Well, I thought it about time that I introduced myself. 🙂 It’s a very exciting time here, resurrecting my art business and it being Fall, my absolute favorite season. Due to having 2 little girls within 21 months of each other, for the past few years, it made most sense to concentrate on readings and jewelry (takes up less room), but I have answered the strong pull to get back into visual arts as my main creative expression. The girls being older and allowing me more time in the studio helps a lot too.
This time of year always inspires me to create in many different directions- maybe a throwback to when our ancestors readied themselves for winter. The colors send me over to moon too! What a gorgeous display of change! Of course, the fact that my birthday is the day after Halloween really helps with all that excitement too. Since I was a little girl, I have loved having what I considered the most magical holiday right next to my birthday. Also since I was a little girl, I have loved expressing myself creatively. My first game was dress-up, I made pottery alongside my Mom when I was about 3, and I wrote a play about fairies in the 3rd grade. My parents signed me up for piano lessons then too, and I played in the band and explored collage in 7th and 8th grade. Dance was my favorite part of being a cheerleader and belly dance drew me like a moth to a flame when I was 17 (1993). That was also when I started to sew and make strung and loom beaded jewelry. Seventeen was a time of enormous creative expansion for me and when I discovered Occupational Therapy, it seemed I’d finally found what I truly wanted to do with my life. It really seemed to combine my desire to help and heal with creative activity. When I did my volunteer work, I learned about large loom weaving and taught patients beading.
During college, I started teaching and performing belly dance professionally. Though most areas of OT moved away from a strong emphasis on creative activity for habilitation and rehabilitation due to insurance policies, there was still pediatrics. My inner child said to try focusing there so we would get to play. After graduating with a Masters in Occupational Therapy, I started showing symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease. By December 2000, I was barely functioning. At first, I thought it would help if I changed jobs since the one I was at had a lot of drama. It did, but I still wasn’t getting treatment (I was right on the border of being “too low” in thyroid hormone according to my doctors, but they were working with old information.) Finally, I decided that I would rely on the one thing that gave me energy rather than zapped it- belly dance. Throwing myself into belly dance further definitely helped my “gland of self-expression” (the thyroid corresponds to the 5th chakra and is associated with communication and related to the 2nd chakra, the creativity center). Healing and creativity once again proved themselves to be perfect companions, as a couple of years later I was more full of life than I was prior to developing Hashimoto’s disease.
When I had my son in 2007, it became more difficult to get out for classes and I felt my priorities shifting as well. It was draining to put in so much effort to get to workshops and such. In the mean-time, I was interested in scrapbooking for my 2 dogs and my son, but didn’t really prioritize it and it seemed like an “obligation craft”… something I was interested in, but wanted to do it as an interesting way to document my children’s lives. One day I picked up a book on scrapbooking thinking it would motivate me to do more. When I finally looked at it (I procrastinated thinking it was more work), I did find so much inspiration and motivation …. to explore altered and mixed media art, as this book combined those techniques with scrapbooking! It was TRUE LOVE!!! The scrapbooking never really took off for me, but mixed media art did! Although I had been creative for so long, it was with mixed media that I finally gave myself permission to truly be a visual artist (or acknowledge it). Through this artwork, I have made so much progress in abandoning perfectionism and accepting myself. The more I make art, the more I see beauty in the world.
Since starting this art form, I have taught out of state and around Pittsburgh and been published in Somerset Studio magazine. I continued to teach and perform belly dance on a more limited basis until 2013, when my first daughter was about 6 months old. She refused a bottle and if I thought it was difficult getting out with one, then 2 sealed the deal. The stress was too much for us as a family and that was my last class. Now that my youngest daughter is almost 21 months old, I find myself returning completely to mixed media art with so much excitement and the knowledge that it is my mission this lifetime to spread the healing power of art. Thank you so much for joining me here! I look forward to expanding into the light with you. While I don’t plan on making each post quite this long, I make no promises, because I have Mercury in an Air sign, known for being a talkative combination when they really love what they’re talking about [Libra… also loves art and beauty]. 😉