Finding Joy in Art • by Terri Brush
Growing up Fast
My home growing up wasn’t always the happiest of places, as I grew up with an extreme bipolar mother and an alcoholic father. I had to be the caregiver from a very young age, which forced me to grow up rather quickly.
I am not complaining — I feel like this made me who I am today. My parents were great parents, and we had everything we could possibly ever want growing up. My father was a very successful building contractor and land developer, and my mother was an amazing interior designer.
Later in my childhood when my mother became ill, life seemed to change overnight, sadly … I won’t go into details, as mental illness is a very hard illness on families and those suffering, and is very real in lives today. I could write a book on growing up with my sweet mother and her hardest of days … I believe today I am who I am now because of seeing things in real life — it makes a kid grow up real fast.
The Darkest of Days
As an adult I created papier mâché and was blessed to be in the design world for many years. I designed for several giftware companies, even designing in China on a design team to research and evaluate products and licensing for various gift industries. But then things changed, and I found that when life throws you the darkest of days, it seems impossible to find your creativity … I know this all too well, because it happened to me at age 38. My life was shattered — in a very short time span I lost my mother, father, grandmother, and mother-in-law. It seemed my art had forever left me. I honestly didn’t think I would do anything with the creative abilities I once loved, ever again.
After all the losses so quickly in my life, my joyful, creative side went too. I cleaned house, literally and figuratively. I gave away anything and everything that had to do with art. I cleaned out all my drawers and closets from all my art supplies. When you’re down and depressed the last possible thing you want to do is embrace some creativity. My dearest friend saw me sinking, as I purged all my art supplies, shocking my friends and family that knew and loved me. She urged me to take an art workshop, but I just wasn’t interested. Many times over she would ask, but I had no interest in learning anything creative really.
One day, she picked me up and off we went. I thought we were going shopping. Little did I know we were going to an art workshop. I wasn’t thrilled when I arrived, to say the least. But as the day progressed something happened — I was having fun! Something had been rekindled. I found my “happy” once again and loved the class. It was indeed, truly life changing. I went home so excited and have never looked back. This became the best day of my new life! It was truly life changing for me.
If I can encourage anyone to do so, take a workshop — whether local, online, or on an adventure to new places with friends! These classes and events are everywhere.
That workshop day in 2004 was the beginning for me — I now teach and meet women with amazing stories and gifts to share. In 2008, I started a women’s art retreat known as Art Camp on the Oregon Coast. Women fly from all over the world to attend. Some come alone not knowing a soul, and they leave with 25 forever friendships and art experiences to treasure forever. What happens there is pure magic! I believe women need this time to learn, to regroup and refresh, and to find the joy I have found in art and creativity.
There is truly nothing more humbling then to hear over and over how I have changed someone’s life, but in the end, they all have changed mine.
To learn more about Terri Brush, visit terribrushdesigns.com.