Simply put, I make really happy art from repurposed materials. People who own my art tell me that it makes them happy everyday. And that makes me happy.
I used to be really corporate, as in ” carried a brief case” corporate. I worked in local television in Philadelphia as an account executive for over ten years. I loved my job. Everyday I thought creatively about partnerships between businesses and local television stations and building relationships that worked for everyone. I was the go between for the station and big business.
But there was a pattern forming. After I had my children, I kept trading money for time and eventually worked my way into my own nanny position. I wrote in more detail about this time here.
Soon I started taking art classes at a small art school off the Delaware River when my daughter started preschool. Often the classes I wanted to take didn’t fill, so I took the classes that did fill. I found myself sitting beside some amazing artists while I painted myself in shades of blue or painted a still life in oils. I was often uncomfortable. But I kept pushing through the discomfort and eventually my own art came out of me. Wow. It was colorful!
Discomfort is a good sign. It leads to growth and new adventures. I didn’t know that then. I must have suspected it because I kept taking classes.
One day I saw a pile of windows outside someone’s home near the trash. I put them all in my car and stacked them in the garage. I believe if we look closely at the things we feel compelled to save, there are clues about the path we are instinctively headed for; an instinct that quietly leads us to where we are supposed to be.
Then I started painting on those windows in a way that no one had ever done. Ten years has passed and all the colors and joy in me still come out through art. I paint on glass, plastics, paper, canvases and I always reuse. I can be found at sign shops collecting taken down business signs, rummaging through bins of scrap plastics at a plastic fabricating company, walking through architectural salvage yards looking for the perfect old frame or window or looking on the shelves of home improvement stores for colorful mistake paint to reuse and inspire me.
Funny. I am still using the same skills I used in my television world. I am creating win-win partnerships with businesses so I can recycle and create. If it doesn’t work for everyone, it doesn’t work. A good amount of my time is spent collecting old signage so I can build great big cities in healing spaces or fill window boxes with colorful flowers I designed that need no water or care.
I take all of my reclaimed materials back to my cottage studio that dates back to the 1800′s. It is there on 234 acres of preserved farmland, next to a thriving art center and alongside local farmers and fields that I paint, create and design pieces of joyful art. I love the designing part! There is usually music playing, candles burning and coffee brewing as I put on my plaid artist shirt and orange apron and start the wonderful process I call “work”.
Looking back, reusing objects and materials is something I have done since childhood. My Aunt Terry confirms this. My mom wasn’t exactly sure where I came from, but she tried to understand. I wanted to drink my orange juice out of the frozen juice cardboard container instead of using a glass. I preferred second hand jeans bought at a flea market to new clothes. I liked using what was already there and figuring out ways to reuse it better.
I listened really carefully to that quiet (and sometimes loud) voice that has led me here. And I am still listening.