Sophie Page’s Studio Tour

photo of meToday on Tuesday Tours we have illustrator, story maker, and sculptress Sophie Page sharing her studio in Boston, Massachusetts. Sophie creates her illustrations by sculpting three-dimensional characters, placing them within scenes and sets, and then photographs them. She’s a recent graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design and has an Etsy shop where she sells her work.
She’s working on two new book projects and seeking publication for her first book, Marjory and the Juniper Tree.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I’m an illustrator from rural New England. I recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, and since then I’ve been working as an illustrator and art teacher. I create multimedia sculptures, which I then photograph, and manipulate the digital images to make 2D illustrations. I work with clay and found natural objects, and I’ve been increasingly interested in working digitally as well. I feel like my work falls somewhere between children’s lit and art books, and that’s fine with me. I’m still discovering my niche. It’s an exciting time.

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How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?
I’m very much in transition lately, so I haven’t been in my current space for very long. I’m working on renovating a barn/garage space in Ipswich, MA and that’s kind of a dream project. But for right now I’m renting the attic of a very lovely historical house outside of Boston. It suits me very well. studio4The owner of the house is a great pastel painter, so we can critique each others work and there’s great energy. I’m very inspired by the space, but sometimes I feel like I’m living in one of my sculptures and it can be overwhelming.

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Describe a typical work day. Do you have any rituals you do before you start creating?
Lot’s of coffee. I’m very into caffeine. Mostly I just spend some time checking my email, go for a run, and then get started on my current project.

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What’s the biggest distraction for you when you’re creating? How do you deal with it?
Well that would definitely be my cat, Hephzibah. She’s a really wonderful cat but she is always trying to claw her way onto my lap when I’m trying to focus. Honestly I’m still figuring out how to get her to settle down while I’m working, but every once in a while she’ll fall asleep in the armchair next to me and everything is great.work4

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Is there anything you like to listen to while you’re working? What are you reading/listening to now?
I always listen to music while I’m working. Lately it’s been a combination of 80’s new wave and Nicki Minaj, which is a lot better than my Barry Manilow phase, that’s for sure. As for books, I just finished reading Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi, I found it very moving and would recommend it highly.

studio9Is there any special item/trinket in your space that inspires you?
My friend who is 84 years old told me about an elaborate game her mother played using crude handmade dolls, sometime around 1913. For my birthday this year she gave the dolls to me. They are really just balls of false fur with skirts, and I’m fascinated by how simple, rough, and well loved they are. I try to imbue my work with that kind of sentimental quality.

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Which other artists, writers or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
Kiki Smith, Marlene Dumas, and Francesca Woodman. My little sister, Isabelle Marina Page is a constant inspiration. She is currently a student at the Cooper Union school of art and her work is fantastic. The Guerrilla Girls are another longtime inspiration, and recently the radical performance art duo Darkmatter has been majorly on my mind.

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What are the three best things about your studio space?

My cat is there.

The history of the space.

I play music pretty loudly and I have yet to receive a complaint.

Share with us a memory of one of the best times you had working in your studio.
Occasionally friends and family will leave bits of dried plants or driftwood for me to find. That’s especially nice because I can use them in my projects and it makes the work feel more precious.

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What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?

Make sure it’s a place where you feel really comfortable and safe. It might sound tacky but you should have a good feeling about the space, like you can see yourself bopping around at 3 a.m eating gummy worms in that space.

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What’s coming up for you and where can we find out more?

Lately I’ve been full of stories. I’m working on two simultaneously. One is about a girl with too many pockets, and one about a girl with three eyes. I am currently seeking publication for my first book, Marjory and the Juniper Tree. You can check out more of my work at sophiegenevapage.com. I also sell prints and sculptures through my online shop.

Thanks, Sophie! I love your work and I hope to see Marjory and the Juniper Tree in print soon—the illustrations are stunning!

Join us next week when author/illustrator Harriet Muncaster will be sharing her studio in Hertfordshire, England.10

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Milwaukee Environmental School–Parent Night!

Part of the Toyota Grant that is funding the mural I’m doing with Milwaukee Environmental School also funds classes for parents, which they attend once a week. This past week I visited their meet-up to show them what their children have been working on and to give them a chance to try it out for themselves. I get the sense they loved working on a creative project (they stayed well past the end of the meet-up to finish) and they made some pretty impressive pieces.

Manitoba School Art Residency

I’ve been working at Manitoba school the last couple of months to help the K5 and 1st grade classes create a school museum, which will showcase their curriculum on the rain forest, antarctica and the arctic. My wonderful husband Michael Greer helped to create the armatures for the jaguar and polar bear. We will be revealing the final exhibit on June 4th, 2015.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Studio Tour

JJK_author_pic_Ollie_color_We have the multi-talented author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka joining us today on Tuesday Tours to share his studio in Massachusetts. I’m a big fan Jarrett’s TED talk advocating for arts education–which is a cause close to my heart. After hearing about his famous drafting table, which he received from his grandparents on his fourteenth birthday and still uses today, I knew he’d make a great guest on Tuesday Tours. Jarrett’s popular Lunch Lady series and Punk Farm are both in development to be a feature films. The next book in his Platypus Police Squad series was just released and his newest picture book It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon, will be available in September.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I am an author and illustrator of children’s books—picture books, graphic novels and middle-grade novels. My picture books are printed in full color, so the art for those are painted or are digital collages of paintings, depending on the specific title. My comics and novels are printed in limited color or grayscale, so the art in those books are created with brush and ink drawings that are scanned and colored/shaded digitally.

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How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?We moved in August, so I am still settling. My old space was a detached garage that was renovated to be my studio. While it had skylights and high ceilings, I quickly ran out of space. My new workspace is in the basement. While I don’t have the natural light I had before, I have the space! In fact, I have three rooms—one for writing, one for making art and one for storage, promotional materials and shipping supplies, etc. I’m now able to compartmentalize the various parts of my work. I need very different environments for writing and making art.

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Describe a typical work day. Do you have any rituals you do before you start creating?
There is no such thing as a typical work day in my life. I have two small children, aged six and three, so they are always throwing me for a loop. I also have to travel quite a bit for my work. As I aim to travel less, I will be able to have somewhat of a structured life. Who am I kidding? Things will still be unpredictable. I’m also at the mercy of deadlines. So my management of time is constantly evolving.

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What’s the biggest distraction for you when you’re writing/illustrating? How do you deal with it?
Social media. My friend Lisa Yee just introduced me to a new app called Anti-social; it blocks your computer from all the Facebook Twitters of it all. I’m also trying to only post in the evenings, so I hope that helps boost my productivity. My new studio space is also adjacent to the kids’ playroom, but that isn’t much of a distraction, really. I travel so much that it’s nice to be connected to my kids while I am home and working.

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If you could share a studio with anyone in the world, who would you pick?
My pug, Ralph, is the only one in the world that I could share a studio space with. As much as I’m an extrovert, when I am working I am as equally an introvert.
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Is there any special item/trinket in your space that inspires you?
There are a lot of special trinkets. I have many of my childhood toys and books. I have a lot of robots and doodads. I also have a guitar that I keep promising myself that I will learn how to play.

Which other artists, writers or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
My two daughters, hands down. I love their marks and how they view the world through art. They are so uninhibited. We spend a lifetime trying to get our art to a certain level, and then we look back and realize we had something great working for us all along.
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What are the three best things about your studio space?
I really like the rails that I keep on the walls to hang art that is in progress. I also have a bulletin board that is filled with notecards for every book that I am working on—it helps me keep track of what is due. I also really love having just one chair in each room, so I can wheel myself from desk to desk. (I keep a drafting table for clean media, one for messy media and a separate desk for digital media.)
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Share with us a memory of one of the best times you had working in your studio.
That is a difficult question. I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one, but I’d say anytime where I have consecutive hours or days of uninterrupted work. Our furnace broke on a Friday afternoon this past January, and it wouldn’t be fixed until Monday. While my family went to the in-laws house for the weekend, I stayed back and put space heaters in front of all of our sinks so the pipes wouldn’t freeze and just worked. I binge-listened to every single episode of the Serial podcast and just got artwork done!Jarrett K. 4jarrett

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What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
You definitely need to draw the line between home and work. You also need to know what works for you—do you need natural light or would you rather be closed off in a box with no distractions? Even though my space is next to the playroom, the kids know their boundaries and don’t come in to the space when I’m not around. We may try to recreate what we had at our old house by building a separate structure in the backyard. There is definitely something nice about walking our your back door, letting the air hit your face and feeling the separation of home and work.
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What’s coming up for you and where can we find out more?
My website is StudioJJK.com. My latest middle-grade novel, Platypus Police Squad: Last Panda Standing, was just published and in September my next picture book It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon will be released—it will be my 30th book to be published!

Thank you, Jarrett! I love how you separate all your creative spaces—what a great way to train your mind to go between different creative pursuits. Best of luck with your new releases and I’ll be watching for The Lunch Lady to hit the silver screen!

Sophie PagePlease join us on May 26th when we’ll get a chance to see inside the studio of illustrator Sophie Page

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Women of Distinction Awards

WOD6I was honored to create the artwork for the honorees of the Women of Distinction Award, sponsored by the Women and Girls Fund of Waukesha County—an organization that provides thousands of dollars each year to organizations that work to improve the quality of life for women. I created individual free-motion embroidery pieces for each honoree.

 

NURTURENURTURE for Laura Cherone 
Laura has devoted her professional life to inspiring others to overcome obstacles and serves the underprivileged in her community. Through her 25 years of work with Family Services supporting children and adults, to her work as the Director of Program and Clinical Services where she oversees programs for child trauma and domestic violence related incidents, and to her volunteer work as Dean of Women at the Royal’s Family Kid’s Camp, a free of charge camp for abused, abandoned and neglected kids in foster care, Laura has nurtured children and families through her work and compassion. I chose to create Nurture for Laura, which is a woman who shares her love freely, inspiring beauty to blossom around her.

 

REVEALRISE for Kay Ruekert Lettenberger
From what I read in the letters of recommendation for Kay, she seemed like in any of the positions she’s had over the years—Writer, Journalist, Director of Public Relations, Communications Specialist, and a volunteer for Alzheimers Association, she’s had the ability to raise up awareness, research, education, visibility and funds.
Because of this, I chose to create for her Rise, which is the image of a woman who exudes rays of light, and rises above the clouds of confusion and doubt, pulling the fog away from her face and brightly shining her light for all to see.

READDAWN for the Honorable Kathryn Foster
When approaching Judge Kathryn Foster’s artwork, I read about her work developing the Waukesha Country Alcohol Treatment court, which offers treatment instead of prison time, and her work transforming the Family court to provide equal access in the court system, and of course her innovative approach of creating the Waukesha County Criminal Justice Collaborative Council. In all of Judge Foster’s work she’s aided in the dawning of new programs and new ideas.Through her education and her dispersion of knowledge, she’s helped others who may not have otherwise had a chance to emerge as successful members of society. That is why I chose to create Dawn for her, which is a woman who sees the light of knowledge and radiates in its glow.

FLIGHTFLIGHT for Rebecca Dalum
After reading about Rebecca Dalum’s accomplishments, I was excited for the work she’s done in the world, as well as the the things she will do in her future. Her passionate social activism and her volunteer work for Walkers Point Youth & Family Center and a teen homeless and runaway shelter, as well as her role as president and co-founder of She’s the First, a school chapter of a nationwide nonprofit which raises funds for girl’s education in the developing world, makes me excited to see what she will do when she emerges from high school and sets out into the world.
I chose to create Flight for her, which showcases a woman who’s releasing her gifts of peace and joy into the world to make it a better place.

Fratt Elementary Author Visit

I loved meeting with students from Fratt Elementary. I presented Snickeyfritz to the K4-2nd graders, Squircle for the 3rd-5th graders, had lunch with some pretty interesting students, and finished the day with a poetry workshop featuring CommuniTree for parents and students at the family literacy night event. We even got a chance to create some beautiful Shimmerling charms. Thanks to Emily Corr for setting up the visit and to the students and staff for a great day :)

Kate Heling and Debbie Hembrook Studio Tour

Welcome back to Tuesday Tours! I took a couple weeks off for spring break, and I was just a bit too busy with some new artist residency projects. But I’m happy to be back! I’m gearing up for the year anniversary of Tuesday Tours and I have quite the lineup of guests over the next two months. For the 52nd tour, I’ll reveal my own studio, which the creation of is what inspired this Tuesday Tour adventure :) If you’re interested in staying up to date with Tuesday Tours, I send an email out once a month showcasing the featured guests. You can sign up for the mailing list at the bottom of this post.

book2Today I’m excited to share the work space of collaborating Wisconsin authors Kate Heling and Debbie Hembrook! I’m fascinated by creative partnerships and I’m all about collaboration so this interview with Debbie and Kate is really interesting to me. Together the Heling/Hembrook team has published 13 books and has some more in the works. As educators, the duo has a great handle on how their books can be used in the classroom, offering teaching activities on their websiteskyberg-tuesday-tours-logo

Kate & DebbiTell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
The Heling/Hembrook collaboration began in 1997 when we discovered that we shared a dream of writing books for children.  Since then, we’ve had 13 books published, many in rhyme and all for very young children. Debbie works fulltime as a Kindergarten teacher and Kateis a school psychologist, officially retired but still working hourly as needed. Probably not surprisingly, we tend to write books that have an educational theme of some sort.

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How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?Previously, we shared a room that Kate’s husband also used for his business. We had ready access to a computer and printer but we had to be organized and tidy because we weren’t the only ones using that space. About 5 years ago, we converted an otherwise unused room in Kate’s house to a dedicated writing space for the Heling/Hembrook team.  It’s such a luxury to be able to spread out, to have our resource books at our fingertips, and to leave works in progress laying on the desk.  

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Describe a typical work day. How often do you meet, and are there any rituals you do before you start writing?
There really is no such thing as a ‘typical’ work day for us. Traditionally, we try to meet in person one late afternoon/evening each week, after our day jobs. In between meetings, our collaboration is ongoing, in the form of e-mail and voice mail messages almost every day. Lately, we’ve been sharing ideas and story drafts via Google Docs, allowing us to edit each other’s work remotely. Although not a hard and fast ritual, we do often kick start our in-person creative endeavors with wine and/or chocolate.

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What’s the biggest distraction for you when you’re writing? How do you deal with it?
We tend to be our own biggest distraction – seems as though there’s always news to catch up on! (Sometimes, this is where the wine and chocolate come in.) It helps to have a running ‘to-do’ list. Also, it’s great to be able to divvy up some of the tasks associated with getting stories ready to submit, so it’s not unusual to assign each other homework.

As collaborators, how do you decide what to work on next?
When we’re working on a deadline, it’s easy to decide where to concentrate our energies. Otherwise, we mutually agree on which manuscript will be next to get our attention. Our typical process is that one or the other of us writes a rough draft of a new story and then the collaborative process begins. We work on the story together until we’re ready to share it with our wonderful critique groups. 

Please share with us a memory of one of the best times you had working together in your space.
That’s impossible – there have been so many! Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but writing collaboratively allows for shared rejections, shared frustrations, and most importantly, shared joy in a sense of accomplishment!

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Which other writers, artists, or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
We are continually impressed and inspired by our fellow writers from Wisconsin. How wonderful to be surrounded by such talent!

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How do you organize your bookshelf?
Mostly haphazardly. Kate’s high tolerance for clutter often manages to override Debbie’s organizational genius.

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What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
Whether a writing space is an entire room or a desk in a corner, it should be a pleasant, comfortable setting that is inviting and inspiring.

bookWhat’s coming up for you and where can we find out more?
Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play (Charlesbridge; illustrated by Andy Davies) is scheduled for release in August, 2015. Rhyming text introduces kids to the vocabulary and equipment associated with a number of different sports. This is a companion book to our earlier Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do (Charlesbridge; illustrated by Andy Davies). Andy Davies does a masterful job creating a visual story that enhances the text. We are so grateful to be Charlesbridge authors! Please visit us at http://www.helinghembrook.com.

Thank you Kate and Debbie! Looking forward to your next Clothesline Clues book!

Jarrett Lunch LadyMay 19th we’ll get a chance to see inside the studio of author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka

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