Sunday, April 7, 2013

A guest artist interview with my friend Halle

I'm suspending the Silent Sunday entries through April 21.  I intend to concentrate on recycling techniques rather than keeping silent.  And someone with something important to say today is my friend Halle of Halle's Hobbies.

E: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Since this month I’m focusing on recycling, I would like to begin with your recycled projects.
Halle: Thanks for asking me to be a guest artist this month! I have so many projects that I've recycled, re-purposed and reinvented from basically junk headed for the trash or recycling plant.
E: What motivates you to recycle something. Is it the recyclable itself, the concept of recycling, a way to extend your craft supplies, or possibly based on something you have seen on the internet or in a book?

 Halle: I'd say its both wanting to recycle as much as possible and the idea that I can get “free” art supplies to do it. Plus I love it when others realize what I used to make my new project and hear them ask “how did you think of that??”

Recycling has always been a part of my life. I was raised in the 1970's although my parents were part of America's Greatest dad served in WWII. Are you doing the math yet? They were older than average parents. They were both born before the Great Depression. During that time people learned to hang on to what they had and re-purpose items out of necessity. I remember cutting both ends off our canned goods, squashing the can flat and saving it in a bin. Dad would eventually take it in for scrap metal. This is just one example of the way we lived.

 E: Our upbringings were similar, in that I was raised by Grandparents who were also born before the Great Depression.  I was always so proud of the clothes I wore, because my Grandmother was a fabulous seamstress.  She made all my clothes and I had more outfits than the "rich" kids.  Of course, that was back when fabric was reasonably priced.  Only when I got to high school did I start wanting name brand clothes.  What did you take from your upbringing?

When I was a kid I was sometimes embarrassed by some of my parents reuses. I felt like it was “cheapness” but now I see it wasn't being was a drive to reuse what could be reused. Why buy new, if you could make do?
E: Do you plan most of your artistic activities around recycled materials?

Halle: I wish I could say that I was a purest and I only used recycled materials. But I'm not...I buy things. Mostly “new to me” things from thrift stores and garage sales but yes, I also frequent the arts and crafts stores.
E: What is your favorite material to recycle?

Halle: I'd have to say books. I've had a love affair with books my whole life. Again, going back to my dad worked for a school district as a custodian. He'd bring home books and other things headed for the dumpster since it pained him to see the waste. I had LOTS of old books and honestly, still have many of those old books.

Since discovering the artist inside myself, I've recycled books into purses, boxes, beads, handmade paper, art journals and much, much more.

E:  One of my favorite recycled projects is your recycled wind chimes. 
Please explain a bit about this awesome project.

Halle: My bottle cap wind chime was inspired by a photo on Pinterest. I'm not one to directly copy items I see so I used a CD, bottle caps and beads from old necklaces along with a few beads and jump rings from my stash. My version ended up quite a bit different and honestly, I like mine much better.

E: Speaking of books, I adore how you recycled a book cover for the Vernal Equinox last year.

Halle: Along with my love affair with books, I have a strong desire to paint. Saved book covers are often my canvas. Such as this one which incorporates dictionary page as well.

E: And of course, the ultimate recycle project:

Another project I am particularly proud of is my fridge facelift using dictionary pages.

I made our extremely ugly, yet still functional, fridge into something that makes me happy to look at each and everyday. This was definitely a case of make the best of what you have because buying would be just cosmetic....not necessary.

E: I know you have children you often include in your art projects. Do you teach them to recycle and use recycled materials in these projects?

Halle: Definitely. My kids are very Earth-conscious. Not only from me but from school. My son and I made handmade paper a few years ago. He also saves random items he thinks I could use. My daughter is always squirreling bits of this and that away for some project. She is my mini me and not just in looks. 

E: I would consider you a mixed media artist. What would you say is your overall art style?

Halle: Gosh, that is a hard one to answer. I feel like I'm a “Jill-of-all-trades”. I started out doing mostly vintage style but now have moved toward abstract and contemporary. I never really know what is going to happen when I sit down. Sometimes nothing, sometimes it's boring and cookie cutter and then sometimes...the times I amazes me what was inside waiting to come out.

E: When did you realize you were a mixed media artist?
Halle: Being a Norwegian raised in Minnesota I have to tell you that it was very difficult and honestly still is, very difficult to accept praise and acknowledge myself as an artist. If you aren't from this part of the country that may seem very strange to you. In general, Minnesotans can't accept a complement. Seriously. We just can't. Someone tells us “how talented” we are and try to excuse ourselves from it. I don't know. It's weird.
I had to make a very conscious effort to call myself an artist. I had to try it out on people I didn't really know to begin with, I couldn't just throw it out to my friends and relatives. I still feel a bit sheepish at times but I will stand up and say I am an artist.

E: What led you to that path?

Halle: Self-Therapy. I found altered art when I was coming to grips with the reality of my son's diagnosis and what it would mean for our family. Art became my outlet, my therapy, my “me-time”. I could express myself..the joys, the rage, the sadness and the hope...all in my little “mom-cave” in the laundry room and share it with my new art friends on Yahoo groups. It was amazing therapy!!! I was Halle, the new artist...nothing more, nothing less.

E: Tell us about any other art interests you have.

Halle: I love spending time with family and friends...outside if possible. Photography is a somewhat new passion of mine. I'm still learning lots about the capabilities of my camera and myself. :)

E: What are you working on at the moment?

Halle: Currently I'm knitting a scarf, working in an art journal, sewing and snapping photos of Spring emerging. See...”Jill of all trades”....or maybe just AD/HD...squirrel. Wait!...what was I talking about?

E: Is there anything I haven’t covered that you would like to add?

Halle: Mostly I wanted to stress that anyone can recycle, reuse and re-purpose. You don't have to be an artist. You just need to rethink those everyday objects that often end up in the trash or recycle bin. Couldn't your yogurt cup be a plant starter before heading to the recycle bin?

That old t-shirt could become a rag to scrub your car, or a bag any child would claim.

Worn work boots become a planter. Out dated computer CD's hang in the garden to scare the critters away(trust me it works).

I also wanted to say that I am thankful for all the like-minded people, especially Elizabeth, that I have interacted with over the years. They have given me support, guidance and friendship along the way and I am forever grateful.

E: Thank you Halle.  You are a true friend.

You can find Halle at

19 thoughtful remarks:

Dianne said...

What a great interview! I always enjoy Halle's projects, and especially the bottle cap wind chimes.She also made some cool little environments (shown on her blog)that she and her son built for figurines. had to smile about the accepting compliments bit.I can see that about Minnesotans. but not just there. a lot of us feel that way. so glad Halle has learned to truly call herself an artist, because she IS!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Nice to know how many creative re use folks there are and how inventive they can be, love the fridge! xox

Priti.Lisa said...

What a great interview Elizabeth!
Halle's artwork and personality are both wonderful to experience. ♥

elle said...

Great ideas for CD's. Luv the wind chime and that fridge! thanks

Halle said...

Thank you for asking me to be a part of this. The questions were very fun and thought provoking. A tiny bit of me is still embarrassed about the attention but I'll get over it. :)

susanne said...

I really enjoyed your interview with Halle and I love her bottle cap windchimes! Very inspiring!

Patti said...

I've been dabbling with recycled art projects lately and am so enjoying the endless possibilities.
Art has been great therapy for dealing with (my) chronic illness - I'd be interested to know what Halle's son is dealing with!
Blessings to you both!

~*~Patty S said...

Great interview E...
I enjoyed reading every word and come from similar background ...
always grateful to waste not and want not as the saying goes...
I also enjoyed seeing some of your super creativity highlighted here as well Halle!

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