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Interview with Sandra Evertson:

"I just might be an artist!"

Sandra Evertson photoThe quote above is from the introduction to Sandra Evertson's blog, sandraevertson.blogspot: "There was a single specific moment in time when it struck me, ' I just might be an artist!' And I must admit it was quite a relief for me. This explains everything, it all makes perfect sense now! Those frantic urges to quickly search out paper and pen, a lack of attention for the ordinary and the mundane but endless patience and diligence for anything frivolous or whimsical! Then there are those impulses bordering on near obsession with all things quirky and impractical. As my squirreled away misfit collections of the odd and interesting grew so did the desire to create, the two traveled happily hand in hand..."

Sandra Evertson's joyful personal discovery as she grew into her artistic life is reflected in her exuberant style. Humor and sentimentality collide in her many creations, which include altered art and objects, tableau, dolls, fabric crafts, prints, stamping and jewelry. In fact, there seem to be no bounds for her. Still, there are stylistic threads throughout her work; her love for vintage images and artifacts, her fascination with juxtaposed techniques and materials, and her storytelling. Sandra Evertson spoke with VintageImageCraft (VIC) in October, 2008, about her inspirations:

VIC: In your introduction to your book, Fanciful Paper Projects, you trace your collecting gene back to a childhood urge to save fascinating and sentimental objects. Can you describe how your art today reflects back on the things and images you treasure and the stories they hold for you?

© Sandra Evertson
Sandra Evertson art
"I think the things we choose to collect and save over the many years tell so much about us; bits of paper, ticket stubs, pressed flowers, gum ball machine trinkets and prizes, old dolls and toys and, well I could go on forever. Everything I love and treasure seems to influence the way I create and the things I create!"

VIC: The vintage images and characters you use often take on new and comical meanings. Can you tell us why you are attracted to the imagery of the past and how you look for the artistic twists that make them your own?

"Those old illustrations, postcards and such, were just so beautifully done. You see details in that artwork that just isn't around anymore. I really appreciate quality work and it seems to me that those artists always had hidden messages within a piece. Really, I just try to capture a little of the humor and fun they passed along to us."

VIC: Many artists and crafters reach for favorite and familiar materials again and again. I've been struck by the eclectic nature of your reach, from paper to candy to embroidery to metal crafts. How do you think about materials in your art and how do you keep your horizons and supply cabinet so large?

"Ha, Ha, here is where the "collecting gene" comes in handy! I am fascinated by so many things, and I tend to get tired of a certain material if I keep at it too long. When I discover something new it is very exciting. I like the whole problem-solving thing; it's fun and keeps me challenged and that keeps me growing as a artist. Besides, I just figure, life is so short I want to give absolutely everything a try at least once!"

VIC: Fanciful Paper Projects is as much fun to read as it is to look at. Each creation has a story - or a funny interpretive twist on a visual cliché. Tell us how storytelling plays into your creative process.

© Sandra Evertson
Sandra Evertson art
"Oh, my favorite thing, storytelling; it is just freeing! Sometimes the story comes before the project or sometimes the project rises out of a story. I never know. It’s funny but, I do feel many times that I am just along for the ride, the conduit you know, not really in my control?! So I just go with it. The stories just flow right in and I have to hurry and write everything down, sketch it out, lest it escape! I love make believe and if it can be captured for a brief moment it can create magic!"

VIC: As with your art, your two books on scrapbooking from Instant Memories, Babies and Weddings, are very rich in vintage images. The page layouts hearken back to Victorian family scrapbooks. What advice and direction would you give a scrapper who wants to achieve a vintage look?

© Sandra Evertson
Sandra Evertson art
"Hit every antique and thrift store and flea market you can find! Search through the forgotten bins and boxes under tables; that’s were the “good stuff” always is. Collect, collect, collect! And use out of the ordinary things, like old banking receipts, deeds, birth and wedding certificates, stuff like that. It gives a "family heritage" feel to your work! The Victorians believed More Is Better - really that’s all it takes to achieve that look!"

VIC: Stampington & Company has carried several exclusive rubber stamp designs of yours, the Ink Blot Experiment and Fanciful Whimseys (Portrait Gallerie and Dramatis Personae). Fanciful Whimseys combines elements from vintage illustrations with sheer lunacy. What future directions do you see for your stamp designs?

© Sandra Evertson
Sandra Evertson inkblot stamp design
"Sheer lunacy! I LOVE that. I have achieved my goal, and to me no higher complement could be given! Well, I just wanted some seriously FUN images to work with and I really didn't see anything on the market that spoke to me, so I created exactly what I had been imagining. As for a direction, wow, who knows? I will know it when it hits me."

VIC: You've written about how inspired you were by Jo Packham's book about the creative dynamics between women artists and their workspaces, Where Women Create. In fact, you'll be authoring a regular column in the new quarterly magazine based on the book. What kinds of themes and insights do you hope to share with readers?

"Well, the Where Women Create magazine makes its grand debut on November 1, 2008, and will be available from Stampington & Co. as well as craft and book stores. As a matter of fact, I am attending the launch party at the International Quilt Festival 2008 in Houston. Many of the artists featured will be there, signing their issues and meeting and greeting. It is going to be fantastic; there are so many artists I'm looking forward to meeting! One special section of the magazine is "Where Women Shop," and some very exclusive and wonderfully fabulous art will be offered by the featured artists. As a contributing writer, I just want to explore the many different, unique and fun ways to decorate with all the beautiful artwork everyone is creating!"

VIC: On top of it all, you serve up a steady stream of visual inspiration and artistic instruction in your blog, www.sandraevertson.blogspot.com. It must take a tremendous amount of time and creative energy. I guess I want to ask "how do you do it?", but right now I'm more curious: "Why do you do it?"

"This is my FAVORITE question I have ever been asked! A steady stream, huh, tremendous amount of time, yep. Why? Well, it’s simple, it is just like breathing; I SIMPLY MUST! It is the best way I know of to express myself, and it's mine, all mine. I can do anything I like in my little ol' corner of blogland!"

Sandra Evertson blog adSandra Evertson's work, visual as well as literary, can be found at www.sandraevertson.blogspot.com, Stampington & Co, and in her many published books.

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