Fridge Art

I have always envied the jewelry artists who can sketch out their ideas for pieces they want to make: construction details, stones or other inclusions, color. I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve tried – many times – and get very frustrated as I’m unable to put on paper what I see in my head.

One of my grandmother’s oil paintings.

I was never an artist. My grandmother and mother were artists. Grandma painted with oils and acrylics, mom preferred watercolors. I’ve a sister who paints; a brother draws and sculpts. But I was always a crafter: knitting, embroidery, paper collages and other glue-centered projects. I could never draw.

I’ve tried – I do a pretty good stick figure. But my drawings always looked like the stuff your kids bring home from school and you stick on the fridge. It’s tough when you have to compare your pitiful scribbles to the beautiful work of your family members.

Watercolor painting done by my mother.

So you can imagine how hesitant I was when my niece, Lucy, invited me to play DrawSomething with her. DrawSomething is an app for your iPad or iPhone that involves one person drawing a thing and the other person guessing what the drawing is. You’re given a jumble of letters to help figure it out. Lucy convinced me to start playing “just for fun, Aunt Katie!” and not to worry about my drawings. So I downloaded the app and we started to play.

Embarrassing. Lucy draws really well. I apologized with every drawing, though I was enjoying the game. After a few weeks, another friend invited me to play. I found the more I played, the better I was getting with my stick figures. I started using more color. Then a few more friends invited me to play. Now my stick figures are less “stick” and more “figure.” I still apologize. It still looks like fridge art, but I can see improvement and I’m having fun practicing.

I thought I had no talent whatsoever for drawing. Previous attempts had seemed to confirm this. Not sure why this is different, but it is. Not that I suddenly have an incredible ability to draw beautiful things – I don’t!  But I now have hope that I may be able to draw well enough to put my jewelry design ideas in my head onto paper. If I can get off the iPad…

Recently I received the Fall Catalog for my community art center and I signed up for a class: Drawing for the ‘Fraidy Cat. I figured it would be like DrawSomething, only with paper and structured practice. My niece is excited; she wants me to send her some of my new Fridge Art. Sure thing, Lucy!

‘Fraidy Cat Fridge Art

Katie Hanrahan

About Katie Hanrahan

Making jewelry is my passion. Metal clay is part of that passion and a favorite tool in my toolbox. Each day in my studio I try to challenge myself in some way, to push myself to sharpen my skills, think outside the box, learn new techniques or experiment with new materials in order to grow as an artist. I am part of an artists collective called The Screw Factory Artists and you can see some of my work on our website


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