2019 Artown poster
You mention that all of you have been artists in various mediums. How did My Thousand Words start oﬀ?
Accidentally! My daughter Rachael and I have always been artists and have had a great passion for the arts. From working with several mediums of art (watercolors, oils, acrylics, sketching, pottery, mixed medias, printmaking, etc…) to writing short stories and theater (improvisational, acting, musicals), etc….To be able to express yourself is truly a gift that we as citizens are blessed to have! When our three children were in grade school, we chose to home school them because of several reasons the ﬁrst being that we wanted to give them more than what they were receiving as students. I taught them everything and when it got to being more than I could handle, they started at Western Nevada College for their middle school, high school and earned their Associates in Arts and Associates in Science degrees before getting their high school diplomas.
My Thousand Words(named by Rachael) began as a way to repurpose a book. Most people don’t pick up a book to read but rather grab a device to search through thousands of available titles and simply carry that instead! During our move from the valley to the city, we had an over abundance of books that needed a home because our new home was not capable of our vast library! In going through the books, we came across one that was used from a college class that no one enjoyed reading! Instead of ﬁnding a thrift store for it, I started to fold it up so no one would ever have to bear it! That design turned into something really quite beautiful and I believe that we had something to brag about! With Rachael being more of a sculpture artist, she made a little man that resembled Auguste Rodin’s “TheThinker” and he proudly sat on top of the folded book that I made! He became the simple business card holder from our printmaking artwork that we so often displayed at art shows…. So many began asking to purchase our little man that so proudly held our business cards that upon throwing a crazy amount of $125 to purchase, were told that we were too cheap and that they would have paid more! It was then and there that My Thousand Words book sculptures was born and name as a book is worth a thousand words and that is what our books are!
How has Covid-19 changed the way you work?
For me, it has to be “Motivation and an ability to catch up” on all the things that I have always wanted to do but never found the time to do!
I am one of those that have LOVED this quarantine time to begin to reﬂect on LIFE! To stop and smell the roses! To stop and evaluate life and how we are all living it! Are we making diﬀerences? Are we doing all the things that make us happy? Simply looking at life and making sure that we are doing what we want to do and not what we are supposed to do in order to make others happy and not us?
I love art and the arts and have instilled this in my family and friends all of my life. When My Thousand Words started to become something recognizable, I joined Nevada Art Council and other organizations that I could share the love of art with others. I was blessed that people loved our works and last year, 2019 we were asked to be the artists for the Artown poster art and let me the you that this was an incredible honor and with that honor, I wanted to share this art and talent with others and I began to teach at libraries, schools, colleges, museums and really anywhere that I was asked.
I applied for the Basin Range Exchange grant from the Nevada Arts Council and was selected as a participant.The group of 25 traveled to Tonopah a middle point and shared ideas of how to bring art to the entire state of Nevada. As we were paired up with another my husband David, Julie from Las Vegas (in charge of library programs) and I created our project called NV Art Stops Tour. This would be a celebration of books, reading, literature and our book art sculptures that would be placed all over Las Vegas, northern Nevada and central to be displayed and viewed by all libraries, museums, schools and more. Our project was to be for one year and then become a non-proﬁt and travel the state and more sharing our art with everyone while instilling the love of books and reading! Of course, everything got stopped due to the Covid-19. With all of that being said, over 80 sculptures were made for that tour and when Covid-19 came, we had sculptures in inventory and many that were placed in Northern Nevada libraries that are still sitting and waiting for the viewing of the community. We decided to put all of the “making of art” on hold, and ﬁnish all the things that were started and complete them.
Finally, I was able to work on three books that I started to write and never could complete due to the continuously working and creating book art! I am proud to share that one is completed and ready to publish and the others are in the works.Taking time to do many other things together with family and neighbors has been wonderful. Opening up and learning how to be more of a citizen in our community has been great! I think that just taking the time to reﬂect on “Life” and those around you, taking time to better myself as an artist, has been really terriﬁc and eye-opening. Now when I work, it will be more specialized and with more of a purpose. The NV Art Stops Tour really took a toll on me with all that was necessary to do. There were so many things that were on the agenda to do that it really became overwhelming! (become a non-proﬁt, write 4 books, write a script, make over 150 sculptures, etc…) Covid-19 was in actuality a real blessing in disguise! It was a way to slow down and really take time to “smell the roses” as many would say!
Any advice to families considering a collaborative business?
John-Henry, Rachael and Debbie Lambin
If everyone is on the same page and would like to do that same thing together, then I would say to go for it! In working together, it is super important to “listen” and take ideas into account for creating not only the art sculpture but also the business too. What is really special is that there are so many great ways to do things and options in doing so and by listening and working together,the possibilities are endless and so is the creativity. Sometimes walking away and having that chance to “re group” and know how to handle situations together, is a good thing. Now for me, I am a full time artist, John-Henry and Rachael as medical students that don’t have the time to do it always (like me) and my husband David works full time. To collaborate together is tricky but is possible and can be special too. I think that the best advice is to work around one another. Have one (me) be the sort of leader and help all to work together as they are able to do so. The largest take away would be to “listen” and know that every idea is an idea good or bad, it is collaborating together!
What’s next for you?
Finding galleries that I have wanted to place our work in but never had the time to do so and place much of the inventory into them for all to see. I hope to ﬁnish my online store for people to view and purchase. Of course, complete my books that have been on the“backburner”. A series of books that would include stories written using our book sculptures as the illustrations for the books. Honestly,there is a lot to get caught up on and I am excited to venture forward to the new and of course, include the past too. We hope to restart the NV Art Stops Tour very soon too!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If there is something that intrigues you and something that you have always wanted to do, I would share that you need to do it! Don’t let time ﬂy by without releasing your dreams to all that would love to be part of it or share it with you! You have an idea? Throw it out there and let others experience it. Who knows, you may have an audience of 1 or an incredible amount of people! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your idea is bad, that it won’t go anywhere or ever take negative comments! I have always shared with my kids that no idea is a bad one as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone…
What podcast/You Tube channel are you following?
I love listening to several podcasts. My favorite is “Imagine Life” by Wondery. It is all about a famous person and they give you little hints while telling you the story of that person. In fact, Wondery has a lot of great podcasts to listen to! Another is “How it’s Built” and that one is all about people that have taken a dream and made it into reality.
Who are your heroes in real life?
That would have to be my husband David and my children. To start, David has always allowed me to dream out load and share that if it is something important to me, he was in full support! Take homeschooling our children, he believed in me that I could do this and of course, do it well. That success provided them with great education for all three. Jeﬀ has 2 masters in Theology and Divinity and is a pastor of a church in Carson City. He started his own seminary as well. Married and adopted two little girls (my beautiful granddaughters; Aby and Elaina) and then there is Rachael and John-Henry both in their 3rd year of medical school at UNR. Soon to be surgeons and excited to do this for the community.
For my children, I would say that they are my heroes because as a novice teacher, scoutleader, 4H leader and so much more…. They stood by me and believed in me to teach them and make them who they are today! Most recently, my health was on the edge and through research and education, they placed my husband and I on the Keto and we have not only lost over 80 lbs. but have very healthy bills of health! These are my heroes in so many ways! They have helped us to be greater versions of ourselves!
Share a marketing tip that has worked for you.
Believe in yourself and the product that you have before you!
I say this because if you are excited, you will share it with everyone that you meet! Make business cards (very very simple design) of what you do and share it with EVERYONE that you meet! I say this because you are marketing yourself and what you do! Everything will begin to fall into place and you will begin to realize that your product will start getting noticed and grow from there!
When we started our little art idea of making art out of books, we always hoped that people would like it but never realized that it would have grown to what it is today! I was always excited about what I did and shared it with EVERYONE… really EVERYONE! The press was excited to learn about it and from there, it was like a springboard to getting the word out about our works of art!
What are your other passions outside of your current creative pursuits?
I love teaching and sharing the love of art with everyone! I love my family and watching them develop into their new careers of helping others in the medical ﬁeld. Getting to be with David more now that they are moving on and love swimming and getting healthier too.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
To purchase or order a custom book sculpture, the best right now is to go online to www.MyThousandwords.com and complete the contact us form. We will have a store shortly online.
www.LambinArts.com (NVArtStops Tour) and teaching site
www.MyThousandWords.com (bookart site)