We had the good fortune of connecting with Kendra Gilbert and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kendra, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking risks is essential to true success. I don’t know of anyone who has never had to make a risky decision, or take a leap of faith, to get to where they are. I’m not exactly what you would call a “major” risk taker, but I do tend to push myself in order to test the boundaries of my abilities and comfort zones. Four years ago, I took the leap of faith, and left my home in Florida, to move nearly across the country to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I went from living at sea level surrounded by warm sunny beaches, to 8700 ft. in elevation, in some of the harshest winter weather conditions in the country. I had never even been to Colorado previously, but thankfully my husband is the “Thelma” to my “Louise”, and we decided to risk everything to experience a life we had always dreamed of. We now live that life, and have had many say it’s their “dream” too. We didn’t get here easily, but we had to take that initial risk, which lead us to other challenges, and then ultimately – home. I’ve also taken a quite a few risks in my creative journey as an artist, some paid off, others didn’t. That is just the nature of risk. Artists have a unique risk and reward system, as every experiment, trial and error, leads us to either success or the opportunity to learn, which only strengthens our chances of succeeding in the future. I think fear of failure is the biggest enemy of success, if you can get over that, then you at least allow for the “possible” to happen. I know that when I embarked on my miniature eye mold project, I had to get over the fear of working with resins, silicones, and really commit myself to it. That was a risk in itself, as it was a major investment of time, money, and effort. If I had not fully committed to my vision, it more than likely would never have happened. I now have one of smallest, and best, miniature eye molds available as a result, and very predominant artists in my industry using my eyes in their own work. I’m very proud of these achievements, but without risk, none of it would have happened.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My creative journey really took off when I fell in love with polymer clay figurative art back in the late 90’s – early 2000’s. Some of the first artists I encountered were Deb Wood of Enchanted Hearts, Clare Gladding of Fairytasia, and FITA, to name only a few. I was so intrigued, that it became almost an overnight obsession. I immediately dived in, but then quickly realized how much there actually was to learn, and to know, about this amazing artform. To say there were some challenges, would be an understatement. It took years just to really understand and get to know the different polymer clays on the market, different paints and products, and how each worked separately, as well as together etc… I learned a TON by simply listening to trial and error explained in the forums by other budding artists, and also by my own experimentation. I think one thing that is missed by a lot of folks going into the arts, is that you won’t ever learn all there is to know by just listening or watching others. You MUST find your own way. You can get caught up trying to mimic something you have already seen, but it’s not until you go off onto your own path, that you will truly find your own creative power. I must have watched a hundred tutorials, and to this day, have only taken that collective information, and turned it into my own unique way of doing things. I found it was way more frustrating to try to do something exactly the way someone else does, or told me to do, rather than to find what worked best for me. Was it easy to get to where I’m at now? No, it’s taken years, and I’m still nowhere near where I wish to be lol. For the past several years, my focus has been mainly on one particular aspect of the creative process, which is eye making. I felt it was imperative for me to completely conquer this one area, and now that I feel accomplished, I feel it’s time to move forward with other areas that I want to master. Sometimes it feels daunting, but what keeps me going, is each success. Whether tiny and unknown by no one else but myself, or huge enough to share with the creative community,

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A week long vacation with me would start off by exploring the Rocky Mountains, enjoying time spent with my pack of 8 Alaskan Malamutes, and visiting some of the most scenic places in Colorado such as Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon, and others. Manitou Springs is one of my most favorite places in the world, it’s like visiting another country in some ways. You can just feel the different energy there, and it’s always fun to see what new and unique items the different shops and art galleries have to offer. Another place would be Salida, another awesome art district where people can not only enjoy amazing local talent, but also a picturesque view of the different mountain ranges and other incredible views that only Colorado has to offer. I would end each night, gazing up at the stars, with a hot cup of cocoa or chai tea near the fire.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many different people who have played a major role in my success as an artist… So in no particular order, I’d love to thank the support and creative talent of Todd Debreceni of BaPoFX for his amazing help with 3D tech and molding expertise, all the amazing and talented artists over at IADR (International Art Doll Registry), some of which I have known for years and consider family. Deb Wood of Enchanted Hearts, for her unbelievable contributions to the OOAK Art Doll Community, and her undying personal encouragement, support and friendship. Fredo Hernandez, for his long term commitment to our creative community, and SO many other amazing, supportive, talented artists and friends such as Phyllis Jorgenson Morrow of PGM Sculpting and Nicole West of Nicole West Fantasy Art. I also would like to thank Adele Sciortino of A for Artistic for featuring me in one of her fantastic editions of her magazine, Judy Serresseque of OOAK Artist Emporium, who has always supplied us with essential creative products and supplies, and always willing to help. Last, but certainly not least, my amazing and supportive husband, and my two beautiful sons, who inspire me each and every day to do more, and be more.

Website: www.virgosalchemy.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/virgosalchemy_art
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/virgosalchemyart
Other: Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/virgosalchemy

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.