Visual Artist Spotlight: Alyice Edrich
A1) I’ve created art in one form or another for years. As a child, my Aunt Sue used to take me to her house on the weekend and we’d do nothing but shop for art supplies and paint. (You can learn more about my various hobby phases, here: http://www.alyiceedrich.com/2008/04/whats-with-phases.html)
I quit creating art when we moved to South Dakota due to various reasons but one day, when I was in a real depressive state, my husband urged me to pick up a paintbrush and find a way to be creative again. It took six months of going through the “ugly” stage but I finally found my creative side again. By the end of the year, I was gifting and donating art to anyone I could.
But by 2009, I had run out of people to donate art to so I put a few pieces up on etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/alyiceedrich). The thrill of having an unknown person like my art was exhilarating.
Q2) When, if at all, did you realize that God had called you to be an artist?
A2) I think God called me to be a freelance writer (http://thedabblingmum.com/hiretheeditor/contentwriter.htm) first. At the time I was heavily involved in church, and just getting me feet wet with writing for the church newsletter. The church began a seminary-style course on becoming an adult Bible school instructor and I started taking courses when a tragedy happened in our family that derailed us from everything we thought God wanted us to be.
Through it all, God was there picking up the pieces and fighting for our survival as human beings, and a family unit. It was then that I realized how powerful a strong family unit was and through a course of events, I found my way to writing. It was healing and knowing that my words could touch and change lives, the way God was constantly changing mine was an amazing feeling.
When we moved, life events took us away from that strong connection to God. I had developed a severe depression and to be quite honest, nothing was lifting it. I’d start to feel as though I was getting through to the other side and then baam it would hit me all over again. I thought it was never going to lift… but God had other plans.
He reminded my husband how art had saved me once, and my husband encouraged me to start creating again. It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly the act of creating art and giving that art away began to heal my soul… but it wasn’t until I donated a piece of art to a local charity that I realized how powerful the act of giving something handmade could be.
Ironically, my family would always tease me because the only gifts I ever wanted from them was their time, or something handmade (a meal, a card, the playing of a song, etc.) … and here God was showing me that my heart’s desire reached far beyond my own family.
A3.) I’m self-taught.
I read a lot of creative books, I purchase a ton of art instructional videos (Creative Catalyst is one of my favorite places http://ccpvideos.com/), and yes, I watch YouTube videos and browse artist websites.
Q4) How did your training influence what you’re doing now?
A4) I’m not sure it has. My artistic style isn’t like any of the artists I learn from. I learn to understand their techniques and then I implement them into my own style.
Q5) Please describe your art style and medium and why you chose that particular one.
A5) I’ve been told that my artistic style is contemporary folk art and I kind of like that!
I love complicated art when I’m at galleries and museums. I love the realism of old Masters, I am inspired by abstractions, steampunk designs, mythical creatures, and nature… but when I am creating art, I find that everything that inspires me goes out the door.
When I sit down to create, I just play with my art supplies and see where God takes me… where my intuition goes. I like to say that I create intuitively because I don’t really have plans, I just create and hope for the best.
I love to include as much texture as possible in my pieces. Life is a complicated mess. Sometimes it’s a good complication, and other times, it’s not… but every bump in the road makes us who we are. Bumps shape us, they mold us, they grow us, they forever change us. Texture is like that, too… I think.
I also like to create abstract art. I like the idea that abstract art speaks differently to everyone who views it. I may create a piece with one intention in mind, but a viewer may come along and see something completely different in the piece, something that speaks directly to him (or her).
Abstract art kind of reminds me of the Bible… God wrote the Bible in such a way that each verse speaks to human beings differently based upon their life experiences, and what they need to hear from God at that very moment. That’s not to say that we obscure the true meaning of the Bible, but that we allow God’s work to speak to us where we are, right now.
Q6) What do you do to keep yourself inspired?
A6) I admire the work of others. Seeing how other artists use various art supplies and materials to create their unique designs makes me want to try new things, too.
But I find that I am the most creative, when I have had plenty of playtime with nature… whether it’s a bike ride along the river, a day driving around the farmlands snapping pictures, or if I’m lucky a weekend hiking.
A7) I believe the greatest gift we can give God is to show others who He is through our words and our actions so I don’t use a lot of outward religious symbols in my art.
I, instead, try to live the life He’d want me to live, learn from my mistakes, help a fellow man out whenever possible, and remain true to myself and my convictions—and I think by doing that, my faith shows through in my artistic and writing style.
Q8) Is there a class or offer that you would like to share with my readers?
A8) I’m currently working on a group of digital collage sheets for my etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/alyiceedrich). Use the code: sociality2013 to receive a 10% discount on all downloads.
To view my original, handcrafted artisan vases, mixed media canvases, and prints, please visit my Art Shoppes (http://thedabblingmum.com/shop.htm) page … or stop by my Zazzle shop (thedabblingmum.com/affiliates/zazzle.htm) where you can customize any of my prints, magnets, or buttons with your very own message or saying.
Q9) Any final thoughts about sharing your art work with my blog readers?
A9) If I could leave your readers with one thing, it would be this: Create art for the sake of creating, then when you’re done with the piece follow your heart. If you feel led to sell the piece, sell it. But if you feel led to donate or gift it, do it.
Don’t think about the time spent working on the piece, the cost of the materials used, or whether it will be truly appreciated or not. Sometimes, God puts a person or organization on our hearts because He has plans that we cannot yet see. And the fruition of those plans may not occur for weeks, or years later.
When my Aunt whisked me away for creative weekends all those years ago, she expected nothing in return but a little social hour… yet I’ve returned to my creative roots over and over again as a way to heal internally.
When a tragedy hit my family, the handmade gifts were nice but had no real meaning until years later when the grief lifted and I was able to look back and see all the amazing people God had put in my path to heal my family and it was only then that I could truly appreciate those handcrafted pieces and the love that went into each and every one of them.
And sometimes, people simply don’t realize how much they mean to us, or how their act of kindness and generosity affects us until we tell them.
Case in point, I created this piece (stitched heart in frame) for a woman who helped me heal from that family tragedy. (You can read about it here: http://www.alyiceedrich.com/2011/09/stitch-in-time-heals-nine.html ) After I created it, I wrote her a letter apologizing for any bad behavior I had at the time and explaining how much I truly appreciated her kindness at the time, even though I didn’t show it well. She wrote back to tell me that she understood and never gave my actions a second thought, then she commenced to tell me that she was in the middle of teaching a Bible study on God’s desire for us to reach out to others and how the gift was perfect timing… she read my letter to the group as a “witness” of what God can do even when we think we’re not making a difference at all.
(c) 2013 Cheryl Cope