Friday 28 September 2012

Celebrating UK Artists 12: Michelle Jackson-Mogford

Welcome to the last interview celebrating the talents of British artists in the field of scrapbooking, photography, mixed-media, art journaling, feltmaking and quilting.  Some names you may know and some may not be so familiar but they are all hugely talented.

*Brief Bio
I’m a onetime theatre designer turned stage manager that decided to give it all up after touring the length and breadth of the British Isles to get back to my arty roots and I’m loving it! I’m married to a comedian (that’s a whole other story!) and I live in the beautiful North East country side with him and our 2 little dogs Stanley Dervish and Oliver Pickles

I discovered scrapbooking at the beginning of 2007 and realised it was the perfect outlet for my creativity. I was proud, honoured and thrilled to be announced a Best of British Scrapbooking winner at the end of 2008 and that opened many crafty doors within the industry and I feel very lucky to now have a career sticking paper together!

I have been featured in many of the UK craft magazines and have been a contributor to some including Scrapbook Inspirations and Craft Stamper and am very excited to not only be a contributor but also to have been a consultant on the launch of a brand new international magazine Scrap 365 which had its 1st issue out in November 2011. I have designed for Banana Frog stamps in the UK as well as Purple Cows Inc and Glitz Designs in the States. I also work with Serif (craft artist, digital crafting software) and I have been demoing their product on Create and Craft/ Ideal world TV as well as Purple Cows tools for the last 2 years. 2012 is shaping up to be very exciting with many big crafty projects on the go!

*Who or what are your creative influences?  And why?
I have so many influences in my life that I draw on so I guess I will have to narrow it down for this interview so I don’t send you all to sleep!

Some of the people that influence me include;
Frida Kahlo – Just an amazingly inspiring woman, I love her very personal art and her life story with all that she battled with. I also have a passion for Mexico and she was always very true to her roots
Diego Rivera – obviously linked to Frida in so many ways, again the influence of Mexico is seen in his work and I love his huge murals and simple style
Cesar Manrique – an artist I didn’t really know a lot about until I went to Lanzarote on holiday and travelled the island discovering all his installations which are amazing and awe inspiring, an artist that really thinks outside the box!
Henri Rousseau – I love his naive, simple and colourful style
Dyan Reaveley (in the craft industry) – A British woman who has taken on the craft industry and succeeded.

The place in the world that influences me the most creatively is Mexico – I love everything about it, the colour, the history, the spirituality and the people.

And finally the things that influence me are the everyday things like;
Adverts and idents on the tv between programmes – short quick imagery that has to give a message and quite often the place I will look to for a boost to my mojo
And the colours of nature, seen all around us, the beauty of the sky especially on a stormy day and the sea.

*What is your preferred medium of creativity?   What appeals to you about this?
I guess it all starts in Scrapbooking! I love telling stories, recording memories and creating art with meaning as well as creating collages, so scrapbooking is the perfect solution for me.
I love playing with everything crafty as well as using the unexpected and finding different ways to use it, Scrap art as I like to call it allows me to do all of this and even take it into my 3D work that comes from my original training as a theatre designer.

*What other areas of creativity do you dabble in?
I have fits and start with all sorts of other creativity. I enjoy photography, always looking at things in different ways to catch that moment in time although I really don’t know the technical ins and outs of it! I enjoy a bit of sewing once in a while and quite often have the urge to knit but truth be told I’m not very good at it! And every now and then I get the paints out and attack a canvas!

*What is one of your earliest creative memories?
I’m lucky enough to have lots of these. I grew up in a very creative family! I remember going out with my Gran, a painter, over the North Yorkshire moors painting sheep. I remember sitting with my nanny in bed while mum and dad were still asleep and her patiently trying to teach me to knit and also bake up days with her on a Friday. I remember getting my dad to draw me things to colour in and I remember coveting my mum’s huge box of felt tips she used to colour in a huge piece of doodle art. I also remember my first big creative achievement was being asked to decorate the classroom with my best friend Trudy for the Queens silver Jubilee, A huge undertaking for a 7 year old!

*Pablo Picasso said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”   How did you find this transition worked in your life?
 Such a true quote! As a child we just create, we have no fear of ‘doing it wrong’ and as an adult it is hard to hold on to that. I have found myself over the years getting bogged down with all those mythical do’s and dont’s out there and fearing criticism and ridicule but have found I have been able to break these thought patterns by once in a while stopping and thinking about why I want to create and then creating something just for me, because I want to and that reminds me of the freedom of creativity and renews my energy to forge ahead with my art work and ideas.

*How did you find your creative style?
I don’t know if I so much found it or if it found me in the end! I’ve always kept my mind open to different techniques and mediums and love reading books to spark ideas and try new things but in the end I always seem to put a Michelle twist on it so I guess my creative style is just part of me and takes over most of my work.

*What activity do you use to jumpstart your creativity?
 Sometimes I’ll be on the edge of an idea or a thought but just can’t quite make it materialise so my answer is to go and do everyday things like housework, tidying and walking the dogs. I find doing these normal things frees my brain up to wander and 9 times out of 10 that light bulb will spark into life, some people call it procrastination I call it ‘thinking space’

*Describe your style in using 5 different words.  Share your thoughts about these words.
This is one of those questions that I always find difficult to answer as I’m never really sure what my style is but here goes;
Different – I like to think left of centre and put my own twist on things
Quirky – I guess a little bit like the different comment, I like to add things that make me smile and hopefully bring a smile to the viewer of my work
Mixed – Most times I tend to the colourful and the quirky but sometimes the mood takes me to create something pretty and subdued
Handmade – I really like using my own drawn imagery in my work like doodled embellishments and hand cut shapes
Thoughtful – I like to make sure every line, bit of paper or embellishment helps towards telling the story of my piece.

*Which is your favourite technique?
This really depends on my mood and the piece I’m working on but I do like doodling and I love papier mache and paint.

*Favourite quote(s)?
 ‘Surrealism is the magical surprise of finding a lion in a wardrobe where you were sure of finding shirts’ – Frida Kahlo

‘Everything happens for a reason’ – My Mum

*Favourite art gallery or museum?
The Tate – specifically the pre Raphaelite room
The Medici Chapel, St Lorenzo, Florence – An homage to Michealangelo
The Mexican museum of folklore art at Xcaret ecological park, Yucatan, Mexico

*Please add anything else that you would like to say that that hasn’t been covered by the above questions.
I have a passion for my hobby, which I am also lucky enough to be able to do as a job and I love to share it with people and I am absolutely thrilled to be invited to do this interview with Bernice alongside such a talented line up of UK artists

*Where you can find Michelle:

If you were able to ask Michelle anything what would you ask?  Please add your question to the comments below.

What a fabulous way to end this series.  Michelle sent me 38 photos of her work for me to choose from!  Fantastic.

Did I just say the series had ended?

Come back next Friday for one last surprise guest.   Can you guess who it might be?


  1. Michelle I love your quirky out of the box style, helping us all to use more mixed media in our scrapbooking. Thank you and thanks again Bernice for doing this for us. Xx

  2. Great interview and it was lovely seeing some of my favourite pieces again.
    I'll be looking at the other interviews now.


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