For September, the monthly craft question was: Who inspired you to become an artist? Why do you create? Who better to answer this question than some of our favorite craft designers and bloggers?
Here’s what they had to say:
Eileen Hull from www.EileenHull.blogspot.com
Probably my mom, she always had a project going on in the middle of raising six kids. I love designing for many reasons: I have the freedom to try new techniques and make them my own, love setting my own hours, and basically I can share who I am in a fun way. I will always enjoy creating whether I am making money at it or not.
Joanie Gorman from Nini Makes
I can’t say there is any one person who inspired me, I just always felt the need to create things using just about anything I got my hands on – newspaper, fabric, paint, branches from the garden, string… There are people who helped me learn things along the way, my mother, 4-H teachers, art school teacherssomething, and all of them brilliant.
I think as a child I liked to create to escape my crazy family and get attention with the things I made. Now, it’s a little of the same; I love the meditative feeling of getting lost in whatever I’m making and the feeling I get when I’ve created something new.
Amy Anderson from Mod Podge Rocks!
My mother gets all of the credit! She started me down the path early, letting me play in the woods and always doing activities with me like making natural fruit roll ups and jams, gardening and, of course, crafting. All of these things contributed to my imagination developing at an early age. I don’t call myself an artist, but I’m definitely creative. I see raw materials and picture everything coming together in different ways. I like creating for so many different reasons, but I really love creating when it’s done. What I mean is that there is hardly anything better for me than the satisfaction of looking at a project I’ve completed, especially when I love it. It’s a feeling like no other, and it’s very fulfilling.
Mark Montano from www.MarkMontano.com
Growing up in a small town in southern Colorado with limited means there wasn’t much of a choice but to create the beautiful things we desired. One of my earliest memories is of my mother antiquing an old desk and then decoupaging cut out roses to each drawer. She was making the most out of something we had and it ended up being a magnificent piece of furniture which is still in my family today. Our living room sofa was wicker with horsehair cushions from the 1940s. My dad was about to take it to the dump for someone as a favor in his truck when my mother insisted that we keep it — because she always sees the potential in such things. That’s where I got it from. For the next few years it sat on our back porch, where we would pick off the old paint with seam rippers to get it ready for a new coat of paint. For hours we would chat and pick and laugh and think about how it would look when it was done. When we finished and it was repainted and with the new upholstery (which my dad did), we had an awesome sofa which instilled a sense of pride in me and my mom. You see, going out to buy a new sofa or a new desk just wasn’t in the budget for a family with 5 growing boys and a new house to pay for. I’m still in awe at the grace and beauty of my parents and how they raised us. So, without any hesitation I’d have to say that my mother and father are the reason I’m an artist today.
Sharyn Sowell from www.sharyonsowell.com
I fell in love with the smell of paint and turpentine when my grandma taught me to paint dainty florals on china as a child. Today I create because it is who I am. If I have no art materials I find myself drawing with a stick in the sand or making a pebble sculpture along a trail. My kindred spirits are those like me who create purely for the joy of it. We live and breathe art the way the birds fly: because it’s who we are.
Stacey from Freshstitches
It wasn’t any one particular person who inspired me, but I’ve heard countless people (older and wiser than me) say, “I wish I had gotten a job that didn’t feel like work”… so when thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, I thought, “goodness… I might as well start with something I really love!” To me, that meant becoming a designer!
I love to create because by the end of the day, I’ve usually made a stuffed animal that sits on my coffee table and stares at me- and it always cracks me up! I love that what I make can make others happy- it’s really a great job to have!
Myléne Hillam from www.millanestudio.com
There hasn’t been a single person or moment that inspired me to become a designer but rather a collection of people and opportunities over time which made it happen. But the single most important moment was the first CHA trade show I attended when I saw how big the crafting industry was and it was then that I realised I could actually turn what was a hobby at the time, into a real business. It’s been onwards and upwards since then and now I have the most fabulous job in the world. Being a designer allows me to create every single day (and I legitimately don’t have to do the housework because I’m working!). And creating every day satisfies my artistic side – it gives me a sense of achievement and fulfilment.
Pat Sloan from PatSloan.com
I always created and I was the only one in my family who did. It’s an inner urge to draw and then really to ‘make’ things. I started with barbie clothing stitched by hand, dioramas in shoe boxes, crochet, and eventually clothing. Later I discovered that working with fabric is what makes my soul sing! I love to take a wonderful piece of fabric and turn it into something I can see in my mind. I think I will always create. If I go a few days without making something I can feel the need to sit and stitch something!
Madeline Faiella from Madeline Faiella Designs
I have always been an artist but I had an uncle who was a fabulous artist. He used to give me some of his brushes and supplies and he gave me a few books on how to draw. I would sit and draw an eye for days. Mickey Mouse was a big accelerator in my artistic life as well. I had a kit with a film that fit over the TV and I would draw on that film copying and mimicking the cartoons. My Mom was a phenomenal dress designer and taught me how to make my own patterns. She had a family and of course, as with many, her dreams of going to New York one day did not come true. She continued to sew and I continued to learn. My Dad was an outstanding and could build anything. I used hammer and nails and paint from an early age. There you have it. The rest is osmosis and then formal training at The School of Visual Arts. I am blessed to have had such talent around me.
Melanie from Whimsical Creations
My mother inspired me to be an artist. As a child we would do all sorts of art & craft projects. She was always creating one thing or another. Making salt dough ornaments were one of my favorite things to do with her. Over time salt dough evolved into using polymer clay. I love to create because it is very relaxing.
Heather Parsons from Small Fry & Co.
My mom was always creating but my best friend really got me started doing crafts in High school.
Jennifer Juniper from HopeStudios
Art was always a calling I felt inside. I have an itch, an urge to create that causes what I like to call “inspiration mania”. I cannot rest until a spark of an idea reaches fruition. I have a very artistic father I reconnected with in my teen years, so I believe I was born with the ability and the desire to create. When I am in the midst of creating art I feel confident, alive, and fully aware. It is one of my most comfortable places in life, aside from being a mother.
Phyllis from Many Creative Gifts
Another great question, but it’s like asking me “why do you breathe? why do you eat or drink?” Because I just have to! Designing and creating art is just a necessary part of my living a good and healthy life. It works a different part of my brain and makes me use skills that are different from those I use in my “real” job. It’s so fun and satisfying to take whatever medium I’m in the mood to use (usually yarn for me) and see what new twist I can give to an old idea or what new creation I can come up with! And, for me, it all started with a favorite 6th grade teacher and my aunt, both of whom are great crocheters and were willing to teach me. My fondest memories are of sitting with each of them, just watching them crochet, listening to their explanations and stories about how they learned, and then giving it a try myself.
Kelly from Kelly Knits
My infant son was my encouragement to learn to loom knit. Now that he’s 3 he’s really excited about what I make him and always says my knitting is beautiful!
Catherine Peart from Gingham Cherry
I am not sure if any one person actually created the desire – it is something I have just always done. From making my own mock magazines at age 8 or 9 through to designing furniture for my house a few years ago to the crafting/sewing/making I do now while I work out how to make a career of it, I just can’t stop! There have been plenty of inspirational people through the years who have helped direct my efforts though. Too many to mention I guess but it probably all starts with my 102 yr old Nana who is an avid crocheter and embroiderer still. She could pretty much turn her hand to anything (I have a small cupboard she painted bright orange in the 70’s – there were matching beds as well) and I guess I picked it up from her and my equally adept Mum. I like to create because I find it calming and endlessly satisfying. I get a great kick out of seeing something go from an idea in my head to reality.
Einat Kessler from scrappin’ it
Since childhood I have always been known among friends and family as the creative talented one. I enjoyed making things and creating. However the inspiration to start scrapbooking came from my grandfather. He was always good with his hands. After each trip he and my grandmother had he would create the most beautiful scrapbook. He would make the cover, the pages and all the embellishments all by himself (we are talking about 20-30 years ago). When I was a child I used to sit with these Albums and fly on the wings of imagination to all the faraway places. When I grew up and my son was born, my grandfather suggested I create a scrapbook for him. This was the first scrapbook I ever made. It was old style scrapbooking with hardly any materials (no one in Israel knew what scrapbooking was at the time). But I was hooked! Slowly I discovered an amazing scrapbooking world out there, I developed as a designer, experimented with tools and materials, learned so many new things and became who I am today. And the one who started it all was my grandfather, who by the way, is 90 years old and designing scrapbooks on his computer!
Kara LC a.k.a. Mother Henna from MotherHenna.com
Well, I’ve been a writer my whole life. But a grade school art teacher once told me I could not do art “correctly” because I couldn’t follow his directions for some craft project or another. I hated the visual mediums for years and years. Then, one night while I was in college, I was sitting at the kitchen table complaining about something to my roommate. She listened for a bit, then abruptly got up and left the room. She returned with a drawing pad and chalks. She slid them across the table to me, the way you’d slide a beer across a bar top. She said, “You must shut up and stop whining. I will not talk to you again until you DRAW the situation that’s bugging you.” And she walked away. I was stunned. And challenged. And intrigued. And in wonder that she believed I could do such a thing. So I stayed up all night. Drawing. It was amazing. Such freedom when I got away from words! As to why I keep creating?? Habit. Choice. Unavoidable impulse from a power larger than little old me. Love. Creativity is the only thing I’ve found to be a real antidote to my run-ins with grief. I continue creating so I can breathe. Without the expression of creativity, I think the gremlins in my head would suffocate me!!
Tina Johnson from Tina Stitches and Crafts
I was very fortunate to have two loving and patient grandmothers who shared with me their many talents. They both were wonderful teachers. They made learning fun and they were very patient. They made me the the Creative Person I am today. Why do you like to create? For me creating is like breathing I have to do it to survive. Some people do yoga to relax others go to a spa me I head to my craft room or curl up on the sofa with a blanket, yarn, a crochet hook and the tv remote. Sharing my creations with my friends and family is one of the biggest reason I create. The look on someones face when they see a hand made gift I made just for them makes my heart smile. Creating makes me happy and content.
Marisa Pawelko from Modern Surrealist
The Fashion Designer Betsey Johnson and Surrealist Painter Rene Magritte!!!
Phyllis Dobbs from Phyllis Dobs Art & Design Studio
I think I was inspired from 2 directions to become a designer and artist. I was taught crafting at an early age from my mother and aunt, with some additional inspiration from my grandmother’s quilts. My mother taught me sewing and my aunt taught me needlework, all at a very early age. I grew up with a love of crafting and through this love came the inner desire to design my own projects and paint. Creating gives me a sense of calm and peace as well as what I enjoy doing. I think creative people are born that way, and once you get a taste of being creative, the creative urge is like letting the genie out of the bottle. You can’t put her back in!
Shannon Bielke from Sha & Co.
Ever since I can remember I have been inspired to be an artist because my mom is an amazing artist! When I became older I realized I am inspired from within. I have always ‘needed’ to create and depending on time, finances, and family situation I have always found a way. The need to create leads to the love of creating; it’s a joy, a release of all responsibilities and abandoning myself to the unpredictability and satisfaction of artistic expression.
Linda Walsh from Linda Walsh Originals
I have loved dolls, sewing, floral arrangements, and crafts since I was a very little girl and was always making or sewing something. Even at a very early age I wanted hundreds of dolls and hundreds of clothes and the only way I was going to get them was if I made them myself. But, before I could do that I had to learn how to sew. And, for that inspiration I would have to credit both my Mother and my ancestors.
My mother taught herself how to sew, my grandmother was a seamstress, my aunt was a seamstress, etc. Women from sewing families know what I mean when I say sewing runs in the family. It’s in the blood. So, not only did I have the “sewing gene” but, I also had the “crafting gene.” You see, my Dad loved crafting and wood working and he learned that from his Father, who learned it from his Father and so on. My Father always loved to involve his children in whatever he was making and would spend hours on end just teaching us how to do something and do it right. However, from an early age I liked to rebel so while I learned how to do things “right” I also learned what I liked and didn’t like. At a very early age I was already trying to establish my own individuality and creativity.
Despite my rebellious nature my Mother was able to painstakingly teach me how to sew. I say “painstakingly” as even at an early age I didn’t like to follow the patterns and read all the instructions so many of my creations were let’s just say “crude” at best. However my Mother was able to properly teach me how to sew and sew I did. But, my Mother did more than just teach me how to sew properly. She also reinforced my individualism and creativity. She said it never hurts to experiment. That’s what they make seam rippers for. If it doesn’t work just rip it out and start again. So, I did time and time again until I developed my own style. And for my style and passion I would have to credit my grandmother for that. You see, when I was a very young girl she gave me a very old print of Godey’s Fashions for August 1870 that belonged to my great, great aunt Flossie. I was captivated by the frilly, beautiful dresses and from that moment on I was hooked. From that moment I wanted to make beautiful Victorian dolls. My Grandmother, my Mother, and my Father have all been a source of inspiration for me. Each brought a different kind of inspiration which I would have to say formed the basis of my creativity as it exists today.
Jen Goode from JGoodeDesigns.com
There is a long list of influences that inspired me to become and artist. I’ve been lucky to have a great support system that has encouraged creativity throughout my life.I like to create because I thrive on the feeling of accomplishment that comes with making something that inspires someone else to smile.
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