A couple of years ago, a few mixed-media art for friends unexpectedly led to commissioned orders, and an online shop. These pieces give me a break from my writing, allow me to tell stories differently.
There's much contentment in creating something with your hands, and sending it off to a new home, often in another country. Every time I ship one of these to its new address, I feel incredibly grateful to have people trusting me with their stories. Grateful too that I get to work on things that don't feel like work at all.
The way these pieces develop are never the same, but they always start with someone telling me about themselves or the person they want the art made for. Sharing photographs and memories of how a couple met, or a friendship began, the birth of a child, or of childhood holidays by the sea. Over emails, I get to know bits that allow me to illustrate or tuck in pieces of their life in each piece - the house they live in, a line from a poem they love, an inside joke, or a dream of living in Italy and owning a mint-green Fiat. Their story, told in a square frame.
I call them Story Squares.
You can see some below. The rest, in my Etsy shop.