Monday, May 5, 2008

Inspired by Paper, leftovers and a Secret Desire - Artist feature with Marisa from

Hey there everyone. So sorry for the long hiatus, but I have had a lot going on plus a bad sinus infection, sick kids, another case of mystery hives (my son) and lots of making and planning for some new things. I have also been rounding up some interviews from some of my favorite Etsy artists. So at least if I am too busy for a lot of posting, I will be able to share some inspiration with you.

My latest feature is from one of my favorites, Marisa Swinghammer of She was one of the first shops that I added to my favorites on Etsy and I always enjoy seeing the new things she creates. She specializes in woodblock prints which feature layers of colors, patterns and imagery that together create fantastic pieces that seem to move and change each time you look at them. Recently she has been doing some fantastic collages using some of her printed pieces, gocco prints from sketches, washi and other beautiful papers and even some sewing. Below Marisa details the inspiration for one of her latest collages:

What inspired this piece?
My love of all things paper, my inability to throw anything away and my secret desire to be a quilt maker.

Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art?
My focus for the last two years has been woodblock printmaking and of course I have had my share of failed pieces. Unable to throw anything out I have kept these pieces tucked away, sometimes for weeks sometimes for years and use them in various projects. This piece started with one of those failed pieces ripped up and merged threw stitching and collaging with other papers hand printed and found.

Where do you tend to find inspiration for your art pieces?
Nature, namely the colors and basic shapes that come from nature that I see during my daily walks with my young daughter. The female form and shape. The various art papers and ephemera I have collected over the years along with my own hand printed woodblock and Gocco papers. The world is filled with so much to inspire me if I keep my eyes open.

Any advice for someone feeling uninspired?
First I would tell them that it is OK to feel uninspired and not to force creation when your body and mind may need a break. But at the same time ways that have often brought me out of creative slumps are daily drawing without worrying about a finished product and free thought journal writing. Getting out and looking around at life is always helpful as well.

You can find more of Marisa's work here:

Some helpful links:

I too have quilt envy and wish that I had the patience to learn, but I love how Marisa has taken her hidden desire to quilt and used it to "quilt" a collage. She has done something similar to quilting in that she has taken several unrelated items (think quilting fabric patterns) and brought them together to create one cohesive piece. Each piece on it's own is significant and beautiful, but once it is added to the other pieces, it creates something spectacular. I also love that she used her own past pieces (even so called "mess-ups") as inspiration and that she continued to recycle her work rather than throw it out. At one time she offered collage packs of her "leftovers" in her shop and I was actually lucky enough to get some and they inspired me to create this ACEO.

I hope she doesn't mind that I punched a bunch of holes in her papers, but I really wanted to see all of the color combinations together and the funny thing is that the final result reminds me of a patchwork quilt. So take some time this week to check out Marisa's work (buy a piece or two too, you won't be disappointed), create something inspired by a secret desire, and use your leftovers to create something new or share them with other artists and inspire them to create!


DivaDea said...

MLee is one of my favs, too!

CURU said...

Great feature, she's really talented.

Michelle Engel Bencsko said...

I love Marissa's work. What a nice read. I'm glad to hear her perspective.

Kirsten said...

She does all that with a baby too, right? I'm impressed.

Great feature. Glad to see you back. February was our family sick-in.

Waterrose said...

What a great interview and thank you for introducing her. I loved the analogy to her way of quilting.

Victoria Bennett Beyer said...

What a very nice feature on MLee's work. She was also one of my first favorites on Etsy :)

Marissa L. Swinghammer said...

Thank you for this wonderfully done feature! You always do such a great job!

Kiley said...

Wonderful feature!

I feel for you with the mystery hives, I was getting them pretty often awhile ago and it turned out to be a soy allergy. Best of luck figuring out your sons!


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