Grace in Beauty

Beauty. I’ve spent my life in pursuit of beauty. Gazing at it, studying it, working to create it in one form or another. I bring costuming visions to life and help people realize their own beauty.

Fashion was my first love. Every Saturday morning, when I was a child, surrounded by Barbie dolls, fabric scraps, notebooks and pencils, I watched a program called Style on CNN. The show was filled with highlights from the collections of famous designers. My favorites were the evening gowns with sparkling beads and sequins, silky, flowing fabrics and graceful lines.

Fashion design was my career goal. Art classes in my small town school system were rare and limited in scope and subject, so I taught myself to draw using images in comic books and fashion magazines. My grandmother taught me to sew.

There were no colleges in Tennessee offering Fashion design programs, and my mom didn’t want me to go out of state for college. So, I attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and majored in art, settling for fashion illustration.

I fell in love with making art for its own sake. I fell in love with color, pattern and texture– staring for hours at the paint on my palette, flowing and swirling in ever changing patterns. I fell in love with the sensation of the pencil rubbing against the paper and the smudges and marks left by the eraser.

Suddenly even the cracks in the sidewalks and the swirl of oil on puddles looked beautiful to me. The process of making art gave me an entirely new way to see the world. There was beauty in the most ordinary sights and sounds.

I was forever changed.

Sadly, a series of unfortunate events led to my leaving college without completing my degree. But wherever I went after that, beauty and creativity followed me, and led me finally, to a job with a local seamstress. I began creating beauty through costumes. I have come full circle in a way, but with so much more beauty and variety in my life than I ever imagined, even though my dreams were always big and sparkly.

Creativity has saved me time and time again. Beauty and the ability to see it everywhere, in all its glory, and in the simplest of packages, takes me out of despair and out of myself. Beauty heals. Beauty transforms.

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