The last few weeks have been HECK-TIC! From doing Wearable Art Shows with Margot, to going to on an incredibly enriching trip to Chicago, and the current, complete revamp of my personal website which hasn’t been touched in close to four years (new self-caricature for my bio page to the right), I have been up to my ears in things to do. With so many different projects on all the burners — including ones I hadn’t realized I had — it’s been a full couple of months, to say the least.
If you haven’t already pieced my story together, I was already an artist before Margot introduced me to the wonderful world of wearables. I don’t consider myself a very good artist — not that I have no skill — but I am all over the place when it comes to my art. I really don’t SPECIALIZE in anything. I just do whatever I feel like doing. Draw, paint, sculpt, create mixed media, wearables, stitch stuffed animals, custom pet portraits, etc, etc. I now offer many of my creations on my etsy site. I even have a blog where I post some sort of sketch every day, both as a challenge to myself to do it, and to practice my skills.
My grandfather taught me how to draw when I was very young. Even when I was preschool aged, he was a proper teacher, showing me how to layer my drawings using lines as a skeleton, finding the basic shapes that make up a form, and filling in all the final details at the end (like my fan-art drawing of Kratos from the God of War video game series, left). I doodled on almost all my school work. I was always drawing.
Thanks to my incredibly instructive high school art teacher, Bruce Hamilton, I discovered acrylic paints and computer graphics. Lucky, I was apt in both. I now enjoy doing vivid ink and water color paintings like the one below. Many of the skills I learned while painting on canvas I use when I paint on shoes and purses. My computer graphics skills have extended into a slightly lucrative hobby. I’ve created flyers, logos, business cards, and a couple of book covers, including the book Sassy Feet!.
While in Chicago, my friend signed us both up for a glass blowing class at Prodigy Glassworks in nearby Oak Park. I’ve never done anything like it before. It was amazing! The artist and instructor, Matt, apparently loves what he does and it showed. I, however, felt as though I was fumbling and floundering through the lessons. He was patient and supportive and helped my friend and me feel comfortable with what we were handling. But, I walked away with something I hand crafted, something tangible to show people my talents. It was so out of my element and so very surprising. Here are my two finished glass pieces below, a paperweight and bowl.
I know when Margot and I teach DIY shoe classes, many of the students feel like I did — unsure, unsteady, out of their element. You don’t know how to do it and think you can’t even begin to fathom the process by which it is done, but you get there in the end! You walk away with new knowledge and something mind-blowingly tangible.
The sense of accomplishment you get is one of the best feelings out there. Don’t let the unsure hold you back, because if I, the self-proclaimed klutz of the world, can do it around a vat of 2300° glass, you can do it with a pair of shoes! Or a watercolor paints, or clay, or a stick of charcoal. This summer, step out of your comfort zone try to give yourself the gift of an art or crafts class — one you have always wanted to attempt — and see what happens!