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March 13, 2008

An interview with Ricë Freeman-Zachary…

Filed under: Interview — jackie @ 8:46 am

Salutations dear readers…

As promised…here is the first of my special interviews for this month.

Ricë Freeman-Zachary is a freelance writer and artist living in Midland, Texas with her husband, the ever gorgeous Earl and their cats. She has written articles for art/craft magazines such as Art-Doll Quarterly, Belle Armoire & Somerset Studio. She has also written several books on art and creativity.

Her latest book, Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists, is a series of interviews with artists from many different genres that answers questions about their creative processes. From the Amazon Review “Where do ideas come from? How can you capture them when they arrive, and what do you do with them then? What does it feel like when an idea comes to you–for a painting, a book, a play, a quilt, a journal entry–and you know it’s terrific? My job is interviewing artists and writing profiles about them and their art, and in the process I’ve become more fascinated than ever with all the aspects of living a creative life, getting ideas and making them concrete, arranging your daily life so you have time to make whatever-it-is that you make.”

TJookarts:I read on your blog that your parents were very encouraging when it came to art. Did you have any teachers that encouraged/inspired you growing up?

No!  I had the most hideous art teacher ever on the planet, Miss Sterns. She was my art teacher from 3rd through 6th grades, and it’s a wonder we all weren’t warped for life. (She told us she hated us and had the job only because there was nothing else for her to do.) I do so wish we’d had an art teacher who loved what she was doing and at least liked us a little. I didn’t think I could make art until late into middle adulthood, thanks in large part to Miss Sterns. Until then, I felt completely unable to make anything, thanks to those years of constant criticism.

TJbookarts: Are there any historical or contemporary artists that inspire you?

There are a lot of contemporary artists who are inspiring. Thank goodness for the internet and websites so we can see their work. (I don’t mention any names because I’d hate to leave out someone, given what I do for a living.)

Beware of Stan

TJbookarts:How would you describe the artwork that you create?

I call my fabric pieces Fabric Art Journals. They’re exactly what I would do in an art journal, but on fabric. Images, text, stories, journal entries. My photos altered and printed on fabric. The possibilities are endless, and it’s great fun. I can get lost doing all the hand stitching, and putting the text on the pieces is one of my favorite things to do. I almost always make myself laugh.


TJbookarts: You use a lot of images of yourself in your artwork which makes your pieces very personal. Can you tell us a little bit about your process?

If you iron your fabric to freezer paper, you can run it right through the printer. Epson Stylus C-series printers use an archival quality ink. I use my photos or those my husband takes, work with them in Photoshop Elements, and then print them out on fabric and draw on them, adding lines and color and text or whatever. Then I stitch them to a fare-thee-well and go from there.

I hate clowns
TJbookarts: How do you know when a piece is finished?

When I’m so tired of working on it I can’t bear to do any more. I’m almost at that point with the piece I’ve been working on for the last six weeks. I’ve stitched on it for so long that I’ve got to finish it up and move on.

Secret life of cats

TJbookarts: In what way, if any, has the digital era influenced your work?

I love working with photos on the computer, being able to size them and alter them and crop and cut and paste and then print them on fabric. It’s opened up worlds of possibilities.

TJbookarts: What is your favorite part of being an artist?

Making stuff, pure and simple. All my life, that’s what I’ve wanted to do:  make stuff and tell stories. With these fabric journal pages, I get to do both.

Wine is good for you
TJbookarts: If you could offer only one piece of advice to a new artist what would it be?

Find your own voice, your own style, your own images. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, and never, ever start any piece of art with the idea that it’s going to make money.


To read more about Ricë’s adventures with life and art, visit her blog Notes From the VooDoo Cafe as well as her website The Voodoo Cafe.

(Please note: All photographs/art featured in this article are copyright of Ricë Freeman-Zachary.)

• • •


  1. Hi Jackie

    What a great interview. Rice I love your style, your work and especially your sense of humour. I too had a terrible art teacher who constantly critisized every thing I did too. It is very damaging to have such critisism when you are at your most creative and still able to follow your creativity to see where it leads you.

    Like Rice it took me MANY years to get over this negative presence and be able to create. With the help of ‘The Artist’s Way’, and many morning pages starting with, ‘He was wrong, I can create beautiful art, I like my art’. Why is it that when these people are no longer in our lives we can still hear their critisism in our heads, it is their voice that our paranoia uses if we doubt our current project.

    I like your philosophy Rice, create a piece of work that makes you happy, you have no control over how others will react to it, that is their choice and theirs alone.

    Best wishes


    Comment by Billie — March 13, 2008 @ 5:44 pm
  2. Interesting and inspirational interview. Thanks Jackie!

    Comment by Patricia — March 13, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

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