We all can close our eyes and dream about having a beautiful studio workspace! After working all those years in every available space in my home that included the garage, I finally got my studio of my dreams! A 3-bay garage turned into an art studio!
I have had my hands into all kinds of art mediums over the years! Growing up with a father that was a carpenter and quite the craftsman, he had such a big impact on my working skills. My mother was an interior designer working alongside my father in his business. She had an amazing eye for design and color.
My twin sister, me and my brother were always working with our parents on the job sites, picking up nails, sweeping, cleaning new and old homes, wallpapering and painting. Such great childhood memories. Now the smells of fresh cut wood and sawdust and paint sure bring back those great childhood memories!
I remember at about 13 years old, setting up a stand at our neighbors’ home at the end of their driveway where me and my friend Karyn would sell these funky refrigerator magnets, we made!! I was always making something to sell from a very young age!!
I have been a hairdresser since 1983, raising my two children. All they knew was me staying up late nights working on crafts—from wood crafts, sewing and sculpting papier mache creations! For many years I designed for two giftware companies making sculpted holiday papier mache figurines. This job took me all over the country to work gift shows, including China as a licensing agent. I look back now and really don’t know how I did it all! Working full time as a hairdresser, mother, wife, and care giver for my mother! It’s funny how we can fit it all in if we truly love our job!
When you’re depressed and someone tells you to just get up and do it, you just look back dazed while your entire body resists! It’s such a deep dark sadness that comes with depression. In 2005 my girlfriend surprised me and signed me up for a Sally Jean soldering class in Portland. I had no clue! I had thought we were going to Portland to shop for my birthday! I had no idea even who Sally was or what soldering was, and I certainly had zero interest in learning to make jewelry. As we entered Sally’s amazing studio my heart literally skipped beats! Her color was my favorite turquoise color I had always loved, her studio was so magical, but wait I was there to make jewelry! I was not interested in learning jewelry but thought well I better at least try this. As the day progressed, I found my heart was beating so fast I could hardly contain the feeling I had being there in such a magical room, it was just what my heart needed! That day was a day I will never forget, it changed my life forever.
My friends began to ask me to teach them to solder and so it began, my new purpose in life was to make others feel that Happy HEART I had once lost! After all these years I now have been teaching soldering 14 years strong. It was something that just felt so natural and easy for me to learn.
In 2001 my mother passed away after a long battle with bipolar and depression, it was a tough journey growing up with my mom’s health issues. It was something back then that was not talked about! My heart aches for those that suffer with depression.
Just a couple short years later after my mother’s passing, my father, mother-in-law and grandma passed away and here I was an orphan at 39, feeling absolutely lost, empty and not an ounce of creativity left in my heart. I felt I would never create art ever again, while the deepest sadness filled my entire soul. When you’re in such deep sorrow or hurt, art doesn’t seem to flow or even exist. I had finally thrown away all my art supplies, purging it all, every ounce of it, I tossed out. Life was hard without my parents, life felt like it stopped.
It’s all I could do to get to work each day and try to function. I felt myself sinking into depression myself, it was something I had never experienced! My girlfriend from work saw me sinking into a real dark place. She tried to get me to keep sculpting my paper mache and keep creating what I loved. I had only wished it were that easy.
As I was teaching at my home studio, which was a small room in my house, my friend Carol said let’s take these classes to the beach. I said ok what will we call it, she said Art Camp. And so it began in 2007! Now all these years later, women’s art retreats are a big part of that empty spot in my life; hosting women’s art retreats across the country, including several times a year in Italy!
I am still today a full-time hairdresser fitting in all my side jobs that are also full-time jobs. I get asked a lot why do you teach and work so hard? Without a doubt it’s for the women that attend, the connections we all make. All the new friendships sure make us realize at any age we always need to feel loved and accepted! My dog Ozzy had been a studio mascot for 12 years. Sadly, in August 2020 he passed. This photo of him in his Teepee was one of our last photos taken.
My home where I live now was the last home my father built for himself. He would say to me, one day you will live here, and I would laugh! He was right!! We ended up buying his home after his passing. He had only lived here 6 months before he passed away.
My beautiful studio was once a 3-bay garage. The original concrete floors we had polished. I had always wanted an industrial chic look, with lots of white, tin and chandeliers. My love of chandeliers shows as I envisioned a row of them down the middle of the room so we could also use my studio to host dinner parties and we sure do! I had purchased the gorgeous vintage store display 18 ft wood table, so we planned everything around that table. I’m in love with the high vaulted ceilings and open floor plan that also leads into my home. We added a sliding 150 yr. old barn door to be able to close off the house when I host classes and retreats. The old work bench I bought off Craigslist. After seeing it, I knew my dad had built it, and here it is back at my home. That cabinet took an amazing full circle 45 years later!
“People will forget what you said,People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
So many things in my studio are my dad’s and uncle’s tools, including the old metal nail bin. It holds a lot of my supplies. My dad and uncle both would love that all these women use their construction tools!
I have so much to feel thankful for in my life, a very supportive husband who reminds me the 3-bay garage can be a garage again real easy, lol! My two children Laci and Tayler who have always been a big support of mine, but mostly it’s hands down all the amazing women that have crossed paths in my life journey of workshops and retreats. They think I help them, but truth be told, they help me! Life is hard. No one can predict their future. We need to learn to live one day at a time and do what we love. I have also learned, if you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway!