Monday, January 11, 2010

Artist Spotlight - Joanne Thieme Huffman

For my second Artist Spotlight, and a great way to start off the year, I'd like to introduce you to Joanne Thieme Huffman, a mixed media artist that truly defines the word "mixed!"  She does just about everything.  This is a gal that I actually know personally and we're lucky enough to live only a couple of miles apart from one another.  We are both in a local art group that I've mentioned many times, the Altered Sisters.

To those that know Joanne, she is an amazement.  She's a gal with a big personality, tremendous energy and a big heart.  It's never enough for her to make just one or two dolls/buttons/books/whatever, she's got to make twenty.  Grass doesn't grow under her feet as she's always on the move (just take a look at all the places she has lived!).  She has been fortunate enough to go to many, many art retreats over the past several years.  As a result, her art has grown in leaps and bounds since I met her about six years ago.  Her enthusiasm is always contagious.   I love her and her work and hope you do too.

Where are you from? And, where do you live now?
I grew up in West Hartford, CT. Now I live in Portage MI. In between these locations I have lived in Towson, MD; Miami, FL; East Providence, RI; Chicago, IL; Charlottesville, VA; Stamford, CT; Great Barrington, MA; Springfield, IL; and Topeka, KS.

What is your art education?
I tell people that I suffer from post traumatic eighth grade art teacher syndrome because my eighth grade art teacher told me to stop taking art classes. After that, I went "underground" with my art:  night classes at Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum, and Rhode Island School of Design; classes at various independent book stores, craft shops and stamp stores; and art retreats.  I cannot recommend art retreats highly enough; they are gatherings of like-minded people sharing and learning.

Have you always been an artist or are you “new” to it?
I have always wanted to create art, but have never been able to focus on any one technique or style. It is only in the past 10 years that I have had the courage to admit to myself and the world that I am an artist.

Bird Banners

What is your specialty? And, have you always worked in this medium?
I have no specific medium. I bounce from technique to technique and then incorporate whatever I have been doing into the next new (or revisited) art form. That's why I love the popularity of "mixed media." Currently, I like incorporating PhotoShop (combining photography, scanning and collage) and art quilting; and I'm playing with the idea of making wearables. I also love to work with dolls and jewelry. Frankly, I want to do it all.

What does your work space look like?
It's very messy and chaotic looking.

Please describe your work.
I am fairly verbal, but have difficulty finding the words to describe my art or my style. It's a case of pictures being worth many, many words.

Do you have any special art tips for others?
In the words of Joseph Campbell, "Follow your Bliss." Only good comes out of creating art.

What inspires you?
Gathering with fellow artists, both in person and online is very inspiring. I love the energy and excitement that comes from sharing ideas and techniques. I also enjoy art books and magazines.

When you’re not making art, what are you doing?
I spend a lot of time traveling to see family and friends (and the world). I enjoy reading novels with a definite preference for fiction. I love going out to lunch with my friends. Now that my children are adults and I'm old, I have a very decadent life and I enjoy it to the hilt.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm delighted to announce that I'll be teaching a class in making crowns at ArtUnraveled  in Phoenix, AZ in August 2010.  Yes, Phoenix in August - but the airline tickets and hotel rooms are cheap then and it's a really great art retreat.

How can you be contacted about your work?
You can email me at; or you can go to my blog at; or, you can visit my website at

Joanne, thanks very much for sharing a bit of your life and art with us today.  And dear friends out in blogland, I hope you'll check out her sites, or better yet, take her class at ArtUnraveled.



Barb said...

great interview and it is a pleasure to know Joanne as well

artsyfran said...

Great interview! Joanne suggested I take a look. I'm glad I did. She's fabulous, isn't she?!

The Backporch Artessa said...

Lorrie, you captured Joanne beautifully! She is indescribably wonderful and you did a great job of conveying that! I enjoyed your interviews and previous posts- thanks for sharing! I will be checking back later to see who else you introduce us to!

Karen Owen said...

Great interview! You certainly captured the essence of Joanne, especially about her big heart. That is so true!

Judy Streger said...

You certainly captured the essence of Joanne in your interview. Not only is she an adventurous person, she's a adventurous artist.

Lorrie Grainger Abdo said...

It's been fun to read your comments and visit you in your "homes" ladies. Thanks for stopping by.

Diana Trout {} said...

Thanks for this great interview with Joanne. She is a wonderful artist and warm, fun and interesting woman! I loved looking at your artwork as well! Keep it coming. I can completely relate to the juried art show madness. Ouch!

martha brown said...

And what a wonderful interview with Joanne (Joanne was the reason I visited Kalamazoo last summer :)

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