Being a business owner is a ride that has taught me to think beyond the known and figure out how to draw outside the lines. I love the freedom of being self employed that I have with my lifestyle and family life. I also dig the diversity of tasks which need my attention, which seem mind numbingly endless at times, and also feels exciting to chart my own course. I also will say that this many years in I feel equally grateful for it and also a little bit burned out by it. The model of this business was never to expand and get huge. It isn't in the details of the product or am I inspired to go mass production style and take it there.
So with that I have found great pleasure in taking up some side work that takes me out of my head and back into my creative roots. I feel very drawn to the idea that we are all creative beings and incorporating that artistic nature into our lives is beneficial for all of us personally and collectively. When my son was in preschool I met a dear friend who worked for a local organization called Arts in Education of the Gorge. This org has been able to secure grants to pay artists to go into schools and work with kids in a variety of mediums. Her and I really resonated on this "not traditional artists or graduate art school alumnis" mentality that we thought was a needed voice in schools. Crafts, entreprenuership, the kids who don't know how to draw but are innately creative beyond the normal was something that interested me. Shutting kids down young on being artists pained me. I think it is a real detriment to who they become and how they have the wits to show up in the world confidently.
Over the last 4 years I have had the opportunity to bring this passion into schools in my area with a range of projects from fabric designing, sewing, collage making, doll designing, and generally playing with a variety of materials. This has been so beneficial as a business owner to step out of the production, selling, consumption model and to just interact on a deeper level again. This is where the business started and it is where the value in it still lays for me. I hope to continue fitting teaching in when I can, as a side to Blowfish Designs, and possibly beyond. It opens me up again and gets me out of my own head or from in front of the computer. I get to engage with the community and challenge myself to use my own creative muscles. It also, I believe, gives kids a window that there are non traditional avenues in creating a life that means something to you career wise.
Sharing with others feels gratifying and tangible. I am so grateful for the opportunity.