You are here: Home - about hollie heller

about hollie heller

Hollie Heller

My Background:

I am a mixed media artist have lived in NJ for the past 25 years.  I began my art training as an Art Education Major with a Minor in Fiber Art from the University of Delaware.  Soon after I went to Graduate School at Rochester Institute of Technology, in  upstate NY, and received an MFA in Weaving and Textile Design with a minor in painting.  Here my love of making art became my focus and I knew I wanted to get into teaching on a university level but felt it was important to work in the Textile Industry in NYC first.  I worked as a Colorist and Textile Designer for two years and then was lucky enough to get a teaching job at William Paterson University in Wayne NJ where I headed the Textile Design department for 11 years.  This period of time taught be how to teach and gave me the opportunity to really find my calling as a teacher.  Since 2001 I have taught  Textile Design, Foundation classes and Mixed Media classes at Tyler School of Art, Montclair State University, The Visual Arts School in Summit NJ, and The 92nd Street Y in NYC.  As time went on through the 1990’s and  2000’s my art work became increasingly about collage, mixed media, and photography.  I am always experimenting in my studio, coming up with unique processes combining my love of paper and fabric.  Currently my work has moved into the realm of large Installations, enabling me to work with multiples of found and made objects that are inspired by the landscape of Costa Rica.

 How this happened:

My husband and I began visiting and fell in love with Costa Rica  five years ago.  We bought a beautiful Villa in 2008 on the Pacific sea coast in the surfing town of Tamarindo.  After spending an increasing amount of time in Tamarindo, I started reevaluating my next step in teaching.  One day as our realtor was taking us around a large ocean front home, I had an epiphany as I walked down the stairs looking out at the afternoon sun glistening on the ocean, “why don’t I create an Art Retreat here?”  At this point we had met so many people from all over the world, who live here, and are interested in art and I realized that there was nowhere in town to take classes.  This area is known for surfing, yoga, and of course enjoying the beauty of this amazing tropical paradise.   This seemed like a natural next step for me and my husband as our four boys were entering their twenties and becoming independent.  We decided to sell our villa and build a  home and studio on an ocean front lot right outside of the bustling town in a gated community called the Tamarindo Preserve.  Our house and the 700 square foot studio will be finished in December 2013 and I plan to begin teaching workshops in May 2014.  My vision for Artist Retreat Tamarindo is to create a haven for artists to get away from their normal work spaces and breathe in a new art experience.  I have been teaching one week collage workshops for the past twenty years at places like Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont  School of Crafts,  and Surface Design and Quilt conferences nationally.  I knew the response to my classes and  know what works and how to pace  a week long class.

My Philosophy:

I am so excited to be offering this art experience especially with the beautiful warm weather, ocean views and breezes that this very special art studio will offer all year around.  Growing up in the summers at my families home on the New Jersey shore, I remember sitting on the beach in the early evenings looking out on the horizon wandering where my life will lead.  This  lifestyle of fusing my love of art and being on the ocean seems as though it was planted in my mind back then.  After so many years of teaching,  I cannot think of a more wonderful environment to be in then a room full of creative people making art.  I love the process of teaching and the process of making art and  have created my own philosophies about “making art” that I am anxious to share. When teaching groups of artists I am reminded of my own studio practices and reactions to new discoveries and unsuccessful ones. When I am designing a class I am always  drawing on my own  art making experience  which is very process driven.  My own working style tends to be very systematic and when students have a hard time getting started I try to break down the project to a step by step activity. The classes and projects I have designed  are a balance between offering new insights and techniques as well as inducing creative thinking. The workshop studio  is a unique environment  where I can observe students’ creative process and instruct individually within the class.  I learn something new from my students in each  class that I teach and because I am so involved in my own daily  art making this knowledge of how to make a class work seems to come very naturally to me.  I hope to have returning students and friends come share this experience as well as new students and residents of Costa Rica.  The people in Tamarindo are wonderful and the town draws an international community which adds a fresh outlook on every day here. Tamarindo is a place that can offer a “back to earth” lifestyle leaving the high technology world behind.  An opportunity to renew a love of nature with little distractions from the pressures of our fast paced world.  For a week, Artist  Retreat Tamarindo , will fuse creative energy and give artists a chance to get out of their box, relate to new creative people, and most important to give themselves the  experience of  being inspired by the beauty of nature.  I hope you will join me here  and take a class, form a small group for independent work time, or come share my studio with me.

Hollie Heller