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From Our Blog

Around the World Blog Hop

Joe Rotella
By Joe Rotella On November 17, 2014

Last week I was invited to join the “Around the World Blog Hop” by my dear friend and artist Terri Sproul. So today I get to share a little bit about me and my story by answering 4 questions!

1. What are you working on right now?

For me, that question is tough to answer. In the “real world” I’ve spent all weekend with my partner, Joe and sister, Betty, building kits for 6 classes we’re teaching next weekend in Columbiana, Ohio. We really want our students to have an exceptional experience, so we work very hard to make sure the kits are as near “perfect” as we can get. We even consider how to package class kits to make them look great and easy to use. 

That’s the “real world.” Now, in my mind, I’m working on several projects. That’s the way I work. I imagine and think about projects days, weeks or even months before I start actually making them. I imagine the materials, the steps, the techniques. I think about what will work and what may not. If we consider my mind’s projects, I’m working on a special project for January, thinking of ways to use a really cool new embellishment I just recently learned about, and creating an altered book!

2. How does my work differ from others?

 So many of my artist friends talk about their muse and letting a piece speak to them. I think I’m more engineer at heart. I plan my project… think through the steps and design elements. Everything has to fit together. The components have to come together to tell a story.  I’m not talented enough to go with the flow. Creativity is a very thoughtful process for me instead of a gut instinct. 

3. Why do I create?

 I love making things with my hands. In my “real job” I’m Chief Marketing Officer of a software company. I love my job, I love what we do, I love our customers. But we don’t make anything tangible. There’s something so engaging about working with your hands to create something you can hold in your hands. I just love the feeling of it.

4. How does my creative process work?

 For me, creativity starts by some unknown and then becomes a process. I see a piece in a thrift store or garage sale and, sometimes, when I’m lucky, I just “see” what it can become. If I close my eyes I can almost picture it! That’s the unknown part. After that, the engineer brain kicks in. I think about it, day dream about it, ponder it and build it in my mind – over and over again!  The finished product never turns out exactly how I pictured it. It’s usually evolved to something different – something even better! Of course, it’s hard to get around to all those “visionary projects.” I imagine them and buy the materials, but never get around to creating. I don’t need to buy another thing and I could probably stay busy for years! LOL!

As part of the blog hop, I get to invite other artists to join. Look for these posts next Monday:

Nathalie Kalbach – I’m not sure how I met Nathalie, but I think it was at the Craft and Hobby Association‘s winter show. She has the spirit of an artist, a huge heart, a fantastic accent and a laugh (ok, snort) that will make you giggle. Her artwork is amazing – from original pieces to the stencils she creates as part of her own product line! Her annual event, Creative Jumpstart, is a fantastic way to start the new year. Check out her blog, n*Studio, on Monday, 11/24/2014 for her post.

Barbara Rankin – Barbara Rankin loves steampunk style just about as much as I do! Her work has been in several issues of Just Steampunk magazine. She is also on several design teams. I love Barbara’s attention to detail. Her work is inspiring and her execution is flawless. Check out her blog, Black Hole Art Studio, on Monday, 11/24/2014, for her post.

Happy Crafting!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Calabrese November 22, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Joe, I purchased the Zing from you in Columbus at a scrapbook show maybe 2 1/2 – 3 yrs. ago. It has sat in a closet unused. Do you or someone offer classes? I live in Michigan now but have family in Columbus. Thank you. Chris Calabrese


Joe Rotella November 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Oh Chris! You need to be using your machine! Have you tried working your way through the online tutorial? It’s under the Help menu (User Manual) and includes a link to a video for almost every topic. That might be one way to get started.

Yes, I teach classes. I don’t have any scheduled for the rest of the year, but if you are coming to Columbus for any reason PLEASE let me know and we can get together privately. I have taught public classes in many places, including Columbus, Ohio and Chelsea, MI.

I also plan to start teaching online in 2015.


Kelly Hudson November 23, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Hi Joe,
It’s great to hear about your creative process. I agree with you that creating artwork is engaging. I also enjoy making art when I’m not working my “corporate” day job as a compliance officer. I’m excited to join this blog hop in a couple weeks. Have a great Thanksgiving week!


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