NAME: Chelise Stroud Hery
COMPANY NAME: ZNE
CRAFT TOOL YOU CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT: My imagination.
FINISH THE SENTENCE: When I am not producing the ZNE ConvenZioNE, I am… spending time with my family or playing with glitter and glue.
Tell me the basics of the ZNE ConvenZioNE. What does ZNE ConvenZioNE stand for? How long has the show been around? Do you take crafty classes? Is there an Indie craft bazaar?
ZNE is an acronym for our original group name – variaZioNE – which means “variation” in Italian. Most people know our group as ZNE though, not variaZioNE. Along those same lines, Convenzione means “Convention” in Italian. So, the ZNE ConvenZioNE is the ZNE Convention. (www.ZNEcon.com)
ZNE as a group has been around for close to 4 years. We are an online art group and our membership is worldwide, with close to 2,000 members. Our group has a strong focus on mixed media artwork, however you will see every form of art and craft represented by our membership.
This year, from August 22, 2008 – August 24 2008, we are debuting the ConvenZioNE event, so this will be the very first large scale convention that we are having. This first year event includes three days of activities, and includes 17 different workshops to choose from – being offered by 14 different instructors. Our instructors are joining us from all over the country and our workshops vary from different mixed media artwork classes, to jewelry design, assemblage arts, and a papier clay doll making class.
And we do have an incredible vendor fair planned for August 24 – our Art, Paperie and Pleasantries event. We’ll have dozens of artisans who have been hand selected for the quality and creativity of their offerings.
This year’s event is going to be really amazing. On our opening day, the boutiques and galleries located in the historic downtown area of Pleasanton are providing our registrants with gift certificates, special receptions, and special discounts. Our local bookstore is hosting a book signing and an lovely private gallery will be presenting a ZNE Member art show. We call this downtown boutique and gallery walk our Bella Galleria portion of the event.
After Bella Galleria, we will meet for a formal program that includes some wonderful live musical performances, and a screening of the film 1,000 Journals.
This “ConvenZioNE Show” portion of the event will also include Michele Beschen of HGTV/DIY Channels’ B Original show, as the MC for the night.
Then, on Saturday morning, we’ll all gather again for a breakfast and keynote speech by Susan Kennedy – the artist known to many as SARK.
After breakfast, we have our workshops. Just a few of our instructors this year include Bernie Berlin, DJ Pettitt, Pam Garrison, Barbe Saint John, Lisa Kaus, and Sally Jean Alexander. We’ve compiled a really stellar roster.
You guys are already planning ZNE 2009 which will be held April 29 – May 3. I am so excited to come out and be a part of the Partito Di Mezzi Media Round Table. Tell the readers what this is all about.
Yeah, sometimes I don’t know whether I am coming or going – working on two different events taking place in two different years – both at the same time!
ZNE ConvenZioNE 2009 will be even larger and longer than our inaugural event. We’ll have five days of activities and workshops and have already contracted with over 30 instructors! We have a lot of really exciting programmatic stuff in the works, but one event we are really excited about will be our Partito Di Mezzi Media Round Table. We are assembling a round table of print, publishing, television and radio media industry leaders – whose focus is in the arts and craft arena. We will have a moderated discussion with these industry insiders to find out best practices and suggestions for getting your product, book proposal, or interview potential into the right hands at the right time. As of today, we have Michele Beschen participating, Cathie and Steve Filian from HGTV’s Creative Juice, and of course – we have you as our artist representive – since you have experience in all these different arenas. We are beginning to add some reps from the publishing field now too. It’s going to be a really amazing experience and opportunity for everyone present.
Variazione is a group for mixed media, collage and altered art artists. How does one join and how would it benefit an artist to join?
ZNE did start out as a group for mixed media and collage artists, but our membership has grown to include artists from all genres. One of the wonderful things about our group is the supportive and welcoming atmosphere. Our membership is incredibly diverse on all levels. Not just in terms of primary art form, but also in any particular genre’s level of expertise. What they have in common is a desire to encourage one another in our artistic endeavors, and share resources whenever possible.
We are always happy to welcome new members – any interested person can join at our main website – www.ZNEart.com. Member benefits include access to our social network, ongoing member discounts and freebies, promotional activities and opportunities, and much more.
I love spending time with my family. My kids, RJ and Abigail, are the lights of my life. As far as I am concerned – a good day with the kids at the local park beats a week in Tahiti without them, any day.
We’ve also got a mini zoo in house. Two dogs, two cats (all rescue), a rat, and several hermit crabs. I am an animal lover and really enjoy having four footed (and clawed?) creatures underfoot!
I take it you are either Italian or have a deep and profound love of the country. There were times on your blog I thought I might have to reference Babble Fish for translations. Tell me about your love of the boot. Does that play a role in your art at all.
I have a great grandparent who was Italian – but we never spoke Italian at home or anything. I do have a deep respect for the culture and people of Italy. Interestingly, I am more traditionally Italian looking with really olive skin, dark hair and dark eyes – than most of my relatives.
Several years ago I visited Italy for the first time, and I remember walking on the streets of Milan and looking at the women walking up and down the street and realizing that most of them looked like they could be my sibling, or mother, or aunt. The United States is such a melting pot. Occasionally you may meet someone who looks a little like you or shares your coloring –but this was a whole different thing. All of the women walking down the street shared a striking resemblance to me in terms of complexion and bone structure. It was eerie and really amazing at the same time.
I guess that experience stuck with me, and when I started the group ZNE – I wanted a unique name that seemed fitting for artists who worked with found objects and changed them – so the Italian word for “variation” seemed like a perfect fit for us – hence Variazione.
I’m not big on favorites. I couldn’t pick a favorite color or food or even song – if you begged me to.
I am star struck and humbled by the talent of the entirety ZNE Membership pool. You can see a number of the pieces that I love on and around the ZNEart.com website. I like to change out the artwork on the pages every now and again. When I go into the ZNE Galleries to find new art to feature, I am always blown away by incredible work that our members are uploading.
Speaking of art, how do you feel about the Orphan Works Act being proposed? How do you think it will effect mixed media and for that matter all artists?
The Orphan Works Act is a huge cause for concern for all artists – it doesn’t matter what genre. I think it is really important that people educate themselves on the ramifications of the legislation – a good link to learn more is:
I saw the pictures of your house on your blog, um ya the Blythe candy machine is pretty amazing. Have you seen all the crafting for Blythe dolls going on these days? Art School Dropout is making jewelry for the dolls and tons of Etsy vendors and whipping up wee little dresses for them. Do you do any Blythe crafting?
Would you believe I found that candy machine on a street corner in my town, with a FREE sign taped to it! Talk about the “Found Object” of a lifetime!
As for Blythe, I definitely love that doll. All my life I have loved dolls. I also collect kewpie dolls and all kinds of vintage dolls. I love miniatures too – for dollhouses. I don’t really make clothes for the dolls – unless I am creating an altered doll of some kind. More often, my crafty side in conjunction with the dolls comes out when I am working on their dollhouses. I love embellishing vintage doll furnishings, or using scrap book paper for wall paper. Stuff like that.
What is on the horizon for you craftily speaking?
I am excited about the ConvenZioNE events, which we are planning to hold every year – at least for a year. And ZNE, the group itself continues to grow – so I am always runnig a mile a minute trying to keep up with everything happening in the group. I have a few local gallery shows on the horizon – and those are fun too. Really, my life revolves around arts and crafts – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!