“In His Imagination
He’s flying high
His thoughts are wings
Taking him up
Into the sky…”
I’ve been involved in the craft industry for over fifteen years in one capacity or another – as a retail store owner, a wholesaler and for the past four years, I have worn many hats while working at Imagine Crafts in a variety of different roles ranging from graphic and package design to product development and leading the Artist In Residence design team. No matter what my title through this journey, my passion has always been teaching. The entire process of creating classes and then sharing new techniques and projects to students is what keeps me involved in this industry that is constantly changing and evolving.
Many people have this ‘glorified’ idea that when someone works for a manufacturer in the craft industry that you show up to work and make pretty projects all day long. Unfortunately this is not the reality, where the behind the scenes tasks many times leave little to no time for being creative. And for those who thrive on that artistic drive, being tethered to a desk in front of a computer day in and day out tends to wear on the creative part of the soul.
Besides having my full time position with Imagine Crafts, I have been on different design teams and continued teaching classes independently of those that I had taught for Imagine Crafts at trade shows and other events. In essence, it has been like working two full time jobs while at the same time spending a minimum of 2½ hours on the road in traffic daily just traveling to and from the office (which roughly equates to 26 days a year!).
Over the past couple of years I have increased my own personal teaching at independent retailers across the country, along with a variety of other shows and art events. This has given me the opportunity to not only share my knowledge with others but has been my creative outlet to explore new mediums and techniques which fulfills that need I have to thrive as an artist. The only problem was that much of this creative exploration was taking place before or after all the ‘daily routine’ of life (family, laundry etc) which for me meant either getting up at 3am or staying up late at night which doesn’t make the next day at work the most enjoyable.
Sometimes you have to quiet the noise of the world around you and just listen to your heart, what your soul is telling you, find your “Breathing Space” and just BE. For me, that voice inside was telling me to follow down the path I had already started following, teaching full time while taking the time to actually be creative and to be an artist full time. And then the other voices started, those of self doubt, the reality of “how will I pay the bills?”, the fear of the unknown.
I’ve spent a lot of time listening to what my heart was telling me, and rediscovered the artist within me –my artistic voice, the strength and confidence that speaks only through creativity. And that voice was telling me loud and clear that sometimes you have to make a leap of faith into the unknown to grow. Think of it as earning your wings – you’ll never know how high you can fly until you actually jump.
This week I have taken that leap, both personally and professionally. I can proudly say that I am now an independent, full time artist! Going forward, I can now focus my time and energy on what I want to create, teach classes that share with my students not only my techniques but my style and artistic vision. I’ll now have time to write on my own blog and film videos, sharing projects and ideas that I’m working on while cultivating the community of artists that I’ve met along the way.
Although I am no longer working full time at the Imagine Crafts offices, I will still be involved with the company but in a different role, that of Lead Educator. You’ll still see me teaching at the major trade shows for Imagine Crafts, and I will still be teaching classes featuring Imagine Crafts products while out on the road. And of course I’ll still be that resource you can reach out to with your questions about their products, the only difference being that I won’t be doing it from my work desk.
I can’t wait to share with all of you projects that I have been working on, and those projects that I haven’t even thought of yet!