Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Interview with Tracie Lyn Huskamp (and give-away)

I’ve had the pleasure of taking a workshop from Tracie Lyn Huskamp and count her as a friend. I thought you enjoy getting to know this very talented artist a little better.
Jane: Your work is consistently nature inspired. You really stay focused on the theme. Is it a conscious decision, or is it simply your overriding passion?
Tracie: Discovering nature as an artistic muse revealed itself to me in a very simple, yet profound experience. It wasn’t until I signed-up for an open-air painting class in the summer of my sophomore year of art school that I discovered this source of inspiration. In the past, I had never been much of a fan of the outdoors. I didn’t like camping, bugs, or any sort of inclement weather. So I have to laugh when I think back, wondering how I even convinced myself to register for the course in the first place. But from the very first day of plein-air painting, I was completely mesmerized. This was the first opportunity I had really ever taken to spend any time actually studying the amazing beauty of nature. And in the quiet moments of those class periods with only the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves and grasses, along with the birds singing overhead, I felt part of the world as a whole. I had finally found a subject I wanted to explore over and over. Nature had captured my full attention, and I wanted to share my discovery, my joy, and my enthusiasm with anyone and everyone. After this six-week class ended, I continued to make art using various nature subjects, refining my painting skills and mixed-media techniques. Even after ten years of creating nature artwork, I feel no desire to stop using natural subjects to convey my artistic messages. Nature continue, even today, to inspire and capture my imagination.
Jane: Poetry. You’re a poet, right? I so admire that skill and art form. Tell us about your poetry, process, and upcoming (or published) works.
Tracie: We have all seen words such as "dream", "create", and "believe", etched into a piece of jewelry. These syllables entice us to embrace and have faith in these ideas that we tout so boldly around our neck and wrist.
Over four years ago, I purchased a small simple necklace from Ms.Nina Bagley that also had one of those single word proclamations, but this particular piece was different. This word did not ask for a response. It was instead... a definition... a name I could call myself... a title that might change the way someone looked at me, for those who bothered to stop and read the four letters. The word was "Poet".
Every time I wore this dainty pendant, I felt empowered... I FELT like a poet...... Often penning small bits of prose during brief moments, I suppose I have always been somewhat of a closet poet. However, I could never bring myself to tell anyone what I was doing, or even begin to think of myself as a real writer. Poets are individuals that eloquently carry us away in a flurry of emotions... describing ever so gently... so tenderly each thought and every feeling.
And here I was... playing,.. pretending,... hoping.. that maybe...just maybe my meager verse might do the same. Never would I dream of whispering the phrase or shouting to the world.... "I AM A POET!".... until I purchased this small adornment with a tiny word on the front.
And so it was that I sat at my computer, one Christmas eve...and the only gift I can think to give a weary world to honor this glorious occasion... was a little piece of myself... a little bit... of poetry.
I have since self-published two small poetry books that have been extremely well received. My hope is to continue this endeavor with a third edition to debut at Christmas and perhaps have my words will be discovered one day by a book company.
Jane: You’ve been working on a new fabric line. What a great opportunity! How did it come about and tell us what you can about the new line.

Tracie: Designing my own fabric was a serendipitous happening that came from my desire to return to product design, which was my job in the corporate world, and the meeting of a fellow teacher/friend that was already designing fabric.
Unfortunately, I can't divulge any sort of hints about what it will look like because we are still in the design phase. But, I am SO EXCITED to see these ideas come to life! I am currently very busy working with WIndham on different pattern options, and we should be making final selections for the line soon. Designing fabric is a bit of a challenge because you really have to be aware of how a particular pattern will repeat, the scale, and creating coordinates to match. There is a lot to consider.
Jane: Speaking of nature, tell us about your home/studio surroundings? Do you live on a natre preserve or do you just find and appreciate the small bits of nature that we all (speaking for the suburbanites) have in our daily life.
Tracie: Although my suburban home skirts the edge of farmland, Kansas has an INCREDIBLE landscape. Wichita is located close to the Oklahoma border. I actually drive to Kansas City a lot, so I am quite familiar with the terrain between Wichita and Kansas City. This landscape is called the Flint Hills. If you can image a desert, but instead of sand, it is all prairie grass, rolling hills, and big blue skies. That would be the perfect description of this area. It is awe-inspiring to see, and I have witnessed this marvelous place in all seasons. I never get tired of gazing upon it.
Jane: The Red Door Studio is your blog name. Where does the name come from? Can we SEE the red door??
Tracie: Yes... no.... well sort-of... Six years ago, my husband and I decided to build a new home. I was picking exterior colors for this new house, and had planned to use the color red for our front door. At the same time, I was in the beginning stages of developing a serious art career outside the corporate world and working with a lawyer to turn my new art company into a business. I needed a name for this new business, so with thoughts of my new home and my new door in mind.. The Red Door Studio was selected. However, it is funny how life sometime takes you in an opposite direction. Later on, we ended up having trouble finding certain selected materials for the exterior which changed our color scheme thus also changing the color of the front door. Today my front door is a lovely blue, but I dream of having a studio that is separate from the house, one day, and when that happens I will definitely paint the door red.
Jane: Do you keep a regular journal or sketchbook? Is each page ‘art’ or is a messy filled with ideas and sketch type of book? Can we see a page or two?
Tracie: I tend to have a more artistic style of journaling. I think of each blank page, every white canvas as only the beginning to a true work of art. I am currently working in an old vintage account ledger. Painting and collaging my way through the pages with moments experienced in my garden, and surrounding landscape.

Jane: I mentioned in an earlier post on my blog, that I really enjoyed and was inspired by your book Nature Inspired. A book is such an accomplishment! Congrats! What are your next goals-- Or do you have specific goals?

Tracie: I am so excited to be pursuing my dreams of licensing artworks, with the debut of a new cotton quilting fabric line from Windham Fabrics hitting retail stores in late 2010, and more soon-to-be-announced licensed products coming to stores in 2011 and 2012.
Jane: Gotta mention your delightful mother-in-law, Marilyn. Do you live close to each other and work together often? How in the world did you decide to do workshops together? (I took your workshop at Art Unraveled and you make a fabulous team!)
Tracie: Marylin and I live three hours apart. We started by attending an art retreat in Seattle, Washington back in 2000. I was a sophomore in art school then, and was looking for a small weekend break from school that still allowed me to be creative. I asked her to accompany me on this adventure. The experience had such a profound effect on both of us that we continued going, every year, to this same retreat. Then in 2006, we decided to make art to sell at the retreat's vendor fair. That event was a huge success, and we had a number of individuals asks us if we were teaching. So we talked with the coordinator, and the rest is history.

Jane: You’re teaching in Orvieto, Italy with Adventures in Art in September 12-18th and you know I just returned. You are going to love it! Tell us about the week you have planned.
Tracie: We will be journaling our journey in Italy as an individual art piece by weaving our experiences and words together through paint and collage, suitable for framing! Marylin and I will share secrets for bringing the cherished experiences and the breathtaking surroundings of this ancient Italian hilltop town to life through paint, collage, and journal entries. The result is stunning "art pages" imbued with the colors and textures of Orvieto, as well as new found skills for use in future journals.

GIVE-AWAY! Leave a comment about your own nature insprired work, and you may win a copy of Tracie's book, Nature Inspired! I'll select the name, randomly this Saturday, July 31, and announce it here, on my blog. Check back to see if you won!


  1. My most recent nature inspired quilt hangs in a permanent display in my State's capitol. It is a series of journal quilts (9 in all) attached to a quilted background which denote scenes experienced in a trip across Nevada once taken. I have found making anything that includes nature is such a joy to create.

  2. My latest piece of work that was inspired by nature was of a bare tree against a sunset, I just love the contrast of the black tree against the colours of the sky.

  3. I am often inspired by what nature does to things - spot, stains, colors, decay - so my creations are comprised of papers, feather and other stuff that's generally blowing around on the streets. All the stuff my mother told me never to touch!

  4. I collect cuttings of wildflowers, feathers, photos and other misc. of nature in my travels. I enjoy observing the colors and settings of nature for inspiration in my paintings or collages.

  5. My nature inspirations come from my garden. Flowers are a natural subject but I have moved on to other objects in the garden: the architecture of trees, the pattern of their bark, the cones and needles of a pine tree. I also love the bugs, birds and spiders. Once when I was sketching a grasshopper my dog, Sophie, also noticed the little guy and decided to "play" with him. After I separated the two the grasshopper couldn't move as fast. His misfortune but it ended up great for me because I could keep him in one place long enough for me to finish my sketch live.

  6. My work is nearly always inspired by nature, but I'm new to your blog and also to journaling. I hope to do more of both!

  7. my nature inspired works are flowers, and now i make them 3D and I mean in a big way.

  8. Nature inspires both me and my work, includng evrythimg from watercolors to monoprints of fig leaves. Just last week I took leaves and seed pods to my clay class to make their impressions in serving dishes. I can hardly wait to see them glazed in true-to-nature colors! Linda Bannan

  9. Thank you very much for this inspiring interview. It is actually a bit of a relief to read about an artist living and working in "fly over country." I've always felt the Midwest had it's own natural beauty, but it takes patience and time to "see" it. I live in Indiana, and one of the most beautiful things I see are the acres and acres of soybean fields. During the late summer and early fall, the farmers let them dry in the fields, so the fields turn from lush green to optic yellow then to golden bronze then brown before they are harvested. That sense of home, of time passing and that brief moment that is captured in a small art, is what I strive for. Chris Moon

  10. Jane.. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for having me on your blog.... I LOVE LOVE YOUR WORK and am an equal admirer and friend!

    Tracie Lyn

  11. t's always fun to see what Tracie & Marilyn are up to. I've seen them at the Houston Quilt Festival a few times.

    I blogged about my nature therapy and posted it here.

  12. of all the mixed media books out there, this one speaks to me the most..i am completely and always inspired by what mother nature has to offer...tracie's work is beautiful and it would be an honor to own this book...thanks for the chance, jane...i love your work as well...full of life and color..

  13. Almost everything I do is inspired by nature an abstract take on it. I take the marbled fabric my husband creates and work with it. I've got a zen rock garden, a tribute to Fire Goddess Pele, and my most current piece is a study of bamboo. When I'm out in nature, most times I just want time alone to stand in awe.

  14. I love Tracie's work and have taken a class with her. I love all things nature inspired (birds, feathers, leaves, flowers) and they are always showing up in my work. Thanks for this giveaway!!!

  15. Great interview! I made a little quilt based on a photo of the mountain at sunrise, a place close by that my husband likes to hike at sunrise! Now it hangs at his office!

  16. Would love to win Tracie's book as I teach Nature Journaling. I enjoy keeping a nature inspired journal about where I live in Virginia.

  17. Thanks for introducing Tracie. Her work is so creative!

    All of my work depicts nature. My latest painting is a close-up of an azalea flower from my spring garden. usually when we look at azaleas we see the whole plant as a mass of color; I wanted to bring attention to the individual flower.

  18. My favorite current piece features a walrus "Wally" based on an Inuit Indian drawing. The Inuit live in nature, flowing with what is offered and adapting to the depravations of life in the wild as well. Their work is a great inspiration to me.

  19. Love the interview! I work a lot with wool and love stitching birds and flowers. Right now I'm making pins with wool, vintage laces, and bits of jewelry. So much fun. Thanks for the chance to win!

  20. It's rather "obvious" but I'm into leaves. All kinds, all shapes, sizes, colours, patterns, I collect them, sketch them, use them as printing stamps, paint over the impression... endless fun and so simple (which is what I like).

  21. Nature is my inspiration as well and I can find it anywhere; in the city, in a field, on a mountain, etc.

    It helps to be out in nature, walking, or taking a bike ride, sitting and taking time to enjoy.

  22. I just completed a watercolor piece which I did en plein air. It was a beautiful view of the San Juans and Bellingham Bay from my bench in Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Washington. It was my first time trying to get that weird shade of brown/blue/green/haze that mountains in the distance tend to be. And I tackled rocks again and I am very happy with the results!

  23. I really enjoyed reading your interview with Tracie. I am currently hand dying yarn for knitting and am contantly inspired by the colors of nature. I am beginning to play with watercolors and journaling--I would love to win Tracie's book!Thanks!

  24. I use beach finds in my work making mirrors & collage. I'm always amazed when I use leaves as printing material. What a fabulous resourse all around us!


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