Monday, March 28, 2011

Nathalie Kalbach

Hi my name is Nathalie Kalbach, and I live in Hamburg, Germany. Since February 2011 I am a full time self employed artist.
Wow- it feels so wonderful yet so weird to write this down for the first time in a bio. has been a long journey until this.

My family is musical and some of my family members love to draw and paint. Lot’s of my ancestors had a real obsession with photography; we have a lot of wonderful heritage photos in our possession and photos fascinated me as long as I remember. It was always the question about the person behind the picture, the moment, the emotions.

I had art in school and had a wonderful time with a very young enthusiastic art teacher who let us just be very experimental and having fun doing art. We would paint eyes and eyes and eyes with acrylic paints, then looking for our favorite piece there, we would do chalk paintings of our projected profile Dias on packing paper and if there were parts to dark, we would just fill in the missing parts with trees or whatever we imagined made us strong to get out of the shadow. It was my favorite subject in school, until…he left. Until the new teacher let us draw what we saw with pencils- our pencil holder, the eraser, a table. I thought my drawing weren’t too bad…she told me I had absolutely no talent – I should better not think I’m creative – art is not my subject.

I believed her that I’m really not a creative person, have no talent for art. I did photo books- not knowing that there is something like Scrapbooking out there in the world, since this hobby was until a couple years ago not known in Germany. I liked visiting museums and look at art. I was interested in design. But I studied law, I became a paralegal, because I was a head-person…not an artsy person. Don’t get me wrong, I was very good in my job – I have been in the highest position in this field that you can concur, I managed at the end an office with five lawyers, doing accounting, taxes and working on my own files. But it wasn’t as if I had the dream job.

In 2004 I married my wonderful friend Jim. He has always been very creative and when I wasn’t sure of what to do with our wedding photos he told me, I should do something called Scrapbooking. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I figured it out and soon I was also drawn into Mixed Media Art and the techniques that are used there. It didn’t take much time for me to combine those two fields – lot’s of people thought that was bold and wrong back then. I didn’t care – I really like what I was doing, I poured my emotions and thoughts out in those techniques and the journaling, making the pieces meaningful for me- but also colorful and …well- that is something you can argue over – beautiful for the viewer. I held on to my style and a couple months later I had my first publication in an American Magazine called Simple Scrapbooking – which is kind of funny, cause my style is so not simple ;) . From there it just rolled over me – I got published as a featured artist in Somerset Memories, now writing a regular column in the Magazine called “Nathalie’s Studio”, since then I have been published in numerous magazine, idea books and eZines.
I had my own product line: papers and stamps and transparencies called eMOTions with a French Manufacturer.
I have been working with several manufacturers in a design team, right now with Tattered Angels who manufactures wonderful Spraypaints and other Paintmedia, also Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L and Vintage Street Market – a gorgeous company that manufactures vintage themed Scrapbooking and gift wrapping papers, embellishments and tapes.

I soon realized that I love to teach. My first teaching gig was in Berlin in 2007 – and I remember how excited and stoked I was, but also scared. But I loved loved loved it so much. I loved showing the students what they could do, make a project that doesn’t look like mine, but is a piece of it’s own, to learn techniques and to just try to be creative and not being scared of trying things. Now that I write this down, I somehow see the connection to my experiences with my art teachers in school. I do not want to limit my students, I want them to have a good time and experience and enjoy the process- there is no right or wrong!

The last couple months I realized that I basically was doing two full jobs – one as a paralegal and one as an artist/workshop teacher and it started to be really exhausting and I had to ask myself what I really want. Doing the art/workshop part felt so right, so what I wanted, that I decided to take the risk and give up my well-paid full time job. If I wouldn’t do it, I would never know, right? I would always wonder if I could have been successful with something I am passionate about, something that makes me feel good, something that is releasing my creativity.

So here I am – Nathalie Kalbach, an artist and workshop teacher.

I have been teaching in several different countries like Germany, the U.S., Spain, The Netherlands, France, Norway, Greece, Denmark, Israel, Austria, Belgium and soon I will do a teaching road trip called the Creative Journey in Australia. I’m a member of the wonderful faculty and it makes me happy to be in the same group as a lot of teachers and artists that share the same passion of showing people how to create.

You can find my Layered Background Workshop on CraftEdu here….
A new class will be released in the next couple days ☺
Join my classroom
If you want to read more about me and see more of my work visit my blog:

We are proud to have the wonderful Nathalie Kalbach teaching here at CraftEdu! To watch the preview of her "Layered Backgrounds" workshop, simply click on the text.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gordon Uyehara

Gordon is one of the most respected metal clay artists in the world. His work sets a new standard in the metal clay arts and he is a sought after instructor for both the depth of his technical expertise and his esthetic. If you know metal clay, then you know Gordon Uyehara.

But, really, how much do we know about anyone? I know Gordon, but I had no idea how he came to art and metal clay so I decided to find out. Now, you will also know a bit of his history and his journey to master artist.

Poor Gordon, he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii! All those brutal winters! But, I jest, none of us decide where we land and he was just lucky to land in paradise. He also hails from a family of artists – his sister is a fine artist doing small scale wood sculptures, after retiring, his Dad returned to the university and earned his Masters in sculpture. Art “runs in the family”.

Gordon’s journey began with pencil and paper. He says he liked to draw and even today, he sketches out his pieces before he makes them.

Gordon attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he received his Bachelor of Science in ICS. That’s Information and Computer Science so we know he knows his way around when it comes to what we sometimes call the “magic box”. Gordon actually understands the magic in the box. He worked for the university doing web support, but found the environment a bit staid, a bit restricting – as he says “another concession in a list of compromises of a yawn inducing life” (good words!) and he was badly in need of a change.

By late April of ’02, Gordon had his big wake up moment. Literally, it was 2 am and he woke up and wrote his resignation announcement. It was both liberating and disconcerting – he took the big first step on a path of uncertainty.

That summer, the next big turn came in the form of a little advertisement in the Honolulu Weekly about silver clay being taught at a local bead store. I think this is probably the best reason I’ve ever heard for protecting print newspapers! He called and signed up.

It was in that class taught by Sally Yoshida, that silver clay caught his interest – it was intriguing and it challenged him. Gordon invested a lot of time and money in his exploration of the medium and it paid off. He figured it out and now he’s an Art Clay Silver Senior Instructor.

Because we can do, does not automatically mean we can teach, When a local instructor at a bead store decided to take a break, Gordon was invited to try teaching. He stepped out again, met that challenge, discovered he is a teacher and he still teaches at this very same bead shop today.

Gordon is inspired by nature, science fiction, by other artists and smart, creative people, in general. I asked him where his art comes from and he said “Art comes from the need to express yourself”. It sure does.

We are honored and pleased to offer workshops by the one and only Gordon Uyehara at CraftEdu.