Artist: Deborah Kwitney
Business name: Art Is Me
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Website: Art is Me
How do you describe your work, Deborah?
For starters, my work is my life. A world without the ability to create art in its many forms is something I could never fathom. I’ve been creating as long as I can remember, actually beginning at a very young age and making mud pies! Presently I design and create jewelry in silver and gold using a cornucopia of materials. I also draw, paint, and sculpt in clay. I chose the name Art Is Me because I believe each human being, is in fact, a work of art!
What is your creative process like?
When I’m creating something, whether it be a piece of jewelry or something on canvas, I usually have an idea before I begin the process. However, many times, an idea comes simply from doodling! And I have hundreds, perhaps thousands of doodle drawings which I’ve kept through the years. If I’m creating a collage, wow, the possibilities are endless which drives me a little crazy because basically, anything can be used in a collage or assemblage. I love creating 3-D images on canvas in which I incorporate figures I sculpt from clay. Once I’ve decided on a theme, I’ll begin laying all the materials out on the table and playing around with them on the canvas until I get something I like.
When designing jewelry, again because the amount of materials available are seemingly endless, sometimes it’s difficult to choose and concentrate on only a few gemstones for a particular design! When I’m working, time just doesn’t exist for me. I’ll wake up in early a.m. begin creating and before I know it, it’s eight or nine in the evening! I really get “lost” in the process of creating…I absolutely love it. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t had that experience yourself. It’s as though I become one with my creation, that’s all that my mind knows as long as I’m working on something. And especially when I’m working on a collage which takes time, I can spend up to a week on one piece.
The amount of time I spend on designing and creating jewelry varies greatly depending on the complexity of the design. It takes time to create a beautiful piece of wearable art because the materials used must support the design itself, all the components of the piece must be in harmony with one another, and of course, the functionality, how it is worn and how comfortable it is when on the body is crucial in deciding whether a piece will “work” or not. So, when creating a new piece of jewelry, it takes time to make the piece materialize. A design might look awesome on paper or in the mind but it may not be a practical piece…trial and error are par for the course! As far as my surroundings or ambience when I’m creating, , I listen to the radio, CD’s, burn scented candles, and of course, I couldn’t do anything without having my very strong cafe!
What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I have had training in jewelry making using silversmith techniques, sawing, filing, soldering, and forging metals into incredible art to wear. I also had several art classes in college but aside from that, I’m self-taught. Because creating is my passion, I am always seeking ways in which to improve my skills as an artist.
Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
There are several materials I would have to mention…fine tip black markers, gorgeous textured papers, paint, clay, and of course my favorite metal of choice, sterling silver!
What inspires you to create?
Many things inspire me to create such as beauty, life, love, people, animals, our universe, emotions, feeling, and on and on it goes…
What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
As much as I don’t care to admit, stubbornness and ego have something to do with how I probably mimic the Energize Bunny when I find things not going the way I like or expect. I refuse to “give up” when I have an idea for a piece of art, whether it be on canvas or jewelry, I will make it happen. Of course, I will put the piece away for a while, ponder other possibilities, try to gain a fresh outlook, and then try again to make “it” happen!
What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Because I believe that creativity is innate in each person, art can be made by anyone. That’s why there exists so many forms of art. Some people excel in the performing arts, others in the graphic world of beauty, while others give us delicious pastries! And even if a person doesn’t display any artistic ability, remember that someone can be creative in the way they raise their children, how they conduct themselves in their profession, and even the way they clean their house! Artistic ability comes in all shapes and forms, sometimes, we just need to look a little closer and we’ll always find it!
What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
When I’m not immersed in creating something, I spend my time with my beautiful children, my incredible son, sweet daughter-in-law, and one of the most precious gifts I could ever have imagined receiving, my awe-inspiring three year old granddaughter! And I have two little Yorkies, Teddy and Pebbles. I really think women have this need to nurture and my canine children allow me to spoil them and have no problem being a mama’s boy and girl! :-)
What’s your favorite comfort food?
My favorite comfort food would be something salty, followed by something sweet! :-) And when I have time to spare, I love picking up a book on spirituality, the workings of our universe, and art books. Also I have a degree in writing so I’ll write a poem every now and then. Basically, I’m just one person always trying to understand our world!
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