Friday 5 October 2012

And finally in the Celebrating UK Artists series

Welcome to the last (really 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.

Here we are then.  The final, final interview with the celebrated Living Artist: Dyan Reaveley.   You may be wondering why I am describing her as a Living Artist when it's obvious the previous 12 artists are all alive.  It's because Dyan has been included in the AQA GCSE scheme of work for art students at a school in Manchester so pupils can study the work of a Living Artist.

*Brief Bio
What can I say, I am a Mum, a grandma, a lover, an orphan, a friend, a tutor, a business owner, an educator, a blogger, a designer and an artist, a square peg in around hole

*Who or what are your creative influences?  And why?

I think the people who had the most impact on me were

  • Eunice Braddock for her unrelenting patience
  • Jo Sonja for  introducing me to a world I didn’t know existed
  • Claudine Hellmuth for her wonderful collage background techniques
  • Teesha Moore for her imagery
  • Lynne Perella for her use of alphabets
  • Tim Holtz and Ranger for their belief in me

*What is your preferred medium of creativity?   What appeals to you about this?
My journals are everything to me. Everything is in there, painting, writing, collage, thoughts, emotions, experiments, inks, doodling, life, imagination, truth, lies, dreams. Intentions. Anything can go in an art journal and anything frequently does!

*What other areas of creativity do you dabble in?
I am a big rubber stamp fan, always have been, my favouritest ever ever where from Stampers Anonymous. Their designs just gripped my very soul and pulled me in. So unbelievable that  I have ended up having my stamps manufactured by them.

Mixed media is another passion. As well as journals I will create on anything, wall art, canvas’s materials, you name it I will create on it.

And also one of my big loves is sewing. I make most of the dresses I wear. As a very hyperactive child I was hard to occupy and I owe a lot to the little old lady who lived next door, Eunice Braddock.  She taught me to sew, crochet, embroider, knit and do tapestry from the age of 6. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish something.

*What is one of your earliest creative memories?
Making a Bay City Rollers clock from cardboard and magazine pictures. I took an old clock to bits, put it in the one I made and it never ever worked.   BUT you know what I loved it and didn’t care and that is still my attitude today.

But also colouring.   Again it was the only thing that would keep me quiet. Every Christmas day you would find me, all other gifts disregard, engrossed in a new colouring book and pencils. Every year up until she passed, my Mum got me a colouring book for Christmas Day. I think it is one of the things I miss the most.

*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?
Art had no place in my grown up life. Creativity did. I cooked, baked, knit, sewed, made a home etc. It was only when I fell ill with ME and was completely bedridden that it re entered. Confined to bed, unable to read or stand watching television, I resorted to painting plant pots provided by my mum. I started experimenting with patterns and surfaces and became obsessed with doing up old crappy furniture that no one wanted. Believe it or not I studied folk art painting and covered the whole house in flowers and leaves, lol.

 I was really crappy to start with but I didn’t care, it was the process…of painting…of achieving…of pride…of healing… Nothing else mattered, certainly not the finished result, it is all about the process. It still is today and that is why I am so passionate about teaching.

*How did you find your creative style?
Oooh heck, completely by accident I think. Because I am, albeit badly, self taught, I have no fear. I have no concept of what I should be using, what I should be doing, what goes with what. No conception of the rules and no fear of the outcome. I have tried and enjoyed many things, but started art journaling more and more just after my Mum died 3 yrs ago. I had so much grief and anger and confusion going on in my head and it became the perfect vessel to store it in.

My journals are like me, attention deficit, hyperactive, eclectic and free. They make me feel normal, they ground me. I am not sure if I actually have a style as I am constantly careering from one look to another. Maybe that is my creative style…gobsmackingly eclectic, lol!!

*What activity do you use to jumpstart your creativity?
I get up in a morning, lol.

*Describe your style in using 5 different words.  Share your thoughts about these words.
ECLECTIC…always jumping from one thing to another, and then combining them all together
PASSIONATE…always, always from the heart…whether good or bad always work from your heart
RAW…it is out there for everyone to see
ENCOURAGING…I think people look at and are inspired to go do something themselves

Hmm can only get to four!!!

*Which is your favourite technique?
Eek I haven’t got one, techniques are like my children, I love them all to death, but some days I love them a little bit differently to the others. Not more, just different.

*Favourite quote(s)?
Life is Art…live yours in colour

*Favourite book?
The Shack…a Christian novel by William P Young. A controversial novel about finding God.  It was loaned to me by a dear friend and I first read it on a beach in Egypt. It made a massive impact on me and I re read it regularly.

*Where you can find Dyan

And here released this week:

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

So there we have it.  13 amazing artists from a variety of crafts and all showing their great versatility.

I hope you have enjoyed the series.  Thanks for dropping by every Friday


P.S.  Come back next Friday for a giveaway to celebrate the series.


  1. Brilliant. So many things said in there I want to write out and pin on my wall.

  2. Maybe Santa will bring me one.....

  3. Thanks Bernice for saving our Dyan for the last interview! Perfect way to finish your amazing series of interview. Well done to you lol Susiesu xxx

  4. I have REALLY enjoyed this post Bernice. I am a great fan of Dyan, I really would love to do a workshop with her one day.


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