What seems like ages ago, approximately 30 years, I was graduating high school in a great town, in a great family and trying to determine what I wanted to do with my life. I got accepted to 5 different schools for 5 different majors and ended up in a liberal arts program at a popular local university. I lasted 3 days much to the dismay and frustration of my parents.
What became more and more clear over the next few years was that I had a really strong desire to be creative in whatever career I chose. Through quite a few fits and starts, I managed to obtain a couple of licenses in the cosmetology field as well as an Associate of Arts degree in Interior Design. The appeal of interior design, home décor, beautifully textured interior fabrics and colorful designs were really the most influential elements for me.
I worked at a fabric store for a period of time and became addicted to fabric. Home décor fabrics and dress making fabrics filled my growing studio. By this time I was earning a living as an administrative assistant working for corporate companies. I would make dresses to wear to work and then together with my mother, we started creating women’s and children’s designer jackets made from home décor fabrics that we would sell at craft shows part-time over the next 4 years.
My desire to work with the home décor fabrics waned and I grew itchy to create my own fabrics with my own designs. In 2000, despite my fear of flying, I boarded a plane bound for Oregon to attend my first artistic retreat focused on surface design. My entire world opened up at that point and my focus was wearable art for the next few years.
Through all my experience working in the corporate world, my technical skills grew along with my desire to create and I eventually found out how to digitize my artwork. This was a turning point for me. I created unique designs for screenprinting on fabric and paper and sold my screens internationally and I experimented with fiber art and applying digital designs to fabric.
What I recognized at the time was how artwork in a digital format could be lucrative and there was more than one way to apply it. Combining art with a digital environment allowed me to be even more creative and allowed me to share my knowledge and art electronically with a wider audience. It took me 20 years to get to this point.
In 2005, I started my blog and started writing articles for Quilting Arts Magazine and would go on to publish numerous articles with that magazine and the sister magazine, ClothPaperScissors. Pokey Bolton, and then Interweave Press, offered me the opportunity twice to film my artwork in a teaching format through DVDs in 2012 and 2013. It was one of the biggest highlights of my life!
Around the same time, I connected with Barbara Donahay of Joggles.com, and began teaching on her website platform. Before I knew it, I was designing a line of stencils for her launch of her own brand and attending tradeshows along with her to generate ideas for designs. As Barbara’s opportunities to produce her own products grew, she helped me launch my own brand of stencils and rubber stamps. We continue to partner creatively on ideas and designs.
In 2013 I also became aware of surface pattern design and art licensing. This was another major turning point for me. All of my artistic and digital technical skills came together here and I spent an intense 9 months, nights and weekends while working full-time as a paralegal, creating my portfolio of designs that I would offer at the international art licensing show, SURTEX, in 2014 with a collective of 9 other artists.
SURTEX was one of the most amazing things I had ever done but it burnt me out. For the next year I didn’t really create much. I was stuck and uninspired but through some Facebook groups and taking workshops through Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells series, I became re-inspired and got back on track. It was clear that I had finally found my path.
The world of art licensing is so highly competitive yet so invigorating. Just being a part of the community that supports each other and inspires each other is an incredible thing to be a part of. I know that at any time I can jump in full force and market myself if that is what I choose. For now, I simply am making art that I love, enjoying the process and now being able to offer my artwork on products for sale.
It’s an empowering place to be in my life and I’m happy here. Although I will probably never be able to break away from my 9 to 5 job in corporate, it allows me to be this creative and entrepreneurial in the rest of my life and to create artwork that I love.
I am always available to answer questions or help if I can. Simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as I can.