Stories are important. It's how we as humans communicate with each other. We tell our stories of where we come from, what we do and why. Everyone has a story. We can learn about ourselves from other people's stories. I am sharing the story about how I started seeing myself as an artist to encourage you to think about your unique form of creativity and how you see yourself.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an artist as "a person who is very good at something.” When I see people cook wonderful dinners out of the ingredients they happen to find in the refrigerator or dedicated journal writers fill up notebook after notebook, I see them all as artists. Being an artist is as simple as expressing yourself in a way that has meaning to you. This isn't about having your art hung in museums or being famous, this is about valuing your creative expression because it brings joy and balance to our lives.
What is so important about claiming yourself as an artist? Seeing yourself as an artist helps you value your form of self-expression and nurture it so it will grow.
The story of how I became an artist is a simple one, but maybe an unexpected one. I was good at math and science as a child and studied geology in college. I did not consider myself artistic in any sense of the word since I could not draw. In hindsight, I realize this was ridiculous. My favorite part of geology was the bright colorful minerals and the patterns in the rocks I was studying. In my 30's, I knew I needed an activity that challenged me intellectually while I was at home with my young children. I was drawn to the idea of quilting and learned the craft through online tutorials and library books. Quilting combines both my love of color and math. But I soon realized it was more than just a hobby as I found myself daydreaming about fabric art designs on a daily basis.
For several years, I made fabric art on a project-to-project basis, as gifts or to fill a space on the wall. I started to see myself as an artist when a friend saw my piece Woven Kimonos on the wall in my house and declared, "You are an artist." I slowly started seeing myself as an artist even more through teaching creativity classes about fabric art and spending more time in the studio sewing my ideas into fabric art.
In April 2015, I started the Hundred Day Project on Instagram sponsored by a Elle Luna and the Great Discontent magazine. This project caused a seismic shift in how I saw my art and myself. I challenged myself to make art on a daily basis and it became more fun and playful, more complex and yet more simple at the same time. I found a process that works for me making a daily six-inch fabric art square and then sewing 25 daily squares together. I continued making art daily after the 100 days and call it The Every Day Project. I created 10 large 30" square pieces in 2015. By spending about an hour in the studio every day, I have created more fabric art in 2015 than I have any other year in the past 16 years. My work has become more bold and abstract as I challenge myself to work in a series and develop themes. This has led to my first solo art exhibit The Every Day Project currently showing 6 large pieces and 10 smaller daily squares throughout January and February, 2016.
Let’s invest in ourselves to get very good at something that we enjoy doing.
Words have power. Our stories have power. Saying "I am an artist" has power. Everyone has their own Artist Story. Claim yours.