Artist Rhonda Colcord will teach jewelry-making at this year’s Fiber College. Her journey from full-time nursing director to full-time artist and teacher is a compelling one. This fall, at Searsport Shores, Rhonda will teach students an ancient technique (Viking knit) as they create one-of-a-kind bracelets adorned with focal beads. Rhonda’s a one-of-a-kind herself! Let’s meet her…
What does “Do it your way!” mean to you from your perspective as a fiber artist and teacher?
In order for an individual to be recognized as an artist, they must be able to “Do it their way”. Our early paths in our creative fields are scattered with seeds of theory, experimenting, study, and opportunity to learn from other artists. It is our responsibility to take all that we have been taught and plant our own unique style. As a teacher, it is important to encourage our students to take their own journey. My goal as a teacher is to give my students tools so they can be inspired to create their design in their own way!!! Not copy mine.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have?
My inspiration comes from the simplest pleasures that surround me every day. A walk on the beach with my pug, Max, generates a need to create a piece of art inspired by the sound, smell and colors. More importantly however, is to be able to create a piece of art that transcends one back to that very place of its perception.
What project has given you the most satisfaction
As an artist, I love mixed media. I have used polymer clay in my designs. Polymer Clay Guilds throughout the world recognize the “Bottles of Hope” project. Our local Guild had made many bottles; however, I had one woman who wanted to wear her bottle. From that request, I designed a smaller version. It became quite popular, and I was asked to write an article so others could also make these necklaces. My greatest joy has come from what I have given away, rather than what I have received. I firmly believe, we get what we give, and we usually get back tenfold!!!
How do you ensure plenty of time to be an artist?
LOL! There is never enough time!!! I recently made a decision to resign from my full time position as director of nursing and focus on what brings me joy and inspiration. (And it wasn’t working fifty and sixty hours per week!!) It is a balancing act between feeding my creativity and my checkbook!! But I have learned that time is a priceless commodity that cannot be purchased.
Tell us about your studio space and how you work.
I am blessed to share a studio space in my home in Florida, which is 25 x30 ft. It’s unique to Florida, since it is a log cabin style. It is in a flood plain, so the house sets up eight feet. We have a large pond, so I look out on Spanish moss, Southern Oak, and the occasional ‘gator!! “Oh, wonderful” you might think. However, I find the more space I have, the more I tend to spread out. There is a quiet dissipation of supplies, tools, thoughts…and before I know it I am asking myself “Hey, didn’t I just organize this place last week!!”
As an instructor, what would be the best advice you could give your student?
It has always been my nature to be a great planner, from the beginning to the end. That concept led to much disappointment early on. The end result, rather it be a project or life, is never identical to how it was originally perceived. My advice: It’s OK to plan, just don’t plan the outcome, and you will never be disappointed. Set your imagination free!!!