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Our Artists: You can’t force creativity

January 6, 2014

Brandi Pinkham wearing a necklace she made.

One never knows the talent that could be sitting next to them at the coffee shop, or standing in line at the cash register. Brandi Pinkham is one of those unsung creative types. Owner and operator of Beaded Wing, handcrafted jewelry made only from stones, metals, glass and antiques, Pinkham works part-time as a veterinary assistant when she’s not tapping into artistic impulses and creating unique pieces. The Statesman-Examiner caught up with Pinkham to learn a little bit more about her unique individuality.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I recently just got back into town, and have enjoyed traveling around, learning and experiencing new things. Most of my family resides in the area and I mostly grew up here, and would consider this area my home.
Animals are my passion; I've been to school to help increase my knowledge of canines and have worked with animals for years. I hope to broaden my skills in specified training of dogs or in the animal medical field in the near future.
Learning is important to me and I strive to gain as much knowledge as possible, whether through one-on-one training or self-training.
I've always loved photography and have done well with it in the past. Fashion photography has always been my favorite medium; I'm also very amused by pet and nature photography. I'd love to get a set-up to do microphotography. There's a dusty old darkroom sitting in my storage unit just waiting to be used.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
There are a lot of things I enjoy, and my interests change frequently. Some ongoing interests consist of aimlessly moving around, gardening, horses, dogs, reading, playing outside, learning to let loose. Mostly, my days are spent working with animals, taking care of animals, exercise and creating. Winter slows down my list of things to do, but in the summer, I enjoy spending time with the horses, having photo shoots with my friends, wandering on the river and scavenging for bones and feathers.

You have a unique style in the way you dress and present yourself. How would you describe it, and does your art influence your fashion?
I do not believe there is a description for the way I dress; others have labeled it in many different ways. There's not much of a link between my art and fashion. Perhaps, I dress uniquely due to the fact that I'm creative? Not much effort is put into the way I present myself.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Mostly nature. I enjoy wandering around the woods or riverbeds for treasures. This is very inspiring to me, along with the animals I surround myself with and the few unique people I've encountered throughout the years. A lot of times, with my illustrations, whatever I'm thinking about inspires what I draw. Usually, I use ink and quill, but when I'm in a space bind, I use artist pens.... always on watercolor paper.

Who has been most influential in your craft?
There have been a few people who have encouraged and taught me. My most encouraging influence would be my Mum. My greatest teacher would have to be my local, long-time friend, Mick Rider.

When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I suppose there wasn't an exact time that it struck me. I've found hideous hairpieces and jewelry I've made for my Mum, when I was just a child. To me, creativity is something you are born with, rather than obtain.

How would you describe your creative process?
There is no process...you just have an idea and then there it is, or you pick something up and voila! You have created something. Even then sometimes I find myself with an idea and it goes in a completely different direction than what I had been originally aiming for. I'm not sure there is a set in stone process, it just is. You can't force creativity. You can influence it, but even then it doesn't necessarily walk down the road you were intending.

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I've peaked inside many art studios. Few may know that a studio is not a reflection of the art that magically comes out of it. With that said, I would much rather take a peek inside some artist's mind, such as KuKula, my friend Kurstin Marie's mind and many very impressive photographers I've come across. It amazes me how much talent people can have. But if I were to enter a studio, say for the fun of it, I'd say Andy Warhol.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A necklace my teacher Mick Rider made me, and my own first high quality necklace I made out of turquoise and coral.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I don't! It's like a light switch...on or off.

Where would you like to be in ten years?
That's beyond me. It's useless for me to say where I will be...even a year from now is hard to comprehend. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have never thought where I am today. There are many things I'd like to accomplish and see...I'll let you know in 10 years.
*To see more of Pinkham's work, follow her on Beaded Wing's Facebook profile at https://www.facebook.com/BeadedWingJewlery?ref=br_tf.

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