When I was very young, I was not aware of anyone who identified as an artist, except for my Aunt Sally, my mother’s younger sister. My life was filled with busy, beautiful parents and relatives all who worked at various jobs; teachers, corporate business executives, nurses, farmers, and a minister who all did not imagine that they had the luxury to be artists. As I think more about these people it was my mother who taught me many things; to sew, knit, and create colorful cubby tags from construction paper and glue for her kindergarten classrooms. My Aunt Sally who often showed me her paintings; most often done on repurposed furniture and my grandmother who showed me how to take teeny tiny quilting stitches and how to embroider with rainbow-colored wool yarn. My other grandmother taught me about gardening and how to grow certain plants in different locations in the yard in order to get the best sunlight at any particular time of day. She also showed me how to roll out a pie crust and have it taste like a buttery-flaky cloud of goodness. My dad was a busy father who worked long days in NYCity as an executive in the business world, but he taught me how to drive a car, and to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be. He wasn’t particularly creative in the sense of the art world but he always provided me with direct and informative feedback on anything I attempted to do or created.
My friendships while growing up always included those who loved to build things using blocks or natural materials while we constructed outdoor forts or houses from leaf piles. I also had friends who loved to draw and we would all create colorfully crafted stationery where we would then swap home-made notes to one another.
I did attend art school for three years; illustration and design but then veered right to explore the mysteries of historical textiles and eventually owning a sewing/knitting business to eventually furthering my education and graduating with additional degrees in education and literacy. It’s funny how the world works. I think throughout my life, I have always been artistic.
My observational eye for detail was crafted at a very young age and only developed further as time went on. I have my family to thank for that training! Unfortunately, I never took myself as an artist seriously, instead wanting to veer right then left then right again to sample all of the creativity that my family offered to me while growing up. Learning from the many people in my life who took the time and had the patience to sit with me for a few hours at a time, over my lifetime, has shaped my entire creative life. And, for that, I am grateful.