So many of you sweet followers have emailed asking me was I arty as a kid, how I got into pebble art and how to start a business of your own. I hope this 3-part blog post will be an encouragement to anyone who isn’t sure “what they want to do when they grow up”.
My dear mum just dug up some old pictures and letters for me. The letter shown here was from my Headmaster in 1988, when I was 4, (please don’t work out my age) notifying my parents that I had been placed in an anti-vandalism art competition sponsored by Coca-Cola or Coke – or whatever the kids are calling it these days!
If you know my Mum, she doesn’t drive further than 5 miles from our area, but on this day, she drove to an unfamiliar town, miles away to support me. She probably thought I’d won a free pack of coke or something daft, but she did it all with a smile on her face. Me? Well, I was just happy to get a half day off school!
However, when we got there, we soon realised it was a pretty big deal. All the top kids from all the Northern Irish schools between years 1-7 who had entered attended. Being from the sticks (country) to sitting surrounded by a sea of heads was a new experience that I have never forgotten. I was oblivious to what was happening; I just knew I’d had a bath midweek and was wearing my Sunday dress, so it must have been important.
Suddenly, there was a massive cheer. I jumped from my daydream as my mum elbowed me (like she did in church when I got the giggles) and looked at her to see what I’d done wrong. To my surprise she was saying ‘’YOU’VE WON!’’ In my eyes I’d already won getting out of school early but, apparently, I was the overall winner in Northern Ireland (even though at such a young age that meant nothing to me).
I remember getting pushed out onto the aisle to go up to the front to get my prize. I did what I was told and, as a little 4-year-old, started the journey to the front in dead silence, by myself. Thankfully, I’d had some practise in church going to the pulpit to read a verse on Children’s Day so it didn’t faze me.
Next, I heard, “Blah, blah blah blah” and got handed a range of stuff: from envelopes of money to yoyos and backpacks and, of course, enough coke to last our family months! I remember packing as much of my loot as I could into a backpack at the front with great intent while the man tried to talk to me. He soon gave up and just helped me carry the stuff I didn’t see any value in, back to my mum, while everyone laughed and applauded.
For the next week I was treated like a superstar.
Around that age I would have coloured in all day until someone would tell me to stop, so every competition that was going my mum entered me in them; and 90% of the time we would win something.
This is me, in the photo at age 5, winning a tie for a Father’s Day competition in the local paper. Another extra bath and wearing my Sunday dress, off we went to celebrate.
My parents were hugely supportive. Aged 11 or 12 when I was asking for a £25 pack of Caran d’Ache colouring pencils, instead of a make do £1.99 pack for school, they found the money to get them for me. I still have the pencil stumps and tin they came in! They were my pride and joy.
When I was growing up, our home was traditionally decorated – but behind our bedroom door we had creative freedom! This meant I had all sorts stuck to the walls, posters and big pieces of old wallpaper rolls so I could do big paintings. By age 14 I announced I wanted to paint my bedroom – myself! Whether my mum thought “happy days” because she didn’t want to paint it herself, or if she just wanted to teach me a lesson, I’m not sure. Either way, she said yes without hesitation.
I had always dreamed a pink room but sharing with my big brother it was never allowed. So, when I finally got my own room, I painted it pink – of course!
Everything went pink. All different shades. I even painted the old lampshades with flowers to match. I lightened and darkened the same tin of paint to my Mum’s panic! And when she saw her favourite mahogany style build-in wardrobes painted I think she may have cried a little inside! Here’s a picture of how they finished up :
I still experiment with anything that stands still long enough in our home today!
Check out some of the things I’ve been working on in my own home recently:
My penny floor at our front door, and our back hallway with faux finished walls.
So,, to answer your question at the beginning, yes, I was arty as a child. My early experiences with arts and crafts were both full of support and freedom to experiment.
The moral of my story is: if you’re a parent, or a grandparent, give your kids a little creative leeway. Let them express themselves, even if it means letting them do crazy things like painting their entire room pink! You never know where it may take them.
This is only start of my creative journey. Even though it might seem like I had the ideal artistic beginning, my story is not an over-night success one. Anyone who has set out on their creative journey knows you don’t reach your destination without a few twists and bumps in the road. If you would like to find out about the next parts of my journey, where I tell you what I had to overcome and how I got started with Pebble Art and started my Business, sign up for my email newsletter below. Then part 2 of this blog post will go straight to your inbox next week and you’ll be sure not to miss out on what happened next!