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Heidi Kaisand: Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of hidden chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi, we like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative, whether it's quilting, scrapbooking, food, wool, or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo grooving in all the right directions. We are excited to share these things with you. Each week, I love to start with a quote, I'm just a fan of good quotes. So today, my quote is, creativity is a spark. It can be excruciating when we're rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing. And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world. And that's Jonah layer. And I picked that particular quote, because of the reference to rocks, because today, my guest, Jamie Lee is a pebble artist. And I met her a few weeks ago when we were on vacation in Minnesota. So it was wonderful. I welcome you this morning, Jamie, how are you today?

Jamie Lee: I'm doing good. Thankyou.

Heidi Kaisand: Wonderful. And immediately when people think of rocks, they might start to think of boulders or of of large kinds of rocks that we might find in our driveway or in our landscaping. But your art is really all about the pebbles, isn't it? It is it is it is and and when we talking pebbles? What is the smallest smallest pebble you think you work with?

Jamie Lee: Oh, do you want to size?

Heidi Kaisand: Oh, I mean, like are we talking just to give people a reference? like are we talking about are they like so small that they go, you know, they go between your fingers and you'd hardly know they're there. Or, you know, like yeah,

Jamie Lee: I recently got a little batch of rocks from Leech Lake. And Leech Lake, for some reason has a little, I would say it's no more than a, it's like a tiny watermelon seed. Yes. And it's pebble shaped, or it's like petal shaped. So I can turn those little tiny pebbles into flower petals. But they're smaller than a water than a trainee watermelon seeds.

Heidi Kaisand: And that's exactly what I was looking for. And, and a piece of art I bought from you has some of those Leech Lake pebbles, because that's where we go on vacation. And so I wanted that not only as a fun art thing, but also as a keepsake of where we go every summer. But tell our listeners describe to them how you take these pebbles and what kind of art you form. Now we'll of course, show photos on our website so that people can, you know, give links to your website kind of thing. So they can actually see But for today describe for me what those what you do with those pebbles.

Jamie Lee: Well, I usually work in I work either in a five by seven pre setup frame with a matte, and it's watercolor paper. So it's on a white background. And then I have these really sweet little two by three frames. And so none of the pictures are very big. They're five by seven or they're two by three. And I like to normally when I'm starting i i'd like build the earth first. So I build the foundation of what I'm doing. Like some nights I'll just build foundational stones for the people to stand on or sit on or and then the next night I'll come back and and sort of populate it. So I've done little family groups where two children are sitting around a campfire and the mom and dad are standing nearby. I've done lots of birds and turtles and dragonflies. One of the most popular of course at Leech Lake is fishing pictures. And, and wedding pictures. I can never make enough fishing pictures or wedding pictures. It's hard to describe how much emotion and how much story you can get into trouble. And that's one of the things that keeps me interested and keeps me fascinated is it really is just another form of storytelling.

Heidi Kaisand: Yes. And and I'm looking on your website right now for example, and you have a picture called family at play. And even as I'm looking at the picture, there is, is emotion in it. And it I mean, there, it's, it's like it's come to life. And yet it's with these pebbles. I mean, it's a fascinating combination. Now in an in that particular piece, it looks like you also use maybe a little bit of driftwood or something.

Jamie Lee: Yes, I collect everything. I collect broken beach glass and tumble it, I break up stained glass and tumble that driftwood, bits of jewelry. So a lot of other things can fall into the pictures. But like for the campfire, or whatever, I might use a tiny bit of class for that. The interesting thing, and I was just teaching a little class last night, is I like to teach this to the way that you tilt. The pebbles can show curiosity. It can show wonder, it can I mean, it can even show loneliness. I know it sounds so strange to think that you can tell these stories with pebbles. But it is a it's a tiny little canvas.

Heidi Kaisand: Interesting. Well, I am I am fascinated by the stories that they tell. And I know our listeners will be too as they this they listen, we're going to take a quick commercial break. And we'll be back right after this. Welcome back to create with Heidi, this is Heidi Kaisand from Henan chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa. And my guest today is Jamie Lee, and she is a pebble artist from northern Minnesota that I met while we were at a farmers market. And she was describing her work as having emotion at the rocks at can actually express maybe an emotion, if that's the way to say it as a quilter. I know that when I'm working with fabric, and working with shapes, that there can be emotion in that. And in that how we put those fabrics together can tell a story. So I can imagine Jamie how those rocks must you know the pebbles, I guess would be better than those pebbles can tell a story. I think that's fascinating.

Jamie Lee: Yeah, I sometimes tell people I'm going to get a T shirt made that says you rock I pebble.

Heidi Kaisand: I like that. I like that I happen to know t shirt makers. So if you need a T shirt, I'll help you connect that. You also you're talking about glass, you're talking about driftwood. But you also i'm going to I'm going to refer to the word as doodle. Maybe you have a different word, but you also do some ink work also sometimes in the picture if it's necessary.

Jamie Lee: Yeah, I started out with just pebbles. But I've always been a doodler. And so just in the last, I've been doing pebble art for about five years, just in the last year, year and a half, I've done a lot more I've even like taken watercolor or acrylic dot are to linework. And added like little trees or cat tails, or wild hair or on the little person some wild windy hair. And just add a different elements with with different kinds of artwork to go with it.

Heidi Kaisand: It just again expresses that story that you're talking about. It brings those pebbles to life and the story. I'm so curious, how did you how did you get into this? I mean, you know, a lot of people collect rocks, pebbles, you know, seashells and all those kinds of things. But like, what was what how did you enter into this form of art?

Jamie Lee: Well, most of my life, I've been a writer and a teacher. And I I am an also an author. So I've been a storyteller my whole life of one kind or another. And, you know, it's just one of those odd things about, like I said, about five years ago, I was looking online and I saw pebble art on Etsy. And I I saw an artist from Nova Scotia named Sharon, I think I'm sure Nolan. And I her work was so minimal and so beautiful. And I just had this incredible urge to try it, which a lot of people notice, you know, I started selling little pebble art kits because so many people want to try it. And I just started playing with it. And never having any idea that I would create so many that I would have to go stand in a booth, but I'm really enjoying it.

Heidi Kaisand: Oh absolutely 

Jamie Lee: I'm in my golden years, and I don't have a lot of other things I want to do and my husband passed away about a year and a half ago so that my studio spaces I also live in a little straw bale house that we built. And so my space studio spaces have taken over my entire property.

Heidi Kaisand: Isn't that fun? Well, as you mentioned, your straw bale house and when I was on your website, is it is your home literally made from straw bales.

Jamie Lee: Right. And the I have three straw bale buildings on my property. And it's been fun this summer because I've started creating a creative camp. Okay, so so I have 20 acres in the woods. And I have people come here and and we play with glass or rocks are pebble Lark. In fact, I have a group coming from Walker this afternoon to do pebble art. And I'm having so much fun merging my creative work with my teaching.

Heidi Kaisand: Well, of course, because people, I mean, I see it all the time at Hen and chicks studio on how how important that creative outlet is, whether that creative outlet is quilting, scrapbooking, whether it is pebble art, there is something that I don't know, you know, I must say it's comforting, it's it's energizing, it's all the things that we need. It's, it's, it's so much, it's so good for everybody to be creative in whatever form they choose. So I can I can only imagine what it's like to be able to bring people together, and to help them help them be creative.

Jamie Lee: Yeah, most most of my life has been I've been in the study of the brain and how the brain works and how people work. And, and in my studies, I've read a lot about creating and being not being creative. That sounds so finite, because a lot of people will say I'm not creative. But create creating is a process that raises your serotonin levels, increases your T cells, and increases blood flow. oxygen into the blood. I mean, it has, I mean, just being in love, if you show me somebody who's really sad, and somebody who's kind of high on life, the difference would be that one's creating something and one's not.

And I always think that, again, you're right. I mean, creating doesn't have to be, you know, just one thing, and it can be being creative in the kitchen, it can be creative, and how they exercise. I mean, there's so many different ways to to get that going. It is important. And you said you're an author, and you've actually written some books correct and and talking about creativity and what it what it does for you.
Yeah, my, so I have a split, I have about nine books in print, and half of them are based on my workshops in early life. And half of them are fiction. And, and so have a, my keen interest or my fascination was in the different patterns of the mind and the brain and how we follow those patterns and how we could change those patterns if we didn't like what we got. And so those are some of the books and then my husband was Lakota he was he was a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. So we worked a lot in Indian country with different things. So my six and a half almost has kind of a native, earthy feel. One, one book is about a girl who falls in love with a stone or a member of the stone clan. It's one of my favorites.
Fun, very fun. And you kind of alluded can, if we are not born with what we think is a creative, creative touch or a creative flair. Can we can we change that?
Yes, I think so. But I don't want to get into a whole brain discussion. You
know, but but you know, and that's what you mean. And I always say peep everybody can be creative. It's it's just allowing our, our brains to think that we can be creative on Yes. Without going into another whole show on on our brains.
Yeah, we could do that though. That would be fun. Yeah. Because the, you know, like the engagement, like a wonderful woman I worked with when I was teaching, she said the seven magic words are see if you can figure this out. So the human brain loves to figure things out. And when it's trying to figure things out. That's when the creative process gets engaged. Like you see something that is and you wonder how it could be and boom, you're there. And everybody does that. There's no such thing as a not creative person.
I would agree with you that, and you know what my favorite word is? It's, but everything is figured out a ball. That's my favorite phrase. All right, well, we are going to take a quick commercial break, and we'll be back right after this. Okay. Welcome back to create with Heidi, this is Heidi Kaisand, from Henan chicks studio. And everybody is creative, and everything is figured out a ball, I would say that if I could make that our mantra we should, because that is, is so true. And our guest today, Jamie Lee, pebble artist from northern Minnesota is sharing her love of creativity through her various activities. And I love that. And so Jamie, it's so nice to have you on the show with us and loving what you're sharing with our listeners. When we were in Walker, and at the farmers market, you also had these stick figures. Can you tell us a little bit about all of those stick figures? Didn't you have to Didn't you have the little the like the little doll? I mean, I'm not saying that right that little people and I think you I call them figures but I maybe maybe you have a different name for them? To be people. Yes, the bead people. There
we go. Yeah, yeah, there's a little two inch or less people made out of beads. And it's actually a piece project. So the and they've, they've been following me around or I created a probably 20 years ago. And I wrote a story to go with it. That tells us this mighty wind that blew all the people of Earth into one another till they got all jumbled up. And they didn't know what to do. And the book is kind of ironic is they are they find a couple of worlds wars and yada yada. But then they decided to call themselves the bead people and to celebrate our differences. And that little project with its little storybook has, has just traveled, I estimate about 14,000 of those have gone to over 40 countries now.
That is awesome.
Little two inch piece ambassadors when you wear one or display one, it means you are a person who stands for peace in the world. That is you have too many projects. Oh, I
don't think so at all. I don't you know, that's I think that's part of being a creative person is that we see creativity all around us. And it's easy to get more than one type of project going because there's different elements of creativity, man, I like handwork, because it offers me a certain thing. But I also like doing things on the sewing machine because it offers me something else. And I like I like bright colors. And I like dark colors. And so all of those things are just simply different elements of of ways to be creative. Now I do have to go back to your pebble for a second and I'm because I'm having this this vision and I'm trying to I need you to help me. Well, okay, so quilters, we have a fabric stash, right? And we have we have shelves and boxes, that fabric lives on in our sewing rooms or closets or under the bed or I mean all sorts of places that people stash their fabric. How do you keep your pebbles?
Well, I have I have an obnoxious amount of pebbles Of course. And I even have cuz I live in a straw bale house with Earth plaster. I have rock rivers up my walls. Oh, cool. And so I when I'm working, so I do a lot of sorting, I do a lot of collecting and I do a lot of sorting. And I I sort like on my work table I have a little plastic plates, white place and one has a plate full of heads. One has a plate full of arms and legs. One is read and one is small black and one is broken glass.
And when you say their heads or legs, you're just you're pre determining that the rock would be good for one of those things it like That's right, that's what you envision. Yeah, like
my, my plate of heads and sometimes I amaze myself at how small I can get because I was talking about the small watermelon seeds but those are larger than the heads. That had to be it looks like right I don't even know it's gravel, basically. Yeah, well and gravel you know,
and when I when we show pictures on our website, I'll make sure that like I put a quarter next to the picture or a penny Something so that people can see in relationship, you don't need to have some kind of a perspective of, because we're not when you look at your pictures, especially like on a website, you immediately could envision that they're larger than they are. And I think that's one of the things that's really special is that it's this very intricate small piece of art. So, and do you go certain places to, to find the pebbles? Like, I mean, do you? Do you have your favorite like, I go to my favorite quilt shop, you go to your favorite beach? You know what, how does that work?
But it's funny because different beaches have different personalities to course I go to Lake Superior a couple times a year, because they also drill stone for necklaces and stuff. And so those, those come from Lake Superior. I live on Cass and my whole family has both. I'm the hitchhiker. So we we go out to a beach on Star island that we call it climb point, but it's not it's just an undeveloped beach, but it's very rocky. So a lot of them come from their Leech Lake. Last week I was at a Red Lake for the first time and sat on the beach with a friend and the both had sisters. My friends don't go to the beach with me without collecting rocks. I
love it. I love it. Well, Jamie this has been a very interesting show to learn more about how you are creative and I know our listeners will enjoy it. I encourage everybody to come to hen and chicks studio in Conrad or visit us online at hidden chicks we'll help you find everything you need to know about quilting and all things creative. So until next week, be creative