I love the unique items created by this artist, and also her thoughts and ideas behind her creative energy! I believe you will find her work quite delightful, so be sure to visit, Michelle's GREEN FINGERS shop out on Etsy. Read below to learn more about Michelle and her GREEN FINGERS shop.
I'm a 30-something, country-dwelling, herb-loving, tree-hugging dirt-worshipper, artist, reiki practitioner, wife and stepmother. Although I do use commercial yarns for my goddesses, I also try to buy yarn from individual artisans, and hope eventually to use yarn exclusively from real people rather than corporations. I grow most of the herbs used in my creations on my small homestead in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. While I am not certified organic, my husband and I are committed to growing everything without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Furthermore, we work the land with the intention of creating better soil and a healthier local ecosystem, hoping to leave the land better than we found it. We see it as a spiritual practice as well as a factor in our health and well being. Every purchase you make helps my family move closer to the sustainable, close to the land life we long to lead.
What led you to start creating your art?
I've always loved creating, since I can remember. I liked to draw and paint of course, but I was always trying crazy new things that I would dream up. I was really small when my paternal grandmother taught me how to embroider and my maternal grandmother taught me to crochet (although I never got on with crochet). But things really started picking up steam after college, when I was living in New Orleans and having a hard time. I took up embroidery and beading, and it was really comforting. Then a few years ago a coworker loaned me her "Learn to Knit" book and an addiction was born.
How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I don't think I have chosen a medium. I just do what is enjoyable at any given time--right now I'm obsessed with embroidery, and with making things out of plants. I have some willow figures that aren't in my Etsy shop yet, but some of them might be there soon.There's really only one criteria for what I work with--I definitely prefer natural materials. I don't like working with synthetics--I just don't sense as much energy in them. I like to work with things that feel alive. I'm not sure that makes sense to anyone but me . . .
What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?
I'm a very tactile person, I love the way it FEELS to handle wool or silk, cotton thread, gemstone or glass beads, plant material. It helps me feel grounded and connected to the earth. Sometimes when I'm working, I just sit with my materials and hold them and move them around, just enjoying the sense of touch.
If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art, what would you choose, and why?
I suppose I would choose a rose hip, which is technically a fruit. Partially because roses are my primary "plant ally" right now, but also because to me they're an amazing symbol of tranformation, which is the soul of art (in my opinion). People mostly notice the flowers of the roses, but after the flowers fall off, after the cold comes, you have this amazing, brilliant red fruit that is FULL of vitamin C, to enrich your health throughout the winter, and it feeds people and animals, and if it falls to the ground it gestates over the winter and becomes new plants in the spring. If you think about it, the journey from seed to plant to flower to fruit back to seed in the womb of earth is about the most miraculous transformation possible. For me, creation is like that, a long slow process of transformation, it begins in those "underground" times, the times we turn inward, and then a thought forms, and then you create from that thought, but the process so often takes you elsewhere and becomes something entirely different. And then you send your creation in to the world and other people see it, take it in to themselves, and it can start the process in THEM somehow. Does that make any sense? I can see it in my head but I don't feel I'm explaining it very well!
What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?
For me, art is an opportunity to create more of what I want in the world. Not just images, but energy patterns. I'm also a Reiki practitioner, so I work with energy a lot, and I can feel when I make a piece of art, that I'm creating something more than just an image in fiber or beads or willow. I'm shifting the energy of the world just slightly, by transforming one thing in to another. So I feel art comes with this responsibility--be careful what you create, you know? You can create anything, so make it good! I try to create more beauty, more magic, and more trees! You will notice that I depict trees and leaves with alarming frequency. I'm rambling here, I think, because my understanding of the creative process is still evolving. I guess what I want people to get out of my art is first of all pleasure, and then a greater awareness of the mystery in the natural world, and a deeper connection with spirit and earth. That's a tall order and who knows if I succeed.
What advice do you have for other artists?
I feel like such a novice, as far as being an artist in the world goes. I would just say, give your best from your HEART. Do what brings you joy or what's the point?
Michelle, thank you for your wonderful thoughts, ideas, and creations! I really loved what you had to say, may your hopes and dreams for a better world for your family come true. Click on the links below to visit GREEN FINGERS, and Michelle's other links.