This month our feature creative friend is someone I have had the pleasure of knowing for about 14 years. She has taken her love of art off the canvas an onto objects ranging from wood, coffee mugs to even cloth. She has a great story of how just trying something that seems impossible can actually be possible, which allowed her to achieve a desire she had.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up with my Mon and Dad and older sister on 43 acres in Northern Maine. I received my BS in Equine Science in 2001 from the University of New Hampshire in 2001. I worked on a dude ranch in Colorado during the summers through college which lead me to the ranch in Tucson Arizona where I worked my first winter after graduation. I fell in love with the desert (and the fact that there was no snow to shovel!!) and ended up staying. I worked several jobs before a friend offered me a job in his machine shop. I didn’t know anything about manufacturing but decided to take a leap of faith. Here I learned what a laser was and eventually how to run one! I started off with just one machine and currently have 5 different machines I am responsible for. It is here that I learned the fun things that a laser is capable of and so grew my desire to have one of my own!
2. When did you catch the creative bug?
I never really thought of myself as a creative person but when I started learning about the lasers and all the possibilities my mind really took off. It was kind of funny actually because for a long time I only looked at them as a tool for production. One Christmas one of my friends in the shop asked me to laser etch some photos on glass. I looked at him like he was crazy! I said you can’t do that! He said yes I saw it on the internet. So I tried it…I didn’t know anything about it but it still came out pretty good for a first try! From there I was hooked! Researching online and joining forums to figure out all the things it was capable of! I sure was bit by the bug then and knew one day I would buy my own laser and build a business out of it!
3. What does “being creative” mean to you?
To me being creative means looking at things in a different way. For example I never go into a store with out looking at products and wondering… “How would that engrave?” “What would I put on this?” “Look at that I could do that!!” Anything that may have been engraved or I know I could engrave I have to touch and see if it is ink, or sandblasted, or engraved!!
4. How would you describe your art and/or process?
It is funny I don’t always think of what I do as “art” and then other times I look at it and realize it really is! I can’t say I really have a process more like trial and error…weighing heavy on the error side! However, when things line up it is a lot of fun to think through how to build something in the computer software and have it look the way you imagined it after it is printed or cut by the laser!
5. Is there anything you can’t engrave/etch?
With the laser, I have there is a lot that I can do! I can cut and engrave a lot of fun things like wood, acrylic, paper, and cloth! I can etch metal items as long as there is a coating on them or if it is bare steel I can add a product to it which will turn black and permanently adhere to the metal. This causes a beautiful high contrast mark! I can also etch glass and some ceramics. The main thing I cannot do is cut metal with the laser. However, I do have a sheet metal shear so I can cut plaques and such when I need to.
6. Knowing what you know now, what would you recommend to someone who wanted to start engraving?
The first thing I would recommend would be to get the artwork program you would be using and start practicing with that. For me the most difficult thing about the laser is the artwork. The second thing I would recommend would be to attend all the seminars and trade-shows you can! There are lots of free lessons from the reps and so many knowledgeable people there that love to talk about the industry. Don’t hesitate to say you are new and interested in learning because there are lots of people who would love to help you out!
7. What has been your favorite thing to create or style to create?
My favorite thing is really to work with photographs. Sometimes it can be really frustrating working with someone’s treasured photo. But after bringing it to life on the product of their choice there is no greater feeling then the smile (or tears) that it brings to their face!
8. Name a craft product you can’t live without?
Without a doubt that would be the product called Cermark. It is the spray I put on Stainless steel to make the black marks and sharp photos!
9. If there were a magic power you could use in your art making, what would it be?
Hmmm….Magic Power? I can’t think of one that would help me with the laser but I have always wanted to be able to fly!!
11. Any advice for those out there who think art is to hard?
Basically I would say I always thought that too…until I found the right outlet! You cannot poor your heart and soul into something you do not love therefore if you find it hard…it is not the right outlet for you!! Try something else until you find what you love! Never settle for anything less!
Here are just a taste of her work:
10. If we wanted to learn more about you and your art where can we go?
and soon luckyladyengraving.com will be up and running!