A Common Creative: Joelle Gebhardt | The Common Creative: A Common Creative: Joelle Gebhardt

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Common Creative: Joelle Gebhardt

Meet Joelle. Or maybe you've already met her... her name is becoming more well known in both the art world and across the world! I'm pretty lucky to know her as both a very respected artist/illustrator and dear friend. Originally living and working in Vancouver, we met through the church that we were both attending at the time. The first time we met, I was immediately drawn in by her passion for creating and intrigued by her style. Not only is she incredibly kind, intelligent, and funny, she has one of the most unique art forms, combining drawing with embroidery. Embroidery has always been a love of mine, so obviously I have fallen in love with her work! 
One of my favourite projects of hers is the "Greetings from Mr. Buttonman" series. Originally a calendar project, this series includes humorous embroidered illustrations of Mr. Buttonman in various situations that completely embody Joelle's sense of humour. The project now includes postcards and books which can be found at various locations in Canada and Germany. 
Joelle and her husband have since moved to Berlin and I've been following her current projects online, which include a lot of embroidery, art markets and shows. I so wish that I could be there to attend these fun looking markets, but alas, I will only have to pretend to take part! 
While I would love to do a full interview with Joelle and pick at her brain for her thoughts on the creative process, I know that she's quite busy preparing for an upcoming show! So, I just sent her one question to answer this time round:

What is your favourite thing about creating for a living?
I will answer this question with a story because I love stories. When I was in elementary school I had a teacher who told my mom that I was putting too much energy into projects that didn't really matter for my marks. Specifically, I would spend hours working on "cover pages" in my school notebook. We were required to make these cover pages to separate subjects in our books and it was worth only a fraction of our overall grade. My teacher was worried that I was over-exerting myself with these small assignments. I think in some ways he was right, that I needed to learn to choose where to spend my energy and put my efforts. But where he misunderstood me was that the reason I spent hours illustrating covers for my journals was that I loved drawing and being creative. This was my way of brightening what were sometimes very dull topics. And I think this is why I love creating; life is just better when we're creative with it. As hard as the creative journey is, and there are many days when I feel like giving up on being a "professional" artist, it is also incredibly satisfying.
If you would like to follow Joelle's work, you'll find her in multiple places online, including:

Joelle is also involved in her own creative collective with some fellow artists in Vancouver. I had the privilege of being able to attend one of their shows last year! It was such an interesting concept for an art show and I loved seeing the work that came from their collaboration. If you'd like to learn more about this collective, visit their website at Open Book Art Collective

Thanks for sharing your wonderful words and beautiful work, Joelle!


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