“Look at this stick,” Vicki Fox urges me, placing a hunk of driftwood on the table beside us. “I mean this is a really cool — it’s ugly. But, it’s just got a lot of character. And I’ll look at it and say, hm. What can I make with that?”
Things you learn very quickly when you start an art blog: anything in this world can be made into anything else. Even sticks. Or, in Vicki’s case, especially sticks.
Vicki’s been “smitten” with sticks since 2001, after taking an art course on “stick making.” (I didn’t know it was a thing either.) It turned her into the kind of person who yanks her car over to the side of the road to pick up a particularly interesting piece of driftwood or an “unusual pinecone.” She’s actually mailed boxes of sticks back to herself while vacationing halfway across the country.
She is a self-proclaimed “stick chick,” turning sticks into mirror frames, chairs, clocks, lamps and more. Well — mostly sticks. Shells, cactus needles, animal skulls, moss make appearances. Honestly, Vicki picks up anything that catches her eye in nature. Since 2008, Vicki has walked the forests and beaches of the Maine coast, collecting pieces of the world that most of us would step on or over.
Everywhere you look in Vicki’s studio there’s art, or pieces of things that will eventually be made into art. Besides her stick creations, a lingering gaze around the space reveals wood carvings, clay pots, furniture, paintings, drawings. You name it. Vicki says she’s always had “the bug.” The spark. And plenty of outlets for it.
It started when she was three years old, she said, hovering around her Uncle’s wood shop. Then there was an introduction to clay, and wood carving. When she was much older she went to art school for illustration, and that eventually morphed into graphic design. When the computer got to be to much she learned the gardening trade, started her own landscaping business and submerged her life in nature.
Through the twists and turns of life Vicki has taken art classes in anything and everything. Woodburning, carving with power tools, raku firing, jewelry design.
“I sound like a groupie,” she says, raising her eyebrows at me and cracking a small smile.
Vicki’s actually at a point where she’s almost forbidden herself to collect more materials and learn more techniques. Her studio is overflowing, and she already knows so much. But that “almost” becomes abundantly clear as I ask her a follow-up and she tells me about a course she’s traveling across the country for in a few weeks. You can never know enough about what you love.
Art courses for Vicki are her escape from the everyday; a way to submerge herself in creating. It’s not often people allot themselves a substantial chunk of time to just focus on one piece or art form. She says she also likes to surround herself with people who can influence and inspire her.
Vicki describes each class, each learning experience as a “facet of a diamond.” In and of itself it’s beautiful, sure, but moreso because of the detail it adds to the whole. Each class is a facet of her total artistry.
“I’m constantly chipping away at what I want to be when I grow up,” she says quite matter-of-factly. I can certainly relate to that.