I am really excited to share this week's Feature Friday with you all! The wonderful boss babe behind The Travelling Artisan and I go way back. Like grade school back. Danielle and I grew up together. We went to the same school for years. And then in 2009, we graduated from Central Alberta Christian High School. We even went to Red Deer College together! Since then, Danielle has become the inspirational and creative force behind The Travelling Artisan. She also hosts art classes and other events to help people discover the artist within them. I chatted with Danielle over what inspires her work as an artist, how she is fueled her community and what is coming up in the future for her.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work. Where are you from? What do you do?
My name is Danielle Folkerts, and I’m an artist and art instructor from Lacombe, Alberta. Over the past several years I have been moving to and from Lacombe and Calgary, working, teaching, attending markets in the area, and creating original art. My art practice focuses on textured mixed media acrylic paintings, dreamy minimalist watercolors and handmade woven wall hangings. You might just recognize my bright contemporary world maps, local landscapes and florals! When I’m not at a market, you can find my artwork at Timeworn Charm in Lacombe and Crafted at the Calgary Farmers Market. In addition to painting, I also love to develop, organize and teach fun and engaging art classes with schools, private groups and community groups of all ages. You can find my full portfolio, upcoming classes and events list at www.thetravellingartisan.org.
What inspires you to do what you do? How did you start doing this work?
I have always been an artist. Since I can remember it was always the one thing I could count on. I was constantly drawing, writing, painting and designing. I would draw out home layouts, interior designs, clothing, you name it. Straight out of high school (when I realized I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else), I dove in and went to Red Deer College and the Alberta College of Art + Design for my Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Painting. While I have maintained a series of casual day jobs to support my creative ambitions, my evenings, weekends and overall soul focus and energy has been creating and growing my business as an artist, instructor and creative resource.
What inspires you most about your community (city, group of friends, etc.)?
Both Lacombe and Calgary have been amazing communities for me, yet both so different. Being in Lacombe has really allowed me to stand up and shine as a prominent artist and instructor in the community. I have participated in many events, met so many wonderful people and ran some wonderful art classes. I have loved creating new artistic opportunities for a vibrant community. I walk out of every art class full to the brim with inspiration. Seeing a student push past their comfort zone, and explore their own creativity, is a powerful thing. Lacombe has given me so much support in every way, and has allowed me to use my education and experience to inspire and mentor others.
Calgary, on the other hand, has been quite different. As an ACAD and Kensington Art Supply alumni, I have had so many chances to grow and develop as an artist, while being connected to a very large creative community. I’ve met so many like-minded creative entrepreneurs and small businesses, and the positive energy is contagious. Through attending events like The Vixens of Vintage, I have met countless inspiring and hardworking women, and it’s made me work harder than ever before. I am so grateful for everyone I have met, and appreciate everyone who believes in and supports the handmade community! When I’m living in Calgary, I feel like a sponge, just taking everything and everyone in!
If you could give anyone who is starting out in your field one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be prepared to work harder than you ever had before, with no guarantee of the outcome. It’s a constant gamble, and if you don’t love it deep down, you may not stick to it very long. However, if you really love it, fight for it every day. So my advice is: do what you love, do your research, apply for everything (over and over again), network with other like-minded artisans, embrace your local community and get to work, work, work , work, work!
Tell me three fun facts about yourself.
- One of my life goals is to be a wiener dog mom. One day.
- Having a partner in the military is a completely unique lifestyle, one that keeps me on my toes! However it also works quite well with my evolving creative career and passion for travel! When my man is working away, I make sure to get a lot of studio hours in!!
- When I’m feeling uninspired in the studio my favourite ways to recharge include: going on a long bike ride outside, doing some light yoga, adding refreshing essential oils to my diffuser, making a new music playlist or reading through my sketch books and art books! I find when I’m in a creative rut, I’m usually just overthinking and overwhelmed, so it’s best to slow down and create a comfortable environment to work in, and allow myself time to step away and go outside to move!
- Bonus: This August I am excited to be moving out east for a change! I am attending a painting residency in Picton, Ontario in September-October and you can follow along my journey on Instagram at @thetravellingartisan. You can find me in Kingston, ON for the rest of the year, where I will be busy with a wonderful creative community and city! I look forward to my trips back home, and plan to run art workshops, and bring new artwork! Stay tuned, and thank you for your support!
Get in Touch
Facebook: Danielle Folkerts Studio
Do you know of a person, business, non-profit or other organization doing amazing work in Calgary? Tell me about it! Visit the Feature Friday page for more information!