artist chats with joanne sharpe
artist chats with joanne sharpe

Well, hello. It’s Miriam Schulman here of the Inspiration
Place. Today, we are sitting down with Joanne Sharpe. Joanne Sharpe is an award-winning author and
whimsical art maker. Joanne’s mixed media art is colorful and playful. She has a passion for art journaling, lettering,
doodling, and illustration. She teaches others through online classes
and in-person workshops. I fell in love with Joanne’s art in the pages
of Cloth Paper Scissors, so I’m so excited she agreed to be part of the Handcrafted Holidays
team. In our interview, we share our joys of reading
from real books and why we are all craving a more tactile experience from life. Tune into the interview to find out how you
can get your hands on one of Joanne’s free alphabets. I’l tell you a little bit more about that
at the end of our interview. Miriam: Alright. So, welcome to my studio, Joanne. Joanne: Thanks. It’s fun to kind of be here, looking in. Miriam: First of all, I’m very excited to
have you here and part of Handcrafted Holidays, and I’m familiar with your lettering in your
books, but I don’t know a lot about your story. I’m really excited to get you in this interview
mostly for my own selfish reasons, because I really wanted to talk to you about your
story and how you came to this point in your journey. Did you study art in college? Joanne: I did. I was an art education major, ad my master’s
is in art education. I taught K through 12 art for twenty years. In the meantime, I had a little studio where
I taught summer camps for kids, and then I started teaching adults and started reading
Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. They asked me to do an article, and then I
had a retreat called Create and the Create retreats years ago. I was a teacher there, so I started teaching
adults. Now, I travel all over the country teaching
mixed media art, my sewing art. I’ve been reading a lot about the Renaissance,
the Renaissance man, and also the Renaissance woman. I am a true Renaissance woman, because I do
everything. I sew, I paint, I letter, I journal, I teach
classes. I kind of like to do it all, not that I am
Leonardo DaVinci or anything. You know, he was the classic, classic Renaissance
man That’s where the term comes from. If you think about him, he was an inventor,
he was an artist, he was a writer. I liken myself to that. It’s okay to like to do it all. Miriam: I feel like there’s a little clink
missing in the story. You said you started reading Cloth Paper Scissors,
and then they asked you to do an article. Something must have transpired in between. How did they discover you? Joanne: It was just from my blog, actually. I didn’t write for the magazine before I started
the retreat. I was teaching at the retreat, they saw my
work, and then they asked me to do the book, The Art of Whimsical Lettering. You know, that was six years ago. The Art of Whimsical Lettering, The Art of
Whimsical Stitching. I have a coloring book coming out any day
now, because this is going to air in the Fall, called The Art of Whimsical Living: A Coloring
Book for Play and Purpose. My fourth book will be coming out March 2017,
and it’s of a doodling genre, so doodling and lettering. They’re basically a little lesson plans all
in a book for personal growth and personal discovery in whimsical drawing and lettering. Miriam: Oh my goodness. Okay. Joanne: I’m so excited. Miriam: I’ll have to order my advance copy
on Amazon. Joanne: You know what? You are right. There is something in between there. When I was a teacher, I taught and had my
little studio, but then I started licensing my work. Miriam: But you don’t have an agent. You just deal with them directly? Joanne: Nope. I do it myself. I just find that for me, I’ve been around
the block, and I’ve been doing this for twenty years. It looks like “Oh, you’re successful immediately,”
but it really has taken me since 1994 to kind of be right where I am right now. When you’re an artist, you have to find all
kinds of way to make a living. My father was the one who, when I was in high
school, I said I wanted to be a social worker, because I wanted to work with people. He said, “No, no, no. You’re going to be an artist.” Miriam: Really? Joanne: I said, “Dad, I’m not going to make
any money being an artist.” I was the oldest of seven children, and I
was the first one. I was like his first guinea pig, and he said,
“No. God gave you that talent. He doesn’t give it to everyone. You’re meant to be an artist.” I was like, “Alright. Okay, then I’ll be an art teacher, because
I can still do my art and I can help people.” Miriam: So, you’re dad said, “No way are you
going to conform.” Joanne: Unfortunately, he passed away in 1994,
and that’s kind of when I did go out on my own and start looking for the licensing and
doing the art shows and really making money doing my on artwork. Miriam: I know we’ve been talking about how
you’ve been a Renaissance woman and how you’re doing all these different things, but if someone
were to say, “You know what Joanne? You can only do one of those things,” which
one would you pick? Joanne: I’d say, “I’m not playing that game.” Miriam: Okay, good answer. Joanne: Okay, let’s see. Well, no. That is a good question, because it has to
do with where I am right now in my own personal journey as a BERNINA ambassador. Loving my sewing machine and taking my art
from paper in a journal and putting it on fabric and painting fabric and sewing fabric,
I’m in a whole different place right now. Today, if you ask me that question, I would
say I would take the sewing. Miriam: How would you describe your teaching
style? Joanne: I encourage my students, no matter
what classes, online or in person. I want them to play. I want them to just be in a different place
and just express themselves and really have fun playing with paints and crayons and metallic
paints and fabrics and threads and all of it. All the Renaissance stuff. Miriam: Aright. Let’s back up a little bit. Joanne, I am so excited, like so happy… You know, I sent out my little invitations
to people. I made out my little fantasy list of who I
wanted to teach in Handcrafted Holidays, and I’m so thrilled that pretty much everyone
said yes to me. I was over the moon when I got the yes back
from you. I’m so excited and thrilled to have you as
part of this class. Joanne: By the way, ditto back to you, because
if you remember, I bought a piece of our artwork maybe two or three years ago off Etsy. It’s your peacock illustration that I absolutely
adore. It goes with me when I travel. It’s one of my little pencil cases, and I
just love that artwork. We had that mutual love before you even made
this connection. Miriam: Then, we were discussing before this
interview offline about what you’re teaching, and now I’m just even more intrigued. Would you like to share what you’re planning
on teaching for Handcrafted Holidays? Joanne: Oh my god, the gold is to die for. My class is going to be on metallic brush
lettering, and I’ve found a brand new product that’s new to me. I’ve been teaching the brush lettering for
quite a while, but I have a couple new products that have really, really awesome pigment and
shine and metallic. I’m going to show ways to do letting on tags
and cards and gift wrap. It’s a really cool paint. We’re going to do painted gold lettering for
some holiday themed things. Miriam: Is this like a watercolor paint or
acrylic paint? What kind of paint is this? Joanne: It’s like a watercolor. It’s mostly like a watercolor-based pigment
but with just highly-concentrated mica pigments, and it’s heaven. I’ve been just playing with it in a journal
doing some lettering with some different brushes, so I’ll also be showing the techniques with
a couple of different brushes. Miriam: I know that the women who take my
classes are really going to be excited about that. They’ve all told me how much they are looking
forward to making they’re own cards and giving that handmade touch. Especially now with email, it’s always so
special when you get a physical card in the mail. Joanne: Of course. Anything. Miriam: Anything, yes. Joanne: That’s my I think sewing is getting
more popular and journaling. People want to touch paper. They want to touch a book. We read off of Kindles now and computers,
and people want just to have a book where you write in and document your life and your
planners. People just want to touch stuff. Miriam: I personally don’t use a Kindle. Joanne: I don’t either. Miriam: I like my books. Joanne: Me too. I’m just looking at my books today and thinking… You really should make sure you like touch
all your books. I have a wonderful collection of books. I love, love, love books. Don’t you? Miriam: I do love books, and for me, I don’t
even feel like I need to take it out and look at it, as long as I put them in places where
I see them. Just seeing the spine sometimes will make
me happy. I just like seeing the spine will trigger
the thoughts of that artist or the art that I saw in the exhibit. Even when I was really young, like when I
was in college in my first apartment, I used to always bring my books with me. Those were like my friends. That’s what makes something home to me. I don’t know if I anthropomorphize them, but
having those art books is like having my art friends around me. I know that makes me sound really anti-social. I do have real life friends. Joanne: yeah, I love my books. Miriam: My books are my friends. Joanne: They’re inspiring. Back to all you inspiration: that’s your aspiration
as well, because there might be some artist that you love or I see some quilter that I
really love. They just inspire something in me, not that
I want to take their…to just look at what they do and make what I do fit into whatever
was inspiring that person. Miriam: It’s about capturing a spirit, not
copying the lines or the colors. Maybe it’s the color but not the line or the
line and not the color or just the spirit of something. Joanne, you mentioned that you also teach
online. What kind of classes are you currently offering? Joanne: As we were talking about books, my
classes are like having books on a virtual bookshelf. Just go there, open them up, take any time. I design the class that I want to take. I give you the information that, if I were
taking this class, what I would be wondering, what I would be looking for. I’m so blessed to have an amazing community
of women in my classes. Nothing in my classes is every repeated. I just have this great community of people,
hundreds and hundreds of people, that kind of hang out and take whatever new that comes
along. I’m really, really lucky and blessed to have
those people on my journey. Miriam: Alright. Let’s wrap up and tell people where they can
find you. Joanne: I do have a blog which is called Whimspirations,
like whimsical inspirations. I just write about my journeys. I’m on Instagram, @JoanneSharpe. My website is In any of those places, you’re just going
to find my gallery, my classes, my travel schedule. The website is a good place to start. You can find who I am and what I do. Miriam: Well, thank you so much for spending
this time with us, Joanne. I can’t wait to get my hands on your new book. I already devoured your first one on lettering. I really recommend it to anybody out there. It’s beautifully written book with lots of
exercises. Joanne: It’s a fun book. I’m so proud of it. Miriam: You should be, yeah. Joanne: The funny thing is…my followers
know this…that I get so hurt. My feelings get so hurt when I get reviews
that are like less than stellar. They’ll just tell me, “Oh, it wasn’t for me,”
and well, that had nothing to do with my book. My book is awesome. Miriam: Ha ha ha ha! Joanne: I take it so personally. That’s the hardest part. That’s the hardest part about putting yourself
out there with any of this stuff. All this art comes from so deep within, and
to share it is a pretty brave thing to do for any of us, not just me. When you give all that out and it’s like they
kind of reject it… Miriam: Well, we’re not just putting our art
out there. You and I are in a world where we’re putting
everything out there. Joanne: Exactly. Right. Miriam: You know, sometimes we do get attacked
on that personal level as well. The bigger you are… I heard something like this that like, you
know, out of your thousands of followers, whatever it is, three percent will love you
to the point of stalking, and three percent of whatever the percent is will hate you. Joanne: Okay. Well, thanks for having me, Miriam. I’m really looking forward to Handcrafted
Holidays. I just have some wonderful ideas for some
really cool, metallic lettering that I know you’re going to be able to use for any holiday
and especially for this year. It’s going to be a blast. Miriam: Yeah, I can’t wait. I’m so happy you are joining us, Joanne. Thank you again for taking this time to talk
with me, and I’ll see you online. Joanne: Thank you, my new art friend. Bye. Miriam: Yay! — Now, I promised you that you would be able
to get your hands on her freebie. Now, Joanne has put together an alphabet that
you can use as inspiration for your art journal pages or for card-making or anything you want,
and that is completely free. By the way, it is not the same alphabet that
she will be teaching in the class. It’s a totally additional freebie just for
you. I hope you’ll find a lot of inspiration from
this free download. What you have to do is, whether you’re watching
this on Facebook or Youtube, wherever you are, you need to hop on over to my blog. There will be a link wherever you’re watching
this to get to my blog. You’ll scroll down beneath the video, and
underneath the video, look for this button. Click on this button to click to download,
and then you just have to enter your name and your email address and click the button. We’ll be sending the free download straight
to your inbox right away. Check your inbox, make sure it’s there. If it’s not there, double-check your spam
folder or you promotions tab, because we really want you to get your hands on this. Not only that, but you’ll be able to be notified
of all the other interviews that I’m doing of all the Handcrafted Hoidays teachers. Each one is equally exciting and fun, and
I really, truly hope that you’ll join us for Handcrafted Holidays. Registration is open. I know that a lot of you want to make handmade
gifts, but don’t run out of time this year. Start early enough, because once December
gets here, you know you’re going to be too busy. Don’t let yourself get crushed for time. You want to enjoy the process and not put
too much pressure on yourself, otherwise you’re going to lose the joy that you intended in
your creative process. These cards with the gold lettering are truly
gift-worthy, and you can definitely finish this in time for Christmas or Chanukkah. I hope that you’ll join us, and I’d love to
see you there. Take care, and good luck with all your creative

2 thoughts on “artist chats with joanne sharpe”

  1. Blenda Tyvoll says:

    Such a fun inspiring interview!

  2. Ellen Goodloe says:

    Just found this video today. Even though it was over 2 yrs ago, it's still very relevant and fits especially well with the podcasts.

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