Friday, April 1, 2011

Artist of the Month - Monica Soeldner

A New Path
This month's artist, Monica Soeldner's creative endeavors include a combination of jewelry, mixed media, photography and printmaking. Quite a collection of amazing work. I decided to start off our post finding out a little bit more about Monica's jewelry making process. Funny how that one grabbed my attention first!

Monica first creates mini collages and then displays them behind a glass bubble. She is currently focusing on inspirational and encouraging words or reminders. I really like how the glass makes the message and artwork appear more mystical. For the next step, Monica solders the edges and works on the backs of the pendants. The backs are all unique as well, each one is a different vintage paper or washi tape that is then sealed in a resin coating. Sometimes she even puts little words or notes on the back. The best part is each one is truly unique; no two are exactly alike.

Monica studied film photography in college, but didn't really focus on it much until more recently.  Her photography, like her jewelry has a unique and truly inspiring look and feel to it.

She combines her love of collage and photography with her photography panels (above) which she will be exhibiting at the Enormous Tiny Art Show in Portsmouth, New Hampshire this fall. 

I enjoy the contrast of the sharp and blurred edges that she incorporates in her photography. It gives her work a mysterious and dreamy feel.
 I came across several photographic styles and techniques that I am not familiar with while reading about Monica's photography work in her blog. One such concept is called Through the Viewfinder (TTV). I asked Monica to give us a little more information about this interesting type of photography. Here is what she said;

"Through the Viewfinder (TTV) is the process of using a digital SLR camera to shoot an image of the viewfinder of a vintage twin reflex camera. I use a Kodak Duaflex III, which was produced sometime in the mid-1950s. I enjoy this process because I’m still able to get the lovely effects that the dust particles, flaws in the viewfinder, and interesting lighting that the Duaflex produces, without having to use film in it. The film for the Duaflex is no longer made, so in order to use film in this camera, I would need to re-roll it onto a spool that would fit it. With the TTV method, I’m able to forgo film and still get some of the effects of the Duaflex. It produces square images, which are then fun to use in my panels. You have to be prepared to talk to a lot of people if you are working with the TTV method out and about though...everyone is curious about that crazy contraption!"

TTV sounds really interesting and creative. It's nice to know that photography has other styles besides all digital. Another type of photography she mentioned is called lomography. I was curious about this style and asked Monica to explain it to me.

"Lomography is a company, but is sort of described as a type of photography now since it’s become more of an art form. It’s basically a variety of “toy” plastic cameras that produce distortion, blurring, differentiation in colors, and other “happy accidents” that make the photos seem more whimsical and dream-like. The Diana is probably the most popular of the lomography cameras, also the Holga. They are film cameras. I don’t have one yet, I’m still deciding what I want.But I love how dreamy the images turn out. I think they’ll be a perfect next step in my photography panels!"

Journaling is another form of artwork that interests Monica. I asked her what she usually fills her journal with and here is her response:

"Sometimes I doodle or add images to my journaling, but for the most part it’s a lot of writing. I usually go for a stream of consciousness, a free flow of thoughts. Then it will often jump into lists (lists of things I’m worried about, happy about, thankful for, goals, etc.). I journal both on my computer as well as in a number of moleskines I keep in various bags and next to my bed. I always have one I carry with me that often becomes a compilation of to-do lists, random thoughts, ideas for artwork, phone numbers and info I scribble down, etc. This year, one of my goals is to journal daily (more than just the random scribble here and there, but to get my thoughts down each day about what’s going on with me). This is like therapy to me. I find that I’m clearer on my direction, how I approach my work, and how I feel throughout each day if I get it all out like this."

Monica is about to begin a new and exciting chapter in her life. She has been accepted for a graduate program in Library Science in Boston. A girl after my own heart, I'd love to live and work in a library or bookstore! Just the smell of the books is enough to bring a smile to my face. But the field of library science has many different career paths. While Monica would love to work as a librarian, she has other interests as well. She is particularly interested in the tool of online presence development in libraries and library programs. She said that she would love to work on building community involvement in library programs via social media and interactive web databases.

Monica has a shop on Esty, M. Soeldner, if you'd like to see more of her jewelry. To read more about Monica and all of her remarkable artwork, visit her blog. In closing today, I had to include just one more photo from Monica. I love this photo of her and her very well loved dog, Erma.


Denice (inkstitch) said...

What a gorgeous post! Thoughtfully done, Stacie, you highlight the beautiful, mysterious quality that Monica's blog and work contain so well. Kudos to you both.

Belinda Fireman said...

Great post, Stacie.

stacie said...

Denice, thank you so much. I really enjoy writing the artist of the month posts, it's so fun to get to know all the wonderfully creative people better. Of course writing about Monica and her gorgeous artwork was a blast!

stacie said...

Hi Bel,

Thanks so much! I really enjoyed writing about Monica and her wonderful work.

Rebekah Leigh said...

This is great! I love Monica's work, jewelry and photography...I'd love to try TTV..I have 3 lomo cameras and they are so much fun! Lovely post Stacie! x

Allison said...

Soldering, photography... both things I wish I had some talent in. Nice feature!

stacie said...

Allison, I'm sure you have talent in both...give it a try!

Anonymous said...

cute dog mom.