Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Artful Elite Presents The Timeless Treasures of Lisa Kettell

The Artful Elite is delighted to bring you an interview with the lovely and talented Lisa Kettell of Faerie Enchantment and The Faerie Zine. When I first heard about Lisa, I thought to myself, “This lady is definitely a force in the world of mixed media art.” I was so pleased when she friended me shortly after I joined Flickr late last summer. It was here that I had the opportunity to spend time appreciating and commenting on Lisa’s work, and getting to know her through her blog posts and the dynamic photos of her activities. Thank you so much, Lisa for agreeing to share your thoughts and insights with us here. Click on any of the photos to be directed to the original content.

You have such a yummy variety of mixed media pieces and I find such inspiration in your creations probably because I too am a doll lover. Looking back at a few of your very first blog posts I find the Pixie Boutique. I love the idea of moving, dimensional paper doll pieces and this is no exception. How did you begin creating mixed media pieces? Have you always been interested in mixed media or did your work begin somewhere else and evolve into mixed media?

My original passions were drawing, sewing and sculpting. I could draw for hours, creating my own worlds from pencils, markers and paint. Sewing was something I learned at a young age, while sitting in various sun rooms watching the older ladies sew, quilt and knit. They would make these amazing aprons, blankets and dolls. When I was 6 or 7years old my mom would buy me these sew kits for kids and fabric so I could make my own dolls, doll clothes and accessories.

Besides sewing, I would also make paper mache creations with newspaper strips, flour and water in the form of boxes to once again dolls, 3 dimensional forms have so much depth and personality. It was after high school that I explored polymer clay and collage, which I would combine to make paper dolls with clay heads or fairy wands and beads, I loved this medium, in college I took sculpting and pottery classes which healed me during the loss of my grandmother who was also one of my best friends. It was during this time that I would realize my passions were everywhere, thus becoming a mixed media artist, working in every medium.

You have come up with an artfully unique twist on the paper doll right down to the whimsical name. Tell us about your inspiration for the papier puppen? How did you come up with such a perfectly adorable name? Do you include techniques for making these dolls in any of your books?

“Papier Puppen” is actually the German name for Paper Doll, Papier meaning Paper and Puppen meaning doll. The name sounded so timeless, European and vintage, a perfect namesake for my dolls, which are vintage in style, developed from turn of the century designs, embellished with German Glass Glitter, Dresden Trims, Crepe Paper and other timeless supplies. However I use doll head images, instead of Victorian clip art, which can easily be substituted, my Papier Puppens are made in a variety of colors and themes, from queens to pixie wizards, each one has their own personality and story. In my next art book, there will be a plethora of projects on how to make these dolls and other rare doll forms.

I also found this lovely creature while browsing your photostream on Flickr. She appears to have some similar qualities to the papier puppen, would this be an accurate observation? The description describes this as similar to a mohair doll. I'm dying to more about that as I don't believe I have ever seen a mohair doll. Is this made from wrapping material around an armature type body?

She is another version of the Papier Puppen doll, only I added crinoline, around her crepe paper skirt, and gave her feather wings. My faux mohair dolls are created with mohair or mohair yarn, and wrapped around a wire body, to resemble spun cotton, minus the time it takes to create spun cotton dolls. Then they are further embellished with felt, fabric or crepe paper dresses, paper hats or crowns, glitter/mica flakes and other found items.

I love the crepe paper dress and find it to be such a feminine and pretty accent in a variety of projects. Are you using the same crepe paper that comes in rolls found in the party section of the craft store? How are you gathering it to give it the skirt like appearance? I have used needle and thread to gather some of my paper skirts so I am curious how others are doing it although I think crepe paper naturally lends itself well to this technique by it's stretchy nature.

I use both crepe paper party streams and sheets of crepe paper, vintage and new, depending on the project. I’m un-conventional, never following the formal way of doing things, lol. For smaller dolls/projects, I cut 12inch strips of crepe paper streamer then pleat it by a paper fanning method, once I’m at the end, I pinch one end, and hot glue to the surface, and repeat that processes, until I’m satisfied. I do the same for the larger crepe paper projects and sheets. However when I am working with crinoline, I use a simple gathering stitch to gather the crinoline together then I sew around the doll and hot glue in place for more security. But others choose to sew the crepe paper and that’s fabulous too!

I have never used this paper but would very much like to try it. What was the major factor in your decision to to work with it? Do you like crepe paper or fabric better for your doll skirts? Can you recommend any good online vendors where we might find quality crepe paper?

I love the vintage look of crepe paper or crinoline, its so timeless, however it depends on my project on whether I will use crepe paper, fabric or crinolin to make my doll skirts, I even use cupcake liners and penny wrappers too. My dolls or projects develop as I make them, so I never know what I will use at the start of their creation. I recommend Martha Stewart Crepe Paper sold in sheet form, or Party Stores or Dollar Stores for crepe paper streams, Ebay and Etsy for vintage and to view crepe paper masterpieces I recommend a visit to the Queen of Crepe’s site: Ann Denise Anderson, what she does with crepe is amazing.

I agree with you completely about Ann-Denise. I am intrigued by your publishing adventures. What a romantic combination, to be both a visual artist and author/publisher. This is something I aspire to because I enjoy writing so much so I am just tickled to have the opportunity to pick your brain on this topic. (tee hee :)

I love being behind the scenes, you really learn a lot, it opens your mind to the whole art business, and allows one to share themselves and others with everyone. I recommend writing in a journal or blog everyday to start one’s creative writing process, plus it is an outlet for your mind to get its thoughts out.

I know that you have been publishing Piddlestix and The Faerie Zine for a few years now. Both have some beautiful and inspirational work in them and I am so impressed by your talent in this area. I wanted to talk a little bit about how these came about. Piddlestix is such a delightfully whimsical name. What inspired it? How did you first come up with the idea for something like this?

I started with The Faerie Zine, as a way to showcase other artists and their works. I choose the name Faerie for the zine, not because it is just about fairies, but the meaning behind it, Fairies are magical creatures, spreading magic and joy to others, as artists we are creating magic and joy everyday for others to see and be inspired by, so in a sense we are almost like fairies, thus the name for The Faerie Zine which is dedicated to the altered arts, fantasy, and imagination.

Two years into the creation of this zine, I started to create in a new direction, re-visiting my youth, with a love for the vintage arts and dolls. I’ve always been a crown and tea person, since I was a child, you can ask anyone close to me, I was nicknamed The Queen, LOL, and many days have been spent at a family friend’s tea room, imagining and basking in the warm air inside with a pot of tea and symphony music. It was early in 2008 that I came up with the name: Piddlestixs, it just popped inside my head, I could imagine this place in a magical place with apothecary windows, where gazing inside you could see a world of artful enchantment. Piddlestixs is dedicated to Tea Time, Tiara and Vintage Whimsy, from dolls, to soirees, Marie Antoinette, Vintage Recipes and projects, the vintage arts, Ephemera and Cupcakes, plus everything in between.

What a positively romantic image you have just painted and for a moment I was whisked away to this magical world. How is something like this put together? Are you doing the work yourself or do you have help? How long does it take to complete an issue from beginning to end? Did you have previous publishing experience before you began this or did you just dive in one day? If you say the latter you will forever be my idol! (heehee)
Well before I began my career in the arts, I was in business and finance for 10 years. During college I was taking classes and striving to be in the FBI, but had a near fatal accident in 1999, which lead to various surgeries and a 2nd chance at life. I made a conscious decision to live my life differently and start doing the things I love, that was writing, illustration and print design. I started writing small short stories, printing them out and giving to friends and family, I opened an Ebay Store and started a Blog in 2004-05.

After exploring the web I noticed independent zines, I said to myself, I can do that, LOL. Its been a long road and a belief in myself and others that have built my world and zines to where it is today. It’s a constant 18 year day, you never stop, from the emails, to the orders, to the packaging to the swaps, print, the web design, the banners, the blogs, the groups, you are the One Man Show, its your own circus. I get help, from friends, their college age children and others but sometimes, when mistakes come through its extra work for you. LOL! But you carry on and have to take that leap of faith and build your safety net.

WOW Lisa! I can't wait to star my own circus now! (heehee ;)I am thrilled to be a featured artist in this issue of Piddlestix. Do you publish the submissions of all artists who send work to you, thereby giving everyone the opportunity to have work published? What is the circulation on these right now? Do you hope to grow this into something bigger like a Somerset Studio or are you pretty happy with it as is? Anyone wishing to submit work for publication consideration may send submissions to or contact her for details.

I never turn away a submission and will find a place for it somewhere, everyone deserves to be seen and heard, we all have a artful vision and dream, I’d like for everyone to see their dreams come alive, the only way to achieve this is to believe in yourself, because only you can do it. I’m currently working on turning the zine into a magazine which will be for the artist by the artist, with a freelance editor group which would change every issue, a permanent editor group, interactive stuff, and different people all the time. With the demise of magazines this year due to the economy, I will be waiting till next year to get the magazine in full print, offering ad discounts and freebies in every issue. The new magazine will be combined with all the zines I publish and is entitled: “Artstixs Magazine”!

This CD Promotional photo is absolutely gorgeous and this type of thing is such a great idea! I am in the process of collecting and creating images to put together my own elements CD. Where do you get the images for something like this? Do you create them yourself or do you get them from vintage finds or both? You have some gorgeous vintage images and it is refreshing to see some new ones circulating around. Do you allow artists to use these images in works they plan to offer for sale?

All my collage cds are developed from various bits of ephemera that I have collected over the years, with new ones coming in all the time. I share many freebies with the art community as well, its my thank you to all the support each of you have given me. I even re-master images taking bits and pieces from photos I have to create a whole new image or person to use in artwork. I photograph my dolls for altering, and color in black/white images as well. All my collage images are for the artist to use in their works, banner logos, goodie packaging, and commercial use, all I ask is for credit of where the image came from, I credit everyone, acknowledgement goes a long way! Kellie, I bet your collage cd is going to be fabulous!

I agree with you on acknowledgment. I love the idea of it. You just had a new book published called Altered Art Circus. WOW! I am just thrilled for you. How did you go about putting together your submission package? I know that the work of other artists is also featured. How did the collaboration come about? Was it something you all decided to do together or did you approach artists you thought would best compliment the books message? Was Quarry Books the only publisher you approached or were there others? Are there plans for future books on your horizon? What did you think of the experience and what advice would you give someone who might be interested in putting together a craft book or going into self publishing?

I took four years to put together a book that explained who I was, I had to take the time to grow as an artist and find what was inside me. After a big awakening in the early summer of 2007, I attended the book expo America in NYC, it was there that I began my search for a publisher to print my book, that was where I found Quarry Books, it was instant warmth in their booth, beautifully done books, a wonderful expo staff and amazing artists. I knew they were the ones for me. I took the next 3 months to dig deep in myself and create a book that had a meaning that could give inspiration and bring magic into someone’s life I came up with Art Circus.

The circus/carnival is filled with un-expected surprise, you never know what is lurking behind any corner, the magic you can feel, the bold and cheerful colors, the sweet smells of cotton candy, the vintage meaning inside, the smiles and joy. As artists, isn’t that what we try to achieve, to bring to life the magical and imaginary world that’s inside of us for all to see? My works in this book can be done by parents with their children, by the teen, the college student, the crafter, designer, the green artist or it can be read by anyone looking to find magic in their own lives.

Please never give up, we need all the artists in this world, if you let a rejection or 100 rejections bring you down, you will never succeed, take time to see why you were rejected, sit back and look at your submission, and continue to evolve with it, take criticism as a compliment, if some has taken the time to criticize you or de-moralize your work, then you go to them, use their opinions for fuel for your own fire.

As for the artists in the book, many are people I have developed a wonderful relationship with and wanted them apart of the experience, also I have a 2nd art book in the works now.

Be sure to stop by Faerie Enchantment Blogspot for more information about where to purchase Lisa's work, find out where she is teaching workshops and otherwise travel with her on a photographic journey of magic and inspiration where the views are spectacular and the company is always welcoming and friendly. Lisa, you are a dynamic, creative soul and I thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. I wish you every success in all your creative ventures.

Thank You Kellie, You’re the best!

Disclaimer: All images posted in association with this post remain the sole property of Lisa Kettell. Any reproduction or distribution either wholly or in part without her express written consent constitutes copyright infringement. Please respect her art!


faerie enchantment said...

You have know idea how much your post and interview has made my day, no week, truly, amazing and uplifting.

You are an inspiration to me and I'm so glad we have become friends.

Thank You for all your support and encouragement!

Super Hugs, Magic and Joy To You!

Paper Cat Designs said...


You are just a doll! It was my pleasure to do this interview with you. I know you will go very far and enjoy much success. I too am just tickled to have you as a friend.

You are truly a magical lady!