Artist Interview: Susan Boelman

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Name: Susan Boelman
Name of Business: Designversation
Creative Influences:  My 4-H leaders, Nina Jenkins and Arlene Wolsky, were the first people to show me how to create something from nothing. The creative spirit of my Grandmother’s and Mom, who allowed me explore with their supplies, color, and paint.
Preferred Medium of Creativity: I love working with thread, floss and textured yarns for all types of needlework – both hand and machine stitching.  Currently, I am really in love with variegated colored yarns.

What is one of your earliest creative memories? 
 An early memory is making Christmas ornaments out of Styrofoam, felt, sequins and stickpins with my family. I still have them today. Lots of details and each one required a mix of materials to complete. The sequins sparkled on the tree when placed next to a bulb. The ornament kit really intrigued me. 

How did you find your creative voice? 
As soon as I learned a new skill such as cross-stitch, embroidery, appliqué, etc, I would start making my own patterns or revise an existing one adding my touch of style. In high school, I announced that I wanted to be an interior designer and several people including my guidance counselor tried to talk me out of it. I have thanked God many times for not letting me listen to them and follow my passion. My professional career as an interior designer led me to work on billion dollar commercial projects, travel the world, and win several design awards. The success of that career gave me the confidence to design and manufacture a line of inspirational home décor products. 

Did your creative habits make a smooth transition into your adult life?  What did the evolution look like? 
 As a young adult trying to fit into society, I thought it was viewed as “uncool” to be creative or crafty. Therefore, I never talked about it with my friends or significant others.  I would just hideaway on weekends and create. I was a professional interior designer with a successful, very creative career, but I separated that from handmade crafts. As I grew older and became more aware of my authentic self, I realized that my all my creative endeavors are an amazing GIFT from God. A gift too big NOT to share. Now I relish in my asset. 

If you had a creative hiatus, what event/circumstance brought you back to your creative lifestyle? 
 I have never taken a hiatus from my creativity as it makes my days truly colorful. Real heartache in my life always brings me closer to my creative self.  Some amazing creations have come out of periods of grief, illness and solidarity. A form of internal therapy and contemplation that lets me get lost in a world of unknown and come out of it with something beautiful and colorful. When my Mom passed, I created Gift tags and made an elaborate dress-up chest for my niece. When my sweet kitty Charlie passed, I created Branding Bags, the list goes on … 

Is there a particular moment where your creativity became infused into a spiritual practice?
 I realized how important my create talents were to God about 7 years ago in a bible study. We were studying a book titled, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. The final chapter asks the reader why you are put on this earth? After prayer and quiet time, I felt I needed to create a modern Christian home décor line and teach people how to design their home showcasing a love for God. 

“Linger” Question - Food for thought to leave with the readers
Does the room you are sitting in right now, motivate you or bore you? 

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