I grew up in a blue-collar, creative household. My mother sewed my clothes (and the whole neighborhoods' when need be), my dad built stuff, my grandma did a little of it all and made amazing homemade pickles. I colored. A lot. I treated my Crayolas like they were the last crayons on Earth. In kindergarten I'd try and teach the other kids to color in the lines (budding OCD, oh joy). I won a few contests at the grocery store and video (VHS!) rental store. I was going to be a professional colorer when I grew up! Or a comedian. Something like that.
Me, with my mom and (great) granny. AREN'T MY FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS RAD?!
I kept coloring and doodling and growing up. I never really caught on to formal arts education; it never even crossed my mind to go to school for it! Creative stuff was just something we all did. My brother would carve things out of stone. Tell Dad you needed something built and he'd have the plans sketched out in 5 minutes. You need a prom dress? Mom's got you covered (literally: in chiffon, lace and satin - yay 80's!). Creating stuff was such a natural thing, yet at the same time, the ingenuity of two hands working together absolutely amazed me.
My daughter, surrounded by some of the paintings I did on our bedroom wall.
I was 18 when my daughter was born and, in seeking out other mothers my age, I fell in to scrap booking. Really, it was more about going to crops and doing fun things to actually document in the scrap books that was interesting to me. I was never really satisfied with the layouts so it wasn't long before I ditched the books and took up rubber stamping and card making. Then I tested out soap making (fyi: don't ever microwave a bar of Ivory soap) and then candle making. Eventually I ditched the crafty stuff all together and focused my attention on photography. Photography caught on and consumed me for a loooong time. It was my main creative outlet.
Until one day...it wasn't. I'd had it. It was boring. I had to do something though so I started playing with paper again and, holy moly. It started slowly - making altered journals and pendants - and built up to decoupaging anything I could get my hands on. Then: COLLAGE.
[Side note: in 6th grade, I got a big, red F on a collage in art class because I didn't show a "proper" juxtaposition between my images. I can't remember the teacher's name now, but I'd like to give him a colorful hand gesture for the fear he put in me over cutting and pasting pieces of paper together.]
In another attempt to connect with other like-minded people, I joined Swap-bot. There, my mind was opened to things like ATC's and mail art and I started on the path to finding my style (which led to Flickr connections, MMSA and tons more). It was in meeting other artists and sharing techniques and inspiration that I was able to find that. I can truly say now that I've found the creative outlet that makes me most happy - and what I'm creating satisfies me.