Gifts from Nature
By Cassie Liu, 9 grader of MRHS
As time flies, the New Year is approaching. By the end of this decade, I interviewed an artist by the name of Jocelyne Adams.
Ms. Adams has a very beautiful farm. When I walked into her farm, the lush vegetation in the garden immediately caught my attention. There are also a lot of cute animals such as rabbits and goats on her farm. Right next to a small forest, is Jocelyne’s studio. Having so much work to do on her farm, I’m curious that how she manages her time working on the farm and her artwork.
“My work on wood is basically my leisure activity. I work on it when I need to relax. it’s the time when I need to go hide, and just be with myself. It can help me find peace. While the farm works require more physical work, and the garden as well, but the point is I like working on it. The farm and my backyard is a paradise for me, it’s just very peaceful. When I get tired of working on the farm, I will go into the woods, look around, and listen to the birds singing, it’s so relaxing.”
By talking to her, I learned that she didn’t start working on art at a very young age. When Jocelyne was young, she studied economics. She has a master’s in economics, and yet has nothing to do with art. In general, an economic person shouldn’t be an artist, but she likes to do things with her hands, and she discovered wood, that’s really a passion.
“I grew up in a place where a little bit like the countryside, and right, I like the countryside more than the city, I’m not a city girl.”
“I don’t know who influenced me, I just like to do things with my hands, and for me, when I look at the wood, it’s very pleasing. When I look at a piece of wood, I can see something.” And maybe because of her childhood and where she grew up, she likes to be outside. “You see my garden and farm, they’re all very close to nature, very pretty. The closer to nature, the better I am.”
Jocelyne started to work on wood at about ten years ago. At first, she didn’t have a machine, and little by little, she started to buy some equipment. She took one class to make a pen, it was a class in a woodshop, and she was the only woman. “You know, there’s not that many women work with wood. At first, the guys were like, ok, a woman, she couldn’t do as well as us. Sometimes they talked to me like I didn’t know anything, but I tried very hard and did a lot of things, so little by little, the guys in the shop knew who I am.When I work, they knew I was the same level as them, for me it was a big improvement.”
Through that experience, Jocelyne deeply believes that girls are also powerful, they can also do whatever they want. “That’s why I tell the girls don’t let anybody say that you cannot do something, even if you are a woman, you can do it. Don’t let the guys say, no, no, it’s not for you. You can do everything you want. If you like it, if you feel it in your heart, then just do it. You may not do it in the way that most people do, you may do it in a wrong way, it’s not an easy straight line to reach your goal, but you can do it, just believe in yourself.”
She makes fantastic and very creative artworks, but in fact, she is a very humble person. “I don’t know if what I make is art. Well, I can make things, some people would say I’m talented, but to me, I don’t even know if I’m an artist. I make things because it’s pleasing, because I like the results, because I love what I see, what I touch, the feeling of being close to mother nature. Those feelings are just very good.”
It takes a minimum of four hours for Jocelyne to make a piece of her art. But she likes something small, well-finished, and more detailed, it would be more work than the big ones. It usually takes 12 hours, maybe more. “If you are gonna work at least 4 hours with a piece of wood, you better like the piece of wood you start with, so you have to choose carefully about its color, texture, and shape. Sometimes there may be a crack on the piece of wood, you will be surprised when you find it, it just doesn’t work for the artwork and you will have to start it all over again to make a new one.” However, one of the things she feels sad about is, when you sell the piece, people are not gonna see how long you’ve spent on it, so they don’t understand why the price is a little bit higher than they expect.
The inspirations of Jocelyne’s artwork all come from mother nature. I asked her how exactly. She said: “The heart-shaped artwork that your mom bought from me is a good example. When I walked into the woods and saw a piece of wood, the wood was already lying on the ground for about six months, when I cut it and opened it, it looked like two half of a heart, it was so beautiful. For me, it was really surprising. Mother nature already did it for me. If you look, It’s there, you just have to look and use it.”
“Almost all the wood that I use is from the trees that are already down, I’m not cutting any trees that are alive, I don’t wanna do that. I just go to my backyard and cut some pieces from the trees that are already down on the ground. I’m not gonna destroy something and make something else, it’s wrong. I’m gonna recycle something that’s dying and try to make something that’s full of energy. It’s a lot of work, but I don’t mind, because it’s exactly what I like.”
By talking to her, we both agreed on the idea that the arts she made are gifts from nature. This is also the most impressive point I got from this interview. If we could just look around, and leave with it, and try to not destroy everything, it would be wonderful. All we need is just a pair of eyes that can discover beauty.