Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Arts & Literature

Royal Rustic Art with Anne O’Donnell

by Michell Spoden

When it comes to art, we create what we think is beauty and find ways to put those expressions on to places that we love. Artists do not all see the same things; that is why they are unique. What can impact our emotions and thoughts through an artist can draw us into unknown places. Let’s see where this artist can take us. We’re having a chat with a sixty-year-old artist, AnneO’Donnell about her Royal Rustic Art.Rustic 2

Michell: Anne, please share with our viewers a bit about your art style and how you got started.

Anne: I have enjoyed being creative for most of my life, and seem to put a creative twist on most everything I do. But as far as style, well, it just developed over time. I started making jewelry and gathered beads from vendors all over the world, and found myself designing pieces that captured a beauty beyond what I was seeing in the stores. From there I started floral designs and wall décor, implementing jewelry elements on each piece. From there I began crafting with old pallets and barn wood, creating serving trays and shelving that also displayed exquisite jewelry compositions on each piece.

Michell: Do you think hand-crafted art is something that makes for a more creative artist?

Anne: Yes and no. Yes, because the detail in each piece is constructed with a determined precision and a careful eye as opposed to a programmed machine doing it. No, because I will always admire the originality and imagination that results in any finished piece, whether it be from machine engraving, to computerized sewing patterns, or a fabricated kit for a home. Someone had to think up the idea.

Michell: What were some of your greatest influences in your life when it comes to art?Rustic 3

Anne: I have always admired the ingenuity people have and began to crave a chance to express my own personality in the form of art. Nature has been a predominant influence because all of nature is so beautiful to me. So I began with stones, flowers, and wood. I love the strain of conceiving and formulating a new idea. I want people to look at my work and say, “Oh, that’s from the Rustic & Royal collection!” I accumulate random items all the time and keep them together in my work area. Then, I would sit down, look at what I have, and begin to experiment with arrangements until one gets my adrenaline pumping.

Michell: Do you teach this art form? If not, is it something you would like to do?

Anne: I don’t teach in a formal setting, but I have had many wonderful one-on-one opportunities to demonstrate my ideas with friends, who then can use those ideas as a starting point to create their own designs. But yes, I would love to teach somewhere, some day, and provide an atmosphere for energetic minds and hands to come together and watch new ideas come to life!

Michell: Are there any humanitarian efforts associated with your art?

Anne: There have been occasions when my pieces were sold and the proceeds went to support an organization. One time a group of women gathered in my home to sew headbands for young girls coming out of sex slavery and was living in safe homes in Thailand. We sewed jeweled beads on beautiful fabric and donated them, knowing these young lives could be blessed by such a simple gift.

Michell: Why do you call your art work Rustic and Royal?

Anne: The name actually originated after I noticed a recurring trend in my pieces. I seemed to want to incorporate a vintage feel to every piece and give them an aged look, even though most of the materials used were brand new. For the wood serving trays and shelves, used scraps of wood from junk piles got recycled that provided the basis for these projects, along with wallpaper patterns from past eras. The finishing touches included accessorizing each piece with gems and stones from all over the world which gave them a rustic and royal look.

Michell: What inspires you most when it comes to being an artist?Rustic 4

Anne: The deep desire to make something beautiful that becomes an expression of my personality. I want to feel something when I look at my finished pieces. I want to step back and say WOW! I want to experience the thrill of looking at my pieces and feel they are breathtaking. I get inspired by the beautiful materials and beads I collect and know that when assembled a certain way, they will be absolutely stunning!

Michell: What is the best advice you can give anyone who likes to create things?

Anne: Let your own individuality come out, cultivate it, have fun with it, and enjoy watching what will happen. Play around without trying to make anything. If there are 10 people sitting in front of you and each person has the exact same supplies will those ten people each make the same thing? Of course not. Stretch your imagination and make your materials do things other than their original purpose. Arrange and rearrange till you can’t anymore.

Michell: Do you have any specific long term goals with your art work?

Anne: I don’t foresee my excitement fading any time soon, so yes, my long term goal is to continue designing new pieces and see where my imagination will take me. I’m sure I will always be addicted to that rush of thrill when I’m so impressed with what I make!

Check out Anne’s blog at the following links:

About the Interviewer

Michell Spoden is the author of Stricken Yet Crowned and is also pursuing a transitional housing project for women with an agricultural aspect. She has a degree in Business Science Administration and is finishing her bachelor’s in Project Management.

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