We are so excited to to introduce you to this crazy talented lady Debbie Miller. This girl covers it all from paper-crafting, mixed media art, to jewelry making. Get to know her and her talents by reading more about her.
I spent the afternoon with her at her studio and here’s how it went…
1. What do you do to become inspired to create? Listen to music? Look at blogs? Read a magazine? Actually, I get a lot of my inspiration from the world around me, in simple things that you see every day. I’m fortunate too have some great trails near me, so I hike those to clear my head and get inspiration. Just changing my environment for a moment really inspires and gets the ideas flowing. Just getting out in the world, taking pictures, looking at something common differently. I love art gallery’s, recently, I visited Norton Simon Museum which inspired me to tap into my drawing and sketching that I had ignored for so long.
2. We notice you use so many different tools when you create! What is your most favorite to work with?? I LOVE my soldering iron! I got into soldering a few years ago and can’t put it down. Being that I work in so many mediums, the tool inventory ranges from paper arts and mixed media to jewelry and beading. As mentioned earlier, I rediscovered my drawing and sketching and remembered I Love my smudgers. I could go on and on you know.I also use a lot of conventional garage tools in my work~hammer, hacksaw, files…ooo, Love my Dremel and my doming block. Oh man, I Love so many! For paper, I love my Quickutz and Sizzix, I’m kinda Old Skool that way.
3. How did you get started creating these works of art? I’ve always been creative, but I’ve been evolving through the years. I used to be heavily into scrapbooking and even had my own store for 5 years, Scrapping Lounge. That experience opened up a whole new world to me and unlocked my creativity. Soon, I was looking for different ways to create with paper and developed my technique for decoupaging on vintage handbags and accessories. That all lead to jewelry making, beading, soldering, the list just goes on. Once that faucet was turned on, I didn’t want to ever turn it off! Now, the ideas just appear to me, being I’m always working on something, whether in my mind or actually in the studio; I’ll glance on something while I’m out and that will trigger a new idea or process to apply to an existing project I might be stuck on. I might be making dinner for my “Scrap Girls” at my crop and that will give me a
new insight on how to heat metals! You never know where the ideas and inspiration will come from.
4. Name one crafty item you cannot live without. Paper trash. It’s the basis of my mixed media art and design ideas. One of my favorite sources of materials is looking to everyday items we discard all of the time. Having weathered the recession, I had to think of imaginative ways to create something out of nothing, which is true art. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but knew there were materials all around me and ideas waiting to be born. In mixed media, this is key, creating out of nothing. Up cycling, recycling and re purposing all come into play. My mixed media books are loaded with common office products, cardboard, chipboard, bits of ephemera from many different sources. Turning something that is considered “trash” into a piece of art and seeing the look on my students faces when they realize this is such a rush!
5. Name your designer or anybody that has most influenced your work. Well, there are so many, being I work in so many areas and I’m blessed with some very creative friends, let’s see…when it comes to jewelry and soldering I Love Kathy Menasco’s work of Kathy Jo Designs, her vintage inspired jewelry is Amazing and original. Irene Sanchez, owner of the Garden of Beaden in Upland taught me how to solder and I developed my love for beading through her and the Amazing artists that I’ve met through her group. Robin Dudley-Howes, Tara Wilson, Lisa Loria, Crystal Basica, Omazahara Ellis, Melanie Doerman, the list just goes on! When it comes to creating with paper~I go to my roots in scrapbooking that go back over 20 years and my creative evolution that have brought me to where I am today.
6. What was the last song you downloaded on your IPOD? Or Your favorite radio station? I always listen to The Sound in my studio, it’s my jam. I have a great CD collection too. Everything from Big Bands to Lady Gaga, Rock to Jazz, you name it! One of my favs for years are The Red Elvis’~ Ukrainian Rockabilly~I discovered them at The Sawdust Festival years ago and have been a fan ever since!
7. Any favorite TV shows? Being I don’t have cable, it limits my choices, but I’d have to say Modern Family (cracks the heck out of me!), Bones, The Voice. Also, love PBS shows, Doc Martin and William and Mary. Rick Steve’s Travel~his travel episodes came in handy when I ventured to Budapest Hungary, Germany, Slovakia and the Netherlands last year. Again, there’s inspiration everywhere!
8. DO you have an Instagram? Blog? Pintrest? Facebook? Youtube Channel????? Yes, Yes, yes! Instagram, Pintrest, Etsy and FB all under Debbrajdesigns Blog– http://debbrajdesigns.blogspot.com website – http://paradisekittenart.wix.com/debbra-j-designs.
9. Any advice to someone who is interested in creating mixed media art? Open your mind and let the ideas come! There are no rules, so don’t put limits on yourself. We all are creative, just some of us haven’t had the opportunity to express it. When I had my store, I would hear so many customers say: “I’m just not creative” or “I’m not artistic”. Bah, get your hands dirty, tear paper, don’t measure, throw glitter on it~work with child like abandon and you will be amazed! It’s in there, you just have to let it out!
10. FIll in the blank… I never leave the house without my…. iphone, because the camera is Awesome! I’m always snapping pictures of things that inspire me! Why do you think I’ve been posting all of those great sunrise and sunset pictures on FB lately? Live in the moment Gang! Also pockets, got to have pockets to put found treasures in. Remember child like abandon, this is part of it. (wow, that was a long blank I filled in)
11. Your snack of choice… sweet or salty?? I bake from scratch a lot, trying to simplify my diet and be healthy, so I eat cookies occasionally that I bake or veggie chips that I’ve made. So I guess both, sweet and salty, I don’t discriminate.
12. If you were granted one magical power what would it be? Of course, magic like Samantha’s on Bewitched is the Best power Ever! I think I’d go with that one, imagine all of the things you could do AND, you could have more hours in your day if you wanted~that’s it, Samantha’s witchery for me!
13. Where can we purchase your items at? Etsy under my shop- Debbrajdesigns I have lots more on my website– http://paradisekittenart.wix.com/debbra-j-designs (can’t purchase direct from site, but can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
14. Has this hobby of yours taught you anything new? Yes, it’s never too late to follow your bliss! Even if you have to work a 9-5 job that takes you away from what you really want to do, create! One day you will have the opportunity to do what you WANT and you will be that much more fulfilled. I worked in corporate America for over 25 years and I was always working on some project or another after hours. It was just in me to create. My art evolved through the years to what it is now. Every bump, failure, success, change, tweak, experience has led me here. Don’t ever quit or give up on yourself and your art, create. Even if you can only do it occasionally and have no space for a studio; you can work at your kitchen table after the kids are asleep and work on a project, no matter how small or seldom, create. Now, I’m able to turn this hobby into an actual business, create!
15. If you weren’t creating each day what other activity would we find you doing? Costume design. Except for all of the measuring, I love coming up with costumes for events. Also, I’ve been told that I would be a great party planner. Either of those, had I started years ago, could have been my future. Of course, being a trick rider in the circus was my choice when I was a kid, but that’s a story for another day.
16. Any interesting tidbits we should know about you? I was a Job’s Daughter when I was a teenager. I rode horses and showed and still ride to this day, though not as often. I have a sister who died from leukemia when I was 12, she was 9. I’m stubborn (must be my German heritage) but not unyielding. I have a warped sense of humor (doesn’t everyone?) I went to the Wendy Ward school of modeling because my mom made me. I sun bathed topless when I lived at home and burned my boobies. (that was dumb) I love to go camping and can’t ski. I can still roller skate and have danced on a table or two. I’m a big kid at times and refuse to grow up!
Isn’t she just the coolest ever? My goodness! Keep up with her and all her shows, crops and art!!
Thanks Debbie for allowing us in your studio for the day and for sharing your talents with us all. You are going to want to keep your eye on her!