The first time I ever picked up a wood burner, it was the cheapest one I could find. My project? Burning names onto the cardholders of retired ladies who played poker. Ha! It was in my own handwriting, and I didn't know anything about safety and burning. All I knew was that I could possibly burn my hand.
My next project would start the chain of wood burnings I have done until now. There was a restaurant in Jacksonville, FL that believed in selling local artists, wooden canvases. The artists would then do whatever they wanted to the canvas and the restaurant would hang it up to be sold. It was a neat idea and my mom thought of me. She said, "I'm going to send these canvases to you and then I'll take them to the restaurant when you finish them."
At that point, I had no idea what to do with them, but you can't disappoint your mom, you know? Ha! I broke out that cheap wood burner and decided to wood burn a jaguar, thinking "Jacksonville Jaguars." There had to be someone in Jacksonville that would want that. I burned the jaguar in a few hours and sent a picture of it to Mom. She said, "If you can do that with a cheap burner, you can do so much more with a better one." She then bought me the burner I have now and a bunch of wooden canvases.
I went on burning the jaguars, and then the restaurant stopped the art program. Bummer. Mom and I brainstormed possibly doing wood burned art pieces for the zoo or for a boutique, but nothing quite fit. Did I want to do all that work and someone maybe not like it? Seriously though, that burner changed the game. I started getting more confident with what I could do.
I showed a few people my art and set up a simple website showing off the little bit I had done. That generated a lot of traffic and people asking me to do all sorts of signs.
"I have 50 medals on a towel rod. Can you make a sign to fit that space?"
"I would love a pet portrait of my dog for my boyfriend. Could you make that?"
"I would really like planters to go by the front door. Could you make those?"
All I did was kept saying, "Yes," because I knew people just needed to give me a chance. From 4 years ago until now, I have made over 100+ projects for people as a side job. Now, I get to stay home with my baby and make art whenever she lets me. Ha!
I am shifting my focus to more of a theme with my work and slowly replacing commissions with what I truly want to do in my artwork. Flowers!