The Makers: Art therapy turns into side business.
The Makers Series is a semi-monthly series brought to you by Preferred Credit Union.
By Kate Krieger, MCP Correspondent.
“Maker” the word according to Merriam-Webster means, “one who makes” and according to Urban Dictionary, “those who love to create things in their spare time.” Mason County Press is looking around the local areas to find those who consider themselves Makers. Whether they make things for a living or as a hobby, we will uncover many who have a passion for creating things with their hands and sharing those items with the world.
“I honestly never considered myself very talented,” Heidi Pell, 38 says. “I only took a few art classes during high school.”
Ludington resident, Heidi Pell never really knew she has a passion for art until her daughter, Mallory, 7, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Pell says going through that period of her life was quite a struggle and she looked to a counselor to seek out some help processing her daughter’s recent health news.
“I was diagnosed with depression after my daughter’s diagnosis,” she says. “I sought out help from a counselor, who asked me about my hobbies. After realizing I really didn’t have any hobbies, she suggested that I find something I would enjoy and that I could use to relax.”
Pell did some searching and turned to the internet for possible ideas and that is when she discovered fluid acrylic pouring.
“I saw a video about it (fluid acrylic pouring) that someone posted on my friend’s Facebook page,” she says. “It was mesmerizing and looked like a lot of fun.”
After looking at more videos and researching online, Pell joined a few online artist groups to get a better understanding of the technique and different methods people were doing. She knew that this could not only be something to help her relax, she also found that it could possibly be something fun to do with her daughter as well.
“I had most of the supplies at home,” she says. “My daughter and I decided to give it a try and from that point on, I was hooked.”
Pell started posting some of the projects she was doing on her Facebook page and the interest of friends and family started to grow and soon she found herself having people become more than just liking her photos.
“Eventually, people started inquiring about purchasing my art,” she says. “I ended up commissioning to do a few pieces.”
After a while, Pell says she was creating so much that her house started to fill up and that’s when she decided to take her hobby and turn it into a side business for herself.
“I signed up to do a few arts and crafts shows,” she says. “This helped me make some room in my house, but it also helped me continue to fund my hobby.”
Pell started her business Lakeshore Abstracts and she has work for sale at Beads and Blooms and the Ludington Area Center for the Arts. She has been featured in gallery shows at the Art Center, too. She will also be returning to the Gold Coast Artisan Festival this August in Ludington’s Rotary Park for the third year in a row. She uses mostly acrylic paints, pouring medium, silicone, resin, a blow torch and other different techniques to create her different works of art.
“Fluid pouring uses a lot of paint and I felt like I was wasting a lot creating one piece,” she says. “I started making magnets as a way to use overflow paint from my canvases and I started using resin to finish magnets and I have started to explore other ways to use the resin and that’s how I started making jewelry as well.”
When she’s not creating, Pell works as a sonographer for Spectrum Health Ludington OB/GYN and Ludington Hospital. She has been there for eight years and said she loves her job as an ultrasound technician as much as she loves art.
“I finally knew I found the right career path from the first day I started the program at Ferris,” she says. “I truly love what I do.”
When asked about learning new techniques and figuring out how to make your hobby into a business, Pell said her fellow artists were great advice givers.
“Talk to other artists,” she says. “Mason County has wonderful local artists who are very helpful and supportive. I received a lot of helpful tips from the artists at LACA’s art critique group.”
“I enjoy the whole artwork process,” she says. “Turning on some music, picking out colors, trying new techniques and just seeing what I can create.”
If you have an idea for The Makers, contact Kate Krieger-Watkins at [email protected].
Preferred Credit Union is located at 266 N. Jebavy Drive in Pere Marquette Township; 231-843-3464.