In 2001 I was laid off
from a corporate job in publishing. I had been with the company for over 10 years, starting in the call center and leaving as a senior editor in the curriculum department. Because the work I had been doing was too specific to that one company there were no clear lateral career moves to another company without relocating to another part of the country. So I decided it might be time to change careers.
My initial plan was to go into web design. I could write, had worked for a small design firm previously, and was a willing learner. As I was learning HTML and various other aspects of the industry (this was 2001 mind you) I did some information interviews with other web designers. The last one was with a gentleman who LOVED web design. He couldn’t imagine himself doing anything else. I envied his passion and knew I didn’t feel the same way.
I longed to do something I could LOVE.
My career up to that point, especially in publishing, had been a job. I always felt like the projects I was given were more leftovers than picked especially for me.
My creative outlets had been outside of my work. They were, variously, singing with groups or community theater (I first met my husband when I costumed a play he was in in college). And there were handicrafts. I learned to sew as a child and did other needle crafts because these were “acceptable” visual creative outlets for a girl.
At the time of these information interviews I was making a coffee table for our home. I had taught myself to solder copper pipe and made the frame for the table. In considering how to compete it I thought I might mosaic the top of the table. So I looked online at DIY.com and got instructions on how to mosaic a table top.
The interview with the guy who LOVED web design took place in a restaurant that shared a parking lot with a tile store. After the meeting I went to the tile store and found ceramic tiles in colors that matched my living room color scheme. The store owner’s wife was a mosaic artist and he told me where to find the other items I would need. A trip to the hardware store later I was home.
I put the ceramic tiles in a box and whacked them with a hammer. The tiles were each about 12″ square so I quickly had enough material to start. (About halfway through the tile job I realized that not all the tiles were the same height and I figured out how to compensate for the variations. So to this day half of the table is a little wonkier than the other.)
When I’d finished the table top I realized that what was lacking from my web design studies was the solidity of 3 dimensions. I also realized that I love texture. And that mosaics were fun.
So, as I approach most things in life, I went to the library and got every book on mosaics I could find. I scanned many web sites and, after a couple weeks I asked my husband what he thought about my taking on mosaics. “Give it a little more time,” he said. So I did.
A few weeks later I told him I wasn’t sure where this was going to go, but I had to do it. And so here we are.