I met Stephanie Sharp through Jen Lee's Indie Kindred group, and as I love inspirational quotes, fell immediately in love with her work! Quotes show up in both her mixed media art and jewelry consistently, and as you'll see from the first photo below, on her inspiration door as well. Stephanie's inspiration door also contains artwork that inspires her along with notes from friends that buoy her. I so appreciate this idea, and am planning to use it in my workspace!
Stephanie's love of mixed media was born out of a longing for something to pour her heart into after a significant move in 2009. Gratefully, she found and participated in "Spill It", an online art workshop facilitated by Carmen Torbus, and really expanded from there. Her work at this point is mainly in mixed media clay and jewelry making, but she enjoys fiber art, printmaking, and watercolor, and she explores every art medium she can. Stephanie's greatest love is creating art that inspires and moves people, and sharing her passion for creating by teaching art to people of all ages. What an inspiration.
What does Creativity mean to you?
Expressing oneself in a meaningful way.
How do you expand yourself creatively?
Listen to music, read blogs of creative people, art books (I have a weakness for those), connect with fellow makers.
Were you creative as a child? If so, how have you evolved through the years?
Yes. I did a lot of arts and crafts as a child. During college and my early adulthood, I put it on the back burner. Eventually, I realized that being creative was food for my soul, and I dove back in. Since then, I’ve branched out to learn new techniques, and I allow more of “me” to shine through.
Did anyone encourage you, especially? My friends, my husband, my parents...even my children. In fact, I remember a day when I was in my studio making art, and my 14yr old son walked in and said, “Mom, I’m really glad you’re making art today. I know you really love it.”
What inspires you most?
Hearing stories of people who find their passions then share them with the world. Stories of people who take the leap to follow their dreams.
What turns you on creatively?
Do you have any gratefulness practices?
I have an app on my phone that allows me to upload a picture every day to a Gratefulness Calendar. I also try to be really mindful every day of my blessings. I call myself a gratitude junky. On my kitchen wall, I painted a quote that says, “If the only prayer you said in your life was “thank you”, that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart.
How does a relationship and/or children affect your creativity?
It makes it tricky to fit in time to focus on creating. It’s hard to balance being a wife/mom/friend/artist. I have to be really intentional about my time and try hard to schedule time in my studio. Making the time to create helps me to be a better wife/mom/friend. It took me a long time to realize that. I think I used to feel guilty for taking the time to do what I loved.
Is there a Creative, past or present, that you would give just about anything to work with?
There are so many! Who, and why? I think it’s a tie between Aimee Myers Dolich of Artsyville, Bridgette Guerzon Mills, and CurlyGirl. I LOVE the work that they do, and they are all just delightful spirits. It would be such a joy to spend time creating with them. A dream come true!
How do you care for yourself to ensure you’re available when ideas present themselves?
Rest. Time with family & friends. Time in my studio.
How do you balance life and art effectively? Or, do you?
It’s tricky, as I mentioned before. I’m not always successful. I think this is always going to be something that I can always improve on.
How do you deal with creative dry spells? Do you make space for them, or push through?
I make space for them. The more I pressure myself to make something happen creatively, the worse the dry spell gets. So, I take time to read some of my art books, browse some cool blogs, listen to music, rest. Eventually the flood gates open.
How do you deal with change, especially when it comes to creative mediums and passion?
I LOVE switching gears creatively. One day I’m making bracelets from vintage spoons, the next day I’m painting in an art journal, the next day I’m working on a mixed media piece. There’s SO much to learn! I don’t want to ever stop learning new mediums. Encaustic painting is something I’d LOVE to learn.
How does criticism affect you?
Oooohhh...that’s a hard one. This is a growing edge for me. I always welcome constructive criticism. And I try so hard not to take it personally. And most of the time I do ok. But, sometimes it’s difficult. I know, though, that I can learn and grow from it, so it’s definitely something that is good. Now, that icky, mean criticism….I haven’t had to deal with that. When the time comes, I’m not really sure how that’s gonna feel. But, I can guess that it won’t be easy.
How important is self compassion to your creative process?
It’s SO important. I would liken this to allowing myself grace. I am constantly reminding myself to do this. It’s really easy for me to be hard on myself because I am a perfectionist. Maybe I should say I’m a “recovering perfectionist”. :) I’m a lot better than I used to be! Because, here’s the thing….being creative is about the process, not the end result.
Do you have any other mediums you use to express yourself creatively?
I love to sing. LOVE it. Music is always playing in my house.
Do you enjoy collaborating, or prefer to work alone?
Both. I like being alone in my studio, in the zone, creating. But, there’s something so amazing about collaborating. I love the connection with another artist...the new and exciting things that come to fruition when you brainstorm and create with another person. It’s just magical. Love it.
Do you work in a studio/space designed specifically for your creativity, or on the spur of the moment/anywhere inspiration strikes?
Mostly in my studio. Thankfully, the house we bought 3 years ago has a room off of the dining room that became my studio. It even has pocket doors so I can hide my messy space if I need to!
Is it important for you to have a creative, inspiring environment?
Do you plan thoroughly for projects, or go with the flow?
Ha! I try to plan. But, once I sit down and get started, I usually throw out the plan and just go with the flow. I think the planning (because I’m a recovering perfectionist) makes it less scary to get started. But, once I’m in the flow, I just go with it.
Do you have a preferred way of cataloguing ideas?
I have a few notebooks. And Pinterest is pretty cool.
Do you utilize social media? If so, how?
What is your typical day like?
There really isn’t a “typical” around here. If I’m lucky, it involves family time, friend time, creative time, and coffee.
Do you have any rituals that help to set your creative time and/or space?
Does spirituality and/or culture play a role in your creativity?
Spirituality does. I think it’s a spiritual experience to notice all the “small gifts” in my life. And, those “small gifts” are what light my creative fire. The world is so full of wonderful things if you stop to notice them.
Do you believe art can change the world? If so, how?
Yes. I think expressing yourself through your art helps people understand you better. As we learn to understand each other, tolerance grows. And tolerance leads to peace. The world could use more of that.
Do you believe that connecting with your creativity, or helping others to do so, can positively affect the world? If so, how?
Yes. See above. :)
Are you active in your local art community? If so, how do you help and support each other?
Kinda. I have a group of “Kindreds” (yes, I love Jen Lee!). We try to gather at least once a month to create. I just opened a shop with a friend where we consign art from local artists and invite them to come teach classes.
Do you surround yourself on a daily basis with creative, inspiring people?
Not quite daily, but at least weekly! It’s food for my soul!
What effect do you want your art to have on the world?
I want it to bring joy to people and inspire them. And I want it to add a little beauty.
What music, if any, plays while you work?
It depends on the mood I’m in. Brandi Carlile, P!nk, Florence and the Machine, Chastity Brown, Kate Nash, The Staves, The Lumineers...the list goes on... What are you listening to at this very moment? Noah and the Whale Station on Pandora.