How I became an artist

May 14, 2018

How I became an artist

I didn’t realise I was an artist until I was 37

I spent most of my life unintentionally ignoring or not seeing my talent. I just counted myself as being creative - but not creating much. Then 12 years ago, I had three miscarriages and I cracked. I needed a hobby and I began making cards... I have an obsession with paper. A friend said she’d buy one if I put it on Etsy, and so Coffee Bean Cards began. Coffee Bean was the in utero name of the first baby I lost, and at this point I discovered the healing power of making. I live with clinical depression, and have managed it (sometimes better than others) my whole life. My card shop - which did very well - was a massive leap forward in my mental health care.

Eventually I found bravery in making other things

One day a few years ago I felt embarrassed but bold, and put a tiny watercolour up on Facebook. I hadn’t painted since I was a teenager, and even then it was private and embarrassing. To my surprise and delight, people loved what I was making. I began looking at my creativity with new eyes. When I met Andy, who made guitars, we made a huge leap together in this regard. We discovered, together, that we were artists. Him with his guitars, me with painting on the wooden offcuts. We opened a shop together. Blackbird Inkwork became a thing.

When he died, I had another huge shift. Everything did. And for the first time I decided not to work behind a shop name, but as a human. As my actual name. And so I became what I’d always been and just hadn’t realised, and I became a Sara Kathleen.

I am an artist

I know this post was just supposed to be about how I got started, but it didn’t feel right to tell the beginning of the story and not the end. 

I have no training. No university education. I’ve never even taken an art class. But here I am, at 40, writing “artist” down on paperwork when it asks for my occupation... and meaning it.





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Find me at Bury St Edmunds market
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Come see me on Wednesdays and Saturdays opposite the wonderful Auntie Pam's Sweet Shop... yum!

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