Visual Artist Spotlight: Bernice Hopper
Q1) When did you decide to become an artist?
A1) In the last 6 months really, but I prefer to think of myself as a Creative as I dabble in such a range of art and crafts. As a child I was often creative. I can remember knitting things for my dolls and designing proper knitting patterns for the things I made. In my teens I made some of my own clothes including a tailored dress and coat. For my Needlework exam at school when we were all asked to make a blouse I made a shirt dress. However I was less successful at art. I was made to drop it as a subject at school and then when I was in the 6th Form made to take it up again whilst being told I was no good at it.
Teacher Training, teaching, and marriage consumed my time from then on and I didn’t become creative again until I was in my 40s and my artistic son decided he wanted to have a go at stencilling and rag rolling and I joined in. At about that time I took ill-health retirement from teaching and asked God if I could have the opportunity to be creative again. I felt that my life was rather dry and monotonous and I thought the lack of creativity might be one of the causes. Whilst recovering from the health problem I was able to take a four year one-day per week Creative Embroidery course.
I then became a church administrator and event organiser and yet again work got in the way and creativity ceased. I took it back up when I retired a second time in 2008 and started scrapbooking. This led on to art journaling, mixed media, blogging and more photography.
Q2) When, if at all, did you realize that God had called you to be an artist?
A2) It’s only recently that I have seen that God has been using my skills as an administrator and my creative talents as part of his plan for my life. Up until then, I had thought it was just one of my good ideas. But now I see that it was a God idea. I was given a prophetic word in September 2013 which included these words: ‘If you read the Old Testament, God appointed people who were skilful in all kinds of creative things and I really feel that God is saying Bernice I have appointed you in all manner of creative things in order to bring about a whole new work that goes out from this church.’
Q3) Where did you receive your training?
A3) I am not a trained artist. I have a City & Guilds qualification in Creative Embroidery and after taking some photography courses I successfully applied to be a member of the Royal Photographic Society. The art journaling techniques I use I have learned either from videos on YouTube, taking online classes or by attending workshops particularly those run by Dyan Reaveley. During this year I am taking a 12 day textile workshop with Hilary Beattie which combines the art journaling techniques with paper and fabrics.
Q4)How did your training influence what you’re doing now?
A4) I have experimented with the various techniques I have learned and have discarded those that ‘aren’t me’ and I’m planning to further develop those that appeal to me.
Q5)Please describe your art style and medium and why you chose that particular one (or how God influenced this choice).
A5) I don’t think that I have a style. I have tried to find one but it always eludes me. I try to work in particular colours and end up with pieces of work – whether art or textiles – that are in a different colour and usually much darker than I had planned. My main area of work is visual journaling and I particularly like stencilling and using media that I can control like acrylic paints and Distress Inks.
Q6)What do you do or use to keep yourself inspired for your art work?
A6) I spend a lot of time (possibly too much time) on Pinterest. I buy Stampington magazines – Somerset Studio and Art Journaling. I follow about 100 blogs by other Creatives. I like to take lots of photographs. And of course there are all the online classes and YouTube videos.
Q7)In what ways do you incorporate God into your work?
A7) I tend to use scriptures in my work particularly the visual journal pages. When I was studying textiles I would sometimes see a finished textile piece in my mind while we were singing a particular worship song or be inspired by the song to make a piece. In my recent return to textiles I have made a fabric book based on the Fruit of the Spirit. This has combined fabric and paper collage, paint and stitch and a bible verse for each ‘Fruit’.
Q8) Is there a class or offer that you would like to share with my readers?
A8) I have been running art challenge blogs since November 2012. I provide a quote, a Bible Verse, something inspirational (usually a video), a journal prompt and a technique challenge on a theme. The next one starts in May on the subject of The Art of Practising Gratitude. http://practisinggratitude2014.blogspot.co.uk/
I will be running a Bible Study art blog in August – Honour: A study in 1 Corinthians http://acultureofhonour.blogspot.co.uk/
I ran a similar Bible Study through February which is still available – Identity: A Study in Ephesians http://myfreedominchrist.blogspot.co.uk/
I have been invited to contribute a class to Made 2014 which starts in September. http://madecourse.com/
Join the conversation. Share your ideas or questions in the comment form below.
Other artist interview blog posts you may like:
Visual Artist Spotlight: Gail Austin —artist interview
Visual Artist Spotlight: Windy Kai—artist interview
Visual Artist Spotlight: Sam Tait—artist interview
To see a list and links to ALL my artist interviews go here. (and scroll down a bit)
ARTIST BIO: Bernice Hopper
Bernice lives a creative life in the UK with her husband of 31 years. After two careers, one as a teacher and a second as a Church Administrator, Bernice now spends much of her time encouraging people to respond creatively to prompts and techniques through the challenge blogs she hosts. In her own work she experiments with lots of different styles and media especially in visual journaling and textiles.
(c) 2014 Cheryl Cope
Cheryl Cope on Google+