June 26, 2023 I Can Art: Diamond Dot Art with Angèle Bleackley Nick Heazell explores the artistic talents of Calgary Arts Development staff Nick Heazell Earlier this year I spoke with colleague Kari Watson about her enthusiasm for pottery wheel throwing in a fieldnote. I thought it was time to check in with another staff member to find out what creative pursuits they are into. If you read the last fieldnote, you’ll recall that I’m planning to ask our staff some simple questions about their artistic practice and maybe even get some photos. I’ll ask everyone the same questions to keep it consistent. So let’s get to know Angèle Bleackley, Calgary Arts Development’s Digital Specialist, who has been getting creative with diamond dot art. How long have you been at this? I started doing diamond dot art in February of 2023. My interest was high as my mother, aunt and close friend had been doing this for years, and had expressed how decompressing it is. I wanted to feel less stressed, so when I went on vacation in February with my friends, I was gifted a diamond dot coaster set — and after my friend guided me on how it works, I was hooked! How do you feel when you are doing the work? When I diamond dot my mind decompresses from the day, week or month. I have a little setup going for myself on a portable dinner table that collapses. I can focus on one colour or three colours, whichever my mood or mental state is in, I adjust to what I can do. The feeling of accomplishment can come just by doing a small section that builds up to when you put your last little crystal on the sticky glue and your artwork is completed. Do you ever get some of the artist feelings of frustration, imposter syndrome or anything like that? Yes I do. I am following a pre-set pattern, and when you do a section in the wrong colour, you look at your metal tweezers as your best friend because you now have to pick all the wrong crystals off to correct your artwork — minor setbacks that you just know come with doing this kind of work. Or your hand slips and flips your crystal plastic tray, then the crystals end up everywhere. Fun times! Is this costly to undertake? It can be costly but I am very budget conscience and each piece I have completed ranges between $10 and $20. Each piece comes with the materials you need to start and complete your project. What is something about your art, or the creation of it, that people don’t know? I started doing this as a ‘Let’s see if you can do this’ project. Then I realized that my brain loves doing this kind of art. I feel very accomplished after completing them and I just can’t wait to start another! Do you earn money from any of your practices? I do not earn income from this kind of art. I am just happy to be creating projects I love or that others love. Currently it’s only my friends and family that get to enjoy them. What is the hardest part about diamond dot or your process? The hardest part for me is deciding when to get another project and what kind of project am I in the mood for. Moods change, so for me I like working on things that speak to my heart! Also, when I receive a project as a gift I feel very thankful that others are thinking about me and encourage me to continue. Do you have an outcome for your work or practice? For example, would you like to improve your skills to a certain degree, or get work in field, or host an exhibit, anything like that? The outcome of my work is for others to enjoy — eventually I would like to get them framed and make them really pop! I am hoping to eventually get into freestyle diamond dot art, but for now following patterns works for me. Do you have a couple examples of your favourite pieces to share? Yes — they are not framed as I have to get to that stage. Can you speak about them, and the process and maybe why they are your favourite? I love all my art projects as I believe they turn out as they should even with imperfections. They show that I spent time creating. Finally, what, if anything, are you working on right now, or what plans for future diamond dot do you have? I am currently working on a flowers project for diamond dot and have more projects coming in the mail. Well, thanks to Angèle for that insight into her art. I really think they look amazing and the patience that type of work must take is astonishing! I look forward to seeing what other projects she produces. Thanks for having a look and hopefully we’ll be back with more staff art soon. Nick Heazell (he/him/his) is a communications specialist at Calgary Arts Development. Chances are if you have digital content — from classifieds, to news, to stories, to videos and more — he will post and publish it. Nick studied information design and illustration, which he uses to create and sell geek-culture t-shirts, and is a keen digital painter. Obviously he’s also a bit Star Wars obsessed. Angèle Bleackley (she/her/hers) is the digital specialist for Calgary Arts Development. She is happy to help staff members with their digital needs as well as being liaison for technical needs. Previously she specialized in software quality assurance testing in a global digital transformation company. When not working, she enjoys spending time with family creating memories that last a lifetime, as well as reading, walking, and playing board games and console games.