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Sandy King

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Hello, beautiful people. Have you ever done that exercise where you are asked to go back to your happiest childhood memory? The place before the world left scars on your heart? Mine is playing in my grandmother Bessie’s backyard. She would always keep a watchful eye through the big window in the “new room,” while she painted colorful canvases, many of children.

I would run down to the giant white rock with a net in one hand and a dented old metal kitchen strainer in the other. I would kick off my shoes, dip my bare feet in the cool waters of Waller Creek and explore until sundown. Perhaps, along with the fish and tadpoles, I would find a crawdad with little dads all over her back and belly, or maybe even a fairy or two. It was mud pies, wildly tangled hair and dirty feet. This was my most sacred place as a child and throughout my life. A place of creativity, make-believe, dress-up, safety and boundless love from the most selfless woman in the universe.

My mom was amazingly creative as well. When I was little, she was always creating something from nothing. She made pendant lights out of Pringles cans wrapped in shelf paper, and made a kids’ soda bar out of a thrifted bookshelf and our old basketball backboard as the top for the game room. I learned from a young age the value in repurposing. My most special belonging of hers is her 1948 diary from when she started dating my dad (pictured above). I swear that generation invented junk journaling because her diary is so thick it looks like a Rolodex! It is crammed full of words cut from 1940s magazines, handwritten waterfall pages with such wit, and ticket stubs, photos and party invites.

While I had a wonderful childhood, there were monsters there as well. You, too? I’m sorry. Please know that my heart is hugging your heart. Some were so terrifying that I withdrew deep within myself. My confidence and self-worth were shot. My love for creating seemed to fade away. I did everything I could to just be invisible. The only places I felt truly whole were at the little cottage with the giant white rock and through the Wardrobe. My wonderful sister Del Ann started reading me these books when I was young. My escape was Narnia and the Lord revealed himself to me there. When times were difficult, I could hear Him whisper to me, “Courage, dear heart,” as he did to Lucy in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. To this day, I still have The Chronicles of Narnia on the bookshelf by my bed.

 

In 1985, I met Jay. He was bold, brave, unstoppable and handsome. Over the next almost four decades we would raise three incredibly adventurous, loving and intelligent kids while making about a dozen cross-country moves. Our first two, Demi and Dalton, were born in our years in the glorious state of Montana. I struggle with endometriosis and had several unsuccessful pregnancies, which also contributed then to my low self-esteem. We finally decided to give up. We got rid of all things baby, remodeled our home, took out the extra bedroom, scheduled a hysterectomy and … found out I was pregnant! Our third, Cameron, came along in Arkansas.

My creative awakening happened on a move to California. It all started with a hand-stamped note from Bobbi thanking me for volunteering at the children’s church. I was hooked. My first craft keeper was a small 8 1⁄2 × 11 three-drawer plastic bin, labeled “paper-tools-stamps,” that I kept in a closet and pulled out on the dining room table when crafting.

For over a decade, I had ink-stained fingertips while learning, sharing, teaching and building lifetime friendships. This took place over four moves to four states. During that time, sewing beads on cards was a trend but not all of them fit on cards so I started stringing bracelets and my jewelry making started. My craft space had grown from a bin, to a closet in the guest room, to a converted attic, and then to its own dedicated space.

Have you ever noticed how certain people are brought into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? From the little girl who was never going to live farther than 15 minutes from my parents, I am forever blessed that with each move more beautiful people were brought into my life.

My neighbor in Arkansas, Shawn, became my creative soul sister and we fed off each other’s energy like gas on a flame! We would go to the bookstore and buy every craft magazine we could get our hands on, including WHERE Women Create, ogling over every page.

I bought a soldering book by Sally Jean, went to the hardware store and bought lead-free plumber’s solder, got some microscope slides for glass — because that’s all you could get back then — and some art prints and started soldering. Soon, I wanted to become more authentic to who I am as an artist and the message I wanted to share. My love and I spent years attending, and then serving at, a soul-healing retreat. During that hard soul work, the Lord restored my value and gave me a voice and a new confidence.

We made another move, this time to Northern Illinois, and more beautiful people came into my life. I met Kim at a flea market in her front yard and she encouraged me to get a booth with our friend Michele. I learned so much about staging and styling my booth during that time. I was still struggling with my identity as an artist and listening to negative tapes in my head. The ones that whisper “Who am I to think anyone will like, want, or buy my art? … Who do you think you are to start a real art biz in your 40s? … Will they even know my heart and connect with what I create?”

You know what? I did it anyway. When it came time to officially name my business, I couldn’t think of anything more personal than the little cottage by the creek with the white rock that my grandparents built in 1931. And so, The House at White Rock was officially born.

I started using my own black-and-white family photos on one side and scripture or positive affirmations on the back of my pendants. My art is all about sharing hope and encouragement, and maybe a laugh or two. I scoured every antique store I went to looking for old photos, and have a ridiculous collection of them now. I like to use old photos in my work because they are real people with their own struggles and victories just like you and me. They serve as a reminder that we can get through the hard times.

I also solder discarded broken china dishes. I call them “Broken Hallelujahs” to symbolize how God creates beauty from the broken pieces of our story. I did my first mixed media piece of a little girl with arms stretched wide. It was my declaration painting, reminding myself to, “Always believe in your little girl dreams.” I then took my first art class with Kelly Rae Roberts, called Mixed Media Mantras. In that class, she had us do some soul work similar to what I had done in the past, but I had never thought of applying that to my business, which was a game changer.

Photo courtesy of Sandy King

Then there was one more move, y’all. I really butted heads with God on this one and stomped my feet saying, “Really? Another move? You want me to start over again?” After my temper tantrum I submitted, and boy was I blown away by what was to come. We moved to Madison, Indiana, filled with art, music, historic architecture and the most beautiful people. I do several shows a year now and sell my jewelry in multiple darling boutiques, have a booth space in an antiques mall and sell on my website.

I live in an 1840s log cabin home in the woods with Jay and four crazy wild male dogs that have so much personality. Duke is too old to make it up the stairs anymore, but Angus, Jack and Captain spend their days in my loft studio over my dining room. This is my “Joy Room.”

I am surrounded by testosterone, so this space is filled with all things feminine. Vintage pinks and blue, German glass glitter and lace, keepsakes of my mother and grandmother. It is not just my studio, it’s my sanctuary. It is where I create, pray and just be.

Photo courtesy of Sandy King

I take walks in my Narnia in our forest where my love and kids “planted” me a solar lamppost. I kick off my shoes, walk barefoot in our creek and always keep an eye out for fairies.

Hello, beautiful people. Have you ever done that exercise where you are asked to go back to your happiest childhood memory? The place before the world left scars on your heart? Mine is playing in my grandmother Bessie’s backyard. She would always keep a watchful eye through the big window in the “new room,” while she painted colorful canvases, many of children.

I would run down to the giant white rock with a net in one hand and a dented old metal kitchen strainer in the other. I would kick off my shoes, dip my bare feet in the cool waters of Waller Creek and explore until sundown. Perhaps, along with the fish and tadpoles, I would find a crawdad with little dads all over her back and belly, or maybe even a fairy or two. It was mud pies, wildly tangled hair and dirty feet. This was my most sacred place as a child and throughout my life. A place of creativity, make-believe, dress-up, safety and boundless love from the most selfless woman in the universe.

My mom was amazingly creative as well. When I was little, she was always creating something from nothing. She made pendant lights out of Pringles cans wrapped in shelf paper, and made a kids’ soda bar out of a thrifted bookshelf and our old basketball backboard as the top for the game room. I learned from a young age the value in repurposing. My most special belonging of hers is her 1948 diary from when she started dating my dad (pictured above). I swear that generation invented junk journaling because her diary is so thick it looks like a Rolodex! It is crammed full of words cut from 1940s magazines, handwritten waterfall pages with such wit, and ticket stubs, photos and party invites.

While I had a wonderful childhood, there were monsters there as well. You, too? I’m sorry. Please know that my heart is hugging your heart. Some were so terrifying that I withdrew deep within myself. My confidence and self-worth were shot. My love for creating seemed to fade away. I did everything I could to just be invisible. The only places I felt truly whole were at the little cottage with the giant white rock and through the Wardrobe. My wonderful sister Del Ann started reading me these books when I was young. My escape was Narnia and the Lord revealed himself to me there. When times were difficult, I could hear Him whisper to me, “Courage, dear heart,” as he did to Lucy in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. To this day, I still have The Chronicles of Narnia on the bookshelf by my bed.

 

In 1985, I met Jay. He was bold, brave, unstoppable and handsome. Over the next almost four decades we would raise three incredibly adventurous, loving and intelligent kids while making about a dozen cross-country moves. Our first two, Demi and Dalton, were born in our years in the glorious state of Montana. I struggle with endometriosis and had several unsuccessful pregnancies, which also contributed then to my low self-esteem. We finally decided to give up. We got rid of all things baby, remodeled our home, took out the extra bedroom, scheduled a hysterectomy and … found out I was pregnant! Our third, Cameron, came along in Arkansas.

My creative awakening happened on a move to California. It all started with a hand-stamped note from Bobbi thanking me for volunteering at the children’s church. I was hooked. My first craft keeper was a small 8 1⁄2 × 11 three-drawer plastic bin, labeled “paper-tools-stamps,” that I kept in a closet and pulled out on the dining room table when crafting.

For over a decade, I had ink-stained fingertips while learning, sharing, teaching and building lifetime friendships. This took place over four moves to four states. During that time, sewing beads on cards was a trend but not all of them fit on cards so I started stringing bracelets and my jewelry making started. My craft space had grown from a bin, to a closet in the guest room, to a converted attic, and then to its own dedicated space.

Have you ever noticed how certain people are brought into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? From the little girl who was never going to live farther than 15 minutes from my parents, I am forever blessed that with each move more beautiful people were brought into my life.

My neighbor in Arkansas, Shawn, became my creative soul sister and we fed off each other’s energy like gas on a flame! We would go to the bookstore and buy every craft magazine we could get our hands on, including WHERE Women Create, ogling over every page.

I bought a soldering book by Sally Jean, went to the hardware store and bought lead-free plumber’s solder, got some microscope slides for glass — because that’s all you could get back then — and some art prints and started soldering. Soon, I wanted to become more authentic to who I am as an artist and the message I wanted to share. My love and I spent years attending, and then serving at, a soul-healing retreat. During that hard soul work, the Lord restored my value and gave me a voice and a new confidence.

We made another move, this time to Northern Illinois, and more beautiful people came into my life. I met Kim at a flea market in her front yard and she encouraged me to get a booth with our friend Michele. I learned so much about staging and styling my booth during that time. I was still struggling with my identity as an artist and listening to negative tapes in my head. The ones that whisper “Who am I to think anyone will like, want, or buy my art? … Who do you think you are to start a real art biz in your 40s? … Will they even know my heart and connect with what I create?”

You know what? I did it anyway. When it came time to officially name my business, I couldn’t think of anything more personal than the little cottage by the creek with the white rock that my grandparents built in 1931. And so, The House at White Rock was officially born.

I started using my own black-and-white family photos on one side and scripture or positive affirmations on the back of my pendants. My art is all about sharing hope and encouragement, and maybe a laugh or two. I scoured every antique store I went to looking for old photos, and have a ridiculous collection of them now. I like to use old photos in my work because they are real people with their own struggles and victories just like you and me. They serve as a reminder that we can get through the hard times.

I also solder discarded broken china dishes. I call them “Broken Hallelujahs” to symbolize how God creates beauty from the broken pieces of our story. I did my first mixed media piece of a little girl with arms stretched wide. It was my declaration painting, reminding myself to, “Always believe in your little girl dreams.” I then took my first art class with Kelly Rae Roberts, called Mixed Media Mantras. In that class, she had us do some soul work similar to what I had done in the past, but I had never thought of applying that to my business, which was a game changer.

Photo courtesy of Sandy King

Then there was one more move, y’all. I really butted heads with God on this one and stomped my feet saying, “Really? Another move? You want me to start over again?” After my temper tantrum I submitted, and boy was I blown away by what was to come. We moved to Madison, Indiana, filled with art, music, historic architecture and the most beautiful people. I do several shows a year now and sell my jewelry in multiple darling boutiques, have a booth space in an antiques mall and sell on my website.

I live in an 1840s log cabin home in the woods with Jay and four crazy wild male dogs that have so much personality. Duke is too old to make it up the stairs anymore, but Angus, Jack and Captain spend their days in my loft studio over my dining room. This is my “Joy Room.”

I am surrounded by testosterone, so this space is filled with all things feminine. Vintage pinks and blue, German glass glitter and lace, keepsakes of my mother and grandmother. It is not just my studio, it’s my sanctuary. It is where I create, pray and just be.

Photo courtesy of Sandy King

I take walks in my Narnia in our forest where my love and kids “planted” me a solar lamppost. I kick off my shoes, walk barefoot in our creek and always keep an eye out for fairies.

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