Being homeschooled until fifth grade, I had a different school experience than others. My mom tailored the lesson plans specifically to me. My days were full of drawing, experimenting outside and “hooked-on-phonics.” Because she was a very talented artist herself, my mom helped establish a love for being creative.
Although we did a lot of art when I was young, I never felt like I’d ever be an artist. I didn’t think I was good at drawing. All through middle school and high school, I didn’t take a single art class. The only class that came close was a floral design class. I loved that class more than any class I’d ever taken. At the culmination of the class, there was a floral show. I remember I made an all white “S” curve arrangement for the show. The arrangement was all white flowers including large white lilies and rosemary. My arrangement ended up winning “Best in Show” and getting a ribbon.
When the class was over, I realized I wanted to keep arranging flowers. I applied to one of the local florists and got my first job. To this day, it is still the best job I’ve ever had. I miss it still. I worked at Sofie’s Floral for over four years, which was all through high school and some college. The only reason I quit was because I was moving to Alaska. This three dimensional arranging of flowers really was my creative outlet and stress release.
My first year at University of Alaska Southeast, was my third year in college (I transferred with an Associates Degree from a community college in WA). I was a declared Bachelor of Liberal Arts, because I still had no idea what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” As an elective I signed up for Jeremy Kane’s beginning ceramic’s class. I remember it was one of the things I loved and hated the most at once. School has always come pretty easy to me. Ceramics was different. It was hard to get the clay centered. There was no formula, no outline, no certain way to do it, you just had to push through the learning curve and put in the time. I enjoyed it so much yet at times it frustrated me to tears. Sure enough, the next semester I took ceramics and the semester after that etc.
I was hooked. As my advisor, Kane asked why I was a Liberal Art major. I didn’t know that’s when I changed to an art major. I changed to something that I was actually passionate about and would develop skills that I could use in the future. Since then I’ve added sculpture to my area of emphasis. Sculpture is just as demanding as ceramics to me. It’s even trickier because your options are even broader of what you can do.
As I’m currently nearing the end of my undergraduate career, it causes me to reflect on what I’ve learned and what I’ll be taking with me. Art has been a drug, an outlet, a friend, a challenge and a reward to me. It is one of the things in my life that I love and hate most. In the case of art, I feel that a love/hate relationship is actually healthy. It’s why I stick with it. In the lowest times when everything about you’re project is going wrong and you’re upset, you end up learning from it and continuing because you’re love is still strong. In the times of your life where everything is falling apart, you’re art can be your solace. It has been my solace. It has been a fulfilling experience and I know I will continue to learn and build on it.