It's hard to believe that Aaron and I have been living in Michigan for nine months now – almost a whole year in our new city! We've settled in well, and I'm forever thankful for the experience of moving, partially because it gave me the push I needed to delve deeper into the style of artwork I have been dabbling in for the past three years.
When we moved, I needed to get a new job (obviously), and I had no idea what that job should be. I applied for everything, from administrative assistant positions to bakeries to flower shops. For our first month in Grand Rapids, I didn't have a job. 90% of our possessions were still in South Dakota, so it was just me and a hotel room – or me and an empty apartment – for those first few weeks while Aaron was away at work. Even when I did find a job, I worked less than forty hours a week, so I had plenty of spare time on my hands. I had carried a few commissions over from South Dakota when we moved, so I worked on those, and before I knew it, I was creating detailed botanical drawings whenever I had the chance.
By the time October rolled around, I knew that I wanted to pursue being a freelance illustrator and calligrapher with as much energy as I could muster. With my patient husband's help, I came up with a business plan and started putting it into action. Luckily for me, starting up as a part time freelancer is basically risk-free financially, so I knew that I didn't really have anything to lose. In December, I launched my website and was officially available for business! Since then, I have been surely and steadily getting more and more clients, and I'm completely thrilled. Working creatively and being my own boss is so fulfilling and fun!
Since we moved, we've also fallen in love with Aaron's place of work, which is Madcap Coffee Company. Aaron attended Calvin College here in Grand Rapids for a few semesters and first discovered Madcap while he was a student. He was impressed with their coffee and their beautiful downtown space, but most of all by their customer service. So, when we saw that they had a job opening, we knew he had to apply! He has learned so much, and I have loved watching him grow. We've also been incredibly thankful for his coworkers, who have become friends and the closest thing we have to family in Michigan!
I'm thrilled to have my artwork up at Madcap this month! I haven't done a solo show since college, and it's so exciting to see everything matted and framed and on the walls. Madcap's minimalistic, light, and open space is the perfect background for my black and white illustrations. It's been a lot of work preparing for this show; I've done twenty three pieces in total, two of which are quite large at 18 x 24 inches, and it's so rewarding to have it all finished and up for viewing. I wanted to write this post as a way to give our family and any friends who aren't in Grand Rapids the chance to see the show second-hand! Stay tuned for more new things coming in the next few months:)