Five Questions for….Heidi Kelley

Heidi is one of the people whose work always make me sit in awe and look at it over and over- I love love love her work! I’m so happy that we have lot’s of email contact the last couple months :)


1. What do you do to get into your creative zone?

This may sound silly… but I like to say that I “blank.” What is “blanking?” (Well, besides a made-up, Heidi phrase?) When I “blank” it means that I turn off any music or noise (oftentimes this includes putting my young son down for a nap!), I clean off my desk, putting any and every other project out of sight, and I start each project fresh. I start with my photo or item that I want to alter, and nothing else. Most importantly, I don’t look at anyone else’s work right before I begin a new project and enter that creative place. I find that starting completely fresh, with this clean, blank, slate – opens my project to all kinds of possibilites – and I am not influenced by anything else visually right at that moment. I want my photo (in a layout) to dictate what emotion I want the layout to portray in the end. I want the altered item to “speak” (I know, silly) to me. In the end I want my artwork to make me FEEL what I felt when I took the picture, or how I feel when I hold the altered item in my hand, and starting the creative process by embracing only what I love about those items in the beginning helps me to do this.


2. Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?

Absolutely… because ultimately, what I am creating is a keepsake for my children. The story of us, who we are, who they were, and a lot of times these messages or events that I am documenting don’t mean anything to others, or aren’t for sharing! :) I often make pull out tags for behind photos, or little messages folded into the layouts. I also write journaling on the backsides of a lot of my work. These are messages to my children, to my husband, to myself… notes that are private, things that others don’t need to see. On another level, like I said above, I want my work to portray an emotion that I felt or feel when it comes to the subject matter, so while this feeling may be not as apparent, and remains “hidden” to other viewers… it is to me. The way I stitch or apply paint, the chaotic or neatly printed journaling, all of it means something to me. I want to remember this down the road too, so on the backside of my work, I write words, or tags so that I remember. “Joy, adoration, stress, contentment” are just an example of what you might find.


3. If your creative work were edible, what would it taste like?

A drumstick. Yep…. definitely a drumstick. Layers upon layers of yum. Each layer is delicious by itself and can certainly stand alone, but when you put it all together, the end result is absolutely scrumptious!  (Mmm, I think I need to go raid the freezer now…) And the best part of a drumstick? The surprise in the end (chocolate in the bottom) – yep, see right when I think I am finished with a project, I almost always add just one more thing…. and it finishes things off perfectly. :)


4. What is your favorite creation?

I hollowed out a book not too long ago, and altered it as a keepsake for my children. In the inside, I wrote them a letter… things I wanted them to know, things I wanted them to remember about me and who I am, and why. Things that I want for them, words that I hope will encourage them if/when I am no longer here. I poured my heart into the letter and into the book, and I hope one day it means as much to them as it does to me!


5. What is your biggest creative success so far and why?

I’m not sure that I can pinpoint one thing… so I guess I have to answer this with – 2011 is my greatest success, lol. This year has been amazing for me, already, and this creative adventure has me doing things that I never even thought were a possibility! Each little thing that happens means different things to me, for different reasons, so the whole journey has been more that I ever imagined. A few of the best things that have happened?

I wrote an article for Somerset Memories this year, and that was mind-blowing. Never in a million years could I have predicted that.

I begun teaching for several different companies and guest designing for others. Those opportunities have nurtured my soul and creativity in so many ways. Being able to surround myself with other people who share my passion for artwork has been so uplifting and I am grateful for every conversation, every paint stroke, every memory, I have with them!

And I can’t forget another extremely important event..

Guest blogging for Nathalie Kalbach, one of my long-standing, inspirational muses, is such an amazing honor. Thank you Nat, for everything.

xx Heidi

Thanks Sweet Heidi :)

  • vanessa spencer


    love your answers Heidi! drumsticks are another fav treat of mine also…


  • Martha Richardson


    Great blog…Hi Heidi ~ Totally agree that Nat is inspirational. Your book is a beautiful keepsake for your children!


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