I am a 48-year-old mother of two girls (ages 13 and 15) and creating art was not something I ever thought I would do — much less be selling my mosaic art and quilts on an internet crafts website, www.CareWare.Etsy.com.
As a licensed marriage and family therapist who has delivered mental health services to children and families for over 25 years in Alameda County, I felt that I had no time to devote to anything other than my work and family. My parents were both very creative people; my mother was a published writer and my father was a self-employed cabinet maker and woodcarver. Somehow, I never felt that my creative stirrings would ever amount to anything as good as theirs, so I kept them hidden, writing in a personal journal but never sharing my talents.
My mother became very ill with diabetes and dementia about 6 years ago (passing away 2 years ago this month) and suddenly I felt the urge to create. Maybe it was a desire to be distracted and channel my grief into something beautiful and tangible, but it also felt spiritual and transforming.
I first started piecing together simple patchwork quilts (with no real sewing background). I rejoiced in the simple act of choosing colorful fabrics that pleased me and conveyed an emotion I was feeling. I paid attention to texture and the way the quilt would make someone feel when they cuddled under it. Over time, I took a few quilting classes but preferred to work on my own.
A few years later, I began experimenting with mosaic art — making simple flower pots and mirrors. Mosaic art offered me more freedom to express my feelings. I began to call them "grief-saics" rather than mosaics because they helped me to process my feelings about losing my mother and, in the process, to make something useful and colorful.
I believe that art is transforming and is not just for people with "artistic talent". I can't draw even the most simple images but I am somehow making art that I enjoy and that people are buying.
I will write more in the future about my process as I think many people might find that they, too, can be "Accidental Artists" and change their lives in the process.