Wednesday, September 30, 2009
E-Newsletter, Kristen Beason Interview from Cloth Paper Scissors
An Interview with Artist Kristen Beason
Labor Day may have just passed, but for Kristen Beason (whose upside-down skeleton hangs out on our current cover), it's not too early to start decorating for Halloween. We profiled this contemporary folk artist who specializes in whimsical, holiday-themed art in the September/October 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. In our profile, Kristen makes no bones about the fact that Halloween is her favorite holiday. With the season soon approaching, we thought we’d ask her to elaborate on how she celebrates.
Kristen Beason CPS: Halloween seems to be nearly as big as Christmas when it comes to decorating these days. And Halloween art is a big trend, too. Why do you think that is?
KB: Halloween is such a fun holiday and there's no pressure to find the perfect gift and create a 10-course holiday meal. I feel people like the fact that it's the one day a year you can dress up as something silly, scary, or both and just enjoy the day—plus free candy doesn't hurt! Through many of the popular creative home and craft magazines and television shows, people discovered that Halloween decorations, costumes, and food could be stylish and easy. I remember coming across the first Martha Stewart Halloween issue—I thought I was going to faint.
CPS: What are some of the ways you decorate?
Halloween treeKB: My husband and I made a deal very early in our marriage. I would set up my Halloween decorations in September, but they would come down on November 1. My tradition is to start on Labor Day weekend. I need to enjoy my decorations for more than a month! It usually takes me a full day to display all of my Halloween treasures. I like to keep our outdoor decorations simple: cornstalks, a fun wreath, and pumpkins. My husband carves incredible pumpkins that we set out in the grass the night before and on Halloween.
CPS: We understand you have a Halloween tree. What's that like?
KB: I have the large Dept. 56 Halloween tree that holds most of my favorite ornaments, vintage-style bubble lights, and purple rice lights. I've been lucky to collect from fellow artists and I try to add two to three new ornaments each year. I'm always so sad when I have to pack the tree away for the following year. Luckily, Thanksgiving is up to bat next, and it's my second-favorite holiday. I don't decorate for Thanksgiving because I haven't found a lot of decorations for that holiday. Hmmm, maybe I should be thinking about creating some Thanksgiving ornaments?.
CPS: Good idea! Where do you get all your ornaments? Do you have a couple of very special finds?
KB: My ornaments have come from all sorts of places. Some are from fellow artists; I find them on eBay and at local garden centers, gift shops, and art shows. Since my birthday is at the end of August, I usually get at least one Halloween decoration. My special finds have been auctions on eBay of some Glitterville ornaments. “Sweet Tooth Ruth” is one of my all-time favorites. Thermal on Formica
CPS: Do your children give you ideas for decorations and do they influence your own art?
KB: I still decorate with some of their art from elementary school. My youngest is in third grade, so he produces some cute Halloween art. I'm very fortunate to have a family who likes to laugh and has a sense of humor. I guess that comes out in my art because I like funny, whimsical artwork. In fact, my husband just gave me the idea for the “Curds & Whey” ornament that was a big hit. It's a big spider landing in a bowl of curds and whey. I really don't see what Miss Muffet got so uptight over.
CPS: Do you dress up for Halloween?
KB: I usually don't go with a full-blown costume unless we're having a party. There's an incredible Dept. 56 wicked witch's hat that I have been trying to get for years. Maybe this will be my lucky year!
CPS: What's your favorite Halloween memory?
KB: I distinctly remember one Halloween when we lived in New Jersey and I was in second grade. The air was crisp and all the neighborhood kids got into their costumes early in the afternoon. Halloween must have been on a Saturday or Sunday. I remember the leaves had turned their beautiful shades of amber and red and how much fun I was having that day. It may sound corny, but the day seemed magical. I guess that's one of the perks of being a kid!
Read more about Kristen’s artistic journey and see her boo-tiful artwork in the September/October issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.