Meet the Artist: Linda Taglieri

13depository.blogspot.com

Linda Taglieri scarcely requires introduction to the many fans of her famous blog on The Wheel of Time®, the 13th Depository. But perhaps less widely known is her immense talent and skill as a textile artist, a master of many techniques, working in a wide array of fabrics and materials. Like many artists, she evolves with each completed piece, still discovering how far the boundaries of her art may go, but delighting us at every turn. You can find out more about Linda’s artistic journey below, or chat with her in person at JordanCon, where she is a frequent featured panelist in the World of the Wheel track.

How long have you considered yourself an artist?

I’ve always made things from an early age. At home, we always had materials to hand: conventional art materials like paper, watercolour paints, pencils, but also yarns, buttons, fabric off cuts. I made good use of those. Apart from reading, I loved constructive types of past-times.

Even though I had been sewing my own designs for several years, I never considered myself an artist until I finished the first six months of a course on art quilts. Part of the curriculum was exhibiting our work in a gallery and when our group saw our works hung on the walls, we all realised that we were textile artists. This was also when textiles were becoming accepted as a medium for art. In my own case, my work takes so long to make that it is not commercial. But I’m happy to make things for the joy of it. It’s what I’ve always done, really.

While I’ve had training in embroidery courtesy of the Embroiderers’ Guild of NSW, I’ve had no training in drawing or painting, which is also why I was slow to consider myself as an artist. When I finished the design for a work I hope to complete for JordanCon, I realised that I have some drawing talent after all! So I am still discovering aspects of myself as an artist.

How did you first discover art, or that you wanted to create art yourself?

I gradually drifted into it. When my sons were babies, I started cross-stitching because it is relaxing and fairly put-downable. It was a small step to modify designs and a much larger to making ones from scratch. Magazines and books showed exciting possibilities of other stitches, fabrics and mixed media—and I was away! In 2000 I signed up to the embroiderers’ guild in my state and took my first weekend course, which was in canvaswork. This involves stitching an open grid of threads, commonly 12 or 14 holes to the inch. It’s a technique that I excel at, as it happens. When the guild had one of its very few competitive exhibitions, I won first and third places in the canvaswork section with two pieces of my own design. I also like combining different traditional embroidery techniques—canvaswork stitches on linen, for instance, or patchwork blocks as embroidery. My pictured work Zentangle Blackwork has 16th century blackwork stitches (multicoloured instead of the traditional monochrome) alongside other surface stitches on evenweave linen in a sort of cubist design.

In late 2010, I had been writing about costume in the Wheel of Time on my blog, and had the idea of doing a series of quarter-scale fashion dolls wearing these as described in the books. It took a while to gather the dolls, materials and fabrics together and draft the designs. The first outfits were completed in early 2012—for Aviendha, and she travelled with me to DragonCon that same year. They are hand sewn and made as they would have been in the world, but one quarter of the size. No zips or elastic or serging. So far, I’ve made two outfits each for Nynaeve, Elayne, Aviendha, and Tuon, three for Egwene, and one each for Min, Mat and Rand. More are planned; probably starting later this year.

Are you a fan of the Wheel of Time? If not, what is your favorite book or series?

Much laughter at this! I certainly am! I have been writing about the Wheel of Time since 2002, and have had my own Wheel of Time blog, the Thirteenth Depository, since 2009 where I write about a variety of aspects of the series and have a read-through running. I love the complexity and depth of the world, the excellent characterisation, the plot threads, the altered allusions to the real world that Jordan put in…

What’s the one thing you most enjoy about attending conventions?

The people! Especially JordanCon—it is like one big supportive family. They are fun to hang out with, discuss all sorts of topics with, see and hear their work and their views, meet authors and artists. So many kind, friendly and talented people in one place. When I boldly flew over by myself in 2010—my first trip to the US—I had no idea what it would mean to me! Definitely my tribe.

If you’d like to find out more about the authors and artists who share their work at JordanCon, check out our other “Meet the Artist” blogs.

Meet the Artist: Sara Glassman

www.medusasmirror.etsy.com

Artist Sara Glassman creates stunning crocheted jewelry, each piece of which tells a story worth reading. Her work is tangled, entwined, and bound about with symbolism and literary references, entirely appropriate for a self-professed bibliophile and fan of the written word. Spend some time at her Art Show table, look closely, and you’ll find yourself quickly drawn in or, better yet, say hello to her at her Dealer table and discover why she’s become a storied member of the JordanCon family.

Which artist do you find most inspirational? Why?

Kinuko Craft is one of my major inspirations. Her works are so intricate and rich. Every time I look at one I’m mesmerized. That is the sort of sense I try to create with my crocheted necklaces; the feeling that every time you look at them, you might find something new.

One year at DragonCon, they had some of her original paintings in the art show and I remember feeling almost trapped, unable to look away from them because there was so much to SEE! More even than I had ever seen on a poster or book cover. I stood in front of the bay where her work hung for almost twenty minutes until one of my friends came and got me.

What’s the one thing you most enjoy about attending conventions?

The people. Both the guests and the attendees. I first started coming to JordanCon because of a guest and kept coming back because everyone was so wonderful. That’s pretty much how it’s gone with every convention I find myself going back to. I’m looking for that sense of community much more than I am the opportunity to meet a particular guest. I love getting to meet other artists, but also to watch people react to all the art in the art shows as they pass through. Networking is certainly something that happens, but really, it’s all about getting to spend time with people who are excited about the things you love. And, of course, the Bielaczyc dance parties are also a vital part of a good convention.

What do you see as the primary link between writing and art? (If you think there is one.)

I find huge inspiration from writing. Several of my pieces are inspired by characters from the stories I adore. Many of them are from books that I read as a younger reader that have just latched onto my heart. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an artist who was not also a reader. Reading stretches the boundaries of your imagination; even the most descriptive book leaves something for you to fill in. I think reading trains your vision and your curiosity, which are vital for any kind of artist.

If you could create your masterpiece, what would it look like?

Probably a wearable stained glass window. I’m not even entirely sure what that would mean, but somehow combining light and color into a piece of jewelry. There was a book I read ages ago, “Shattered Glass” by Elaine Bergstrom, that described someone pouring and blending a huge piece of glass and all the colors that swirled together in the molten glass. I want to capture that feeling someday. Seeing the big pieced or poured stained glass windows in person with light behind them has always been an elevating experience for me.

If you’d like to find out more about the authors and artists who share their work at JordanCon, check out our other “Meet the Artist” blogs.

Meet the Artist: Sam Flegal

www.samflegal.com

As an illustrator for both book covers and games, Sam Flegal, who first joined us at the 2014 JordanCon Art Show, specializes in painting strange scenes of epic fantasy and graphic horror. He describes his art as “stylized realism,” portraying fantastical things in a comic book-like graphic manner, but with an eye towards real life. Sam’s preferred medium is oil paint.

How long have you considered yourself an artist?

I’ve been drawing since I was 3 years old. Growing up I always thought of myself as an artist. I eventually went to college for art, and got my degree in Graphic Design. At some point along the way I became a designer and only distantly identified myself as an artist. In 2008 I came to the realization that my soul would shrivel and die if I didn’t get back into to art, so I did. Now I’m an artist and an illustrator, and will be for life.

What was the subject and title of the first piece of art you ever sold?

It was a drawing I did for Chaosium. It was a knight calling on the spirit of the raven to bless his armor before battle. I very cleverly named the piece “Knight Magic.” I sold it to April Moore at Hypericon in 2009.

How did you first discover art, or that you wanted to create art yourself?

My dad’s comic collection was my first exposure to art. My parents were very supportive, and got me lots of art classes and the like. My mom is an editor and worked with illustrators. She would make sure I got to meet them. As far as that moment when I knew I wanted to create art, I can’t pinpoint it. I’m a storyteller, and I’ve always wanted to tell stories through pictures.

What’s the one thing you most enjoy about attending conventions?

One of the great joys of being an artist is meeting fans and seeing people fall in love with your art. It’s an amazing rush to realize that something you created by hand is so appreciated by another person. It’s also one of the few fields I know of where people buy things from you, and then act like you did them a favor by letting them buy it from you. It is awesome!

What do you see as the primary link between writing and art?

Good art inspires people to write. Good writing inspires people to make art. It’s the same with music, really. For me the special link between writing and art is storytelling. It is innate to all cultures to tell stories and make art and music about them. So I guess the main link is humanity.

If you’d like to find out more about the authors and artists who share their work at JordanCon, check out our other “Meet the Artist” blogs.

Meet the Artist: Paul Bielaczyc

paulbielaczyc.com

Paul Bielaczyc is well known within the convention circuit, within the art community, among Wheel of Time fans, and, of course, at JordanCon, where he is the Dealer Hall director, as well as a co-conspirator for the Art Show. You could recite his long list of accomplishments — including winning a prestigious Chesley Award for his art, co-founding Aradani Studios with his brother artist Michael Bielaczyc, his cosplays of Rand al’Thor, or his licensed art for The Wheel of Time®, which was featured in The Wheel of Time Companion — as reasons for his being so well-known. But the honest reason is his friendly nature and his prowess (no lie) as the DJ for the annual (and very well attended) JordanCon dance party. So when you come to JordanCon, go say hello.

How long have you considered yourself an artist?

I think the first time I truly thought of myself as an artist was the summer after I graduated high school. While in high school I took art classes, and I drew incessantly, but I never felt like it was something that was defining for me. I applied to the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts and was rejected, and so I just didn’t have much confidence in my abilities. I remember my family was on summer vacation in Michigan, and my brother was showing his sketchbook to our uncles. I remember thinking that I wished I could draw like my brother did. I pulled out a charcoal pencil and tried drawing some characters from the book I was reading at the time, The Scions of Shannara by Terry Brooks. The charcoal drawings were awful. The lines were so thick and crude. Later that night, I pulled out a .5 mm mechanical pencil, and started working. Every day, I would work a little more on the piece, and when I finished, I had spent about 24 hours working on a single piece of art, 12″x18″. It was the longest amount of time I had ever spent working on a single piece, and when I finished that piece, that was the moment for me.

What’s one of the things you have learned about yourself as an artist?

I find it amusing that my initial reaction to charcoal was that I disliked it and thought it was crude, with no possibility for detail, but now I use it almost exclusively for all my work. Discovering the potential of charcoal started in college. During a drawing class my sophomore year, we did one project in charcoal, and I liked how it flowed across the page. Our next assignment was in graphite, and it frustrated me how slow graphite was to work with compared to charcoal. When I took Drawing 2, I worked almost entirely in charcoal, learning how to achieve the fine detail, while still being able to quickly and easily move the medium across the page.

If you could create your masterpiece, what would it look like?

Over the years I have played around with pastels in order to complete a few color pieces. I enjoy pastels because they work similarly to charcoal, but I prefer working in black and white. That being said, there are a few pieces I have completed that would not have been successful without color. Counter This was a piece that I had planned to complete for years, and only started on it once I had a firm grasp on how to use pastels and a better understanding of color theory. And right now I am partially done with what could become “my masterpiece,” and it is another piece done in pastel.

But before I start working on that piece again, I do have a couple of others that must be completed first. I am working on a new piece in my Dark Creatures series, a sort of “Choose Your Own Adventure” style piece of art involving a kid being sent into a dark basement by his parents. And I’m working on my next Wheel of Time piece which I think will involve Shaidar Haran. I find it amusing that I am so talkative and goofy, yet I love to draw such dark, creepy stuff. Maybe I am affected by the Taint.

If you’d like to find out more about the authors and artists who share their work at JordanCon, check out our other “Meet the Artist” blogs.

Meet the Artist: Michael Bielaczyc

michaelbielaczyc.com

From the many talented artists who show their work at JordanCon, Michael Bielaczyc’s body of work is among the most diverse. Michael works in many different media — sometimes all at once — but his favorites are oil paints and video. He himself would tell you that he is happiest when he is in the middle of twenty different projects, and his studio is often littered with the starts of illustrations, masks and paintings, manuscripts and sculptures. Ideas. At JordanCon, you can usually find him at the Charity Art Jam cranking out art for the Charity Auction, or hard at work in the Aradani Studios booth. Go by and say hello.

How long have you considered yourself an artist?

I have been making stuff as far back as I can remember, (you know, the standard answer for any creative person, right?). But I have been selling my art professionally since 2002. Paul (my brother) and I started traveling to Renaissance festivals and Fandom conventions; we’ve been showing our work for over 15 years!

What was the subject and title of the first piece of art you ever sold?

The first piece I ever sold was a drawing of a little imp in colored pencil, but the first art my studio (Aradani) ever sold was a fairy drawing my sister did when we first started. She was only 13!

Which artist do you find most inspirational? Why?

Many artists have moved me down the path, but the 2nd edition TSR Dungeons & Dragons books are what shaped me. Larry Elmore and Jeff Easley made me want to learn to paint. Then 3rd edition came along and Todd Lockwood showed me how I should be painting action scenes.

What’s the one thing you most enjoy about attending conventions?

My favorite thing about conventions are the people. I have friend all over the United States because of cons. Everyone is so friendly and supportive.

What do you see as the primary link between writing and art? (If you think there is one.)

They are the same thing, right? One crafts a scene through words, and the other describes the words through a scene.

If you’d like to find out more about the authors and artists who share their work at JordanCon, check out our other “Meet the Artist” blogs.

Meet the Artist: Melissa Gay

www.melissagay.com

I adore tales of mystery and imagination that send the adrenaline flowing and the heart racing, whether they be ancient folk tales, classic science fiction, or modern urban fantasy! I tend to gush and use a lot of exclamation points when excited, and illustrating the things I love excites me a lot!!! I feel I have so much more to learn, and my goal is to be a lifelong student, always observing, always pushing the boundaries of my artistic comfort zone (which is very small, so I tend to push it constantly).

Since first attending JordanCon in 2014, Melissa has become a mainstay of the JordanCon Art Show family. Stop by her booth and say hello!

How long have you considered yourself an artist?

All my life, really. I was always That Kid Who Can Draw to people at school– until high school, when I was sent to a really hard college prep school, and I had to take notes instead of drawing in class all the time!

It was a shock to the system, but I just could not let drawing slip out of my life. So between classes, I started drawing my roleplaying characters. The first one I drew at that school was an Elf Magic-User casting a Fireball spell, ’cause that’s just how I roll. Soon after that, I was drawing all the time again.

There was never a time in my life when I didn’t want to be an artist, though I did go through a long period where I thought I would never make money at it. (Does that ever stop?)

What was the subject and title of the first piece of art you ever sold?

Strictly speaking, it was an abstract-expressionist flower arrangement of refuse on Styrofoam that I made when my brother and I were “helping” at the family flower shop. I am fairly sure my mom threw it out as soon as my back was turned, but she spun a yarn about a lady coming in and inquiring about it. But my asking price was met — TEN CENTS!!!!!!!!! What a heady rush! (I was six.) Oh, the title? I’m positive it had one, and it was something like, “CRYSTAL PARADISE.”

How did you first discover art, or that you wanted to create art yourself?

I’m sure people come into it in different ways, but I was just wired that way. If I saw a ballpoint pen (my medium of choice), I would pick it up and ask for some paper. All kids draw, but there was never a time when I wanted *not* to draw. My brother grew up with the same influences, but he never cared to draw past childhood.

Which artist do you find most inspirational? Why?

JMW Turner. I have to do these literalistic, tight renderings or I can’t seem to sell the idea I’m trying to get across. But Turner just put down pure light, and it totally goes right into my heart and communicates. I feel like a proverbial toad in the well looking up at the moon when I see his work, and it makes me stretch higher.

Are you a fan of The Wheel of Time? If not, what is your favorite book or series?

I always seem to like the first book in any series the best, because I’m all wide-eyed with wonder and beset with possibilities!

What’s the one thing you most enjoy about attending conventions?

I love, love, love interacting with fans. It is so great to be around people who are as in love with fannish things as I am!

What do you see as the primary link between writing and art? (If you think there is one.)

The Dork Tower (on writing)

Thank you, John Kovalic, for putting it so succinctly. It’s about writing, but art is just exactly like that, for me. 😉

If you could create your masterpiece, what would it look like?

It would have my ideal perfect blend of golden atmospheric messiness and hyper-detailing. I kinda want to go paint something now… 🙂

If you’d like to find out more about the authors and artists who share their work at JordanCon, check out our other “Meet the Artist” blogs.

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