Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hello, World!

Nice to meet you. You look lovely today.

There are so many ways to start writing- I could tell you my name is Rachel, I could tell you this blog works with my Etsy store, I could tell you I had eggs for breakfast... But I'm the person to skip the formalities, we'll get to know each other, soon enough. I could tell you my spirit animal is the cardinal, I could tell you I sing to the sunshine, I could tell you I'm addicted to sugar... But I don't like to give everything away up front, you'll discover how crazy I am, soon enough.

The only way to really start writing is to just dive on in. Every writer I've ever admired has done it that way. If I haven't learned anything from them, what am I doing with my life? I won't bore you with the "Once Upon A Time..." business, the past is past for a reason. We are who we are because of it, but it doesn't do to dwell on it. So, down the rabbit hole we go...

Art is not an action, it is not a thought, it is not a product. Art is a reason. Art is a state of mind. Art is life.

People always ask me who my favorite artist is, and I could respond with Dali because his paintings look like my dreams, or Picasso because of his intimacy, or Klimt because of the way he uses pattern. And sometimes I do say one of those three, or sometimes I change it up depending on my mood at the moment, or the project I'm working on. But if I really want to give an honest answer, and I'm in the face of someone who is willing to be taken off guard, I tell them that my favorite artist is God.

Now I know some of you are like, "But Rachel, that's such a Sunday School answer!" but let me stop you there and tell you what I appreciate in an artist:

Ingenuity- make something useful, beautiful, or intriguing out of nothing. Or use things that are already there to make something new and bold.
Creativity- make something no one else has ever made before. Surprise me.
Appreciation- take care of the things you make, give them value to yourself and to me.

Now, when the creative mood strikes God, there's no limit to what he can and will make. He took darkness and made light, he took a piece of sand and made a pearl, he took microbes and made me. Not only that, but when he was done with his crazy creative process, he sat back and said "This is good." 

I strive, rather unsuccessfully, to follow my 3 guidelines for art. Perhaps it is because I am an imperfect creature that I cannot live up to my own standards, but graciously God endowed me with an insatiable curiosity to discover ways to overcome my own shortcomings and often opens doors or sends me song birds to help me find my way again.

More often than not, when I'm drawing, my husband will find me in the office crying or ripping up a piece of work that I've been playing with for hours. I have found out through the course of my training and experience that I may easily fall out of love with my work when I realize I have put no heart into it. To an onlooker it will be "good" or "pretty" but when I look at it I see something that contains no part of me.

When this little tweak finally dawned on me two years after college, I came to understand one thing: Construction is the key to my heart. Building something. Layering something. Combining something. That's when I am most happy with my work. It was then that I discovered the joy of handmade art - pieces that I have to touch with my entire hand before it is finished. Pieces that are inspired by the gifts around me.

A little piece of my heart then discovered the joy of inspiring other people to feel the same way. Not in a "You need to get out of your house and make everything!" kind of way, but in a "always remind yourself to be inspired" way. That was when I landed on the coffee mugs, after dabbling into too many failed projects. It was the most efficient way to spread cheer and send reminders to people that, not only did I love them, but the world around them is there to love and be loved. To always remember that inspiration can be found in the unlikeliest of places. To keep your eyes and mind open to the simple gifts that are missed by most but should be appreciated by all.

I create, not to scratch an itch or to prove something to the world, but to fill my heart with the joy of those around me. Seeing a smile reminds my heart to sing. So, selfishly, I make people smile because it makes me smile. If you are happy, I am happy. I have been warned against being too kind, too giving, or too agreeable because I could get taken advantage of. But in the end, my happiness comes from those who are happy because of my efforts. I might be bone tired and worn thin, but my heart keeps singing, horribly loud and out of tune, because others can sing. I want to bring that smile to your heart because sometimes when life is hard, all you have left is a smile. God gave us the gray storms to remind us why He also gave us the red birds. And every time I see my red birds, I am reminded that I have been brought through many storms. And when God made me he said, "She is the reason why I made my cardinals. And they are the reason she will smile." 

So please, let me inspire you today, tomorrow, whenever. Choose to see the things around you with a smile in your heart, and use your cheer for good. Spread the infection of a smile. Find your Red Bird.

I look forward to getting to know you, and giving you a little insight into who I am as a person, an artist, and a shop owner. Thank you to those who will choose to keep up with me, to support me, and to enjoy life with me. You guys rock!

One of my favorite mugs I've made ever.

No comments :

Post a Comment