Thursday, August 28, 2014

Coffee Talk with Teresa McFayden

When you go to Teresa's website, you'll see right under her name:  Artist, Instructor, Latte Slammer.  And she drinks Starbucks, so I knew I would like her. Silver Bella creator and founder, she is known nationwide for a variety of mediums: painting, hand lettering, paper crafting, art journaling, stitching and embroidery, and that ever popular item circling the Internet for years, The Advent Calendar made from a cookie sheet.  Her talent as a teacher beams through her online art courses, which have detailed and thorough explanations along with organized curriculum.  I have taken 4 of these, and left each one with skills I did not think I would ever be able to accomplish (much less from the Internet), probably because her background was in elementary education.  Along with online art courses, she started selling her various works on Etsy years ago, and let me tell you, things blew out quickly.

No matter what she does, I've noticed she always seems to be at the forefront of the latest art trends.  Being one of the first to lead the pack in art retreats and online art classes, I'm interested to see what her next focus will be.  Right now, her focus is painting.  She seems to be in the mode of...
The fewer things I use, the better result I get.
Painting has opened a new place for her since focusing on it seven years ago.  She did not like her results initially, but she kept doing it because it felt good.  She approached it as play, and in playing, her skills developed.  I wish more people could use her example to do what feels good, and get better while you practice and have fun.

With two kids in college, and one three years away, I think a lot of women can relate to the desire to pair down and simplify.  She moved to her new studio seven months ago.  Her old studio used to occupy the bottom portion of the house, meaning it was huge, but being located in the basement left it light less and with room for a whole lot of stuff she no longer used.

Tired of walking into her space and seeing messes, which looked like work to her, she started to avoid her studio.

Now, that she has light, plants are in places where stuff used to be.  As she said, "Plants represent life and energy to me."  I asked what other rituals she added to her new room:  a fresh cup of water, music (always), her essential oil diffuser and her little Yorkie, Lilly, laying on the floor.

If you follow Teresa on social media, you would know she is a big believer in essential oils.  This has become a heartfelt vocation for her.  I asked her if I could post a video she recently did (WITHOUT MAKEUP) showcasing her skin routine with these oils.  I felt like this was such a BRAVE thing to do, and I wanted to highlight it because it shows her sincerity behind her conviction.

With all her successes, I noticed there were many failures.  Not really failures, because the proverbial closed door helps to open a new door, but many avenues that ended and then she had to sort of reinvent something new.  Many, many years ago, she did a local TV show where she taught all types of crafts.  When this station went belly-up, she had gotten to know every creative-type in the state.  Hello, Silver Bella Art retreat, where she already knew the clientele to draw and also in doing the show got noticed from a national company to travel around the country and demo their products.  Another closed door happened with  a rough experience in licensing her products, as the company was sold two years into their working relationship, and then the new company had a different direction.  Hence, her products were no longer selling.  What she gained from that experience was national exposure, and "the belief that as an artist you can bounce back from any experience.  You are the one with the creativity and it starts and ends with you."

When I asked her if she could do anything else (money, location or education aside), she came out with "Coaching women. Confidence seems to be something a lot of women struggle to obtain.  Helping them gain this would be rewarding."  Could this be an aha moment for the future?  One can only hope.

No canvas is ever ruined or wasted.
You can paint right over it.

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