My no-art stage
My creative journey started later in life. I was discouraged to pursue art while growing up. I concentrated all my energies into studying. I ignored the joy from creating and artistic projects. I was encouraged to study and read in my spare time. I was a big nerd.
I spent half of my childhood days sitting in a tree in the Philippines. I spent the other half studying. My home was blessed with bountiful fruit trees (mangoes, coconuts, jackfruits, pomegranates, pineapples, chicos and star apples). I was fortunate to have fresh, home-grown, organic fruit from a young age. I wanted to share my love for nature. Environmental science was my original career path.
Weeks away from entering my chosen university, I was sidetracked to try a career in finance. I continued to try different career paths (finance, hospitality, real estate, administrative, etc) for the next three years. I wanted more than a job or a career.
Origins of my creative journey
In 2003, I returned to university. I analyzed the course calendar from cover to cover. Eventually, I decided to take a few part-time courses while working. I finally allowed my creative interests free reign. I began with courses in Architecture & Urbanization at the University of Toronto. As a result, my creative journey exploded. I developed my artistic skills through art courses at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Harbourfront Centre. I dabbled in all sorts of media from traditional mediums (drawing, pastels, paints, printmaking) and fabrication (jewelry, glassblowing). I wanted to be able to fabricate anything that I can conceive. I decided to pursue Industrial Design at Ontario College of Art and Design.
I rushed together a portfolio for a late application. I failed to enter OCAD. A kind professor advised me that I needed more than an “art” portfolio for a design program. I worked hard and learned about Industrial Design. I attended portfolio clinics, asked for input from professionals – all the common sense stuff. I applied again the next year and gained admission. Months later, I discovered my portfolio’s score won a full scholarship/bursary. All my hard work was recognized.
Critical lessons from art school
I learned a lot in the first few weeks in OCAD. I felt insecure among a school full of highly talented creative individuals. I was jealous of their lifelong dedication to honing their skills. I remember my first non-constructive critique – funny how tough skins grow after dealing with upset. I experienced my first disappointment, a project was late and unfinished. I realized I art could not always be perfect. I channeled all my insecurities into working hard and focused on learning. I accepted that I was just a student and had much to learn. I would take extra courses and participate in many challenges / extra-curricular projects. My classmates thought I was a crazy overachiever. I pushed myself to the extreme while working part-time.
Gaining creative confidence
I completed my B.A. of Industrial Design in 2010. My thesis project, Memories in Touch, was acknowledged in a few publications. My idea transformed into a communication platform implemented in several nursing homes across Canada with a collaboration with University of Toronto. I also participated in several exhibitions and won a few competitions. My prolific portfolio earned me recognition as a talented designer. A visiting expert described my work as designs for happiness and the idea stuck. In 2010, I received an offer from the Royal College of Art (RCA) to their Design Products graduate program. Only one applicant from North America is chosen per year. I saw myself as a designer for happiness. I did not attend RCA in order to focus on my family.
Motherhood and creativity
Motherhood overwhelmed me. I barely had time for myself, much less creating. I created sparingly for special events and gifts.
I still dabbled in lighting design, graphic design and illustration. My love of fibre and weaving grew. Thank you internet for feeding my creative needs.
I first contemplated a paper based Etsy store in 2012. Back then, I concentrated on paper packaging. I also operated a semi-successful decal store. My creative journey didn’t go far. Renovating a home while pregnant with a young child was stressful to say the least.
Motherhood became my focus again. I learned many things about myself: infinite love, slowing down, being in the moment, facing my imperfections, finding patience and sacrifice. I’m still learning how to be the best mom I can be while nurturing myself.
A paper project for my daughter inspired me to work with paper. I made time to create. I created new artwork for an application to a creative business incubator program. I found my artistic voice as a cut paper artist. I founded Treasured Paper in September 2015.