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Vickie Hensley

Attending my second gourd class at her Yellow Cottage Studio, I listened closely to Dani share her journey of becoming a full time artist while I diligently worked on my dream catcher project. I’ve been “artsy” all Tmy life and even owned a business for fifteen years where I sold my creations. Now, I only dreamed of dedicating my time to art of one sort or another and found I lacked the discipline and especially the time to do so. 

And then, thinking I couldn’t be more impressed with Dani’s story, she added that she played fiddle with a group of dulcimer players. My heart caught – I had a dulcimer and had always wanted to learn to play. And now Dani was talking about art AND dulcimers?! 

As I left Dani’s studio that day with my latest gourd project in hand, I knew I was close to making a big change in my life. Seven years previously, I had started writing a literary column online that had grown into quite a successful website. With such success came a larger and larger commitment of time and I now found myself working on the site an average of 30 – 40 hours a week. It was a “hobby” so I refused to run it as a business. After all, it was a work of the heart. But it also meant very little time for my art projects as I had other wonderful things in my life too – grandchildren, friends, and family. 

Within two hours of leaving that gourd class, I decided to pass the website onto my partners. Within a few weeks, I was dedicating 20 – 30 hours a week to art AND one of Dani’s friends was teaching me to play the dulcimer.  

Anyone who has seen Dani’s work knows it is remarkable and she doesn’t limit herself to just one form of art. She is a fountain of information and an excellent (and patient) instructor as well. I often take advantage of her offer to work with aspiring artists in her studio. I’m painstakingly learning to be a gourd artist – it will take a while. But I’m also dedicating hours each week to the mixed media/assemblage art I have been sporadically pursuing for the past few years as well. It’s all a work in progress. I doubt I’ll ever make money as an artist but this change has been so utterly good for me – for my soul. My step is a bit livelier and spending time in my art room isn’t just a wish any longer but something that is a real part of each day. 

And, yes, Dani inspired this change. Without knowing it, her sharing gently pushed me over the edge and into a world of creating and expressing myself.

Vicky Hensley Yellow Cottage Studios October 6, 2015