Artfire Artisan Spotlight: Rebecca L. Podniesinski, Athenianaire
Posted by pauljvguillaume on 07/11/2011 at 09:11:36
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
My name is Rebecca L. Podniesinski. I am a mother of one amazingly energetic toddler. I work fulltime in the greenhouse field as a consultant and rep for a soil company (I'm a soil geek). I studied Entomology at Michigan State University and I am passionate about insects, ecology, and giving people who want to know more about conservation a door to walk through. An important note about my studio is know about my specimens, that I purchase them, legally through conservation (they are bred on farms in their native countries, most are released to mate in the wild and maintain species populations, money from the specimen sales goes to conserving land and keeping these farms running). I am always open to any questions about my work and the specimens themselves. I know I work with a media that sparks a lot of wonder. People have come to know that I am very passionate about insects and protecting them and my art is one of the ways I can help make that happen.
If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
Inspiring others is the greatest feeling I know, it is love manifested. I am blessed that my son and the world around me inspired me so much. I love connecting people.
What role does your family play in your art?
They inspire my art and support my art. Seeing my son look at framed specimens with wonderment is amazing and breathtaking.
Where do you live and what is it like?
I live in Keene, NH. Honestly I wake up so many mornings and feel like I am back living in Costa Rica (I lived in the mountains of Costa Rica for 2 years just because I had no "why nots") The air is amazing the view lovely and the people are really great.
Where did you learn your medium?
I first fell in love with insects by watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I studied Horticulture and had to take an entomology class... when I got that degree I went on to study Botany, the Natural Sciences dept had a meeting with me and said "you are a Botany major taking ALL Entomology and ecology classes and you work for the Department of Entomology (I taught children about insects and made educational displays), maybe you want to change your major" I learned hands on by doing and I just let the art evolve itself from displays to inspire to finding a way to use damaged wing fragments so they can give back through conservation too, that is where the jewelry comes in.
What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
To spread inspiration, to get stories of memories from my buyers about why my work speaks to them, that is the best part of my media, all the messages and stories I get from others.
How did you come to selling online?
Friends pushed me into it, and I kept getting asked by repeat customers if I had a site they could go to when I wasn't at a local show.
What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
Keep your eyes open, inspiration is everywhere for the taking. If you find yourself with artists block, give, no seriously, give. It doesn't have to be money. It can be your time or thoughts. Giving opens up doors within yourself that are priceless.
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
Because it allows us to be at our best as a society; we are fulfilling a need and supporting the dreams of someone all at the same time. What more could you want out of life? When selling handmade items we get to be creative and inspire others which becomes our own inspiration, it's win-win.