01 June 2014

A Conversation with Brenda of Radenbrea Studios and The Artisan Studio

Brenda Spiller has a passion for jewellery making and digital art which she combines and showcases in Radenbrea Studios and The Artisan Studio.  Here she offers us a glimpse into her creative world...

Who is Brenda Spiller? 
That’s a hard question to answer because I think I’m still finding out myself. I’m a wife, mother and grandmother. I’m constantly learning new things about myself. Things happen in life, often bad things, and you find you have strengths you didn’t know you possessed until you suddenly have to use them. Life’s challenges help us grow and nothing is constant so we’re changing all the time. The few things that don’t change are that I care about people and animals. I care about this beautiful, crazy world we live on. And I love making beautiful things. I’m interested in politics, spiritual ideas and theories, history, architecture…all sorts of things really. I’m also a – shock, horror – gamer. My second husband got me into that. And how could I not love it when the entire time you are online gaming you are in a fantasy world? The artistry of the different environments, creatures and buildings are very inspiring.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”
I’m not really sure what that is, or if I have one. I do so many different things in my creative pursuits. Jewellery making, digital art, digital scrapbooking, you already know about those things. I also buy and do up old furniture, make handmade books and nostalgia albums. I also spend time creating 3D digital environments, buildings and furniture in the online world of Second Life. I’m also into photography when I get half a chance. So if I have a groove at all it needs to be a very flexible one. I also design and build wordpress websites for other people, both businesses and individuals.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
A lamp
My Kindle
Talcum Powder
Vicks Vapour Rub
A Torch
2 ‘paper’ books
2 necklaces
A small mirror (broken – more than 7 years ago thank goodness)
Several ribbons - cut out of the shoulders of various tops. They’ll go in my supplies in the craft room and get used up on various projects.
My watch
I have a chest of draws beside my bed so the top of it is quite a bit bigger than your standard bedside table.

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
I am a huge fan of fantasy art. I have a massive digital collection. So I am inspired by fantasy artists, in particular Brian and Wendy Froud, Angi Sullins and Silas Toball, Anne Stokes…oh there are so many. I have lots of books. If I look at one shelf just above me here there are books on Trolls, Fairies, Art Journaling, how to draw books, sustainability and conservation, poetry (Tennyson), Avatar (the movie), ballet, politics, New Zealand history and some children’s books for ideas. As for music – since buying an iPad and taking advantage of iTunes, my collection is definitely growing. I don’t really have a favourite genre. Anything that’s easy to listen to or sing along with. My collection includes everything from opera to celtic. From the rough scratchy voice of Leonard Cohen to the angelic voices of Celtic Women and the deep sultry sounds of Il Volo. It’s all music that seems to be a good fit for a fantasy enthusiast now I come to think about it. I also get inspired by the beauty of historical architecture and furniture designs. They were so ornate. Everything we build is so plain these days.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
Creative pursuits, obviously. But also politics, religion and conservation and sustainability. I love discussing ‘so called’ taboo subjects, because that’s what people get really passionate about. It makes for very interesting conversations and debates. Books and movies too.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
Typography would be one. All my computer graphics skills are self-taught but I’m not very good at Typography. I would also love to learn how to draw and paint properly and that includes digital painting.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
If you asked my hubby that question – he’d probably say that I don’t. I tend to get very focused when I’m busy making stuff and forget to do things like bring the washing in or make the bed. I can’t help it, it’s just the way I am. Besides, there are a lot of things I would prefer on my headstone to “she was a great housekeeper”. I’m not saying we live in a mess, we don’t. The house is always clean and tidy. I just forget things sometimes because my mind is so taken up with my latest project.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
There have been plenty of screw-ups over the years. I can’t say I’d call any of them a favourite. They tend to annoy me intensely because they waste materials and time, and, worst of all, they tend to demotivate me and knock my confidence in what I’m doing. I’d love to have a funny story to tell you here, but I just don’t I’m afraid.

Kitchen table or studio?
It started out on the kitchen table many years ago. In my last house I had a small craft room, but when I met and married my current hubby I was very lucky to ‘inherit’ his late wife’s craft room and all her supplies. Luckily we enjoyed a lot of the same crafts. So now I have a large craft room, which is constantly overflowing with part-finished projects and supplies. Last week I moved all my jewellery making supplies and tools into the office because that’s where we tend to spend the most time in winter and is one of the warmest rooms in the house because it gets the sun most of the day. It’s also right next door to the kitchen which makes ducking out to grab a coffee much more convenient.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
More time. There are so many things I love doing and so many more that I want to try and learn, I think I need to live forever! Oh, and better eye sight. Even with glasses I spend a lot of time squinting these days. Doing really fine work is quite difficult.

You can find Radenbrea Studios online here... http://radenbrea.com/artisan-studio/
And on Facebook here ... https://www.facebook.com/RadenbreaStudios  

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