Saturday, August 17, 2013

Meet the artist - Carlene Taylor Simmons

Oh my, it's been FAR too long since I've run an artist profile.
Summer, and all its wonderful diversions, has knocked my routine off course.
I have quite a few wonderful and inspiring stories lined up and waiting.

Today, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to Carlene Taylor Simmons.  I first "met" Carlene during the inaugural index-card-a-day challenge in 2011.
I would scroll though hundreds of images in the ICAD flickr group and periodically stop to admire a particular card.  After a while I realized I was consistently stopping on Carlene's cards.  We started reading and commenting on each other's blogs, and we swap the occasional postcard.
I feel fortunate to count her among my art friends.

Here she is, in her own words:

Carlene Taylor Simmons
Nashville, TN 
currently in my fabulous 40s
insurance claims examiner by day
wife and mother of two

I grew up in a family of doers. My mother and two elder sisters taught me to sew and cross stitch. I somehow found my way around to college majoring in art, specifically fibers. I studied surface design, weaving and book arts. 

Now I am at a place were I enjoy art for myself. My favorite forms are mail art and art journaling. Collage, stitching, fabric, paper and color are common elements in my work.  

My studio is just a small room in our house, basically a small bedroom. But it is one of my favorite places. Don't tell anyone but I slip off very early each morning for a hour of quiet creative time before the household wakes up. Having that time daily is a great benefit to my general well being. 

Art is also a great community in my life. Mail Me Some Art got me into mail art after a few years away. Mail art allows me to develop relationships in a way social media doesn't. I think of it more like old fashioned correspondence. I reply to every piece of mail I receive that includes the senders address with a piece of my own. It is a positive motivator that keeps me working and playing. 

There are lots of things I wish I knew when I first started exploring my creativity but I know this is the way I had to get  to that knowledge. My advice is from a quote on my studio door, 

"Go to your studio and make stuff." Fred Babb

I share my journey at - 


  1. Well hey Carlene!
    I always find it fascinating to find fellow artists that live in my "backyard". I am in Manchester, TN which is only an hour from you! get that, lol
    I poped over to you blog to find we have other things we share like being in the SEWN class together and doing the ICAD challenge and probably many more but we will just leave it there.
    Thanks for sharing yourself with the MMSA group!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Lovely artwork -- and the blog looks good too! I'm following!

  3. Hi there Carlene, good to get to know you ...and I do believe a mail art piece is meant to be heading your way any mo now..! I was doing the early morning hour myself for quite a few years, but tend to be a night owl these days, everyone is older and stays up late anyway noe!

  4. I know you so well from your fabulous mail and I always look forward to receiving some goodies from you....a bit of stitch and a word or two. That's all I need. xox

  5. Nice to meet you, loved your website! Do I detect some MAM influence in your pattern journal? Would have loved to take Sewn but I no longer own a sewing machine. Can you tell us more about your play with pattern? That is something lacking on my part that I know I need to work on but can't seem to get around to doing. Hmmmmm.....MMSA postcard swap featuring patterns, Karen???

  6. Carlene - so great to see you featured!! Thank you for being such a MailArt inspiration. My stitched MailArt of late was definitely influenced by your beautiful work. Thanks for the push to give it a try!
    XO Gina

  7. Lovely to hear more about Carlene. I'm a big fan of her art! She has such a great eye for patterns and includes just the perfect words.

  8. SHE is SO generous and sweet and a fabulous instagramer! And she sent me a postcard early in MMSA history just because she felt like it! I have never forgotten it and how lovely it was and how sweet she was to do it. I honestly (and you know I usually lie) remember this when I think to send out a random card to someone, and how Carlene did that for me.

    Basically, I blame her.