In my earliest memory I am running barefoot through the grass in a homemade romper sewn from repurposed materials. You know the kind of kid sack with elastic legs and ties at the shoulders? The kind you can never get out of in time to make it to the bathroom...?
This is my home. On a grain farm in west central Illinois. Same middle of nowhere. Same bathroom. Full of art and music and books and freedom to be. Some of the old crazy paint has been replaced with new crazy paint and I couldn't love it more. Sure, at the time I wanted to escape (ideally to a galaxy far, far away), but as I grow older I've come to cherish this place and feel the nostalgia of the farm, my home, find it's way into my art.
Here I was surrounded from the beginning by a culture of creativity. My mom taught painting classes in between driving us to art and music lessons and everything else. My grandma sewed her entire wardrobe (in double knit polyester, but we will forgive that) and happily clothed her grandchildren for Easters and recitals. I had access to all the crafty goodies I could want. But even more than that, I was encouraged and supported - something I recognize now for the very valuable and sometimes rare gift that it is.
When I go home I breathe deep the smells of wheat and casserole and lay on quilts older than I in this house that has stood for over a hundred years. I look at the photographs of me and my sisters in our late-70s prairie-style dresses and my brother in his overalls next to my mom's paintings of flowers and barns. I feel it resonate with my soul and find inspiration and peace in this place that I come from.