Local Artist Jamie Locke Becomes Social Media Success

One day last December, local artist Jamie Locke gazed upon the huge empty wall of her new home, and—breaking tradition of always giving her art away—decided to create something for herself for the first time ever. She grabbed a 4-by-4 piece of wood she had lying around and hand-carved one of her beautiful mandala designs into it. For fun she posted it on Facebook, and people went nuts. The orders started flooding in and haven’t stopped since.

When you see her gorgeously intricate pieces,  you realize why. And when you find out how she creates them, it might make your brain explode.

Locke uses a Dremel tool to carve her amazing mandala designs mostly into birch wood but also metal, glass and stone. Or as she put it, “Pretty much anything I can get my hands on.” Like her metal water bottle sitting in front of me that she “doodled” on, or recently, a friend’s guitar. Initially inspired by her interest in the traditional Indian art of Mehndi, which Locke gave up due to arthritic pain caused by squeezing the henna tube, her mandalas were birthed—first on the chests of birds in wood, then her infamous first piece done for herself and her wife, Martine. And now, the world.

You might imagine her method involving a design sketch or template, but truth is Locke freehands each and every piece. So, she’s making permanent cuts into wood —without any kind of guide. Somehow they turn out near perfect. How?

“I start with a circle in the center and build my design moving outward into a circular shape. There are some tricks I use to measure that have to do with my hand.”

Does she have intuition that guides her? “That and the rhythm,” she says. “Because I’m a percussionist. The amount of time I spend on each movement, it’s completely rhythmic. Even if I have earplugs in to listen to music, the vibration still transfers, that rhythmic part of it.”

Casual postings of Locke’s mandalas on Instagram with the hashtag #dremel led to the tool manufacturer discovering her and her art. Thus began a whirlwind romance involving Dremel sending free tools and even flying her out to NYC last year to demonstrate her craft at the Maker Faire, where she was a big hit.

“We’ve met millions of artists that use our tools, but it is rare that we see someone that shines as brightly as Jamie Locke,” said Dremel marketing director Brea Keating. “Her artwork and spirit shine through the screen, like an inspirational beacon, and we’re thrilled to know her, both as a social advocate for our tools, but as a real friend to our team as well.

[fsg_gallery id=”62″]

“Jamie’s artistry and spirit are something you just don’t stumble upon every day. We found her on Instagram less than a year ago, and now she is considered a ‘north star’ for the rotary division, as a reminder that our tools are not just functional—they can be inspirational if put in the right hands.

“Jamie has found a way to pivot her artistry from one form to the next, evolving through new skills and new tools,” continued Keating. “We’re honored that she uses Dremel in so many interesting ways, including metal, leather, wood and glass. We can’t wait to see what she will do next.”

The spiritual and circular nature of Locke’s designs have become a part of the bigger circle of life. “It all exploded!” Locke said. “I feel so incredibly blessed. I love that I’ve gotten so many messages through Facebook, people telling me I’ve inspired them to create with Dremel tools. I love being a mentor in that way. It’s a ripple effect how they’ll pick up the Dremel and create something. Someone else sees their work and gets inspired too. I love being a part of that.”

Locke oozes creativity—or, as she calls it, creative ADD. Along with the mandala art, she and her wife also create music, cuff bracelets, and screen printed T-shirts and are co-founders of the Handmade Society (formerly called eHa). Their work can be found in collections around Broad Ripple and the city, on display at restaurants, at festivals and shows, and in private collections.

“For me, the process of creating a mandala is always one of inspired revelation, elemental surprise and pure bliss,” said Locke.

Check out Locke’s work at jamielockeart.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Geist Stories

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Send me your media kit!

hbspt.forms.create({ portalId: "6486003", formId: "5ee2abaf-81d9-48a9-a10d-de06becaa6db" });