Monday, April 27, 2009

maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me

I've been asked a few times why I started my shop and why I create the pieces I do. I've always felt uncomfortable answering that question. I think I feel like it should be some big creative genius love story. I think I should be someone who’s always had art in my soul. Unfortunately, it wasn't like that. It was actually born out of incredible pain, anger, and maybe a little bit of desperation. I'll start at the beginning...

I was never good at art. Not just not good, but bad; really bad. I think I failed art in kindergarten. All I remember is having to sit on the naughty carpet square because I finger painted another kid. I was hopeless at art from then on, and I really had no desire to experience it. I blame the naughty carpet square. To this very day stick people are a challenge for me. Heck, even my handwriting sucks.

Then one day that all changed. Don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't get any better at finger painting, but I changed. I changed because my husband asked me for a divorce. I was blindsided. I didn't see it coming. I lost my partner and best friend all in one fell swoop; in the space of mere seconds. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this. This isn't about poor me, but it's relevant to the story seeing as how it was the catalyst for all this. But suffice it to say that I have never felt pain of this magnitude. I didn't want a divorce. I still don't. But you can't control other people, so you do the best you can with what you have.

It was so much easier to avoid it all. I was holed up, hiding out. I was doing what any woman would do - lying in bed and watching TV all day. My channel of choice was HGTV. That was rather strange in itself because I've never much had the patience for HGTV. Most of the time, I get bored and fast forward (DVR is the best invention ever!) to the end so I can just see the before and after. The worst is when they paint a room bright orange with neon green shelving units or something. I die a little inside every time that happens. I don't have anything against green or orange, but there's a time and a place...

As it tends to do, reality caught up with me and I had to start *gasp* coping. As I began my journey, I realized that I was completely empty and lost. I gave so much of myself to my marriage, to my husband, that I didn't have anything left for me. I didn’t have a definition of myself anymore. For those of you who haven't experienced that, it's terrifying. I just kept thinking, "What am I going to do now?".

So what does HGTV have to do with anything? I began noticing how intent and interested I became when they used glass tiles. They were beautiful. So many colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. I was transfixed. How can you look at those suckers and not feel happiness down to your soul? Mostly they were putting them in kitchen back splashes or bathrooms, but I don't own a house. So tiling is out for me. So I sucked up as much as I could on TV.

I wanted those tiles so badly. I had this strange urge to touch them; to feel the cool smoothness. I wanted to hold them up every which way and watch the light play through them. I wanted to feel the weight of them in my hand. That may sound odd to some people. To be honest, it would have sounded really odd to me a few months ago. Now I realize it was just something shifting inside of me.

One day I was telling one of my friends about my tile fixation and the resulting dilemma. She just looked at me and said, "Why don't you find something else to stick 'em on?" God love her. What she lacks in eloquence she makes up for in truth. So I did what she said. I started to think about just how many ways I could use them. The possibilities are truly endless.

Of course, my dream would be to make a career out of this and support myself. I don't have any false illusions on that front though. If it happens, it happens. If not, well, I guess that's why I went to college. But at the worst time in my life, I've had the chance to do something important to me. I’ve been able to create; to put a little of myself into every piece and share it with someone else. I know it sounds way sappy, but I kind of feel like I can breathe a little deeper with every tile I lay.

I don't know any fancy art words. I can't tell you the difference between the Impressionists and the Expressionists. I can’t hold up the fraying end of a deep, artistic discussion. In the educational sense, I haven't a clue what I'm doing. I just love creating my pieces. I enjoy the entire process, from picking out the elements to sealing the grout. I make huge messes. I'm forever finding grout on my elbows and ears. Sometimes I want to take one of my pieces outside and use it to shoot skeet because I'm so frustrated. I'm the farthest thing from a professional artist, but now I think I know how it feels to have art in your soul.

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