Tuesday, March 29, 2011

art talk Tuesday: Kay Dixon

I am thrilled to introduce today's artist, Kay Dixon.  

Name, age, hometown, blog/website
My name is Kay Dixon. I am a 37 year old living in rural Heidelberg, MS. My husband and I homeschool our three children. We enjoy the country life, keeping it simple, and finding joy in the everyday. If you care to find out more, my sadly neglected blog resides at smallwoodwonders.blogspot.com.

When did you first discover your creative talents? 
I have always felt creative. When I was small, I liked to do pencil drawings and make crafts. I took one drawing class in college and made a B. It was my first B, and I let that halt further focused artistic pursuits until I was pregnant with my first child. I decided I wanted to try scrapbooking. Soon into it, I got bored with the preprinted paper and stickers. I discovered that you could make your own paper...use fabric...use paint...use old books..inks..stitch. There is really no limit to what you can do or use. When I found mixed media, I loved the limitless possibilities it provides.

What inspires you and keeps you motivated to create? 
I get inspiration from everywhere. I really enjoy looking at other artists' works. Right now, I am into learning every technique I come across. If I am feeling stagnant, I like to look through some of my favorite mixed media magazines like Cloth Paper Scissors (http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/) or some of the Somerset publications (http://www.stampington.com/).  Also, browsing through Etsy is fun. But the computer is a black hole for time. I often find myself looking at other people's stuff when I should be using that time creating my own. Most of the art I do now is for myself. I love art journaling. In my journals I am free to try anything I want. There are no external requirements imposed on what I write or create there. I even consider it a therapeutic outlet. 

How would you describe your style?
I have pondered this question a lot. I don't feel I really have developed a style yet. I am always trying a diverse range of things. However, I notice other people tend to recognize something created by me right off. I am not sure if that is because there is a style there or if it is because I am just the chic who does the stuff with paper. My current all-consuming passions are book making and zines. Binding your own books....how cool is that? Zines are like micro-magazines that you publish yourself. It satisfies my need to communicate my musings and art on a grander scale.

Who are some people that have inspired your work? 
I am so blessed to be inspired by some great artists that I actually know. I would say my best motivator and inspirator is Martha Crouser. She and I have arted together over the last few years, and she has been a great encouragement to me. I have been fortunate enough to have Adam Trest (http://adamtrest.com/) as an art instructor. His direction and encouragement have really given me confidence in my art that I lacked before. I belong to a talented group of ladies and gents where we create, swap, and inspire each other. We are scattered all over the US, so we keep in contact through a Yahoo Group called Project Pedros (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/projectpedros/).

These folks are a big motivator for me to keep creating and learning new things. Most importantly, my husband is an endless source of encouragement. Not only does he allow me to take classes and gather supplies, but he has been known to do a monkey dance in front of the kids to distract them long enough for me to glue something down or sew something together.

What is something funny that's happened to you recently? 
Quite frankly, we are a hoot around here. When do four year olds and a six year old not do or say something funny? To top it off, my husband is the absolute funniest man I know. I will try to give you some highlights from this past week. I drove around for about an hour lost in the county I have spent the better part of my life in. Yes, this is actually VERY funny. My little boy was impressed how much a plate looked like a frisbee, so he threw it across the room to see if it would fly. Turns out it will fly fine, but it isn't so good at landings. I gave my youngest girl some stale bread to feed to our goats. After ten minutes when she hadn't returned, I checked on her to find her eating the bread and feeding the crust to the goats.

How do you bridge the gap between creating and running a business? 
Running a business at this point in my life isn't something I am really focused on. I have sold a few things, but I am not putting any effort into marketing at this point. Now my art is about me, my family, and my friends. It is all about the joy of learning, creating, and sharing. There isn't a large monetary return on that investment, but I would rather be paid in joy any day.
Describe yourself in 5 words. 
Any advice for aspiring artists/designers? 
I got a ton. Advice is easy to give. Following your own or others, that's where the hard part comes in. But, I think these gems would be worth your effort. Don't think that your art isn't good enough. If you are making it, it is important. Your art is uniquely you. That, in itself, is cause for celebration. I used to say "I won't like doing that" or "That doesn't interest me." I don't say that anymore. I have tried a few things outside my comfort zone and was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. In art, every little thing you learn, you will either use again or it
will lead you to something new. Your art is important. Life has a way of taking up all your time with necessities and distractions. But, your art is something only you can create. Make the time to do it. To create, you don't need long stretches of uninterrupted time. I have three kids at home. We haven't experienced a 20 minute quiet spell in this house in 7 years. One thing I do to help me get things accomplished is keep a journal with me at all times. I have one that
travels in my purse with me everywhere I go. It has collage, paintings, poetry, stories, and dear diary entries. It is a catchall for whatever is on my mind while I am waiting for my oil change or at the doctor's office. Another biggie in the advice department is to connect with other artists.  There are boocoodles of art clubs and groups on-line. Ask around locally. In my area, we have Laurel Underground Arts (http://laurelundergroundarts.wordpress.com/). It is great getting to meet with such a diverse group of local artists. You can learn a lot from one another. Plus, it is just nice to nerd out with fellow artists about something you are passionate about. If you can follow those tidbits today, you are well ahead of where I was just a couple of years ago. Now you need to write me, and share your truisms!


Thank you for sharing, Kay!  I loved reading your interview and getting to know a little bit about your art journey!  

Kay has offered to give away a few of her newly created zines to a few of my readers!  Just leave a comment here, and I will randomly choose the winners next Monday!!!


  1. as a fortunate recipient of a bit of Kay's work (she called it "mail art"; I refer to it as "a mailed masterpiece"!), I can tell you straight-up - Kay is one talented lady. We met at AN ARTFUL JOURNEY in Los Gatos, CA in February 2010, and I hope we'll both return there in February 2012. She's amazing! Dawn, what a treat that you've shared Kay's story with us today :-). Thank you ... Davielle in California

  2. Kay, thanks for sharing your story. I too own some of Kay's art. Her doodling is amazing! And her creative uses of materials always amazes me. Thanks for featuring Kay today so others can learn what inspires her.

  3. Kay has been a aource of inspiration for me on many occasions....I love her art, her spirit, her energy and her enthusiasm! Thank you for featuring Kay so that others may know this wonderful arists, mom, wife and friend.

  4. great write up - it's lovely to see someone, as sweet as Kay, miles away in a whole new light - jennifer

  5. Kay - so glad to see you featured on this blog. I really enjoyed reading it. You have been an inspiration to me. I can relate to the computer being a black hole. Audrey R in Austin

  6. I want it!!!! They are lovely!

  7. Beautiful!!! I love reading your blogs Dawn!! These are some very creative and outstanding women you have been blogging about.

  8. I love the idea of art. Maybe this could inspire me!