How long have you lived in Cleveland and where do you currently live? We have lived in Parma for six years, but I grew up in the suburbs of Akron.
Name something local that helped shape your creativity as a child: My mom was a stay-at-home mom who basically made our entire childhood a Montessori staple. We were allowed to paint, color, create, build with wood and tools, and mix spices in the kitchen while filming “cooking shows” with the family tape recorder. Her openness to the game has guided me a lot in my life as a creator, teacher and mother.
What is your job ? Share a little how ALittleAfterNine came to: I’m a full-time kindergarten and first grade teacher, and ALittleAfterNine is the creative outlet that helps me thrive at the end of my school days. In 2016, I took a course at The dress in Medina called “Cocktails and Calligraphy” where we learned about the basics of pointed pen calligraphy. Soon after, I hand-addressed and completed spot calligraphy on my own wedding invitations. Starting with a pointed pen, I taught myself to write using a brush marker, which naturally led to my favorite type of lettering, using a watercolor brush.
Share a bit about your creative process: Apart from the course I took in 2016, I am self-taught. My favorite motto is “progress over perfection” and I remind myself of this mentality daily. There was really a natural flow between learning to work with a pointed pen and using the brush marker, and then finally working primarily with watercolour. I love creating works of art with strong feminist sayings and accompanying them with light and beautiful flowers.
What do you think are Cleveland’s best-kept cultural and creative secrets? I find so much joy and inspiration outdoors in the various parks and gardens around Cleveland. The little secret paths hidden around Edgewater Park are where we took some of our wedding photos, as well as our maternity photos. Looking at them, you’d never know we’re so close to downtown Cleveland. I love the little bits of beautiful nature that you can find tucked away in our city.
What are some of your other creative passions, and how do you practice them locally? Food and cocktails are two of my favorite forms of creativity in Cleveland. My husband and I love exploring new restaurants in town whenever we can. One of our tried and true favorites is Tremont Taphousewhere we know we can always find an awesome new beer and something delicious to eat.
Favorite local artists or galleries? At the beginning of my journey in lettering and calligraphy, I was naturally drawn to the works created by Lisa Quine… and I still love it so much! I also like the illustrations created by Lauren Skunta from Elbow grease design and Shari Escot of Vintage Cutz Paper.
Cleveland MarathonShare a fun fact about yourself that might surprise others: I’m a two-time marathoner (the Cleveland Marathon being the first I completed) and I’ve run about 10 half marathons!
If you were a Cleveland landmark, which one would you be and why? I love the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The variety of greenery and flowers is enough inspiration for a watercolor artist to continue painting for a long time.
Your favorite Cleveland mural/artwork? I like the fresco painted by Arastasia Rolain at Walhburgers in downtown Cleveland. It’s beautiful and whimsical and absolute perfection.
A typical day in your life might include… Loving my daughter, Luella (1.5 years old); run or ride on the Peloton; respond to emails with brides and current clients; and a little after 9 p.m., I might find some time to finally sit down and paint!
Anything else you would like us to know about you? I love so much about having a creative side – having a way to express myself, hand painting amazing flower bouquets, wedding invitations and inspirational quotes to get to know people. really amazing people from Cleveland. It has been such an honor to share my work and continue to learn from other local artists and entrepreneurs.
I am also very passionate about fundraising through the Swanger Strong team for head for healing—an organization whose mission is to raise funds for brain cancer research. We lost our father to brain cancer almost three years ago and since then we have participated in a 5k every year. Over the past three years, we have successfully raised over $20,000 to fund brain cancer research and to support families and patients battling brain cancer. I am grateful to run a small, creative business that has helped me on this fundraising mission.