Wildflower Art Studio is located just off the historic square in Denton, Texas. I grew up in Bridgeport, Texas, in a country area, surrounded by fields of wildflowers, and my mom shared her love of art and nature with me. We were often in the middle of some sort of creative project and spending most of our time outdoors. My childhood was filled with wonder for which I am thankful. My dad was a pilot and traveled all across the world (I tagged along on more than a few of his trips). This creative, adventurous upbringing played a major role in my life journey.
I started my first handmade card company at the age of 12. My grandmother owned an antique store in the small town I grew up in, and I remember setting up a little table in front of her store, taking custom orders for greeting cards. I also hosted kids art camps as my summer job in high school and college, and I took on as many custom hand-lettering jobs as I could. Not everything was wildly successful, but something good always came out of each little adventure.
When I was older, I studied art in college and later moved to the Bahamas, where I lived on a little sailboat in the middle of the Caribbean. I worked first as an adventure guide and then as an “island sitter.” Adventure became the theme for my life and my art. I ended up meeting my husband on Eleuthera, one of the islands in the Bahamas. He proposed at the top of a lighthouse, and we’ve been married for eight years, now with two additional wild little adventurers of our own.
After my brief “career” as an adventurer, I worked at SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) and realized my greatest passion was sharing art with others and encouraging students to pursue their own brave adventures. So, I became a high school art teacher in Texas, and while I loved my students, I still dreamed of being my own boss full-time. Now, five years in, it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.
It was back in 2013 when I finally took that leap of faith to start Wildflower Art Studio, by far my most accomplished incredible adventure. The name “Wildflower” was chosen because I grew up surrounded by fields of wildflowers, and they seemed to follow me wherever I traveled. I also appreciate that wildflowers don’t stress over silly things … they don’t worry about looking like another “fancier” flower … they just embrace what they are, and that’s so beautiful … similar to my take on creativity.
“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert
I started Wildflower Art Studio initially from my dining room table, teaching calligraphy and painting workshops. As my workshops gained popularity, I began to receive email invitations to teach outside of my home. While it was a dream, I also had a new baby at the time, so I created a “workshop in a box,” and thus our first DIY kit was born! Within a year, our Calligraphy Kit was on the Amazon’s bestseller list. At the time, there really weren’t many resources for learning calligraphy, hand lettering or watercolor. Over the next few years, we added three additional DIY kits based on our most popular workshops: Hand Lettering, Brush Lettering and Watercolor. In October 2017, DIY kits literally filled up my entire home. We had shipped over 15,000 DIY kits all across the globe — from Italy to Australia.
I took another leap and opened up our first brick and mortar shop, and this, thus far, has been my biggest accomplishment — not opening up the shop itself but being brave enough to do so. Sometimes being “brave” means taking a leap in business such as this, and sometimes, it means stepping away from work and going on a simple adventure with my children. My greatest accomplishment has nothing to do with how the world defines success, but 100% to do with whether or not I am staying true to myself and what I know in my heart is right for my own life.
With our new studio, our DIY kit making facility feels now like a castle compared to my garage studio. In our first six months since opening, every single workshop has sold out. We are excited to bring in new teaching artists and creators as we expand our creative workshops and fine arts classes further. We’re also growing our wholesale program to share our DIY kits with new retail partners.
Wildflower Art Studio provides our students with tools to create their own unique work of art. Through the process of creating, we all learn to trust ourselves. We find beauty in imperfection, embracing our own authenticity. It’s not just about the cool new craft our students are learning; it’s about something much deeper. It’s about being fully present, reconnecting, taking time to listen, to trust oneself again and to have fun. I believe that creativity is just as important for your brain as exercise is for your body. My greatest passion is sharing art with others. I think it’s such a powerful tool for healing and learning to embrace the beauty of imperfection. My own art is a combination of watercolor and hand lettering or calligraphy.
Adventure has been my greatest inspiration and also a continuous theme and style in both my artwork and studio. Whether it’s reminiscing of my days living aboard a sailboat at sea, bicycling, or mountain climbing with my husband and our two boys, I feel most alive in the middle of some kind of adventure. Owning a small business has been one of the greatest adventures; there is a lot of uncertainty and excitement — similar to life on a sailboat. And, it is therefore important that our studio be inspirational too, to help our workshop participants feel comfortable, rejuvenated and excited to learn.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”
— Alan Alda
It’s so rewarding to use the experience from my own adventures to inspire others to create their own. People need creativity. Children are so naturally creative, but we lose it as we get older. When I teach a workshop, it’s not just about the watercolor or drawing techniques. It’s about sharing with my students the beauty in embracing imperfection, in their art and in them. A lot of women that come into our studio are tired from everyday life or maybe going through a transitional season. It’s so incredible to watch the spark of joy reignite as they begin creating during a workshop. To experience people learning to trust themselves and live bravely again is a beautiful thing.
I think there is a lot of hype in our culture to hustle, but this isn’t always the best fit for everyone. I find that I am happier and more successful when I take it slow. I’ve always tried to take what we have and re-invest in the business. There were times when I wanted to jump ahead and take out a loan to just open up a real studio, but I knew that it would happen when the time was right. Looking back, I’m glad I allowed it to all unfold slowly. I think the slow growth created a more stable foundation.
In line with taking it slow, I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to set time aside and take my kids for a picnic at the park in the middle of the week. My boys (ages three and five) are also typically at the studio with me. I’ve tried to give them free rein with the art supplies, but they’re usually most interested in playing in the boxes. There are days when it’s hard, but that’s similar to any job and finding balance is always a challenge. I’m still learning how to be an artist and run a business while maintaining life as “mom.” In the words of David Allen, “You can do anything, but not everything.” Some days it’s simply a matter of embracing the chaos and moving on through the imperfection. My mom has always reminded me to choose love over fear, so I try to use this as my guiding principle. Remembering to be gentle with myself and those around me has been helpful. I wouldn’t trade it for the world — this little business is a dream come true!
Adventure isn’t always grand. There’s so much beauty in learning to embrace little moments.