It started with this little idea I had and it grew into something surprising. Something big and unpredictable and good. And I can't believe I'm writing this post, that in mere moments my little idea will be out there for the world to see. Nevertheless, here it is. My little idea is now a big idea about to come to fruition.
My friends, I have started a business. The Ripe Word is my very own Etsy shop I have created for selling my watercolor and ink paintings.
Where did my little idea begin? It's a long story, but in a nutshell, I've always been an artist. I've been drawing and painting since I was really young. For a brief while in college I was an English and Visual Arts double major, but discovered that visual art was more enjoyable when I was creating it on my own terms, rather than in a classroom setting. So I quit. I chose one over the other. For awhile after that I didn't pick up a sketchpad or paint at all, I think because I felt intimidated, but also because I was preoccupied with finishing my degree in English/Writing. After I graduated, I began to pursue it again - slowly, quietly, when I was sure that no one was looking.
What sparked the impulse to sell my work? A few months ago, a family friend began planning a silent auction for my mom to raise funds for her medical debt. She asked me to donate artwork for it, knowing that I dabble in it. I said yes without any forethought to what I would create in order to contribute.
And then I began to think : what can I create that will be more than beautiful, but will also serve as a glimpse of my mother's story, and mine too?
Some of the text incorporated into the artwork is poetry written by myself, some are quotes from poetry or prose that inspires me and speaks to life as I see it : beautiful, brief, and sacred. The images themselves - mostly fruit and other natural objects - are meant to depict life, healthy, joyous and simple. Life the way that it was meant to be enjoyed.
Noteworthy about The Ripe Word :
Fifty percent of the profits from each sale will be donated to my mom to help her as she continues to pay off her medical debt. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and was later diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2002. Since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she has undergone a variety of treatments and surgeries, and spent much of 2011 in the hospital. [Read more about my mom's story here.] This is my way to honor her, and help her in a way that I am able. [In case you were wondering, yes, she does think I'm crazy for offering this, but since I inherited her stubbornness, she can't stop me.]
The Ripe Word is going green. I'm currently researching materials to make this an eco-friendly business. Paint, paper, ink, mat frames, packaging, and business cards are all on my list of to-find. If you're an artist that works with these materials and can give me good recommendations, I am all ears.
A Note of Thanks :
The auction for my mom was held in mid-October, and it drew a crowd of more than 800 of our "closest" friends, family and acquaintances. My family is truly blessed to have such a strong support system. Even in the midst of one of life's hardest experiences, we have discovered profound joy. This business is in part dedicated to the people that continue to support me and my family, for the prayer and the visits and the meals and the hugs that keep us moving forward. Without you, I wouldn't have had the courage to do this.