Jaclyn Bissett: Life as an Artist
Jaclyn Bissett talks about her creative talents and her recent project of making a 3-foot beard out of napkins.
November 8, 2011
Flour, glue, lotion, paint, fabric.
For Jaclyn Bissett, a sophomore from Berkeley Springs, W.Va., this is a normal shopping trip for an artist.
“The most interesting things about me are my shopping lists,” said Bissett. “I usually get a weird look from the cashier at Wal-Mart, but I’m used to it now.”
Bissett has been drawing since grade school, and art always came natural to her.
“I would draw all over my papers, and my teachers would fawn over my dumb, kid drawings,” said Bissett. “It was just something I did, and everyone seemed to be impressed by it.”
Bissett's most recent project
It wasn’t until high school that she started referring to herself as an artist instead of someone who just draws. High school was also when she started taking more advanced art classes that challenged her more and influenced her to pursue a degree in art education.
“My favorite art class at Bluefield so far has been Ceramics because it wasn’t something I had ever done before,” said Bissett. “Working with the clay was really fun because I got to use my hands and actually sculpt something out of it.”
Sculpting stuff is her favorite thing to do, but she prefers papier-mâché to clay. She especially enjoys making birthday cards for her friends using this medium.
“Making cards makes my friends feel happy and special, and I love doing them,” said Bissett. “I try to think of something unique to that person and make a card off of that idea. It’s a totally opposite concept from Hallmark cards because I tailor each card to that one person.”
Some of her cards have included a papier-mâché portrait of one of her friends, a ballerina dancer, a Game Boy, and most recently, a unicorn for Dr. Merritt, her Creative Writing professor.
“Whenever I can’t think of a card idea for someone, I fall back on unicorns,” said Bissett. “It didn’t matter that it was my professor.”
Bissett has also made larger papier-mâché projects including Pokémon characters, Arnold from the cartoon “Hey Arnold,” and a six-foot polar bear.
Her latest project was crafting a three-foot long beard out of napkins from the cafeteria in honor of “No Shave November.”
“My friend Carrie Smith and I were talking about how different everyone looked since they had shaved and we thought of the idea of how different she would look with a beard,” said Bissett. “So I ripped a napkin in the shape of a beard for her to wear, but someone at the table didn’t think it looked realistic. I took that as a challenge to make a beard out of napkins for her.”
Bissett loves challenging herself with art projects. She searches the Internet for different project ideas, and is currently working on a “30 Day Drawing Challenge” that includes drawing a fairytale, something orange, something you need, something you miss, and a place you want to go.
“Sometimes it’s hard to come up with an idea because there are so many ideas that could be thought up,” said Bissett. “So having a list of criteria helps me narrow down ideas in order to actually draw something. I find lists on the Internet on websites like StumbleUpon or Pinterest.”
She also likes to challenge herself by drawing portraits of her favorite people, the friends she sees every day.
“I stalk my friends’ Facebook pages to get pictures of them and usually they are confused by my random liking of an old photo,” said Bissett. “After I sketch them, they understand and are glad that they get a picture sketched of them.”
Bissett is willing to try every kind of art project and enjoys creating art for other people. She will also make birthday cards, sketches, or other artsy creations by request, usually with a small fee.
Several of her pieces have been featured in the Ice House, an art gallery from her hometown, and she plans to submit some pieces to the Bluestone Review next semester.