Saturday, May 7, 2011

Meet Sonia Crouse of Creating Vintage Charm

Meet the Beauty & Brains behind the magazine, Sonia Crouse

Interview by Cari Robertson
1.  Tell me a little bit about your childhood - have you always enjoyed arts and crafts?

I have wonderful memories of my childhood; it was simple living with the advantage of being brought up on a small island, surrounded by family and friends continuously. I had several cousins from different families growing up on my street, from both mum and dad’s side of the family, besides having three siblings of my own. What child doesn’t like company to play with? We played outside every evening, all summer long, and on the weekends, we packed our car and left for the beach.

During the summer, I also remember sewing a lot, by hand. My doll had a new outfit everyday with clothes I designed for her using ideas I got from doll catalogs. I tried to put together the dresses as best I could. Drawing and sketching were also things I did continuously at home and school, and as I progressed, it drew a lot of attention from my high school teacher, Ms. Ventura. She encouraged me and inspired me in many ways.
2.  What 
artistic expressions are your favorites?  Do they change?

Artistic expressions do change for me, yes. There are so many ways to let out creativity and art. I do like to try everything once if I get the chance. I did a lot of painting and still life while in high school and after.
Then after that, I was more interested in textile design and sewing. At the same time, I developed a digital art and graphic design interest, also involving photography.

I am interested in most creative outlets and also have developed visions of my own creations in so many ways and would love to work on them all. It may take me a lifetime, but that is fine by me. 

3.  Tell me about an artist who inspires you.

There was no artist in particular that inspired me. It was more of a collection of artists and their work collected in a book. This one book called Enchanted World: The magic of pictures, by Bryan Holme, belonged to my brother, and I flipped through this book countless times, mesmerized by each painting and all different artwork styles and eras. I was particularly fascinated by the Baroque and Rococo era art work - the romance and the detail in their work. I could stare at each painting for a long time, searching for new hidden details. A later painting by  Walter Crane called "Neptune’s horses" also fascinated me. Growing up on an island, obviously surrounded by the ocean, when I first saw Walter’s imagining of white horses representing the white foamy waves riding to the shores, it really struck me as amazing.

Creating Vintage Charm Magazine
4.  How did you first decide to publish a magazine?  How did you decide on the focus of vintage arts and crafts?

After contemplating graphic design for a newspaper, I had this thought about how much more fun and inspiring it would be if I was creating a publication about artwork that I (and so many others I am connected with) enjoy. That is creating vintage charm. Honestly at first I thought that it was an idea way beyond me, but somehow I kept reaching toward it and searching about how I could actually make it work. The more I realized how possible it could be for me, the more excited I got, and the more ideas I had about the magazine. I guess, you can say, there was no turning back from there. It simply became a mission for me.
I also know so many of us who do the most beautiful work and show it in the most humble ways; yet, we all are proud of each other and what we create. It is amazing to me what a great, supportive community of artists we have created. For any of us, seeing our work printed and distributed in a magazine is the most amazing thing that could happen. But not many of us ever give much thought to seeing our own work published. My mission is to reach out and help artists reach a new level in publicity for their artwork and perhaps in a "not so overwhelming manner" since I am one of the crowd. 

5.  What is especially gratifying for you as you create the magazine?

The reviews and emails filled with compliments and encouragement to continue the good work. Especially those who are inspired by the magazine to explore their creative outlet.
6.  What is difficult or scary about being in charge of the magazine?

I get more nervous the closer I get to releasing an issue. I work on the magazine continuously and being the one who develops it from start to finish, I don’t get the opportunity to look at it with fresh eyes like the readers would. That is scary to me - not knowing how it will look to those flipping through the magazine, since I cannot experience that.
7.  How does being a single mom influence your creations?

It makes me appreciate more the time that I do find to create.

One of many of Sonia's beautiful creations
8.  If you could spend a day creating anything with anyone, what would you choose and why?

Right now, I would say painting or mixed media collage. I have nothing in particular in mind, but I am inspired by so many beautiful things in nature and style that somehow I want to put them together on canvas.
Sonia's Studio
9. What words of encouragement would you give other women out there who are looking for opportunities to be creative in a way that counts?

Never give up, of course. If an idea hits, don't dismiss it without any further thought. Even if it is too big and you have to start small, at least it is a start. There is always room to grow later on and perhaps make changes to where you can make it work better for your needs. After all, if you got excited about the idea in the first place, then you are probably going to enjoy it. 

To order your copy of Creating Vintage Charm visit
Creating Vintage Charm

I hope you enjoyed meeting Sonia~


Bearly Sane said...

It's always good to read what motivates and inspires women from all walks of life...artist or otherwise. I enjoyed this one, thank you both for sharing.
Warmest Hugs,
Sandi @ Bearly Sane / Ess D'Ess Bears

Kathy said...

This was FUN! Loved reading all about Sonia. Very inspirational. I hope you're having a good Mother's Day! - Cheers, Kathy