“Not an artist? Here’s why you should consider becoming one”
Don’t panic, I am riffing off an article I read today in the Washington Post “Why you should consider taking up crafting”
Such a wonderful article! I was wishing at first that the author used the words “artist, art” in place of “crafter, crafting”, and then it clicked that for many people that would be a barrier to starting. ”ME, an ARTIST??? Surely you jest! I am not an artist, I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”
I get it. It took about 5 years of upcycling furniture before I considered maybe just maybe I was making art. Five years into “My Painting” as I called it. I painted and upcycled in the summer, using the long summer days to paint in the evenings after work and weekends. I tapped into my local Buy Nothing community to find things to upcycle. My teens were occupied with sleeping in and lazy days, motherhood demands were minimal. In the Fall, I would shut down my “studio” aka garage in the winter, putting away all my art supplies till it warmed up and I could start back up in the garage with more time on my hands. I had sold several pieces of furniture, given away a lot back to my Buy Nothing community. I had more colors of chalk paint than eyeshadow and lipstick combined. Stencils galore, IOD stamps and transfers. And don’t get me going about my paint brush obsession (note to self, potential future blog.)
And still: me, an artist? Come on, now.
And then: Coronavirus
The pandemic hit in March of 2020. COVID-19 had us in lockdown, and it was… well, we all know how it was.
I was working from home, the teens were occupied with remote school. I had to do something. I was going insane watching the world melt around me. I had a deep desire to paint, but it was too soon to open the summer studio. Or was it? Fuck it, I decided. I was going to paint even if it meant freezing my ass off. And so I did, starting with upcycling desks for kids who found themselves learning at home. Big, bright colors on desks I fixed up. Butterflies, boho, Boba Fett. You name it, I did it to desks. Another neighbor tore down their fence and had a ton of old wood planks up for grabs. I consumed them, adding IOD moulds, inspirational messages. More bright beautiful colors, sure to cheer up any room. A Buy Nothing member asked me to paint “You Are Loved” signs for teachers in her school who were overwhelmed. I was staying sane creating art as much as I could, taking and giving back to my community.
“Find an online community. In addition to reaping the benefits of crafting, you’ll also receive the benefits of community. A recently published study found that individuals who felt depressed or anxious were more likely to engage in artistic pursuits, including crafts, if they had more social opportunities to learn and share their craft.”
Frankly the response from my Buy Nothing community when I posted art to give away was incredibly ego boosting. They referred to me as an artist. They loved my art. They started tagging me and messaging me when pieces of furniture were offered that they thought I should know about. Summer rolled into Fall, I had so many projects lined up that there was no room to put my car in my summer studio, aka garage. So I brought my studio into the kitchen. That lasted about 2 weeks, and then I hybrid my home office (which had been a guest bedroom pre-pandemic) with an Art Studio. I opened an Etsy Store, and fast forward a year later became an Iron Orchid Design Stockist.
It took a pandemic and my community to teach me to think with a full heart and act with no hesitation that I Am an Artist. I create. I make art. I learn art, I teach art. I want to share the love of artmaking with everyone. I want everyone to feel the flow of making something with their own hands, the sense of wonder when their art materializes in front of them.
You are an Artist too. (You are here reading this blog post of some random woman who calls herself the Accidental ArtMaker… you don’t get this far and get to back out!) How have you benefited from your art the last two years? What communities, local or online, have you tapped into that have helped propel you further into a state of creativity? Please share your experiences in the comments.