July 2009

Our Guest Artist this month is a woman I have had the privilege of knowing for several years. An artist who is a fabulously diversified artist that leans towards a nostalgic style when she creates her assemblages known as shadowboxes. These boxes are usually recycled cigar boxes or wine display boxes, but boxes of all sorts are used to display her wonderful assemblages of interesting collections. Her style is reminiscent of the Victorian era, with a soft, antiqued appearance. “Cecilia Swatton” seeks her treasures via flea markets and thrift stores, collecting objects that are three dimensional miniatures, as well as items that can be scanned, such as lace, buttons, photos, documents, old letters, etc. She considers herself to be a “Packrat” when it comes to collecting:

“I collect objects that speak to me, if I like what I see, I will make a purchase even if I don’t immediately know how I will use the item. I love to hunt for the unusual objects that I can incorporate into these showcase-shadowboxes to add more interest and to tie the other elements together to create a finished piece.” Here is one of her amazing creations, titled: “A Little Bird Told Me”

This piece is an altered cigar box that incorporated molded plastic packing materials, a molded plastic dress form that had been recycled from a package of doll clothes and various other flea market finds, including book pages, a lace doily and a woman’s glove.

Besides her creative use of recycled wooden boxes, frames & trays, Cecilia is fascinated with other styles of creative art, especially gallery wrapped canvas. Having studied many forms of print making, surface alteration and papermaking, she has continued her studies with a variety of different media as well: Oil pastels, acrylics, inks and a whole lot more.

This canvas titled: “Swirl” is a mixed media abstract created with modeling paste. Cecilia used acrylics as a base for adding additional color via watercolor pencils and oil pastels.

“Above the Storm” was created in the same way as the canvas pictured above, but she continued adding elements, such as glass beads. “Both of these paintings started their lives as earlier paintings that I recycled by covering them with gesso. Often the colors and shapes from the original painting will show through the gesso and can evoke a new starting point for a future painting.”

“I’ve been criticized for failing to “Focus on one thing, so as to get good at it” but that would bore me. I feel excited about exploring new techniques and new media and I believe art making should be exciting and fun. I think God planned it that way, because I believe He uses our interests as a way of gifting us as well as guiding us. I feel that everything I learn in each new exploration will end up making me a better artist overall; I also think that working in mixed media helps keep my mind “elastic and flexible” to be creative in general. My biggest challenge is finding time to do all that I want and my best advice to all artists; is to listen and follow your own heart. Listen to constructive feedback and decide for yourself what you need to take to heart and what you need to let go.”

Another area of interest for Cecilia is in her CD creations. She loves creating digital works via Photoshop and has assembled 2 CD collections of vintage images for other artists who are interested in vintage collage, altered arts, card-making, hands-on scrapbooking as well as digital collage artists.
Her first CD, “Oldendaze I” is available at: Altered Pages www.alteredpages.com
Her 2nd CD, “Oldendaze II and Beyond” is available on her blog: http://heartworkbycecilia.blogspot.com

Cecilia’s work has been published in many magazines such as: “Cloth, Paper, Scissors”, “Expression”, “Scrap ‘n Stamp”, “Altered Arts”, “Somerset Studio Gallery”, “Stamper’s Sampler”, “Impressions” and many more. Until its 2007 demise, Cecilia was one of the Contributing Designers for “The Rubber Stamper” magazine.

Did you notice that some of these publications are rubber stamping magazines? That’s because Cecilia is also an independent designer of rubber stamps, sold exclusively at: thirdcoastart.com , bontonstamps.com and anotherstampcompany.com

(I told you Cecilia is a diversified artist!)

You can also find several of her mixed media wall pieces hanging in “The Shoppes of Artella Land” http://tinyurl.com/6m6cdy .

She is also a new member of Sue Farace’s Design Team over at: Crafter’s CafĂ© where we can see some fabulous projects created by Sue as well.(Sue would like to add another artist to her Design Team. If you are interested, please contact her at: crafterscafe@gmail.com)

Several of Cecilia’s amazing artwork will be featured in an upcoming publication of:
“Exploring the Latest Trends in Mixed Media Art”-Vol. II
(Scheduled Early Fall of 2009.)

When recently asked to host a workshop on our Yahoo group (link in sidebar), Cecilia did not hesitate. She taught the members of the group a fun, easy printing technique using foam meat trays as printing plates. Here is a photo of Cecilia’s finished piece.

I want to “Thank” Cecilia for allowing me this interview, as well as, for her time to teach the workshop. It was fun and inspirational!

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