I recently was filling out an application in hopes to participate in the Pua Na Pua Art Festival, celebrating artists with and without disabilities. One page of the application was The Artist Biography, including Art Education, Experience, and Past/Current Exhibits. When I got to the section regarding Art Experience (Tell how long you have done this type of art, how long you have lived in Hawaii. Who was your mentor? What your art does for you personally and what you want to “say” in your art), it really got me to thinking…and, more so, feeling, why I do what I do with my art.
I have some quotes by Steve Jobs on my Vision Board that have really touched me. I read and feel these words, no, these emotions, almost daily as I work out in my studio (patio). Steve’s quotes are: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know the you find it.” And “Design counts; don’t put out crap!” Also “Value is different from ‘price’.” Lastly, “Jump curves. Not better sameness.”
Steve Jobs’ words encourage me when I start to doubt myself and my work. I know, I feel that I am on some path that I am meant to be on. It’s not the destination; it the journey (another quote I love). So with that I continue on my journey, perhaps, not to greatness in the financial sense of the word, but to fulfilling a purpose with which I have been gifted.
I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Arts at Fresno State University in California in 1979, at which time I started my own stained glass business, Pane in the Glass. In 1977 I participated in a Christmas Craft Fair in the Student Union Building selling stained glass Christmas ornaments. I was hooked! Stained glass is a self-taught art for me which has embraced my passion throughout the decades. I strive to learn and experiment daily with this medium and it’s funner that hell (my major wasn’t English)!
I taught myself how to work with stained glass while in college in the late 70’s. When I moved to Kailua-Kona from Lake Tahoe in 2010 and experienced the healing and life of the Island, I restarted my stained glass business, Deesigns by Harris, part-time. Soon thereafter I experienced the “eye opener” of my life…a hiccup, turned belch, turned eruption! I experienced a relapse back into the dark hell of alcohol and drug addiction after over thirteen years of clean and sober sobriety. In a pinhole of weakness and defenselessness, I was offered a shot of tequila which shouted out at me so loudly that I picked it up and drank it. I was off and running again with the Devil, lying, cheating, hiding, and doing everything negative that goes against my every fiber. I tested what I had learned in the rooms of recovery that addiction is a progressive and fatal disease and I found that what I was taught was true. By the Grace of God, a Higher Power, the Universe, a Power Greater Than Myself, or whatever people call it, I found my purpose in life…WHICH I STRIVE TO SHARE IN MY ART…that there is light, hope, optimism, love and compassion. Today I am clean and sober with the protection and guidance of my Higher Power, and my dad who died alone of alcoholism in the gutters of Rhode Island. They have taught me that today I have a purpose which I never had before getting sober. I AM HERE TO CARRY THE MESSAGE OF LIGHT HOPE, OPTIMISM, LOVE AND COMPASSION TO whoever crosses my path…an addict, a depressed or lonely person, a battered woman, a kapuna or keiki…A HUMAN BEING IN NEED. And I am blessed enough to do this through my actions, my thoughts, my words, AND MY ART, on a full-time basis. I love my life. I love this Island. I love my sobriety and my gift! God is my mentor!
So that’s my story in a nutshell. I can go on forever telling my stories of my six decades on this planet, and I shall in future blogs (I love to write as well as do my art). Thank you for your time and interest. My hope is that if one person can take away from my words, my writing, my art, my smile or hug, just one thing that brightens his/her day, I did good!
Please visit me on my forever and overwhelming list of sights recommended I put together per successful artists and entrepreneurs:
•Deesigns-by-Harris.com •DeesignsByHarris.Etsy.com •DeesignsByHarris.Wordpress.com (blog every two weeks) •Facebook.com/DeesignsByHarris •Instagram.com/DeesignsByHarris
…and more in the works as, by the way, I’m obsesessive/compulsive and an over-achiever.
Aloha for a couple of weeks. Take care and enjoy life, Dee Harris
DeesignsByHarris.yahoo.com (808) 825-1800