Crafting Dreams

In the wee hours of the morning a friend of mine once expressed to me “all I want to do is have babies and craft all day” as we scrambled to meet a deadline for an art project due that morning at eight. I did not quite share her sentiment at the time except for the aspect of crafting art without deadlines. Being married and a mother was nowhere on my radar. It makes me smile when I think back at her comment because it was not long after that I met the love of my life. Here I am now with three little blessings who help me craft all day!

In college I was a painting major, however there was a big problem. Some core subjects stopped me in my tracks and made me question my major such as theology, philosophy, astronomy, and history. However, when I questioned whether to switch majors the answer was always to stay with painting. When it came to deciding between painting, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture, my reflections seemed to always end with…How do I choose? I ended up majoring in painting and minoring in printmaking and could not add on any more. I loved painting because of the deep connection I felt with the paint and, as with other mediums, finishing a painting and seeing it find a new home is always rewarding. However, printmaking taught me how to make art that can be duplicated through different means such as screen prints, woodblocks, etching, and lithography. The first time I saw the process of lithography was an experience I will never forget. The ink was rolled onto an aluminum plate and after the paper and plate were squeezed through the press the image magically appeared onto the paper. I was hooked. It was the process I loved. It was not just creating a drawing but figuring out each color of the drawing separately. The art form I practiced the least was ceramics but I loved every bit of it. After a few classes of sculpture there grew in me an irreversible love for power tools. Wood, metal, and raw materials sums it up. I loved going to get my coffee in the afternoon with soot on my face and physically exhausted from pounding away at the forge, welding, cutting and sanding. So I gained all this fun knowledge, but there was another problem. I graduated with a studio art degree and did not particularly like the studio art lifestyle. After my true love and I were married I participated in one more studio show before I realized maybe it was not for me. I wanted to reach more people than just the groups involved in studio art. I began doing some commissions and continued to make gifts for family members with the art forms I learned.

When my husband and I moved into an old family home we added some more power tools to our very basic set, and I made a wooden car for my son after he was born. Then we made a rocking horse after my daughter was born. Then an airplane and more… Along with my wood projects I began using my mom’s old sewing machine that was as loud as a tractor. The first items I made were baptism outfits and bags. When I was pregnant with my daughter we started reading a book my sister recommended “Pray hope and don’t worry” by Diane Allen a book that contains miraculous stories of people’s spiritual and physical healings after encountering a capuchin fryer named Padre Pio. My husband began reading the book aloud at night and I was inspired to make some crosses out of the reclaimed wood my mom had left over from one of her projects. I painted our crucified lord in an icon style on them. For several weeks my husband read in the evenings while I painted crucifixes. I made so many that we then thought of going to a catholic conference that was happening in San Diego to sell the artwork I had made. The Catholic Answers Conference in San Diego, California was our first of many and that is where our company started.

I would say that for me making things is love language. If I am thinking of giving someone something as a gift I feel I can show them my most inner appreciation by creating something that took a lot of time and love. In a way, this company and the work I do as an artist is my thank you to Jesus. I had a conversion experience at 10 years old through praying the rosary in which I fell in love. I fell in love with Jesus and although my faith journey has had its ups and downs I am confident in his love and goodness and he has blessed us beyond compare. I want to give him everything and I want others to feel his love. This is why I paint Him, the blessed mother and the angels and saints. My son can’t wait for new wood project ideas and my daughter loves the sewing projects, and my youngest, well he just likes to spread it all around whatever it may be. I get to share all the fun with them, the greatest gifts God has given me.