Friday, September 10, 2010

September Artist of the Month

For the month of September the Westchase Artists Society's Artist of the Month is Judy Freeman. Here's Judy's interview:

Question: Judy, tell us a little bit about yourself, affiliations, personal stuff.

Judy: I feel like my life began 8 years ago when we moved to Tampa. I had the opportunity to switch gears from a stressful corporate job as Vice President of Policy Administration with a large life insurance company. The change was life-saving. I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree but immediately took the practical approach and started working 9-5 jobs. Art was just a hobby for me back then. With the move to Tampa, I was able to leave my job and made the decision to try to live my dream and be a full-time artist. My concentration is clay, but I've always loved photography. I have a pottery studio set up in our garage, that I fondly call the garagio. I throw on the potter's wheel and handbuild, all from moist clay. Most of my work is whimsical and all of my work is full of color. I'm a member of Florida Craftsmen and am a full-time gallery artist at the Florida Craftsmen gallery in St. Pete. This is a major accomplishment for me and something that I worked towards for several years. I have work at an artists co-op called A Little Room for Art as well as Clay and Paper in Dunedin, as well as a few galleries around the country.

Question: Apart from creating art what do you do?

Judy: I spend an awful lot of time on the computer. I have three online shops, two on Etsy, and and one on Artfire at These online venues have made selling my own work so much fun. I ship all around the world, as a matter of fact, just this week I shipped a necklace to Norway and I'm working on a custom ceramic mug for a fellow in Australia. I've met a lot of fellow-potters on Etsy and the supportive environment has been wonderful. I have a blog that I update from time to time at Besides banging away at the keyboard, on the weekends my husband and I are out on the motorcycle. We belong to the Tampa Harley Owners Group, Cigar City HOG. I'm the chapter Photographer and have a blast snapping away from the back of the bike.

Question: What first made you want to become an artist?

Judy: It was always something that I loved doing even as a kid. I'd figure out art projects to do on summer vacations, put my dad to work scrounging up materials for me. I guess it's always been my passion.

Question: Describe your creative process.

Judy: A lot of what I do now is driven by special orders. The list drives my creative process especially at this time of the year. Gearing up for Christmas is so much fun when it's still in the 90's outside. Usually what happens to me is an idea will come to mind when I'm driving in the car or when my mind is just wandering. Often the ideas will be funny ones and I'll crack myself up. I always have a small pad with me and I try to jot the ideas down so that I can add them to my to do list.

Question: Top five books, movies, songs, groups, websites

Judy: I've turned into a lousy reader since I spend so much time on the computer. My favorite author of late is Clive Cussler, I love his mysteries, I also like Michael Crichton. Movies - My Blue Heaven with Steve Martin - favorite line - "You're so hot, you could melt all this stuff" cracks me up. Groups - I could see Eric Clapton over and over in concert, I love Al Jarreau, and Steeley Dan is the bomb and they're great in concert. Websites - Etsy of course - it's an amazing place to find just about anything that you're looking for that's unique and handmade.

Question: In ten years I'd like to be...

Judy: First answer, still having a blast with my art. Hopefully I'll still have the stamina for working in clay. It's a very physical art, lugging 50 pound boxes of clay, throwing, pushing, pulling, it's a day at an expensive spa without the high price! I'd like to still have our wonderful friends and enjoying life. You can't ask for much more than that.