November 17, 2008

Etsy Monday - Melody Sage

I'm kicking off my new "Etsy Monday" feature today. Mondays could use a little something, I thought, and it's a nice way to start the week - showing a little love to some of my favorite Etsy sellers. Each week I will feature a different shop - for more Etsy Monday features, click here.


First up is Melody Sage. She creates gorgeous works of art with pen and ink and sells prints and originals in her shop, Rain Garden Arts. Her work is rich with detail and each piece evokes a distinct mood, from optimistic to dark and contemplative.

"The Windows of the Soul"

A recurring theme I see in her work is the melding of human forms with elements from nature. This seems to me a reminder that we are part of the natural world, even when we think we've managed to remove ourselves from it. This has been on my mind a lot lately, so see it in Melody's work strikes a chord with me. And she's clearly not afraid of exploring the darker side of beauty, which I absolutely love!


I sent Melody a list of questions to give us an idea of who she is, what she does, and what it all means for her. Her answers are thoughtful and intriguing. I especially love her advise for other artists. Without further ado, here's Melody!

1. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/artisan?

I remember announcing I was going to be an artist when I grew up at the age of three. I am one of those lucky people who were born with a sense of purpose, although there years where I resisted it for my own convoluted reasons. I went through various phases where I said I wanted to be a filmmaker, a geneticist, an art therapist etc. Meanwhile I kept filling sketchbooks, and everyone kept expecting me to become an artist. I am so glad at twenty five that I finally listened to myself at three.

2. How long have you been working with your medium and what first sparked your interest in it?

Frustrated with pencil smudges at a young age, I turned to ink and never looked back. Working with pen is rigorous. An elbow bump can mean the waste of thirty hours, but I like it. The unforgiving medium means I have had to learn to adapt to errors or make fewer of them. I enjoy working with all materials, however. Recently I have begun experimenting with oil paints, archival markers, and pastel. I also like sculpture, although I carry none in the shop yet. On a day to day basis, I think I prefer the intimacy of a small watercolor or drawing I can hold in my lap and concentrate on.

3. What do you find most enjoyable/rewarding about your art/craft?

When I am immersed in a piece, I swing between soaring thrills of exhilaration, and periods of deep calm where word balloons of thought pass through my mind like clouds and dissolve. In particular I love the first pale glimmer of an idea, and the synchronous mistakes that take the work to surprising places. I love the waltz of concept and material, and the hours I forget to eat and do not notice my cup of tea went cold. When I look closely at any one moment I cannot articulate what exactly makes the process so fulfilling, but it is.

4. Where do you find inspiration for your art/craft?

Inspiration is mercurial for me. Sometimes I start a piece with no preconceptions to see what happens, more often I start with an idea. Ideas are like moths. They hover near sudden areas of illumination in the dark of my head, then fly and disappear, unless I pin them into a notebook with a couple descriptive lines or a quick awkward sketch. Later I page through and see the remnants of the silly, strange, and beautiful notions I have caught and forgotten. If the wings of the idea did not turn to dust, and it still has a halo of borrowed light, I begin a picture.

5. What message or values do you wish to convey with your art? What does your art say to the world?

I do not know what my art says to the world, only what it says to me. It speaks in many voices tinny and soft, musical and insistent, murmuring and loud as a thunderclap. If I could distill this into a single message, it would be that magic exists to be seen and created by each of us. Each person, each tree, each thing, each thought, is a precious universe of shared particles, nothing truly is separate, everything is connected.

6. Are there any other creative outlets that you use to express yourself? What are they and what do you enjoy about them?

Oh there are so many! I write poetry and fiction seriously and have been published in fifty plus literary magazines. My tiny squirrel’s nest apartment overlooking Lake Superior is filled with books and plants. I collect orchids, and dream of the day when I can have an actual garden. I take pleasure in dancing and improvising in the kitchen. I like to cut my own hair and dabble in crafts. All these outlets satisfy different aspects of me.

7. Do you have any advice for other artists/artisans?

Please be kind to your fellow artist. No one can understand the creative part of you better. The success of another person does not eclipse you, but casts more light for everyone. Any way you can, find a method to be happy, and make what only you can make.

In closing...

What's on the horizon for you right now?

I am doing an art bazaar at a local college. This is the start of my career, and the possibilities are exciting.

Are there any great websites you'd like to recommend?

These are not art websites but I love Verse Daily and FreeRice.

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Cattoo said...

Beautiful, decorative and detailed artwork :-)

Thanks for sharing it with us.

Lineberry said...

Wow! Gorgeous work!

W. J. St. Christopher said...

Her work is beautiful, and that was a fascinating read. I love peeking into the heads of other creatives!

Christie said...

I just bought two pieces on Etsy even before I read the 'interview'- and what a lovely, insightful interview it was. I look forward to following Melody's career, which will undoubtedly be a fulfilling and lucrative one. I also look forward to saving up for an original work someday :O)

blackmustard said...

That's very cool! I am planning to buy a couple of prints when I have some money to spend on myself. I'd like to get 2 as well and frame them together. Now, I just have to decide which 2... :)