Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In the Studio with MKC Photography and a Giveaway!


Today I am thrilled to introduce you to this unique artist and writer, one of my favorites. I love everything she creates, and her stories have often brought me to tears because they are so touching and beautiful. I'm so happy she allowed us to visit her "in the studio." 

So pour yourself a cup of coffee or a spot of tea and settle in for a lovely visit with Michelle.

FK: What’s your morning “cuppa,” Michelle?

I’m a cappuccino girl! Tall, whole milk please, and very hot. Luckily my husband makes amazing cappuccinos at home as well, otherwise I could easily spend waaaaay too much money on them every week.

FK: That sounds wonderful! Too bad for me, I only have regular coffee so I’ll pour myself a cup while you tell me about yourself.

My name is Michelle Katharine Ciarlo-Hayes, and my company name, MKC Photography, comes from my first, middle, and last initials. You can find me on Etsy at: http://mkcphotography.etsy.com/

I also have my main artist website: http://mkcphotography.com/

And my blog, where I share the “story behind the picture” every week:

FK: As if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, I understand you show your work locally also, right?

One of my favorite things is to show my work in galleries, shops, and art shows across the city. It’s one thing to see art online, it’s another thing to experience it in person and really fall in love with an image as you’re standing in front of it. I love telling people about the techniques I use, my inspirations, and sharing the journey of my work with them.

FK: Where do you live, and did you grow up there?

My dad was in the Army, so I was born in Kansas, grew up in Virginia, completed my graduate degree in England, and then moved to Philadelphia ten years ago. I met my husband when I hit him in the head with my boat (we’re both rowers), and I’ve been in one place ever since. I’m not used to reordering address labels, so living in the same house for one decade is very new to me!

FK: That’s a heck of a way to start a romance! Tell me about the different outlets where you sell your work.

I’ve been on Etsy since October 2008 and I’ve really enjoyed the exposure I’ve received as a result. I do sell my work through my artist website, as well as in several brick and mortar boutiques in Philadelphia (This Little Gallery, Artista, and Nice Things Handmade). It keeps me very busy!


FK: You have two Alphabet series – one for kids and one for quilters. The idea of using the alphabet is not a new idea, but there’s something special about the way you do it. I think these pictures are perfect for a kid's room or gifts for a new baby. How did you come up with the ideas and the overall look? Have they been published?

Thank you! I worked very hard to achieve the right balance between text style and color, and the item itself, for each shot. I had a crazy way of determining when I got it right: if it made me smile, that was the one! If not, I kept tweaking the font or the color until it happened. The ideas were all due to my children - they picked out the items (with a little editing help from mommy...Danny’s threadbare stuffed “lamby” which is missing an eye was gently removed from consideration), and I made sure to keep the series vibe young, fresh, and modern-yet-vintage.

I shot the alphabet series for cross stitchers for www.loosethreadstitchers.com. When they saw my original series, they asked me to help them put together a cross-stitch inspired alphabet as a wonderful way to share the beauty of this art with a wider audience. We’re looking forward to its publication later this year!



FK: I think you know how much I love your “The story behind the picture” series. The first time I saw and read this one it took my breath away and I couldn’t put it out of my mind. Here’s my favorite:


FK: Talk to me if you can about your process when you create these. Is it photo first then story, or vice versa?

For this particular image, it was a story first and I created the image to match the one I “saw” in my mind. So many of my collages start as a little sentence or phrase, and I work with them until they grow into the pieces you finally see.

FK: Your stories and pictures are absolutely stunning, Michelle. They never fail to touch me and they often bring me to tears. You’re a wonderful artist/writer and a great photographer. Did you study photography or are you self-taught?

I’m a combination of the two - my father taught me to use a fully manual camera when I was in high school, and a dear friend in grad school taught me to use the dark room and manipulate the exposure to achieve the right color and light balance. Other than that, I’m entirely self taught!


FK: Where’s your “quiet place” when you need a break from creating – somewhere you go to rest, refresh, meditate?

I really, really tried to find a quiet place to share with you. During my search, however, I realized I don’t really have a quiet place! My boys (and dogs and husband and telephone and...) never really stop long enough for me to have a minute alone. I carve out time within the craziness (such as waiting for the school bus, or making lunches in the morning) and I let my mind wander to the things I’m currently trying to create.

FK: I guess with that much going on it would be hard to find any quiet time! What part of being an artist is the most gratifying to you and what do you dislike?

I don’t dislike anything about being an artist - I’m grateful every day because I love what I do, and I’m lucky enough to make a living from it!

FK: That’s refreshing! What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?

I love to knit. I recently found an amazing site called “Knits for Needs” that collects knitted items and yarn: http://knitsforneeds.blogspot.com/.
If I run out of projects to do for my own family and friends, I know I can always start something they can use.



FK: It’s hard for me to imagine how you find the time, but that’s a wonderful thing to do and a nice change of pace for you.

FK: Michelle, I have enjoyed getting to know more about you. I have been a fan of your work for a long time, so this was a real treat for me. Now, tell us what your giveaway is.

I’m giving away one of my “Love Park” art glass pendants that I created using my original photograph by the same name. Here it is:



Folks can see more of my art glass pendants in the “Art Glass Jewelry” section of my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkcphotography?section_id=6215479

FK: Thank you, Michelle - that's a great giveaway! And thank you again for letting us visit.

***

You have two chances to enter the giveaway:  Visit Michelle's Etsy shop and come back here to comment about your favorite: http://mkcphotography.etsy.com/

Then visit her blog and come back here to comment about your favorite "Story behind the picture." Warning: you might get lost over there for quite awhile - her stories and pictures are addicting!  http://mkcphotographybymichelleciarlo-hayes.blogspot.com/.
The winner will be selected by random number generator next Tuesday, March 23.  Good luck!

41 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the honor of appearing on your blog today, Felicia! I hope your readers enjoy the interview, and I can't wait to find out who will win the "Love Park" pendant!

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  2. Felicia - I LOVE Michelle...her work is absolutely exquisite and she's such a warm, down-to-Earth soul. Thank you for sharing this interview and I will be entering this giveaway for sure!

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  3. Ok so it's almost cruel to have to pick one thing so many things are awesome but this is my absolute fav - Set of 26 Alphabet Soup 8x10 Fine Art Prints

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  4. christa s-h said...

    Hey Michelle!
    Love the "Love Park" picture, love the story... Have been very drawn to this particular piece of art over the past year myself (even though I've lived near it my entire life!!). You can't help but feel giddy with LOVE when you see it!! You are truly talented - it's a real treat to view your work everyday!!

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  5. Wonderful interview about a most wonderfully talented artist.

    MysticSilks

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  6. I really love the Are you a Good Witch or a Bad Witch print!!!

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  7. I really like the My Favorite Things pendant.

    anja.lju at gmail dot com

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  8. My favorite Story Behind the Picture is Run Like a Girl. It was a hard choice between it and The Two of Us, though I thing the message that sexist comments shouldn't go on being ignored in our society is one that every girl (and guy!) should remember.

    anja.lju at gmail dot com

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  9. I agree, Anja. I love the Run Like a Girl photo and story. Great stuff!

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  10. Urban Hymn 1 is my fave.

    alejandra.zertuche (at) gmail (dot) com

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  11. I enjoyed reading this article, and to learn the story comes first.
    I like this ring
    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=37075352

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  12. i like the good or bad print

    missbanana(at)dwx(dot)com

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  13. I love the Book Bag Cotton Tote!
    e.estt[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  14. I love the Philadelphia Skyline Story Behind the Picture!
    e.estt[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  15. Such amazing work! Each piece is equally fascinating! I love the B is for Ballet original fine art print, superbly ideal for a young girl's room! Thanks for the giveaway.
    yumihamano@gmail.com

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  16. I love her work! and her life and efforts to create sound a little like mine...
    The "You hung the moon" image (and the story) and "Offering" are my favourites...

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  17. I just had to add - I visited Michelle's Etsy shop, and love her flower images also...

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  18. I like the Set of 26 Alphabet Soup 8x10 Fine Art Prints

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  19. Hi Felicia!

    Another great and interesting interview! I am impressed by Michelle's ability to create work even in the midst of a hectic busy life. I plan to use her as inspiration to keep my own work flowing! Thanks Michelle! Love all your images!

    Mary Iorio

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  20. I like the Art Glass Ring - Fern: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=37210676

    annabell_lee_dk (at) yahoo.com

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  21. my fave is the Urban Hymn I photograph - actually that whole series is really awesome!
    @FlamingBlingy
    http://phranne.etsy.com
    phranne[at]yahoo.com

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  22. wow, that really is a great blog! i thought the Untitled photo with the sleepy doggie in black and white was really touching. a member of the family 8) what a sweet tale! all the other stories are really cool too!
    @FlamingBlingy
    http://phranne.etsy.com
    phranne[at]yahoo.com

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  23. I love the Good or Bad - 8x10 Original Fine Art Photograph - "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"
    ~ Glinda, upon first seeing Dorothy in the land of Oz.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  24. My favourite Story Behind the Picture: A Girl's Best Friend

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  25. What a beautiful shop!! I really really love this pendant:
    Art Glass Pendant - Vintage Daisy - FREE SHIPPING

    audreyscountrycrafts at gmail dot com

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  26. Daiane Negretti
    daia171@hotmail.com

    I really liked the

    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=26626838

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  27. Daiane negretti
    daia171@hotmail.com

    My fav:

    http://mkcphotographybymichelleciarlo-hayes.blogspot.com/2010/02/story-behind-picture-urban-hymn-6.html

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  28. My favorite item from the shop is the
    My Favorite Things - 8x8 Original TTV Black and White Photograph
    I think it represents me pretty well, it tells the story of me sitting in a comfy couch reading amazing books.

    romii_parasorteos@hotmail.com

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  29. My favorite story behind the picture is
    Story Behind the Picture: Untitled
    It made me shudder, I love it..

    romii_parasorteos@hotmail.com

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  30. Great Interview! I love the wood blocks with mounted photos on Etsy. You can check one out here:
    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=23814213

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  31. My son would love the "A is for Airplane" art print! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  32. I love the giveaway pendent. Such a unique way to look at it. I really like the My Favorite Things 2 - 8x8 Original TTV Fine Art Photograph, so unusual. Great shop! ambrerose(!at)aol.com

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  33. I love the Sandy Paws Photo, mainly because it reminds me of my own dog and how much fun she has in the sand and water :) Beautiful photography!

    unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

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  34. My favorite item in her etsy shop is the 8x10 of two little birds. It would fit perfectly in my house with the rest of my decor. :-)

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  35. My favorite photograph is Alexandria 4.Love angels! cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  36. My favorite syory behing the picture is-Hydrangia cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  37. Oh this was so wonderful. I've been a fan of Michelle's for awhile now. I love her blog and the story behind the picture. There are too many stories to pick just one. I do love the one called "Wedding Shoes" and "Little Toes"

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  38. My Favorite Things - 8x8 Original TTV Black and White Photograph is so peaceful.... It's my favorite.

    missavene (at) gmail (dot) com

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  39. My favorite is the "A is for Apple" print :)

    linalia.lee@gmail.com

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  40. Thank you so much to all who took the time to visit, read, and enjoy my work - your comments just mean the world to me, and I'll be sending the pendant off to our lucky winner by the end of this week! Felicia, thank you so much for having me here - I loved it!

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  41. Michelle, it was our pleasure to have you here!!

    ReplyDelete

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