The Common Creative

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!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Stinkin' Big Pancake.

 I had never been the biggest fan of breakfast. It actually used to be difficult for me to eat so early in the morning, so I rarely ate much at all. Until I got a full time job and I knew I wasn't going to be able to eat until lunch time. So I forced myself to put something down in the early hours every single day. Slowly, but surely, I found myself starting to enjoy it. And then I discovered coffee and everything changed. Suddenly, breakfast tasted so much better! Seriously, coffee with any breakfast makes me so happy. I don't think I'll ever tire of drinking it. 

Once I discovered this jentacular love (I've always wanted to use that word. Now seemed like the perfect moment), I now make breakfast at all times of the day. I also have found myself enjoying a wide range of breakfast related foods. Yesterday just so happened to feel like a Dutch Baby day. And, looking at the 10 lb. box of blueberries in our fridge, I realized I had no choice but to make a blueberry syrup to go with. It turned out to be magical. Heaven, really. In pancake form. 

Dutch Baby Pancake with Blueberry Syrup
adapted from Naturally Ella

2 eggs
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
zest from 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine eggs, maple syrup, milk, flour, salt and lemon zest and blend or beat with a whisk. Try to remove any lumps of flour

3. On the stovetop, melt butter in a 10" cast iron pan (I did not use cast iron, but have a stainless steel pan that can be used under hot temperatures). Swirl the butter around to cover all areas inside the pan. Remove from heat and pour in batter. Bake in oven until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. 

4. Meanwhile, combine blueberries and maple syrup on the stovetop and simmer at a medium temperature until berries burst.

5. Remove dutch baby from oven and serve!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sister Love

2 weeks since our last post? How did that happen! Jenni and I have been busy spending time together (yay!) and with family. It's been lovely having her here in Saskatchewan.

Just wanted to write a little post about Jenni, since it's her birthday today! And I really couldn't let her outdo me. (She did the same for me about a month ago!)

Jenni is a true artist. If you haven't seen her art on her own personal blog or Etsy shop, you are missing out. Take a look, she paints with a whimsical, nostalgic feel (self described!) and I love that. Jenni reminds me to take things slower and enjoy life as it comes. I know I often jump into my days full speed, doing as much as I can with the time I have awake. Jenni's artistic, thoughtful mind is a wonderful thing, and I love having her as a sister! As middle sisters in a family of 4 girls, we have to stick together! Writing a blog with her has been such a fun project!

(A sunny snapshot from our visit in White Rock a few weeks ago)

Happy Birthday Jenni! Love you lots, and glad I get to see you lots this summer!