Altered Art Appeals To 'Asymmetrical Person'



The words "dream" and "life" are focal points of "Green" -- a shadow box Shannon Bielke created in the room where she creates all her altered art projects.

"I work in the living room so I can stay in touch with my family," Bielke said.


Playful kittens on the art table keep things in perspective for Shannon Bielke.

She has even given herself permission not to fret about the clutter of papers and craft knives and trimmings.

"Art is an indulgence," Bielke said.

One she believes everyone should afford themselves.

On her work table is a "graduate book" -- each letter is a page for photos, embellishments and memorabilia.

At the same time, Bielke is working on a girlfriend's gift box of sayings for an upcoming class she is teaching at Paper and Metal Scrappers.

Art, for the woman who once thought she would be illustrating medical texts, is playing with embellishments such as brads, fibers, metal, eyelets, metal frames and a variety of papers, stamps and inks to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

Some like "Green" and "Inspiration" hang on a wall. Others -- such as her asymmetrical scrapbooks, like the altered coaster in a tin and the box book that opens from the center out, or the star -- beg to be touched and delighted in rather than sitting with books on a shelf.

"I'm an asymmetrical person. Lots of people can't allow themselves to be asymmetrical. I don't have anything that matches," Bielke said.

Yet she cannot but look and create with her artist's eye for color and complementary design with a rustic style.

Her mother and grandmother painted, so Bielke supposes she will stand before an easel, brush in hand, and paint.

But later.



"If you get involved in a painting, you are there all day," she said.

Altered art appealed to her because she had four children at home when she began a few years ago. Her youngest is now a junior in high school.

Altered art is finite, yet detailed. She can do it in pieces and it is easy to put down and come back to.

"What I enjoy most about it is that things happen that you don't plan, yet you can fix it and make it work."

Her magazine altered art credits include Stampin' Up, Legacy and Take 10.

She has designed books for 7 Gypsies to use in their marketing campaign and has designed gesso board art for Stampbord's Web site.

It is not the art field she planned in her 20s, but making money in her chosen field is grand.

In between embellishing gesso board, Bielke has made an impact as a teacher in after-school elementary art programs.

"Doing art builds self confidence because you can create something that is not only satisfying and beautiful to you but is that to others," Bielke said.

"The only place some kids excel is in art," she added.


Name: Shannon Bielke

Medium: Altered art

Motto: Don't be afraid to try

Advice to beginning artists: Go for it. Do not follow any boundaries. Don't let preconceived notions stop you.

Award most proud: First place in Stampbord's national contest 2005.

Hometown: Seattle, Wash.

College: Fine arts degree from California State at Hayward

Why Payson? My husband is an airline pilot. Payson is as far away from a big city as we can get, yet he can still commute.

Upcoming project: Designing an advent calendar class. I have designed several advent calendars, but they were not completely what I wanted.


Shannon Bielke's four babies pictured month by month in these minibooks are just about all grown up. They are: Allison, Matthew, Hannah and Jeffrey. These books were featured in Legacy Magazine.

Another project: During mid-August through Labor Day she is busy as the chair of the Fine Arts section of the Northern Gila County Fair.

Hobbies: gardening, running and reading.


Food: good vanilla ice cream

Book: "The Book Thief"

Musician: Jimmy Buffet

Vacation spot: Ireland

Point of contact: (928) 472-7404 for altered art classes.

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