Q&A: The Traveling Artist

Our Q&A Column is a way for us to highlight the interesting people within our community.

This week we talked with local artist Linda Roberts.

Why Were You Interested In Your Current Role/Job in the Beginning?

As an artist, I’m active in jewelry making, photography, and painting.

Originally I had a masters degree in fine arts, thinking I’d end up teaching at a university. When I graduated there were no positions available. After searching for an appropriate job that would allow me to express my artistic creativity. This is when I decided that going into business for myself as a jeweler would be the right fit. Enrolled at the vocational/technical school, which at the time, was one of two schools that taught a complete course of jewelry making in the US. While in Natchitoches as a student, I became friends with the jewelry instructor, who later on in life became my husband.

Many years later, after the passing of my husband, I decided to pursue fine art again and joined the Natchitoches Art Guild and Gallery. I’ve been doing a lot more painting since then, which has been a great pleasure.

I also started doing more photography, which goes hand-in-hand with my love for travel. Outside of the US, I’ve been to Victoria and Banff in Canada, Tanzania, and Iceland. In the US, I’ve traveled from the East to the West Coast, visiting National Parks and capturing beautiful landscapes along the way.

What Are The Roles Of Your Position?

As a business owner, all roles fall to me. I provide jewelry repair services to customers. One aspect I’ve really fallen in love with is the creation of “Remembrance” Jewelry, where I repurpose sentimental pieces that are inherited, or otherwise too worn to continue wearing. I take parts of everything to breathe new life into the metal and/or stone and create a piece that’s beautiful and wearable for the new owner.

What Major Challenges Have You Faced So Far?

It’s hard to grow a business when you’re the only employee. I love the creative side of what I do, but the bookkeeping side is where I struggle.

Another challenge I face as an artist is burnout or frustration when it comes to finishing a project. A lot of work I do can be tedious and detail oriented. Sometimes I have to make myself put a piece down and take a break from it, so I can create a fresh start and really do the piece justice. It doesn’t do me any good to rush.

What Kind of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?

You really have to have a problem solving mindset. Any repair that is unusual or difficult is where I get really excited because I get to think outside the box and find a solution that makes the customer happy.

How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?

I don’t like being bored. I’m always looking for something new and different to do. At the end of the day, I’ll take a good challenge over a few hours of watching TV.

Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?

I’ve learned to always double check the details. No matter what kind of art I’m creating, I need to make sure everything is just right, whether it’s the lens on my camera as I’m taking a picture over a cliff in Iceland or making sure a pendant is properly cleaned and polished. I’ve made some mistakes, like that lost filter in Iceland, but I learn from them, I grow from them, and I try to create better art because of it.

Tell me something fun that not many people may know about you.

I’ve been an avid orchid grower for around 40 years. This passion came from murder mystery novels by Rex Stout. The main character Nero Wolfe grew orchids and I got interested in them through reading the Latin names in Stout’s book. As I said previously, I love a good challenge, and growing orchids is definitely that!

If You Could Time Travel, When Would You Go?

If you have ever been to some of the most iconic places in the US and around the world, you know what it’s like to be surrounded by a few hundred of your “closest friends” at any given point. These friends/fellow travelers tend to make taking that perfect scenic photo pretty much impossible.

If I could time travel, I’d go back in time to when our national parks and historic sites were more pristine and less heavily trafficked. A lot of parks are now requiring you to register for a time slot for your entry. While I love that everyone is getting out and enjoying nature more nowadays, it does make the logistics harder to figure out for someone like me that plans their travels up to a year in advance.

What’s Your Best Natchitoches Memory?

I came to Natchitoches in the late 70s and I’ve met many friends and made many memories since then. I’ve particularly enjoyed the culture of the area, which is very different from South Louisiana, where I grew up.

What Is The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Received?

The best piece of advice I’d have to share is: Don’t take shortcuts because they lead to more problems than they solve.

What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?

Finishing my MFA at LSU.