Have you ever thought so hard and so deeply that your head hurt a bit?
That is what I have been doing everyday for the past two weeks. I have turned my attention inward and have been thinking about "why" I do what I do. I know that I "make joyful art from reclaimed materials".
I do this happily.
I do this almost everyday.
This tag line is on my business cards, my website, and every social media site I am engaged in.
It took months to come up with that simple little line that describes what I do in a matter of seconds.
But now I am putting the "why" into words too.
It has been a long time since I have really looked this closely at myself and my actions.
And I am loving it. Every second of it.
This insightful journey started when my dear friend Heather (fellow artist and my creative conspirator) signed up for Hello Soul, Hello Business. Two woman who I greatly admire, artist/author/possibilitarian Kelly Rae Roberts and adventurer/entreprenuer Beth Nicholls collaborated on this 10-week soul searching e-course aimed at creative businesses.
So I signed up for my first e-course ever and it has been more intimate and inspiring than any course I have ever taken.
I feel closer to this group of woman (over 300!), Kelly Rae and Beth than I have to teachers and students I talked with and sat next to for hours, weeks, days and months.
Here is how my studio looks as I listen and paint at the same time, standing between my two desks. I usually listen to the audio twice and my colored pencils are nearby so I can take notes expressively. Of course, my coffee is nearby too.
Here is my "why".
I make joyful art from reclaimed materials because if I can make colorful, happy art from materials headed for the trash, then there is hope in this world. In every little corner of the world there is hope. And I plan to paint it. Seize it.
The challenge of using recycled materials is that first I have to find "it".
So I am a treasure hunter by occupation.
I go to architectural salvage yards.
I dig through the scrap bins at the plastic fabricating company I work with.
I search home improvement stores for rejected paint (it is usually more colorful).
I collect plastic signs that have been replaced or taken down.
I carry all my found treasures back to my studio, the sweet stone cottage in the background.
I turn on my music and I create. I sand, prime, clean, caulk, paint, drill, repaint, paint again, attach....the list of verbs go on.
Hours, days, sometimes a week or more passes. Then I am finished.
All of the flowers below are cut from reused signs. Then painted with mistake paint. And than placed in my colorful vases, where they will bloom forever. They bloom in my studio, in galleries, in homes, in businesses, in healing spaces, across the United States and across the ocean.
A new friend from my e-course saw a piece of my art I posted on my facebook page.
She wrote below it, "You make me want to try".
That is why I make art from reclaimed materials.
If I can make art from what others discard, then there is hope.
For all of us.