I am not one of those people who always knew they wanted to be an artist and make art.
When I was a child, my primary form of self-expression was music, playing the piano and organ. As I grew into a teen, one musical activity led to another, and I was a busy kid, accompanying choirs, taking lessons, teaching lessons, and working as a church organist. I expected that music would continue to take a leading role throughout my life. “ART” wasn’t on my radar.
I do vividly remember making art as a child and I can see that it was always there:
- Drawing a nativity scene in a new big sketchpad. Grandma T told me later that I started on one side of the page and drew across to the other side. It’s a Gahanna memory, so I’m going to guess I was 8 or 9 years old.
- Going to art workshops on Saturday mornings at OSU – riding with the Langkamps. I hated the group ride with boys that teased, but I remember liking the workshops. What did we do? Maybe pottery?
- I always liked art class in school, but never had the opportunity to take art beyond the 8th grade. I did take 2 years of home ec in high school, which did give me some opportunities for art projects – sewing.
- I often had a needlework project underway from about 12 years old on. My earliest projects were kits – hooked rugs, crewel embroidery, then eventually cross-stitch, which I pursued through college and into my early married years with Matt.
- I enjoyed creative writing, and pursued every opportunity I had. That led to journalism classes in high school and 2 years on the yearbook staff, where I got my first taste of graphic design.
- My mom and I shared a love for fashion, so there was a lot of creativity in making outfits. We talked a lot about color and what “went together”. I learned a lot about proportion.
On my dad’s side of the family, I was exposed to many working artists, though they didn’t think of themselves that way. They were “makers”—Grandma made quilts and costumes, Grandpa built cabinets as a master woodworker. Though my dad worked a traditional office job, he always kept a shop in the garage, where he worked wood into furniture, repaired antiques, and did his best thinking.
Now, I know how lucky I was to have been surrounded by creative people. My “normal” included having creative projects going on the side…didn’t everybody?
From my current vantage point at almost 56, I can see how these “side projects” can carry you from one place to another. One time to another. A project creates continuity, a place to return, to remember where you were and where you want to go. And the kicker…it doesn’t matter how they turn out. It’s the doing that matters.