The art of book making with Altered States Studio
Kristin Peterson of Altered States Studio is our featured artist this month, with an upcoming workshop exploring mixed media art book making. Expand your art education by joining this season. We had a quick conversation with Kristin about growing up in a house filled with creativity, the art of the handmade book and even tips on getting gallery representation. Learn more about her unique bookmaking process.
Can you introduce yourself a little and tell us where in the world you are?
Yes! I’m Kristin Peterson, and I am the artist behind Altered States Studio. I'm in the Midwest in South Dakota - born and raised here, and back again. I would say that anything creative I like and will dabble in. I like it all!
You have developed such a beautiful community over social media. What do you enjoy most about having that engagement?
Instagram has been so awesome. It’s been really incredible. I try not to look at the numbers, the numbers don’t matter to me.
"It’s a place for me to do some story telling and look my creative journey. Where I came from, where I’ve been, what I’m up to."
But really it is the friendships and the relationships are amazing, you know? I feel like I can really go anywhere and I'll be like “oh I think that so and so is here, let me see.” I really have truly appreciated just the friendships, and all of the relationships that I have that have come from Instagram.
It’s so fun to see your beautiful artwork.
Thank you so much. I appreciate playing, I love doing all if it and I love to share.
What do you think it is about your specific bookmaking style and the way you approach your artwork that is so appealing to a larger audience?
Sometimes I feel like it really is that I'm a Problem Solver. Sometimes I work myself into some kind of issue I'm like “oh that is not so good right there,” but I feel like anything can be fixed. We can just glue or tape or paint over it. We should not be afraid to embrace all of it. In paintings, they go through kind of an ugly phase. If just you embrace that and forge on, and know that in the end, the only person that really needs to care is you.
What are you going to be teaching people when you're here at the Homestead?
That would be book making! I do think that there is something about book making and taking your time to do it. We won’t have this huge fat, thick art book at the end, but we will have something that will be delicious to hold, and people will really cherish the time and effort that we put in. There is a composition to creating a book. I like being able to kind of mix and match and look at the whole book as a whole and look at where can we add details, where can we add some other texture and really put things together in a really unique different way. That’s what I’m hoping! And they will be at an absolutely beautiful location! I can’t tell you how excited I am to come there. Watching you two work and work has been amazing. I feel like I started following you years ago.
Yes! Well, this has been a dream since my early twenties, so it took me 40 years and I’m finally here and, in a place, where we can share. This place is so beautiful. It's going to be a big part of the experience and I'm sure that it will convey in the books. I'm so happy that you wanted to come and teach with us!
I'm very excited to come as well.
I would love to know how you developed your title for your mixed media art retreat, the "Prairie’d Primer?"
I am funny about words and actually they're always hard for me. I always want them to be kind of unique and different. I like the idea of a primer, of that beginning book, and we will be on the prairie! I wrote down a few ideas to see what would work best, and after seeing your lovely location and that whole open space it was like I knew that that would be a good fit for this particular class.
We’ve learned about you that you’re a third-generation artist, which is so powerful. I think it's so magical when that is something that's passed down. How was it for you growing up to have that support?
You know I feel pretty lucky because when I was a kid if it had anything to do with art my folks were like “Yep, absolutely!” Painting, clay, collage, cut, paste, any of that I could do. We lived near a recreational center and I could hardly wait until the course catalog came out so I could see which classes I wanted to take. Bless my folks they would drop me off in the morning and I’d just go from class to class all day.
My mom and my grandma would go on art shows and craft fairs, so we would travel and do the circuit. When I got older and I was going to do painting classes, I was nervous because I was thought, well “I’m a novice, and I really don’t know any of this.” But when I started taking classes I would hear things and remember that my mom and my grandma would have talked about that. It was putting some of what I had heard into practice.
It was fun to be able to take art classes with both my mom and my grandma. We would come home and all critique and take a look what we made, and probably even continue to work at the kitchen table afterward. It was just really special.
You probably take for granted how much of that is intuitive from just observing them work.
Yeah! I would remember, “I have heard that before!” I don’t know if it’s what I was supposed to be doing, but…
Part of that art making processes is that there shouldn't be a supposed to either right? So much of it IS intuitive. We think that we have to be educated in art, but for me it's like how do you get rid of that ‘supposed to?’
Where are you finding inspiration for your work right now?
That really can come from almost anywhere. I love walking and being outside, having a garden, that kind of thing. But sometimes it could be just a scrap piece of paper that I kept with a fun corner edge and it's like “oh that paper would be super awesome I try.”
"I try to just to be really mindful and appreciate the beauty everywhere. Those things that torn or weathered or soiled have even more beauty because they've got a story behind them."
I like creating! Some days I can be a little stuck and I'm not totally making, so I’ll just organize papers or something like that. Typically what happens is I'll come down to clean or I'm to do something I’m supposed to be doing, and then I end up playing and having a good time.
When you're not in your studio are you finding junk shops and searching for treasure?
I do. I love going thrifting.
Are you currently selling your work?
I haven't done shows in a long time. I do have a few larger pieces at a gallery here in Sioux Falls South Dakota. I also sell online in my Etsy store. If you see me post something you like that’s not available there, just send me a message and say “Hey look I'm interested in this, what's the scoop?” I'll be happy to help people.
Are you purchasing art for your own collections as well?
I am! I really love supporting other artists, and I have learned not to wait. If there is something that you see, a painting or whatever, that you love, grab it. I have a few things that were larger or more expensive, but I’ve found out that if you reach out to the artists and you just say, “Hey I really like this, can I make you payments?” usually people are open to that. I like to buy original art. There’s just something about original work.
Can you tell our readers about how you got your gallery representation?
Just by reaching out to the gallery. Typically speaking, call ahead and make an appointment. Explain what you do and see if they're taking new artists. Bring a nice collection of work whether that be on paper or canvas or even in wooden crates, however that looks for you. I have found that it depends on what the work is.
You might have to do a little shopping around sometimes. Not all galleries are open to like, soft goods, let’s say. So, something that's sewn or a journal or that kind of thing they might not be interested in. They may tend to maybe just have paintings or more finer art. Sometimes you’ve got to shop around for that right spot. I would just ask! The worst they're going to tell you is “No, not at this time.” We as artists just need to keep putting ourselves out there. When the time is right and things all click it will happen, and it will be just the right spot.
Thanks so much for sharing about yourself and your work, Kristin. See you soon!
Kristin Peterson of Altered State Studio will be at Hunter Moon Homestead this summer May 4th to the 7th for her workshop Prairie'd Primer. There are limited spots left so if you want to come and be part of Kristen's Workshop don't delay!