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Where Creativity Means to Me
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Mike - Manager - Product Design, 2+ Years
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Finish this sentence: To me, creativity means….
It means FREEDOM. It's the freedom to express, freedom to make my dreams reality.

What type of projects do you do best?
Well, I am a trained printmaker in many different media of printmaking from Screen print to etching. I most enjoy the immediacy of Woodcuts or Linoleum cuts. Michaels carries a flat rubber product, which is ideal for small block printing projects like cards or creating fabric repeats which in the past I have used on curtains and lampshades.

What would you consider to be your signature technique or tip?
Clean as you go! I learned the hard way that if your surfaces are dirty there's a good chance of transferring that to your final piece and potentially damaging it. This is a tip I use, but understand that the creative process is very individual. A great technique is a rainbow roll, which is a way to create blended colors in one brayer pass on your block print. By all means tools, tools, tools...buy quality tools that will last you and take care of them.

When did you first realize you were creative?
For me it was not a realization but more of a part of who I have always been. From early on I preferred art supplies to toys for birthday and Christmas gifts. I Tole painted with my aunts in elementary school, I would create fantasy worlds with construction paper and I have decorated my parents Christmas tree every year since I could hang an ornament, from hand-painted ornaments to origami swans have graced their branches. An interesting fact at age 12, I was asked to draw line drawings of women's shoes for a wholesale catalog. So it was less a discovery, more just a part of me. I thank my parents for continual encouragement in my creative pursuits, still today!

What's the coolest thing you've ever created?
Coolest, hmmmm? I used to paint giant 35ft. x 60ft. theatrical backdrops in college. That's a really big canvas! they were huge. I guess that's pretty cool.

What inspires you to create?
There are so many triggers ranging from the news to nature. I like contrasts and juxtapositions. Combining disparate images can create new meanings.

What was your biggest creative goof? How did you fix it?
Early on during my master's program, I did body casts for 3D components on a painting....many hours later and much hair loss, let's just say I now know the words “mold release”.

When and where do you feel the most creative?
Sounds trite, but inspiration is everywhere to be had, if one can train their eye to see it. I enjoy my alone time as much as collaboration....it's about learning who I am through solitude and sharing creative moments with others which enriches the journey.

How do you find the time to let your creativity loose?
It's a challenge but when it's part of your being you find a way, at work or at home.

What would be in your dream craft room/work space?
More space, I want to work big!

What tools and supplies do you always have on hand?
Sketching supplies, water based Black relief ink, block print cut tools, handmade papers and a brayer. Also a camera, for that all too often moment you can't remember, but must.

What's your favorite color?
Sounds dark, but it's Black. It goes back to the contrasts I mentioned before. Black grounds, it defines, it gives strength, it sets other colors off and can represent a void.....It's the most versatile color in my palette. I adore it mixed with burnt sienna or umbre to warm it up.

What projects are you working on now?
I am going to start some fabric to do throw cushions from, then a small series of multi-level shadow boxes.

If you had a $100 Michaels gift card, what would you buy?
Love, no really, what else, MORE Supplies!

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