22 March 2022

Heart to Art Part 1 - The Back Story

Change is hard. Growth is hard. Sometimes listening to your heart is even harder. As of late, I've been having conversations about making my work more sustainable. Why now? Why is this important? Why is this transition starting to come front and center after nearly six years? What do I mean by more sustainable? I'm going to unpack all of those things over the next series of posts.

Why now? This is the biggest piece of this journey, and it's simply because I feel very called to create more original artwork. First, let me share a bit of the back story of how we got here. You might want a cup of coffee, this is gonna be a long one.

In late 2015, after a brief stint in knitting, I picked my card-making hobby back up. By mid 2016, I started sending "happy mail" packs of cards to friends and family and donating cards to card drives and other causes. In 2016 I made 300 cards; they had to go somewhere.

In 2016, I also started working with pen and ink again. I thought I'd take up Zentangle, but stumbled into my passion for drawing trees and unique monogram letters instead. I started creating pieces for close friends and family, selling a few here and there but mostly gifting the work I was creating. At that point, I was too embarrassed and scared to even call myself an artist.

In 2017, when I finally felt brave enough to start selling cards to friends. Most of my sales were from my posts on social media, or by request for something special. In 2017 I made 499 cards. I continued this into 2018, with the making of 784 cards. At this point, these cards were starting to take up real estate in my studio, and I had friends asking me if I'd thought of selling them locally.

Fast forward to March of 2019, when I finally decide I could put myself out there, but only as a card maker with other designers' work, aka stamps and dies. At this point, I'd been a card maker off and on for over 20 years. I thought this would just be one more thing I'd try, that really would not prove to be much. I was wrong.

I talked to Piper, the owner of Smiling Moose, and I was off and running with a small batch of cards. After a few days that small batch in a basket evolved into a small round rack Piper had. I was thrilled to have a small rack and a place to sell cards.

The next leg of the journey began in 2020, I started learning to watercolor using what I had and watching Let's Make Art tutorials on YouTube. I knew I wanted something more from my artwork but I still felt unsure about moving toward it. I stuck with making cards with other designers' work, aka stamps, which was safer. Remember change is hard, even scary, but sometimes the world has other plans and pushes you into it.

Fall of 2020, Piper upsized my card rack. One day I went into the shop to add some new cards to my inventory and found her putting my cards into a larger rack. She had all the faith that I could fill the rack and sell more cards. The new rack was at least double if not triple the size she'd started me in. Luckily, I had a drawer full of cards ready to stock. It was at this point I really started thinking I could turn this into something other than a side hustle.

In February of 2021, I asked Michele Wooderson what the catalyst was for her to make the leap from the paper crafting industry to painting. She said a number of things, and wow, did she check a lot of the boxes I was feeling in myself. Two things really resonated with me - "not being authentic to my art that was calling" and "It's an organic process, not a straight shot".

Here we are in March of 2022. If I'm honest I feel like I'm currently wrestling a two-headed dragon. More on that in the next post. Stay tuned for the rest of the story and more of the journey.

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