TINY TALKS WITH CRYSTAL BOWDEN

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Crystal Bowden from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her poem, “Dream State” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Crystal: Giving myself the space and time to sit with ideas is essential for my creative practice. Also, reading is a constant source for me. Books live inside me, changing how I think and what I know. That inevitably bleeds its way into my work.

Poetry and collage are how I express myself and draw on my relationship with others in the most collective sense. In this way, each poem or collage I create tells a different story through interiority. I hope people find their own stories buried within the layers.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Crystal: Too many to list for sure! Honestly, I find women ridiculously inspirational. Every time I see another woman doing something amazing, whether it’s a creative endeavor or not, I feel uplifted. I feel stronger. We all have so much potential within us that at any given time is being suppressed, both externally and internally; all I can think is BRAVO. Get it. We’ve got this.

Time

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Crystal: As humans, everything we are is rooted in the natural world, so I find that connectedness essential to my work. I love to make a study of nature. I’m an avid bird watcher – my yard is full of feeders! Peterson Field Guides and the App Seek are great for identifying things I cannot put a name to.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Crystal: I’m a pen and paper person when it comes to writing. And I rarely write poems at the start, even though poems are all I write. Instead, I like to get my ideas and thoughts down loosely on the page before I ever try to turn them into something more structured and coherent. These usually look like lists more than anything else. Then I’ll take those ideas and start arranging and structuring them into a poem. Only after that will I move the poem from my writer’s notebook into a digital document for revisions. It’s best if I take some time between the original writing and revisions, so I lose some of my sentimental attachment to the original and view it more objectively.

When I create visual arts, I hardly ever go into a piece knowing my overarching goals or what will happen in the artwork. Instead, the process is intuitive and generally driven by mood and whatever is currently sitting heavily in my brain. Those inform my decisions, whether the color palette, imagery, or composition. I try not to overthink these things and let myself flow.

Simple Rhythm

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Crystal: Currently, I’m working on a manuscript for my first poetry chapbook titled, Before the Exhale. The title comes from a line in my poem, Middle Spaces, about all the ways we live in between one thing and the next. These show up in my work in numbered and varied ways, and you’ll see this throughout Before the Exhale.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Crystal: For other poets, I highly recommend the book, Glitter in the Blood: A Poet’s Manifesto for Better, Braver Writing, by Mindi Nettifee. For those who love reading poetry, read Lord of the Butterflies, by Andrea Gibson.

Mood

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Crystal: I regularly publish in magazines! You can keep up with new  individual publications by following me on social media. You’ll find my work included in upcoming issues from The Spring City Journal and Pile Press.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Crystal: My website | Instagram | Twitter

TINY TALKS WITH OORMILA VIJAYAKRISHNAN PRAHLAD

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her poem, “Death Dream in Purple” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Oormila: Everyday things! I believe there is magic in the commonplace. I see my art and poetry as documentations of my daily experiences — conversations I have with my children, the people I meet, sights and scenes I encounter on my walks, photos I take.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Oormila: I can think of so many! Off the top of my head, I look up to Carolynn Kingyens for her luminous poetry that brims with tenderness and humanity, Zaina Ghani for her wonderfully imagistic works, Nina Bennett, Beate Sigriddaughter, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Sneha Subramanium Kanta, and Mandira Pattnaik’s for her lyrical flash fiction. Idols I admire — my friend Sandhya Devanathan. She is my role model.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Oormila: I live in a green and leafy suburb of Sydney. I get visits from all kinds of lovely wild spirits:  bunnies, possums, magpies, bush turkeys, cockatoos, and lorikeets to name a few. I have published several series of mixed-media artworks and poems inspired by these beautiful creatures. My studio overlooks a lovely garden and during the lockdown, the wildlife was pretty much my social life. They figure prominently in a lot of my work.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Oormila: I have several projects going on at any given point in time, and I keep switching among them. I like to work in an organized space which is easy when I am writing poetry. It’s the painting that gets messy and I find myself getting distracted and cleaning up in the middle of work very often! I always carry a sketch book and a notepad. In the pre-Covid days, a lot of my poetry drafts were written either on train commutes or while waiting to pick my kids up from school.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Oormila: I am working on two micro-chapbooks. Both my parents have milestone birthdays coming up this year. My mum turns 70 and dad turns 75 and I want to surprise them with two collections of poems dedicated to both! I also have plans to put together a full-length poetry manuscript at some point.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Oormila: Carolynn Kingyens’ books Before the Big Bang Makes a Sound, and Coupling. I am a huge fan of Gaia Rajan’s writing, and I loved her chapbook Moth Funerals. I would also recommend Phillip Hall’s brilliant collection of poems, Cactus, which is a heart-breaking exploration of depression and what it is like to live with it. I also recommend all Shankari Chandran’s books: Song of the Sun God, The Barrier, and her latest novel, Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens.

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Oormila: Besides writing poetry and painting, I play improv piano — some Metallica, Pink Floyd, Guns and Roses. I have a huge collection of odds and ends in my studio, and I use some crazy materials in my mixed media works sometimes. Recently, I made “cat wool” from the hair from my cat’s brush. It made for the most delicate silver wool, and I added it as accents to a few winter-themed mixed media landscapes. It looked great!

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Oormila: I’m on Instagram and on Twitter.

TINY TALKS WITH SHANNON GARDNER

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Shannon Gardner from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Find her artwork, “Mother Monster,” “Nighttime Hue,” “A Joke to You,” and “Don’t Stop or We’ll Die” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Shannon: Watching horror movies and studying paranormal kindles my creativity. The spontaneous process of nature inspires me to explore Earth’s unfound beauty and imitate its natural imperfections. I enjoy creating art depicting paranormal elements and iconography. 

Ol Poogley-Pie, Collage, 2021

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Shannon: I am inspired by German Expressionism artists like: Edvard Munch, and Tim Burton. Surrealist artists like; Picasso and Claude Cahun. Expressionists like Egon Schiele and Contemporaries like Polka-Dot artist Yayoi Kusama. My process is similar to artists who encourage exploring the taboo and Surrealist/Psychic Automatism or the act of creating art disconnected from consciousness. My work focuses on exploring the unconscious mind as a way of creating art, resulting in innate, dream-like imagery.

The Arm, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Shannon: Supernatural entities continue to inspire my work, paranormal phenomenon. The surrealist unbridled reign to the consciousness is how I approach art making. I have an ambition to spend my life studying the occult and paranormal. I enjoy projects that involve a proactive and sustainable message. 

Siren Song, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Shannon: I enjoy line and dot work, stippling and cross-hatching, clusters of value implying crisp texture and depth, giving the illusion of change through time. My serendipitous approach to watercolor and ink creates a profound contrasting aura with my surrealist illustrations. Through my process, I attempt to disassociate my hand from my consciousness, work directly from instinct. As a result, I have found my best work is created when I’m not thinking.

I often draw on paper with an ink pen an interesting idea, inspire in the spur of the moment. I enjoy creating multiple line pieces over a relatively short period of time. The pieces sit unfinished until I find enough time where I can devote myself to paint all the pieces with watercolor. This makes a cohesive palette of color throughout multiple pieces. 

Mommy’s Girl, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Shannon: I usually paint when I work in my studio. I enjoy painting from a used palate, working off pigment from previous sessions to avoid wasting materials. I find working on paintings in the mornings while working on drawings at night yields the best results. I am currently working more in collage, assemblage, and sculpture. I have always worked in 2D with an emphasis on the outline, so when branching out to 3D I am enjoying playing with the minimalist relationship between figurative and abstract work.

I have much confidence in my work; as a result, I have been featured in dozens of publications worldwide. I understand that if you apply yourself the worst outcome is a formal rejection with appreciation of your submission. I have the ability to create a plethora of work in order to meet deadlines and ensure quality work.

David, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2020

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Shannon: I’m currently working with Collage-Lab where I’ll be teaching a workshop on how to incorporate hand-drawn illustrations and collage. There I will explain Surrealist Automatism and how to think of collage making as a spontaneous process. 

I am also involved with an online Zine called Continue The Voice. Released quarterly as a platform to share art and voices of all kinds. My original illustrations are featured throughout and exclusively on the Coorie Moments pages.

All-Star, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others? 

Shannon: A book that I’m currently into is called, Begone Satan: A Soul Stirring Account of Diabolical Possession in Iowa, a 19th century exorcism of a woman local to where I am from. For inspiration I would suggest researching and finding books from your childhood that encouraged you to read as a child or that inspired you in any way. Revisiting those stories may help or unlock things that can benefit you in the future.

Optometrists, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond? 

Shannon: What I value most in my work is honesty and confidence. As an artist I strive not to be a perfectionist, I seek to make mistakes. Appreciating the process of nature, death, and decay I practice the Asian technique of Wabi Sabi; the aesthetic within imperfections. I strive to explore the unearthed beauty and imitate the natural imperfections. I live for crooked lines and brushstrokes. The human journey is not a straight line but a labyrinth of twists and turns, an imperfect spiral with one way in and out. Through my work I hope to embody those imperfections. My goal is to show the audience the importance of appreciating people, emotions, achievements and pain. I strive to evoke a haunted aura of remembrance that death and decay reflects the evident future of life. All parts of Earth’s cycle should be celebrated, not overlooked or forgotten.

Flower Child, Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 2021

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Shannon: You may purchase my work here

View my original artwork quarterly here

Sign up for my newsletter at UneasyViewing@gmail.com

Issue 8 Feature: Jackie Partridge

Our 8th Issue is packed full of exciting artists and writers! Our blog is an extension of the issue so we can share even more experimental, beautiful work with our readers! This piece is also in print.
Looking In

Process Note: Establishing Roots first created in 2016 inspired the later series of altered atlases What Is and What Was. Establishing Roots uses a world atlas and as each page turns one house shape is hand-cut from the page. 

What Is and What Was from 2018 includes four wooden stools circling a table inviting viewers to sit down and view four altered North American and Canadian atlases. As the pages turn houses are removed from the page showing the changing landscape both through the altering of cut-outs and the found object of the atlas continuing to outdate itself. Looking In is one of the featured atlases in this piece. 

Establishing Roots
Establishing Roots

Bio: Jackie Partridge is a mixed media artist working with handmade paper, recycled maps and objects living in Wellesley, ON, Canada.

TINY TALKS WITH ALEX WASALINKO

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Alex Wasalinko from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her poem, “Apocalypse Next Tuesday” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Alex: I love finding an image, a word, a piece of art, even a corny tabloid heading that moves me to think How can I include this in my work?  It was never intentional, but found language and objects are often the entryway to my flow. So much of my writing and art begins with repurposing and repositioning the pieces of inspiration I find into new contexts. Being out in the world and taking lots of walks gives me so much material–either physical things I can interweave into a bigger project or some fresh perspective to get everything down on paper.  Creativity for me comes when I gather these pieces together, kind of like a treasure hunt.   

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Alex: One of my all-time favorite writers is Sarah Ruhl.  I read Melancholy Play early in the pandemic and purposefully took extra time to move through it because I never wanted it to end.  I’m also a giant fan of Adrienne Rich’s poetry, and she has really shaped how I approach writing.  In terms of the Big Figures who influence me, Ruhl and Rich make the top of the list.  I’m wildly fortunate to have circles of friends who are some of the most brilliant people that I’ve ever met, in their art, the way they move through the world, their dedication, their care.  Honestly, I look up to each of them daily.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Alex: The first thing that comes to mind is flowers.  So much of my work circles back to flowers.  They’re steadfast.  And I know it’s not “natural” in the same way flowers are, but I think I would categorize a city as a natural entity here, too.  I live in Philadelphia at the moment and I’ve written more in the relatively short time I’ve lived here than maybe ever before, and so much of it comes back to moments, sights, sounds, all the little entities that have moved me around the city.  It’s the street art and graffiti, the nonstop construction that pops up overnight that reshapes the landscape, even commuting on the El train from 30th Street–it got to a point that I was writing so much either while waiting for the train or on it that my phone began to suggest I open my notes app pretty consistently around the time I commute.  Not all the sensory elements that I encounter appear in my writing, but there’s something electric about it that gets me into a flow.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Alex: My piece that appears in Issue 8, “Apocalypse Next Tuesday ” came about pretty differently compared to my collages, poetry, or hybrid work.  It began from a devising writing group I joined in the spring of 2021 with some former college classmates and mutual friends.  We always kicked off our writing sessions with idea brainstorms and word association games to generate some raw, fresh material.  “Apocalypse Next Tuesday” was first drafted as an impossible stage direction activity–where the laws of nature cannot limit what happens on the stage–using some of the elements from my list of items from the collaborative brainstorms.  Then, like almost all of my pieces, I let it rest until I was ready to make it into something fuller and (hopefully) more refined.  At the core though, the process had a similar start, of taking a small occurrence and thinking “Okay, now how can I build something full from this phrase?”

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Alex: I’ve been itching to get back into my Internet Oddity zine series, which takes the very mysterious yet lyrical Google search results for robo call numbers or exact searches for unusual word pairings.  It’s a trippy time, but I really love extracting the weirdness of it all.  Next time you get a random spam call, I highly recommend exact searching the number to see what pops up. 

In terms of publications, I’m revising some works to send out for some open calls.  Ideally, before the end of 2022, I want to have some kind of manuscript ready to be sent out.  Fingers crossed. I have a poem appearing in Perennial Press’s anthology force / fields, which I’m super excited about!  

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Alex: I recently revisited Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and highly recommend, especially if you watched the show.  I find the book to be more hopeful, but then again I didn’t get past two episodes of the series so maybe I need to be proved wrong here lol. 

If music is your speed, I’ve been on a very big Dr. Dog kick lately, and always recommend them if you’re looking for some fun beats and witty lyrics.  They’re masters of their craft.  

Art–I always recommend my favorite artist Phoebe Anna Traquair’s The Progress of a Soul series.  They’re massive silk embroidered tapestries that are simply breathtaking.  Every few months I return to them for some inspiration.

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Alex: I don’t think I formally gave my little artist statement introduction so: I’m a poet by way of training, but in practice I consider myself a more interdisciplinary and self-taught writer-artist.  Much of my work begins as an experiment.  Sometimes it takes off and sticks with me, a lot of times it doesn’t, and I’ve learned that’s okay.  I’m happy with how my work and my approach to creating evolved over the past couple of years.  It feels really wonderful to be making and to have the space to do so, a sentiment I acknowledge regularly. 

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Alex: At the moment only my instagram.  It’s a dumping ground for anything I’m working on and some process reflections, announcements, etc. Maybe in 2022 I’ll finally launch a website, or a Patreon? The only way you’d know if that will happen is if you follow my IG!

Issue 8 Feature: Ali Bryan

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Our 8th Issue is packed full of exciting artists and writers! Our blog is an extension of the issue so we can share even more experimental, beautiful work with our readers!

Ghost

The ghost always appeared when Noel was in the shower. A pervert ghost, she thought. How lucky. The ghost itself wasn’t a surprise. The house—a four-story Queen Anne that smelled like the Boer War and had been turned into flats—was full of them. For the most part, they stuck to the usual hijinks and tricks. They appeared when you didn’t expect them, rearranged the furniture, banged on the pipes, messed with the lights. Occasionally, they cried.

Candace, in apartment one, got a kid ghost. Scrappy thing with a bowl cut and a sailor suit. He mostly hung out under her kitchen table, like a dog, and scratched at her feet. Noel once found his tiny navy necktie near the basement washing machine. Candace was relieved when Noel returned it—the ghost, she said, had been looking for it.

A lady ghost lived upstairs with Deb in apartment four. Unlike the others in the house, Deb’s ghost was modern. Sixties era. Big-eyed and barefoot. Janis Joplin hair. Pouty. Noel had only seen her a couple of times: once in the backyard, and a second time near the mail slot. The tenants all agreed the crying they heard was Deb’s ghost, though Noel always wondered if it was in fact just Deb, sobbing over her latest break-up, or the sight of her Roman nose.

Jun lived down the hall from Noel in apartment two. A Masters student, he was into robotics, cycling and potted plants. Cat ghost. Every Monday, Jun left a fresh can of tuna outside his door. Noel noted, it was sometimes empty by the end of the week.

Apartment five was vacant, but there were ghosts there too.

Noel kicked off her running sneakers, chucked her socks in the laundry and stripped out of her gear. 31:13. New personal best. She cranked the tap in the tub, waited for it to get hot, lit a candle, and turned on the shower. She liked the steam. The way it cleaned her pores, rid her body of the city smells that lingered on her skin: pigeon shit, sauerkraut, Saturday night, the dead lilacs and dumpsters.

Just as she went to rinse the shampoo from her hair, there he was. Pervert ghost. Six foot-threeish, hipster beard, fucked up ears—the kind sported by kick boxers and wrestlers. This was the third time this week. Go away, she hollered, elbowing the shower curtain. Do something useful like make me a sandwich. Take out my trash! Fix the little screw that keeps coming off the radiator. Fuck.

Noel finished rinsing, turned off the water, climbed out of the claw-foot tub. Was that an impression on the plush bath mat? Size eleven? Twelve? Her imagination. There was only one print. She smiled. My pervert ghost has a peg leg. A pirate. She towel dried. Went to bed.

A week passed before pervert ghost reappeared. Noel was at Candace’s with the rest of the tenants for their monthly potluck.  Jun had brought a seafood casserole and she hoped he’s hadn’t used the hallway tuna. Candace made salad. Deb brought KFC. It was Noel’s turn to bring dessert and she’d stopped at a bakery on the lower eastside to buy a six-pack of fancy donuts. For fun, she bought a sprinkled one for Candace’s ghost.

“Anyone got news?” Deb asked, on her third drumstick.

“My girlfriend’s coming to visit,” Jun replied.

“From China? Ooh,” Candace teased, making a kissy face. “And what about you, Noel? Seeing anyone lately? Any Lumberjacks or Cross-fitters we should know about so we don’t kick ‘em out of the building?”

“Nada,” Noel smirked, licking the icing from a coconut donut. She was still hopeful she and Todd would get back together after his residency. Just wait ‘til he saw her legs.

“By the way,” Deb said. “Landlord was in this morning. He finally fixed the lint trap.”

“It’s about time,” Candace sighed.

Noel hadn’t seen him. Must have come during her run.

Jun said, “I’d given up and was using the campus Laundromat.”

“Alright neighbors.” Noel stood. “Gotta go. I have a massage in…” she paused to check her watch. “Twenty minutes.”

“Have fun!” Deb called.

“Want your donut?” Candace asked, plucking a sprinkle from the top.

“I’m good.” Noel waved, and walked out the door.

After her massage, Noel wanted to take a shower. She hated the feeling of oil along her hairline. But the spa was out of hot water. Something about the construction site next door. Noel wrapped her hair in a bun and walked home.

No ghosts greeted her. Only flyers in the hall and Jun’s bike. She climbed the stairs, opened the door to her apartment, and dumped her purse in the front entry.  She found sprinkles in the living room. Maybe pervert ghost and kid ghost have swapped units. Candace has bigger boobs and Noel could use a more youthful vibe. The massage therapist told Noel her skin was starting to sag and sent her home with hyaluronic acid.

Noel tossed her sweater on the radiator. Finally. The Landlord had fixed the loose screw. She grabbed a towel from the linen closet, went to the bathroom and turned on the fan. Fuck a shower, she thought. I’m having a bath.

She filled the tub, added bubble bath and slipped into the water. Within a few minutes, pervert ghost was there, face hovering inches from the shower curtain marred by the steam and the curtain’s Paris motif. Now what?  She thought. Do something other than just watch. Like get me a glass of wine! There’s Pinot Grigio in the fridge. Noel laughed, plugged her nose and dunked her head under the water.

When she resurfaced, pervert ghost was gone. She threw on her robe and went to her bedroom. An amputee with cauliflower ears stood in her doorway. A man of size. She could smell him. Cat food, donuts, and sweat. He held up a glass of wine and winked.

Bio: Ali Bryan lives in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, where she explores the what-ifs, the wtfs and the wait-a-minutes of every day.

TINY TALKS WITH ALI BRYAN

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Ali Bryan from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her short story, “Sweet Caroline” in our eighth issue and her other stories are posted in our Monday Features!

The Hill by Ali Bryan

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Ali: Exploring the what-ifs, the wtfs and the wait-a-minutes of every day.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Ali: Jean Smith, Pamma FitzGerald, Miriam Toews, Meg Wolitzer, Wes Anderson, Shia LaBeouf, Seth Rogen, Mike White, Jennifer Coolidge, ABBA, Missy Elliott…

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Ali: All of it. I grew up on the Atlantic Ocean and currently live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. But stars, deer, rabbits, mountains and water figure most prominently in my work.

“Alberta captured under crippling smoke from neighbour BC wildfires”

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Ali: My creative process is a blend of intuition and craft and varies from genre to genre, project to project. I love the raw grit of a first draft and the underrated magic of revision. In Sweet Caroline, I enjoyed playing with the juxtaposition of an iconic feel-good song matched with the macabre, messy and often dangerous work of paramedics.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Ali: I am currently finishing the edits for my next book of fiction, The Crow Valley Karaoke Championships, which is forthcoming in 2023.

“a crude painting I made last year”

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Ali: Lookout: Love, Solitude and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest is a stunning memoir. Ceramic artist, Pamma FitzGerald’s Left Behind clay installation. Jack Bishop’s paintings, which explore car-culture, consumerism, commercial space and urban sprawl. The Royal Tennanbaums (film), White Lotus (TV). ABBA Gold, NOFX’s Punk in Drublic, the music of David Francey. 

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Ali: I was a certified Personal Trainer and worked in marketing and communications before turning to writing full time. I am currently serving as the Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“sketch of Gary Drayton (sketching the cast of The Curse of Oak Island)

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Ali: My website, on Instagram and Twitter.

TINY TALKS WITH GUILHERME BERGAMINI

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Guilherme Bergamini from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Find his work, “Contractions” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Guilherme: Experiencing each phase that is presented in my life. Experimenting with narrative possibilities and how to tell each story that arises in my creative process.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Guilherme: There are so many inspirations that I don’t intend to number them, so as not to be unfair or forget someone who is so important to me. But I say that the various forms of artistic and cultural manifestations are a sum of learnings, inspirations that allow me to mature my way of making art.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Guilherme: Yes, nature is the greatest material and immaterial asset that I can contemplate and be inspired by. Without her, my works would be empty.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Guilherme: “Contractions” was one of my most important and significant works. These postcards were sent in the period leading up to the birth of my daughter Malu and a few days after her birth.

Each postcard tells feelings and experiences that I lived in that moment that I say was the most beautiful of my life, the birth of my greatest masterpiece, my daughter.

Following an aesthetic line of mail art, an artistic movement of the mid-twentieth century, the collages were made from photographs of facades in the city of Havana, Cuba and images of roads taken in several trips I took in my State, Minas Gerais, which by the way, it presents an indescribable natural beauty.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Guilherme: Yes, I have a work “Sands inventory” which is an imagery documentation of the urbanization process around Fazenda das Areias, my family’s rural property located in the municipality of Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

This work began in 2006 and is currently under development.

Other works that are in progress are shorter in terms of production time but dialogue with current issues such as social isolation due to the pandemic and the emotional issue of a transsexual in her work routine.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Guilherme: I nominate Brazilian Popular Music in its most diverse aspects and artists such as Milton Nascimento, Tom Jobim, Chico Buarque, Tim Maia, Caetano Veloso, Elis Regina, Elza Soares, Zeca Baleiro…. Brazil is a country rich in literature, writers, poets such as Carlos Drumond de Andrade, Manuel Bandeira, Carolina Maria de Jesus, Cecília Meireles, Machado de Assis, João Cabral de Melo Neto, Clarice Lispector, Graciliano Ramos, Guimarães Rosa, Adélia Prado, Conceição Evaristo…

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Guilherme: I just want you to know that art for me is liberating, resistance and meaning for my life.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do? (website, social media, etc., if you wish to share it)

Guilherme: I invite you to visit my website | Facebook | Instagram

Tiny Spoon: Do you have photographs or images you would like us to share?

Guilherme: I would like to share my third independent publication, Carta Branca (White card), an imagery critique of the tragic Brazilian police in recent years. The photobook undersigns the photographs and graphic design where the publication was a finalist last year in the Hong Kong Photobook Dummy Award and Photobook Week Aarhus in Denmark, in addition to being present in libraries and exhibitions in 13 countries. Discover the photobook here.

Issue 8 Feature: Casey Jo Storer

Our 8th Issue is packed full of exciting artists and writers! Our blog is an extension of the issue so we can share even more experimental, beautiful work with our readers!
Connecting With the Audience is also in Issue 8!
The Mire

Bio: Casey Jo Storer is a sign maker from Nashville, TN.

TINY TALKS WITH SAMUEL T. FRANKLIN

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Samuel T. Franklin from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read his poems, “Questions, Answers” and “Mid-Breath, a Question” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Samuel: When I was very young—say four or five—I repeated the word “bird” over and over until it lost any real meaning for me. It ceased to correlate to a physical animal and became just a weird sound I was making. That disassociation didn’t last more than probably a minute, but I think that was a kind of formative experience—language is a symbolic construction, and breaking the association between word and object can let you see something in a completely new way. 

I think that’s become at least one of the main catalysts for my writing—to break down normal associations and introduce a new perspective.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Samuel: Like many poets and fiction writers, my creative writing isn’t my main source of income. I currently work full-time at a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, where I manage and maintain various kinds of documentation. It’s interesting work, but there isn’t any room for poetry during the day—I have to squeeze it in at night, on the weekends, the early mornings before I’ve had a decent amount of coffee. It’s made me think a lot about the poets Wallace Stevens and Ted Kooser. Both cultivated highly successful careers in poetry and highly successful careers in a decidedly non-poetic field (the insurance industry). They remind me that finding the right balance between your hobbies and your job can be difficult, but it is by no means impossible.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Samuel: There’s a great chinquapin oak in my backyard that I consider with equal parts wonder and terror. It’s over a century old, and half of its trunk is a twisted mass of split and scarred wood from a lightning strike decades ago. It looks amazing up close. The dead wood is gnarled and wavy, and there are some magnificent burls. It’s also quite tall, and pretty close to my house, so it tends to make me a little nervous. I’ve had arborists out to assess it, and they’ve said that generally it’s fine and healthy—aside from the dead portion. But every time there’s a storm or a strong wind, I half expect to hear it cracking and falling over. It’s an awe-inspiring thing, and it’s made its way into a number of poems.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Samuel: I keep a notebook with me at all times—small enough to fit into my back pocket. If anything strikes or resonates with me during the day—a word, a thought, an observation—I make a note of it. And I might not come back to that note for a day or a week or maybe even a few months, but, eventually, I revisit it. Sometimes it connects with other notes I’ve made since, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I forget entirely why I wrote it down, but that doesn’t necessarily matter. If it still resonates, I’ll expand on it, or work it into something else I’m already writing.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Samuel: The two poems published in Issue 8 (“Questions, Answers” and “Mid-breath, a Question”) are from a larger collection that I’m attempting to get published. The collection, currently titled Moondarkness, Sleeptongue, Dreamlife, is composed of poems that are based on things my wife has said or done in her sleep. She’s totally cool with it, and has already read all the poems.

I also am working through a collective mess (too vague to be called a definitive collection, too connected to not eventually be exactly that) of poems that seem to focus on how people and their environments change each other, for better or worse.

And there’s an ongoing assemblage of short-to-micro pieces of fiction that have stemmed largely from observing people being absolute garbage to each other.  

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Samuel: Honestly, I’d recommend that you seek out whatever inspires you to keep on creating and thinking about the world in new ways. I’ve noticed that the works that most inspire me somehow engage history, but that might not be for everyone.

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Samuel: I guess a fun fact about my second book of poetry (Bright Soil, Dark Sun) is that I designed the cover through a combination of fingerpaint and digital manipulation. In fact, if you look at it closely, you’ll notice some weird squiggly lines in the upper-right corner. Those are palm lines from one of my hands. It’s a messy cover, but I like it well enough.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Samuel: I have a website.