So it’s been a really long time since I’ve written a post on my actual website…I’ve been updating Facebook and Instagram quite a bit though if you want to go check those out. This is going to be one of those rambling type posts that’s super behind the scenes.
2016 marks the 8th year that I have lived in Northeast Ohio, and I’ve noticed something strange over the last year…I’m not sure if it has to do with my recent milestone birthday or the fact that we now own our own home in the area, but I feel myself starting to put down roots in Ohio, and I’ve really resisted the idea of putting down roots for the majority of my time here. Pretty much up until we put the offer in on our house last year, I was convinced that we were going to to pack up and move to New Hampshire and everything would work out because I’d be back in New England. Moving to Ohio from Northern New England was quite a bit of a shock, both culturally and economically. There’s 4 times more people just in Northeast Ohio than the entire population of the State of Maine, and I grew up in a town of only 2,500 people, next to the capital of Maine which boasts a whopping population of less than 20,000. I was used to having to drive an hour to the nearest mall and 3 hours to Boston where I could find most of what I was looking for, and now I live within an hour’s drive of like 5 different malls, and I can find literally everything here.
One of the things I’ve struggled with throughout my life is dealing with my creativity, my first major in college (also in a Northern New England town of only 2,500 people) was Meteorology, and I quickly learned that wasn’t exactly going to work considering my disdain for math and calculus. Sophomore year of college I decided to switch majors to Interactive Digital Media, and shortly after that I added Graphic Design as a second major and that’s where I started to come to terms with the fact that I am supposed to be a creative individual. Fast forward a few years after graduation (I moved to Ohio about 2 weeks after graduation), and well into my career as a web graphic designer, I started to put the puzzle pieces together about my creative identity. I come from a pretty creative family, my Father and Step-Mother are amazing at photography, my Mother and Grandmother are amazing at drawing and painting, I have an uncle who is a professional photographer in France who sent me a Photoshop disk when I was 15, but I never realized the full extent of my creative potential until a few years ago when I was planning our wedding.
When you see that NARFdesign started as me finding a creative outlet after planning our beach wedding on Pensacola Beach, it’s really been the evolution of my realization that I need to CREATE ALL OF THE THINGS and not just at work. 🙂 I did have an absolute blast (in hindsight, you always forget the stressful parts in hindsight) designing our wedding invitations, centerpieces, wedding website, and as much as I could get my hands on during our wedding planning process, but as we all know after the wedding there is a bit of a void that’s left when you are suddenly relieved of all of those planning duties (children are not in the forecast yet). I started finding other things to “create”, like putting in small gardens in front of our first two apartments (totally my parent’s child right there), and I decided to pick up stained glass as a hobby again, among other things.
Around that time I was planning an outfit for a wedding I was attending back in Maine when I had the idea for a belt that I had never seen before anywhere, and I was hellbent on creating it. About 2 weeks of searching the internet and every single craft store in Akron, I finally had the design finalized. I made the Nautical Rope Belt with Anchor Buckle, and wore it to the wedding and to my family’s ritual of going to a particular lobster pound right on the coast (seriously the best place ever), and I got so many compliments and suggestions that I should sell the belt. Shortly thereafter NARFdesign was born.
Since starting NARFdesign, I’ve come to realize a few more things about my creativity and about the Akron/Cleveland area in general. The first being that apparently people like my belts, and are willing to have them shipped all over the world (which completely amazes me every day), I apparently can make sea glass jewelry, and I’ve discovered that there is a craft show scene in the Akron/Cleveland area that is AWESOME. The town that I grew up in back in Maine is pretty well known for it’s creativity and it’s art culture, but I had a hard time identifying with it at the time because I didn’t understand the “maker/artisan culture” so-to-speak.
I’m coming up on my first anniversary of craft shows in Northeast Ohio and I now understand how the maker/artisan culture works, and I’ve found it to be completely amazing. I’m just getting my feet wet in doing craft shows and every single time I do a show, I feel like this is what I was meant to be doing. I love meeting all of the vendors and attendees and seeing what everyone else is making. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface now of what Northeast Ohio has to offer, and I really look forward to the possibilities in the future. It’s been a bit of a ride getting to where I am now, and it’s taken quite a bit of time for it to really feel like home, but we’re just getting our roots planted here and I can’t wait to see all of the great things this area has to offer!