Taerie Kelly is a crafter after my own heart. We started corresponding in 2010. This is her story as it has unfolded over the past four years. It's a good example of how people can find their way from being crafters to accomplished artists.
One thing leads to another. One day your craft is all paper or crochet or beading. Then something else really calls to you. For Taerie it has been photography.
If you're in the Salineville, Ohio area, be sure to catch her upcoming photography show at the Salt Kettle Florist and Artisan Gallery, 27 East Main St., Sep 26 - Nov 15.
Artist Profile: from Crafter to Artist
Me: Taerie, what craft forms do you do?
Taerie: Mainly crocheting, beading and anything with paper.
This photo is my newest kitten, Pip. I crocheted her a mermaid tail to make her a "catfish."
I make all my cards, iris folding, tea bag folding, 3D, stamping, embroidery. I enjoy entering competitions and sharing my work.
I have to make handmade Christmas cards for my relatives and friends.They are insulted if I send a "bought" card. I found a really cute store-bought card a couple of years ago and everyone said it was cute but why didn't I send them a handmade one too.
Me: What have you been up to recently?
Taerie: I've been doing a lot of photography and have been thinking of showing at the Arts Council Hall. I've already won some awards with my photos. When people/judges appreciate my work that much, I'm always encouraged to keep at it.
Me: What awards have you won with your crafts?
Taerie: When first playing with my Cricut Expressions, I made a cute felt owl ornament to enter into the local fair. It got first place! So, of course I made a bunch more felt ornaments.
This is a frog by a pond on the grounds of a Hindu temple. He was as big as a dinner plate. He took first place a couple of years ago.
This chipmunk who visits our woodpile also was a first place winner.
Me: The photo of a fence at top is one of my favorites which you've shared. You said you didn't enter it because it was too large. I can certainly see this hanging on walls in people's homes. I can also imagine it on note cards and greeting cards.
Taerie: Funny you should mention that one. I exhibited it in the Weirton, West Virginia art museum last spring. I had several people comment that they loved the photo and that it would look nice in their house but no one bought a print.
Me: You'd know better, but it seems to me that most people go to photography exhibits just to look. They buy in galleries - where the markup is higher. Go figure.
Do you think your success with photography in competition is a sign that you should pursue it further?
Taerie: I am. I just started doing post processing. I try to do as much as possible to get a photo "right" in-camera before taking the picture.
I have been using Picasa to do simple stuff like cropping, increasing contrast if necessary and checking color saturation.
I got Photoshop Elements 10 but have not been able to figure it out yet. I wish there was some place around that taught the program. I do much better with hands-on training than trying to read directions.
I am starting to use a tripod to get better overall focus on stationary objects. One of my favorite things to do is spell names using objects, such as a horseshoe for a U or C. The doorbell chimes (which hang on my wall) sideways makes an E, if you take a shot of a rose straight on you can get an O, stuff like that.
Me: Any news on your photography work?
Taerie: Yes and it's exciting. I will be having my own photography show! It is at a downtown gallery, so I hope the location will bring people in. It will run for two months.
Some of my photos will be on exhibit at the Fort Steuben Mall in Steubenville Oct. 6th to 12th. I will have some photos there but the majority will be in my solo show.
I have been making progress on editing and post processing. I got the Topaz filters and just learned a bit on masking. I just upgraded to PSE12 but need some lessons. PSE12 was a huge upgrade by Adobe.
My laptop is just about out of memory, so I got an external hard drive and downloaded all my photos and craft patterns.
Me: Space is a real problem no matter what craft you choose! I'm constantly struggling to keep my supplies organized and not overflowing through the whole house.
Me: Artistically, where would you like to be five years from now?
Taerie: Last year I had a photo published in the McBane Insurance calendar, but they credited the photo to "Laurie Kelly". How they got the name Laurie from Taerie is anyone's guess. So I would still like to have a photo published with my correct name.
A couple of years ago I was involved with taking pet portraits with Santa Claus to benefit the local animal shelter. It was so much fun that I would love to do more work like that. I'm working on connections that will allow me to take action photos at sporting events like English horseback riding and water aerobics. I want to challenge my photographic abilities.
All that said, I'm still an eclectic crafter. Last night I went to a workshop on encaustic paintng and can't wait to order supplies to try it.
I recently took a class at a craft store in which we felted bars of soap. The store hopes to have weekly classes on other craft techniques, so we'll see what comes up.
Me: What new art or craft "toys" are on you wish list these days?
Taerie: Oh golly! I always want new "toys"!!
I would love to have a long zoom for my camera. I know I can never afford a prime lens (the Nikon 600mm runs for $10,000!!) so I have been looking at the Tamron 150-600mm (just released so it is not readily available) or the Sigma 150-500mm lens. My goal is to gain enough reach to get some bird in flight photos, specifically the herons at the Great Blue Heron rookery in Akron.
One thing that has always been on my bucket list is to take a photo safari to the African plains and to the outback regions of Australia. The zoom lens would be great to take on an adventure like that. I wouldn't mind having a spotting scope with a camera attachment. I have seen great photos taken that way.
Another toy I'd enjoy having is Swarovski binoculars - one of the best binoculars made and also one of the most expensive. Why do I have such expensive taste??
Me: Well, you'll need those binoculars for your African photo safari, right?
Taerie, thank you for sharing your story with us. Good luck with your solo exhibit which opens this Friday!