2017 was different. Looking back, I believe I have grown so much in such a short amount of time.
The year started with me still being on "maternity leave" with Johnny being about 1/2 year old. I am so grateful that I have a career that allows me to start and stop on my time. By March, something snapped and I dove into things full speed ahead!
I started off slow. I knew I wanted my artwork to have a fresh start. While on maternity leave, the pregnancy fog faded and it dawned on me that everyone and their mamas was painting churches and cotton. My signature style wasn't that signature or special anymore. In the past 5 years, there's no telling how many hundreds (thousands!?) of churches and cotton bolls I had painted. I was burnt out from being an assembly line from wholesale and the subjects that originally spoke to me weren't on my heart anymore. I decided to have a studio sale in February at my home and clean out all of my older pieces. New beginnings!
I decided that I wanted to get back to the joy of painting for that - the sheer joy of it. I wanted to create the pieces that I wanted for myself. Odd, quirky, one of a kind works that could never be reproduced again. In the mean time my antiquing habit was at an all time high. And I was finding THE COOLEST stuff! I wanted to stick those things I found at antique malls and shops into the artwork itself. And so I did. The Dorothy Art Shadowboxes were born!
Since I was recreating my sales channels from previous years, no longer selling original artwork through wholesale and no longer being able to attend weeklong art shows two states away now that I'm a new mama, I knew I wanted to dive in and really immerse myself in the "why" of my work. You know the saying that you are a reflection of your 5 best friends? Well, I wanted to surround myself with creative conversation again. On International Women's Day, all through social media I kept seeing so many people celebrating one or two women they looked up to. I wanted to share all of my artist friends with everyone!!! There are so many creative women who I know, love, and respect. I text 20 of my closest creative art friends to ask if I had a podcast, would they want to be on it. 20 out of 20 said yes! Positively Creative was born and launched in May! Season One holds 30 episodes and the podcast has hit #5 in iTunes Design this year. I am blown away.
Around the same time in mid March, and along those same lines of wanting to be surrounded by like-minded creatives, I had recently discovered Rising Tide Society, a international group for creative entrepreneurs. I looked for the local chapter, assuming I would know the leader and I would come out of new mom life and join in on the fun. I quickly found out that there wasn't a local Memphis chapter (omg, how on earth is Memphis missing all of this free incredible information?!? Why isn't it here yet?!?) So I applied to be the leader. I knew this would help me to become more involved in our art community and I could not let those 20 page PDFs be only seen by me in Memphis! It needed to be heard and shared! My "insta-friend" at the time, Sarah Baumann, became the co-leader and quickly one of my new besties! The group has grown so much over the past half year and I am humbled by it to say the least.
In 2017 my partnership with Kirkland's started. I re-released about a dozen images in their stores. It is a fun feeling seeing your past work in a big box store! With that paycheck, I purchased my iPad Pro & Apple Pencil and I have been teaching myself through Skillshare and CreativeLIVE classes how to draw digitally and make patterns. I created the Memphis Toile and Memphis Royalty patterns on my iPad, then had them made into pillows, a project I have been trying to get the perfect sourcing for for years! I cannot wait to build more digital works in 2018 and to grow the fabric line and create future products.
This year I got to check something off of my bucket list: to have a Dorothy Art shop. The Downtown Memphis Commission selected me and about a dozen others out of 80+ applicants to run a month long pop up shop on North Main in downtown Memphis. It was a dream putting together a space that was filled with not only my art, but vintage pieces that I have found that have inspired my work throughout the years. For a month I hosted mini trunk shows three times a week and had workshops in the space. Thank you to all of my artist friends who helped make that month a reality and a success!
I am still learning my new schedule, and with a toddler that schedule changes regularly. I feel so fortunate to get to have a career where I can start and stop and cater to Johnny when he needs me. Being his mama is so much fun and watching him be a happy growing boy is a thrill.
Sometime this year, I ran across the quote "Invest in people who invest in you." It hit me right in the face. Throughout 2017 I met so many new people who are excited to be in their creative journeys alongside me. I have surrounded myself with people who want to grow and for that I am so thankful. To those who have supported me and my art venture this year and in the past, a heartfelt thank you. I am continued to be amazed that I get to create artwork, doing what I love, FOR A LIVING!
Cheers to a wonderful 2018! I have SOMETHING HUUUUGE that I'm working on currently and I cannot wait to share. 2018 is going to be epic!