The Last Word with Leigh Ann Alexander

The Last Word, in the holiday mood, contacted Leigh Ann Alexander of Studio Create for a few questions. Studio Create is a wonderful way for children and adults to explore “low tech” creativity in a “high tech” world. They get their hands dirty in different art media, from sculpting to painting, to creating art with objects of nature. Leigh Ann was right in the middle of scheduling holiday-themed classes and camps, but gave us a few minutes.

1. How did Studio Create come into being? Were you always an artist as a child? Studio Create was created because adult and children need to be creative the old fashioned way. My own niece and nephew would spend hours on mine craft, yet when given the chance to paint, draw or sculpt, you could see the joy and excitement build. As a child, I loved to visit the “toy closet” at my grandmother’s house. She was a wonderful seamstress, and the closet was filled with scraps of fabric and buttons…the grandchildren were given full rein to create costumes, doll clothes…whatever we wanted. This type of creativity was a part of our daily lives.

2. Tell us a little about your Christmas creations and how you get your inspiration. I always draw inspiration from nature and family. One of my favorite traditions is to provide a blank table runner and permanent markers or fabric paints and challenge the family to draw the things they are thankful for, or their favorite holiday memories, while the meal is being prepared. This is such a wonderful keepsake. I also love to take a family walk, challenging teams of kids and adults to create decorations from items gathered during the walk.

3. What advice would you give women thinking about getting into art? My advice would be to relax and enjoy the process. Art is so personal, it is hard for me, balancing creativity and business. I’ve been very fortunate to have a great support system of family and friends who are wonderful mentors.

4. How do you change your classes for the holiday season? I offer special holiday art classes and day camps for kids and adults to come to the studio and create seasonal holiday items.

5. What is the greatest obstacle in working with school age children? The greatest obstacle working with schoolchildren is storage space. I see so many things as future art projects – but where to put them? I also have a hard time throwing away treasures my students create and leave behind. If I had a bigger studio space, I could fill it to the brim.

6. What sets Studio Create apart from other businesses? I truly want artists of all ages experiencing the joy of being creative. Art is like yoga for your brain. I love being a part of that process!

7. Where would you like to see Studio Create in 5 years? I would love to see the studio thrive and grow. I have tons of ideas for classes. I have also been inspired by the actions of my students. In my two years with Studio Create, students participated in two art shows for charity. What a gift, watching students sell items we created, or giving them to their chosen charity organization. I hope I can continue growing that portion of my business.

8. If you could nominate one local woman for President of the United States, who would it be and why? Maya Angelou would have been a wonderful president. Luckily, she was a gifted writer and her prose will inspire us forever. Keela Johnson would also be an amazing president! She gets the job done, helping countless women in business in our area.

9. Finally, what is your guilty pleasure? What to choose? Sleeping late every time I have the opportunity, or belting out Neil Diamond songs at the top of my lungs, it’s a hard choice.