I grew up in a very artistic family. My mother is an amazing artist and she dedicated many hours of our homeschooling to magical projects with artistic bents. But I never considered myself an artist. My older sister was always the one who could draw elaborate characters and scenes from her head. I was the kid that was good at math and science. It wasn’t until H.S. – when my sister went off to private ballet school in Canada – and I took my first structured art classes, that I even considered that I was good at art as well.
Little River H.S. is a tiny rural school in Kansas only accessible by dirt country roads. There is a joke that if a tree falls in little river during an away football game will it still make a sound? They take their sports programs very seriously. There were 32 kids in my graduating class. The year below me had 12. Beth Myers is the art teacher there and she has this amazing little “attic” art department that smells like wax and sunshine. It is the only room on the second story and had a door out to the rooftop. She let me set up my own work table under a window in the corner where I could leave my scattered in progress works out. It was this glorious little world all in its own. And, it was the first time where I started to see my self as an artist separate from my sister.
In college, I was majoring in the sciences – computer programing and biology (believe it or not), but would still take art classes for fun. The art rooms were always where I wanted to be. Walking in felt like home.
Finally, out of college, I was working several jobs – scooping ice cream and delivering papers and I hated it. But I was teaching little art workshops for my friends. Then, in the classified ads I saw an advertisement for a M.S. Art teacher. I applied, and through uncharacteristic boldness, I got the job (with virtually no qualifications).
And slowly, I realized that the thing I loved most, and the space I loved most was creating. Sitting in a sunshine filled place with a steaming mug of coffee, tools of making in my hands, excavating beauty from the stories that make up our lives.