Artist Interview - Kimberly Hodges

I am a seventh-generation Texan so even though I have lived in Asheville, NC for 20 years, I suppose I will always be a Texan at heart!

My studio is in a beautiful valley about fifteen minutes from downtown Asheville; the Blue Ridge Parkway is a half mile hike from my front door. This morning there are about ten wild turkeys in my front yard! I have two studios in my home: one for wood working and ceramics, and another for painting and office work. I am proud to say I was one of the early pioneers in the now-thriving artist community in the River Arts District of Asheville, but I really do need peace and quiet without distractions, so the country life suits my art much better.

I start my day with a 7 a.m. check-in with an action partner to commit my actions and plans for the day. I have such a free-flowing mind that I need accountability and structure like you wouldn't believe! Once I have taken my teenager to school, I usually settle into the priorities of the day, whether they are production orders or wall sculptures for my interior design clients.

Finding the timelessness in time and keeping the muse fresh is one of my ongoing challenges. I listen to podcasts about all kinds of alternative topics to keep my mind occupied as I work on production items.

After graduating from UT Austin, I began my career selling handmade things on the Charles Bridge in Prague in 1992. I have worked in just about every tier in the art world, everything from selling at craft shows to big name trade shows, running a production studio with five employees, achieving representation at an art gallery in Tokyo, working full-time as a product designer for licensing, and finally full circle back to my handmade roots selling on Etsy items I make entirely by myself.

Among the successes of which I am most proud are the shows of my product designs, paintings, and prints in Japan, including in the wonderful department stores Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi. The Japanese love my work and it was an honor that my work was so well represented there. Of course, selling any piece of artwork, no matter small or large, to anyone is always a thrill and a success in my eyes.

I certainly get inspired by nature's flora and fauna that I see on my daily hikes and in old botanical drawings. Because of sites like Pinterest and the internet in general, I find all the inspiration almost overwhelming, and must reconcile myself to the fact that I will never be able to execute all the ideas I am inspired by!

These days, I love looking at interior designers' work and have developed a special fondness for Kit Kemp's and Katie Ridder's sophisticated combinations of craft elements with their interior designs. Michael Sherrill is another favorite who lives here in NC and does wonderful work that rides the razor's edge of art and craft. Katsura Funokoshi just blows me away!

My mother told me I loved ribbons as a very little girl and wore them around my neck all day long. I remember how, in fifth grade, I made little drawings of mouse families and little sprites flying in teacups. And how could I not add that I was Art Club President in high school?

My favorite medium remains carving and painting wood, though I have yet to put in my 10,000 hours, as I have with ceramics and painting, so it remains a challenge for me. My name, Kimberly, means "royal wood," which seems fitting!

My style has stayed fairly recognizable and authentic throughout my twenty-five-year career. Since I have relied on making a living from my art, I have kept to a more accessible, commercial style in order to appeal to many markets and demographics. Yet I have an illustrated concept work that's been in process for ten years; it is completely different from anything I have ever created before.

Of all my Calypso cards, I love the "Home Sweet Home/Night Garden" card with its sweet mystery and dark palette, yet I am equally fond of the "Mt. Pisgah" card as I love Lao Tzu!