By Haley Ellingson
Art is a powerful form of expression that can capture the essence of every feeling and emotion, both positive and negative. Through art, we can explore the depths of our imagination, thoughts, and experiences. It is a creative outlet that allows us to communicate with ourselves and others in ways that words cannot express.
As for myself, I have been passionate about creating art since I was a child. I always enjoyed my art classes and would draw whenever I had the chance. My mother was also an artist, and paging through her old sketchbooks filled me with wonder and inspiration to continue improving. My grandmother was a skillful sewer who always sewed up my stuffed animals and hemmed my clothing. I started sewing using my grandmother’s old sewing kit that was stored in a tin container. I began by haphazardly stitching together fabrics and now I take pleasure in embroidery and tailoring my clothes. Even though it’s taken a lot of learning I’ve begun to find joy in embellishing clothing. The satisfaction from creating something by hand is far greater than anything I could buy. Through their influence, I got to explore different forms of art.
Art has also been an avenue for me to connect with others. In 2021, I took a 3D art class with Kaley Cross, where we participated in critiques with my classmates. These were excellent opportunities to see other people’s interpretations of works and get a glimpse into their minds. Kaley showed us many different types of art styles and techniques. She encouraged me to continue creating abstract art, which gave me the freedom to create works that don’t make sense and have the viewer find their personalized meaning. Then outside of school, I attended her embroidery class in which I learned different stitches and how to successfully mend clothing.
Then in March of this year, Kaley asked me to gallery-sit her exhibition at the Mainspring in Caledonia. I was honored to get my foot in the door of the public art world. The experience was beautiful. The building is an old church with stained glass windows, and when the light shone through them, the room was illuminated with elegant undertones. I got the chance to spend time alone with the artwork and find all the minuscule details, while also being able to observe visitors who studied the artwork. One visitor even began to play the piano that was in there and filled the space with a rich, dark sound. It was an amazing experience to be engulfed in art, both visually and audibly.
Recently, Kaley sent me a link to the Emerging Artist Exhibition held at ArtHaus in Decorah, Iowa. It allows artists between the ages of 18-25 to submit their artwork for a chance to be displayed in the show. I was overjoyed at the idea of having so many people see my artwork, and to my relief, two of my pieces were selected. The opportunity to participate in the exhibition is a significant milestone in my artistic journey, and I hope it will be a stepping stone for continuing art throughout my life. I plan on continuing to learn to use new mediums and techniques and find ways to express myself.
In conclusion, art has been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember. It has given me an avenue to express myself, connect with others, and appreciate the beauty of the world around me. I am excited to continue exploring the world of art and to see where my journey takes me and all the new faces I meet along the way.
Haley Ellingson is a student at Spring Grove High School. She is one of 17 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 24th year.