I belong to a Facebook group called #CreativePassiontoProfit. This week our leader, Morna McEver, has challenged us to “Get Your Art Out There”. Each day she asks a question or two about why we create and our creative businesses. In addition to sharing it in the FB group, we also are asked to share it on our blog or other social media sites.
I’m a day late (and a dollar short, what else is new?!) but Monday’s questions were –
1) What drew you to the arts – why do you create?
2) How and/or why did you turn it into a business?
So for those of you who may be interested in how I got started creating, and then turning that into a business, my story follows.
Crafting as a Kid
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t create something. I guess I got it from my Mom – she always sewed, making clothing and drapes, reupholstering our sofa (but she never quilted). She actually preferred sewing by hand to using a machine, and did the sofa that way! We also did a lot of crafty holiday projects like elaborate Easter eggs, Christmas decorations, fancy cupcakes, etc. And I don’t think I ever had a store-bought Halloween costume – all were homemade.
I dabbled in many creative endeavors growing up – beaded flowers, some kind of fabric paint in tubes (anyone remember those?), various embroidery and needlepoint techniques, knitting, crocheting, macrame, painting (watercolor, acrylic, and oils), sketching (charcoal, pencil, and pen & ink) – wow, it’s kind of fun to go back and think about all the things I’ve tried. In fact, for one job at a nature center, I even did some taxidermy!
My First Creative Business
After college I became friends with a girl my brother was dating. She is the one who introduced me to quilting, and also to making things for sale. We did craft fairs together for several years, in addition to our day jobs. When I became interested in counted-cross stitch, I wanted to find a way to combine that craft with quilting. So I designed small ‘quilts’ where the blocks were cross-stitched onto one piece of canvas, then borders added, layered with backing & batting and hand quilted through the cross-stitch fabric. This became my first foray into pattern design, all done the ‘old-fashioned’ way with hand-drawn charts on graph paper, typed instructions, and Prestype rub on letting for the design work – desk-top publishing did not exist back then (why, yes, I AM older than dirt!).
Why I Have a Creative Business
I worked for several years in my degree field of wildlife biology and also in the business world. But I found if I wasn’t creating, I wasn’t happy. Once I married and was not as free to transfer to a different location for my wildlife career, I started my second business teaching quilting and designing quilting patterns.
I later began longarm quilting, and about a year ago added designing and digitizing patterns for longarm quilters.
Why Do I Need to Create?
I’m not sure why, but if I don’t create, I’m not happy. It completes me. I love taking raw materials, or a blank piece of paper, and turning them into something beautiful or useful.
Office-type positions left me feeling ’empty’. I didn’t mind so much if I could create databases or spreadsheets or newsletters (there is that ‘create’ word again), but I needed to do something where I could see a physical end result.
I always enjoyed working with my hands, rather than just talking on a phone or typing on a keyboard. So working with fabric, or paint, or other craft materials satisfies that need. I do also enjoy creating using technology, so my newest endeavor of digitizing quilting designs is also satisfying, even though it is done on a computer.
Your Turn – Comment Below
Now it’s YOUR turn – why do YOU create? If you have a creative business, what got you started? And if you’re not already a member of the #CreativePassiontoProfit Facebook group, why don’t you come over and join us?