What Art to Wear

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the next installment in a series of articles highlighting local artists who create wearable art. These Fashion Friday features will be published each month on First Friday.)

Ali Taylor is a 39-year-old art teacher at St. John Neumann Regional Academy who also designs jewelry for her brand, Ali Taylor Designs. She sells her work at local events and craft shows, including First Friday in Williamsport.

Tara D. McKinney: How did you learn your craft?

Ali Taylor: I attended Edinboro University and majored in fine arts and crafts, while there I was able to take a wide variety of classes that taught me about design, textures and color. Prior to that, I attribute my creativity to my family – they’re a very creative bunch.

When I was in high school, my mom and I used to buy old jewelry, rip it apart and redo or make jewelry out of whatever we could find. I still use this process today in some of my work. Later, I obtained my master’s and teaching certification from Mansfield Univer-sity, still gaining more insight into art, teaching and the creative process.

TDM: Can you describe the process of designing a new piece?

AT: I often find a unique focal piece in which to work around, drawing from the colors and textures from that main piece. When laying out at basic pattern, I play with scale and symmetry. Lately I have been playing with asymmetry and I want to branch out into playing with different and new materials.

TDM: Where does your inspiration to create come from?

AT: My inspiration comes from nature and fashion. Sometimes I go into stores or look online at Pinterest to see what is currently out there. I also love to play with new mediums and techniques. My students give me a great deal of inspiration, they have such talent.

TDM: Can you describe a piece that embodies your signature style?

AT: It is hard to put a label on what I make because I tend to experiment with new ways of making jewelry. I have done needle felting pieces, bead weaving, up-cycling, recycling, polymer clay, paper beads – you name it. For awhile I was obsessed with scrabble tiles and buttons and creating bracelets, necklaces and barrettes from these objects.

TDM: How do you push yourself creatively?

AT: I’m game to try something new. I always have a few new ideas up my sleeve.

TDM: Do you have any sales or new designs you would like people to be aware of?

AT: I tend to do more craft shows and events as the warmer weather sets in with my friend Pam Housel. We have penned ourselves the “beaded ladies.”

TDM: Are there any local artists you admire or have learned from?

AT: There are so many creative people in the area who I admire and, of course, my family members and friends who are artists. I have been very blessed to have many wonderful art teachers over the years, they always pushed me creatively.

TDM: What type of person is most likely to wear your designs?

AT: Someone who is looking for something unique and one of a kind. I can never really make the same thing twice. Someone that is not afraid of color and quirky details.

TDM: Can you give me a price range and description for your pieces?

AT: My pieces are very affordable. They range from just a few dollars to 50 at most. I price everything to sell so I can keep making more.

TDM: What do you enjoy about living and working in the Williamsport area?

AT: I love that Williamsport is in a resurgence as far as art goes. It has really exploded recently within the art scene. It is so exciting to see where it is going to go next. People seem to be more appreciative of things that are unique and hand crafted, more than ever before.

Check out her designs on Facebook at Ali Taylor designs. For more information about Ali Taylor Designs, email the artist at artseeali@msn.com.

McKinney may be reached at life@sungazette.com. To submit an artist for consideration, email jreppert@sun gazette.com or call 326-1551, ext. 3109.