Carole with one of her nature-inspired pieces.
Carole was one of the first participant artists to join Piece by Piece workshops. She says she has always had creativity in her life, from working with pastels (her favorite) to oil painting to working for years as a florist. She brings a rich background of art experience and a sensitivity to color that everyone at Piece by Piece appreciates. Instructors and participants alike turn to Carole for advice on color choices. As a Studio Prep Associate (SPA), she is instrumental in helping put together materials for special projects. “Carole brings a lot of experience to the SPA team, because she’s worked on many of the commissions and therefore understands how a project comes together. She is a great person to have on our team,” says Julie Williams, Piece by Piece instructor and lead artist for the Studio Prep Associate Team.
How did you hear about Piece by Piece?
There was a flyer for a class on the bulletin board where I was living, across the street from the James Woods Community Center. So, I was at the first class.
Do you have a favorite artist that influences your work?
Nature has always influenced me. If I had to pick an artist it would be Georgia O’Keefe. I think, too, I’ve always liked the Impressionists: Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet. That’s probably why I took so naturally to mosaic.
Anything else that inspires you? TV, a movie, your surroundings?
I don’t know, I mean…they’ve always told me that my mind was kind of unique; that I never tried to copy anybody. I just kind of did my own thing.
How long have you been taking workshops?
About eight years. I was out for almost a year–I had back surgery. Other than that, I’ve been there since the beginning.
What materials do you prefer?
I mostly work with glass. Mainly because I have a bone spur in my right shoulder so sometimes it’s hard for me to cut the harder tesserae, like ceramic. I work with it a little bit, but I have to do it, you know, a little at a time because otherwise it hurts my arm.
What is your favorite piece that you’ve made?
One of my favorite ones is the first one I did. I have it at home hanging over my desk. It’s inspirational.
What was it?
It was a little frame with a mirror at the middle.
What is something you would like to learn more about?
I suppose different techniques. That’s a lot of what Mireille [Swinnen] does when she teaches the class. She teaches different ways to do mosaic.
Do you have a favorite workshop?
I enjoyed a workshop we had when we were with the Art Share near the Arts District. We made furniture, big projects. We rented space there for a long time because there’s a great, big room. It was lovely.
Carole working on design phase of Circle Wall commission with
Program Director Dawn Mendelson and Lead Instructor Luz Mack Durini.
What is the most important thing you feel you have learned in workshop?
When you’ve been here as long as I have, you learn a lot of different things, so you know, it’s hard to pick just one.
You’ve worked on a lot of Piece by Piece Large Scale Commissions. Which was your favorite?
Definitely the Irvine Valley College mural because it was the most challenging.
What’s the biggest impact these workshops have had on your life?
It gives me a creative outlet. I’ve always been a creative person and when I got disabled I went through all those emotions. You feel useless, like it’s over. So this has provided me with a creative outlet. It’s something that I could do on my own time.
Studio Prep Associate Team supports workshops and events by preparing donated materials.
It has also provided you with a job, how do you feel about the SPA (Studio Prep Associates) program?
Oh, I love it. I was talking with a man on the bus this morning. He was handicapped, sitting next to me. He said “You work?!”
What is it that keeps you coming back to Piece by Piece?
It’s something to get up in the morning for, you know? To feel good about yourself.