Donna is a true reclaimed artist that does particular magic with soda pop cans. Resourcefulness is one of my favorite qualities to see in people (up there with the big ones like kindness and authenticity) and what many see as discardable she sees as a potential material for ART 👏. Enjoy!
Your work is very unique. I admire your dedication to re-using materials and seeing the potential in items usually discarded. What was your first recycled piece made from?
Well at first I was thinking of my first pop can art piece, but then I remembered the things I made when I was a young girl. We had pine trees, so I would take apart the pine cones and the pieces became the feathers for owl wall hangings I would make. At that point, recycling wasn't a well known word, but I guess that's what I was doing and didn't even know it. And as I reflect, the majority of my art has always had an element of repurposing.
Every shop beginning takes a little courage. Tell me about your mental transition from creating as a hobby to deciding to open shop and put your art out publicly.
When I first started creating pop can art, it was just for me and to give as gifts. Then the people who had received them as gifts, started to contact me for orders. The word of mouth angle was how I operated for several years until I entered my first art show about 9 years ago. I do remember that feeling going from 'Well, the people who order from me like my work, but what if the judges who jury the art show don't like it?' It's definitely a little nerve racking putting yourself out there, because your art is an extension of yourself. Thankfully the judges liked my work and I even received an honorable mention for one of my pieces so that was a big encouragement boost.
What are some of the unexpected challenges you have faced since opening up shop?
I still participate in several art fairs, so I would say an unexpected challenge would be to remain gracious when someone might make a comment on how easy it would be to do what I'm doing. So it's good to have a sense of humor and to practice grace ;)
Giving is an important component of your shop. Tell us more about your cause and why this is important to you.
God has blessed us with the gift of life, so I want that gift to flow through me to love on others and to help those who are in need. I partnered with charity: water because they're goal is to bring clean and safe drinking water to those in need around the world. Clean water is so common to us living in a first world country but so uncommon to many others...so I look at my art as an avenue to help bring this goal into a reality.
Time to dream, ready? If you had an entire week free to create w/ no external responsibilities or bills to pay and access to every kind of tool and medium imaginable--- What would we see you doing creatively?
Oh man, that would be fun! I've always wanted to make some big metal sculptural pieces, using laser cutters and welding equipment...that whole process intrigues me.
So pretend that you are having coffee with someone that has considered sharing her art but is feeling shy. What do you tell her from across the table?
I would say I know it feels a little scary but life is short, and it's so worth putting yourself out there. And I would frame it with, what's the worse that could happen? Seriously...what is the very worst thing that could happen? Some people may not buy your art? That's okay. Some people may not like it? That's okay too. But what about the people who will like it? It's time to be brave, no regrets, and to show your art to the world! :)
Check out Donna's current work here