creating inventory to marketing the inventory I have.

What will you be showing at the Festa Italiana’s Fine Art show?
I will be showing some travel photography from Italy and Arizona. I will also be showing my recycled outdoor torches. I am really looking forward to this years show!

Debra Stubbe Burkart

from the Orlandini line

What first drew you to Art & How long ago was that?

Since 2nd grade I just knew I was an Artist. My interest in the Arts (especially Music and the Visual Arts) became a real focal point of my life. I would have my Dad drive me to the library where they would have live Classical Concerts playing. After the Concert I would spend the rest of the day looking at the Art books.

How would you describe your medium?

My medium is non-traditional. I use acrylic paint on raw or unprimed canvas and then draw the details with magic marker.

Why did you choose this forum to express your art?

I love to paint and I love to draw and this technique allows both loves to unite and complement each other.

What does it feel like to create?

Creating is a high and makes me want to create even more.

What motivates you?

The need and desire to create.

What inspires you?

Many things inspire me but I enjoy textures especially the look of paint on a surface.

What advice would you a young Artisan in promoting their Art?

Believe in what you are doing and continue to ignite your creativity by challenging and stretching yourself. Always practice thinking outside the box.

Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood or is it something that can be learned?

You really have to have a desire, and a knowing that you are a REAL Artist. Yes you can learn techniques and dress the part but face it being an Artist is not for the faint of heart. It’s tough yet a rewarding road.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?

Always be true to yourself.

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily tasks for your work?

I am constantly thinking and producing art. Sometimes the most obscure thing will trigger an idea or solution for a piece of art I might be working on or stimulates a new piece. I carry a sketch book everywhere I go. I’ve been known to wake up at night and start sketching out ideas or at the very least making notes. I normally work at night into the morning. I need to get the busyness of the day out-of-the-way and then I can be “Free to be me” and create without interruption.

What will you be showing at the Festa Italiana’s Fine Art show?

For Fiesta I’ve been working on some NEW and EXCITING paintings and drawings of Italy and Milwaukee Landmarks. These paintings are done with acrylic paint on raw canvas and magic marker. Originals as well as affordable prints and greeting cards will be available for purchase. Commissions are welcomed.

Tony Zignego

from the Zinego Line

First off – can we have a little background information on you – Where
you live? (if you don’t mind answering)

I live in Waukesha, WI.

What first drew you to Art?
How long ago was that?

I’ve been drawn to history since I was about 6 or 7 years old. I became particularly interested in Italian history when I discovered that I had an ancestor who fought under Garibaldi during Italy’s Civil War. I have been researching Milwaukee’s Italian history since I started in graduate school in 2007.

How would you describe your medium?

I am an immigration historian who specializes in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Why did you choose this forum to express your art?

Through Festa Italiana, I can reach a larger audience who are interested in the story of Milwaukee’s Italian immigrants. In particular, people have a relative or family story relating to an event or location in my book can obtain a copy and have it personalized and autographed for them.

What does it feel like to create? What motivates you? What inspires you?

It’s very rewarding and exciting when you make a personal connection to an individual or family. I’m motivated to write the most comprehensive and interesting story of Italians in Milwaukee while also relating my work to current events.

After reading many dry historical books that simply contain a collection of facts, I am also motivated to explain “why” things happened the way that they did. Ultimately, this is much more interesting to the historian and if they are a good writer, benefits their audience by holding their attention while also entertaining them.

Tell us about your main project? What will you be showing at the Festa Italiana’s Fine Art show?

My book, “Milwaukee’s Italian Heritage: Mediterranean Roots in Midwestern Soil,” tells to story of Italians in Milwaukee using their own photographs, stories, and documents. The book traces not only life in Milwaukee, but life before emigration in Italy itself and the back and forth that many families experienced between Italy and the United States. The book tells the story of Italians in Bay View, the Third Ward, the 1st Ward (Brady Street), along with communities in Madison, Kenosha, and elsewhere in the United States and Italy.

I will also have several photos available from my May 2010 trip to Italy from Rome, the Vatican City, Florence, and the Cinque Terre.

What advice would you a young Artisan in promoting their Art?

As a 26 year old who had my book published when I was just 24, I would say to aim high and create the best that you can, the rest will fall into place.

Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood
or is it something that can be learned?

History can be learned with the proper training, but it helps if you’re passionate about what you’re writing about.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?

That history is not simply memorizing information which is extremely mundane and useless.

Rather, history is a way of critical thinking about the world around you both in the past and present that utilizes logic. Ultimately, history makes life more interesting and rewarding since you make connections between events and explains “why” things happened as they did.

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily
tasks for your work?

The book took me 2 years to research and write while in graduate school. In addition to teaching college history courses at UW-Milwaukee, I took my own courses, and simultaneously researched and wrote my master’s thesis. The next day after graduation, I was approached by and signed a contract with the History Press of Salem, Massachusetts which specializes in local history.

Currently, I promote the book via book signings, and have served on advisory committees such as the Milwaukee County Historical Society’s new exhibit on Italians in Milwaukee.

Aurther Cola

www.arthurcolalegendarytales.com/

First off – can we have a little background information on you – Where you live? (if you don’t mind answering)

Arthur Cola lives with his wife of 42 years in Burlington,WI. He is the father of five grown children. His second youngest son is the illustrator of his books (John Colaianni). He and Donna have four grandchildren.

He began his writing career after retiring after 35 years in education. He is the author of three novels: Papa and the Leprechaun King, The Shamrock Crown (Legend of Excalibur) and his new Historical fiction epic: THE STONE CUTTER GENIUS. He has adapted the first two books into screenplays which are now viewable at amazonstudio.com. he is currently working with a Hollywood writer and agency in developing his new book (The Stone Cutter Genius) into a screenplay. It should be ready for development in fall.

Details on his work will soon appear in PRIME Magazine, a periodical for southeast Wisconsin 50+ people.

He also has a published book for children: Papa and the Gingerbread Man.

What first drew you to Art & How long ago was that?
Arthur Cola was first drawn to his love of writing stories when he began adapting plays and books for his Jr. High School students to perform. He also began writing a Movie Review column with his daughter for the Southern Lakes Newspapers.
How would you describe your medium?

His earlier books are adventure stories filled with magic, message, family, legend and history.

His current novel is an adventure thriller which incorporates the mystery, political intrigue, murder plots, legend and culture of Renaissance Italy into a story on the life of Michelangelo and how that life and his times comes to impact the Colonna family in the 21st Century.

Why did you choose this forum to express your art?

Arthur has been a part of Festa Italiana since its beginnings in one venue or another. He has been part of Festa as an author for five years. He appears at Festivals in Chicago such as The Italian Cultural Center and Irish Heritage Center as well as in Boston, Philadelphia, Florida and Washington D.C.’s Festa Italiana.

What does it feel like to create?

I feel as if the lives of my characters are actual beings living and breathing before me as I write them into the plot. Having visited all the areas which I use in the story whether those be in Italy, Ireland or Britain, Thus there is a personal connection for me to the legends, faith experiences and history of the people of whom I am writing.

What motivates you?

My writing is an expression of my heritage, faith, family and Wisconsin and Chicago connections. My experiences growing up in Chicago play an important role in how I view my characters, story and personalities. Then add to those my experiences as a teacher and school principal for  decades in Wisconsin and you have a G-force motivation to bring legends to life.

In the May/June edition of The Italian Times his article “Michelangelo and Me” explains how he came to write his current novel: The Stone Cutter Genius.”

What inspires you?
I am inspired by little known facts from history and legend. One example is learning how Michelangelo was abused as a child just because he wanted to be an artist.
Are you working on any new Art Projects (if more than one);

I am currently working on the screenplay version of “The Stone Cutter Genius” with a well-known Hollywood writer.

Tell us about your main project?

In the film version of my story we are taking one of its main threads which deals with the Legend of the Medici Ring and creating an adventure in which a father and his two sons become involved in an adventure to find the legendary ring.

Where are you at with your main project now?

The new screenplay should be finished by fall.
What advice would you a young Artisan in promoting their Art?

Never give up, no matter how demanding the path to promote and create your work may be.

Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood
or is it something that can be learned? For me, it is in my blood. My maternal grandmother loved stories which she shared with us. My maternal grandfather was a painter, specializing in sea-faring scenes, as he was in the Italian Navy. We have accomplished musicians in the family, so there was a love for the arts. Story telling especially in film was a special draw for me. I was able to do present a story on stage in my schools whether it was in the form of directing “The Wizard of Oz,” “Peter Pan” or creating a Passion Play on the last days of Christ.

And I cannot forget that I was first inspired to appreciate the arts when I first met an actor named Cyril Ritchard. He played the original Captain Hook on Broadway in the production of Peter Pan with Mary Martin. He remained a friend until his death after a stroke on stage in Chicago at which my wife and I were guests.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?

I think just being encouraged by my wife and family to bring the legends which I love to life no matter how hard it may be to present them to a broader audience.

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily
tasks for your work?

I work four to eight hours a day on a project depending where I am in its creation. Often it’s twelve hours when I am on a roll developing the story line.

I begin the day by promoting my work in writing articles for magazines and newspapers.

Then I spend a few hours writing a chapter or two if it’s a book or several scenes if it’s a screenplay.

What will you be showing at the Festa Italiana’s Fine Art show?
I will have all my books at Festa, but primarily introducing my new book: The Stone Cutter Genius.

Valerie Erato

Descends from the Erato line

What first drew you to Art?
-I have always had an artistic mind.  Growing up, I was always making a mess on my kitchen table with a different craft each day.  Starting with paint by numbers then eventually moving to jewelry and other accessories.
How long ago was that?
-At least 20 years of being creative, but more like 7 years for jewelry.
How would you describe your medium?
-What I am known for is wire wrapping and specifically using that to make rings.  They are edgy, funky, and unique.  I consider them a piece of finger art.
What does it feel like to create?
-After a long day at work, it is relaxing to come home and just create.  It’s something that I am in control of, and there is no one to tell me that I am doing it wrong, since it is my piece.  It’s a great de-stresser and always puts me in a better mood. 
What motivates you?
-My happy customers are what keeps me doing this as seriously as I am.  It’s an indescribable feeling when someone compliments your work and gets a smile on their face while wearing it.  Jessie J, the up and coming pop artist from England, bought one of my rings in a shop I sell at in New York.  Seeing the picture of her happily wearing my ring is a priceless feeling.
What inspires you?
-New York fashion.  I am always trying to keep an eye on what is hot there, but it doesn’t always catch on here.  I feel like I am doing my part to make Wisconsin a little more stylish and funky 🙂

Are you working on any new Art Projects (if more than one);

Tell us about your main project?

-I feel like I am always working on a new project!  My newest is making t-shirt scarves.  It’s a great way to reuse and upcycle old shirts from either your closet or the local thrift shop.
  Why did you choose this forum to express your art?
-I love wearing scarves and I had a ton of old shirts that I wanted to get rid of.  I just came across the idea one day and figured I would give it a try!
  Where are you at with your main project now?
-I have made several scarves and I am continuing to make more and supply the shops that I sell at with a variety, while of course adding to my own collection.  You can’t make things without keeping a few for yourself, right?
What advice would you a young Artisan in promoting their Art?
-Don’t let a few “No”s discourage you.  I have been told “No” so many times for selling my rings in shops, boutiques, at events, etc.  But for as many “No”s that I have heard, because I didn’t give up, I have also seen a lot of “Yes”s.  You need to put yourself out there in order to be seen.
Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood Or is it something that can be learned?
-I think that it is something that is in your blood.  You either have it or you don’t.  Some can be taught certain techniques of art, but being artistic is something deep inside of you.  We seem to think differently and have a unique view of the world, as one giant canvas.
What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?

-Don’t give up.  It’s not just for art, but for life in general.  People who give up never get anywhere.  It’s important to continue to do what you love, even if you feel no one else appreciates it.  Someone out there will.

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily tasks for your work?

-I am not able to make jewelry everyday, but whenever I have spare time, I pick it up.  It’s something that I tend to do on weekends, or on week nights that I need some mental relaxation.  I really have no specific plan for the tasks I do, I just do whatever speaks to me that specific day!

 

 


Angela White


Angela White Pottery Artisan

What first drew you to art?
My mother and grandmother; It’s in the blood, I’ve been around “art”
all my life.

How long ago was that?
All my life, 31 years. My mother taught ceramics in her shop when I was
born and I was with her everyday from about 2 weeks old until I attended
school.  I was able to experiment with clay, paint, and crayons, everyday!

How would you describe your medium?

Unpredictable, you never know, lots given to chance.

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?

It is a need, I feel “normal” when I am creating.

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Festa?

Carving clay and each piece is my favorite.  All pieces are so
different, but I like the aboriginal designs the best.

What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?

I love culture; Art for the people; things that make people happy or
can be used.  Something that tells a story and communicates to the viewer even
with the most common everyday things.


Maria White

 

Maria Whites Work

 

http://www.Gifts4U.com

What first drew you to art?

Two people, my mother and a teacher. My mother was fascinated by all aspects of arts and crafts.  As the youngest child, and not believing in a babysitter, she took me to every “Art” and
“Craft” she could find.  My first grade teacher saw the artistic abilities in me and encouraged and entered my simply drawings into every contest she could find.  I later had this same teacher again in high school and she gave me the self-confidence to pursue a career in the arts.

How long ago was that?

Almost 62 years ago now!  But in doing my Italian heritage research, I
found that many of past relatives in Italy were painters and potters.  So I
believe it was inborn in my “genes’.

How would you describe your medium?

I primarily work in two mediums.  Clay and oil painting. My specialty
in oil is painting historical scenes on glass ornaments which is a different
twist than canvas painting.  I have been traditionally trained in clay and
through finding my heritage discovered the love of old “Italy” pottery.

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?
It gives my soul “freedom” and “completeness”.  To create is the
extension of my life. Cooking food is essential for living, creating art is
essential for my soul, it is my life.

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Festa?

Every piece I do whether it be painting or pottery is unique.  They are
equal in my book, and it is hard to put a classification of “favorite”
in my book.  I love the thrill of being able to recreate a historical
building: as I paint, I dream of being there, of walking up those steps thinking
about the people in the past ages.  While doing the clay, I want to
instill in those viewing it, a part of their heritage.

What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?

I want people to know and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into
each piece.  I want people to have pleasure, to feel good about each piece
they choose.  To know the “love” that goes into each and every item.  I
want to instill the love of “Art” in each person I meet.

 

Fish Plate by Maria White


Paula Christensen

Paula D. Christensen of Cedarburg WI.

What first drew you to art?

My Italian Parents.  They loved all things are.  I grew up learning about the Italian Masters.

Da Vinci was quite an inspiration for me.

When we went on vacations, my parents would wander into churches with the kids so we could look at the art.

It didn’t matter the religion, it was fascinating.  Too bad most churches are locked now!

How long ago was that?

My entire life

How would you describe your medium?

Mixed, I love texture and color.. drawing and painting!! the more I can combine, THE HAPPIER I AM!


How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?

Life.  it’s me, its like breathing.  A 7th sense

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Festa?
Miniature Mixed media Italian Landscape canvases

What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?
It makes me happy!  It comes from my Italian soul!

A Scene from Italy Paula D. Christensin

Paula can be reached at
Paula’s Palette
http://www.paulaspalette.biz

http://www.BuyLocalArtWisconsin.com

Donna Pogliano

 

Donna Poglino New Creation

Girly Girl Baubles and Beads

 

 

Whats your favorite pc of Art?

My favorite piece of art is whatever I made most recently. I also
love paintings by my friend Pamela Anderson of Underwood Gallery and
by Nita Engle who has done some amazing watercolors.

What first drew you to art?

I felt I could make high quality custom-made jewelry and offer it
at reasonable prices. I have a metal allergy and I was tired of the
one pair of gold earrings I wore every day for twenty years. When I
discovered I could make anything I wanted and make items to sell out
of the leftover materials, I didn’t realize it would become a disease.

Customers are continually commenting on the sheer volume of what is
displayed at a show. I guess you could say I’m an accidental artist.
Now I make things to suit the tastes of other people, not just things
I personally like or would wear. Now I design with Girly Girls of all
ages in mind.

How long ago was that?

I’ve been a jewelry artist for about five years now and it never

gets old. I love playing with proportion and color and I’m

continually entranced by the endless variety of gemstone and art glass

and natural materials.

How would you describe your medium?

I describe Girly Girl jewelry as beautiful, durable wearable art.

Perfect as a gift for someone else or as a treat for yourself.

Something for every taste and budget.

 

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?

I feel fully engaged when I create and I design primarily by
instinct, letting the materials and the process lead me in whatever

direction feels right. It’s important to know when to quit. When

things start getting too complex, it’s time to back off. Simple is

best and tends to have a timeless appeal.

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Festa?

Again this year, I will be making special designs for Festa in

millefiori and art glass. There will also be the ever-popular Italian

anklets and bracelets as well as new earring styles in the colors of

the Italian flag.

What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?

I can create custom pieces and many pieces can be altered to suit

the customer on the spot. Most pieces are adjustable within certain

limits and many pieces can be made longer or shorter by adding or

removing elements. If the customer leaves happy, then I’m happy.

It’s very gratifying to hear back from repeat customers from year to

year and know that they are still wearing and enjoying their pieces.

Donna Pogliano
Girly Girl Baubles and Beads
Donna's art can be seen at
www.GirlyGirlyBaublesandBeads.com

MaryAnne Schall

Maryanne Schall pearl-bracelet-knitted

 

What first drew you to art?

I love the beauty and the possibility of creation.  There is magic in it.

How long ago was that?

I have been making ‘art” from as early as I can recollect.  I remember being about 5 years old

and making pins (for my mother and Nonna.

They wore them to church on their coats;  and I was bursting with pride.

How would you describe your medium?

I am a jewelry artist who manipulates wire into wearable pieces of art.
I feel that wire is a natural medium for conveying

how lines express mood, form, and texture.  I use wire to explore the connections

between mind, body, spirit, the organic and the industrial.  Using a variety of techniques

adapted from basketry, knitting, and metal work, I combine silver, gold, and copper wire with

pearls, precious gem stones, found objects,

antique and ethnic pieces, fused glass, and china shards.

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?

Bending and twisting the wire into various shapes and forms ignites a feeling of excitement that I never

tire of exploring. My inspiration comes from nature, from architecture, from abstract art – anything that sparks my curiosity

and arouses in me the sense of being connected with the world.

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at FESTA?

I will be showcasing my silver wire knitted bracelets and necklaces.  They remind me of a magical moment in nature—

coming across a spider’s web laced with dew drops on an early morning.

The bracelets–  gemstones and pearls intertwine with delicate silver wires — create a fairy wing to brush your wrist.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you or your art?

My work is very personal.  I utilize simple tools and techniques.

I want my jewelry to have movement, to be strong, wearable, and interesting.  I hope that people who wear my jewelry

will experience a sense of joy and beauty.

More shortly from Paula Christensen, Mary Schall, Yvonne Stevensen, Brian Belli, Peter Gustin, Donna Poglino, Linda Lipp, Marie and Angela White,

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