To live inspired is to me as frosting is to a cupcake.
My whole world has always been spun into some sort of creative web. When I was younger, it was through interpretive dance and lip syncing to Pat Benetar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot or various types of clubs you create while growing up in a neighborhood filled with kids your age (i.e. bird house building club, firefly club, tent making club, kite flying club, dance club and many more to boot). As I got into high school, I became interested in photography. I found out, in order to take photography, we had to take art&design for one year and then a whole year of drawing. Then, and only when I passed these two classes, would I be able to take photography (Granted, I was very lucky to be living in a world where so many classes were available to me in high school).
I waltzed into my first class of art&design, declaring “The ONLY reason I am taking this class is to take photography”. At the time, I did not know I would be eating these words for the rest of my life. My mentor, Ron Frenzen, will NEVER let me live those words down. Not only did I NOT take Photography, I took SIX art classes my senior year and declared ART as my major at Grand Valley State University and went on to graduate with my Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Metalsmithing and Jewelry. All the while, never having taken a photography class.
Thus started the inner workings of what would later be known as Grace Face Designs.
GFD started as a college ‘craft project’, that now keeps growing more and more every day. I found a bunch of old school bottle caps at a thrift store out in the middle of no where, MI (for the life of me, I will never be able to find that thrift store again). At first, I had no idea what to do with them. I wanted to manipulate them out of context. I did not want them to be your “typical bottle cap” crafts. I wanted to make it into a conceptual design (pssst that did not work either). Everything looked too crafty to be able to turn it in for a grade. Then, one day, I made a pair of earrings, (or should I say beerings?) and I kinda liked them, “crafty” and all!
I never turned them in for a grade, but they stuck. I sold a few pairs here and there, gave them away as presents and art traded with them. I sat on the idea of these so called ‘beerings’ for about two years. It was not until I moved to North Carolina and quit my first job (as a studio photographer, might I add), that I really started to take it seriously. A wise woman told me, “do not limit yourself to just this one design, do not be afraid to branch out“. That got me thinking. I needed more than my original designs, (two)beers for your ears. So I started to experiment. I now have five designs total, with more to come (especially now that I am unemployed at the moment). I have tried to come up with fancy titles for them, ones that will catch your eye, like, (four)play, MORE (four) play, Did I Hear a (NINE)r? and Cluster(truck).
The name Grace Face comes from a nickname I was given as a baby. My face was SO round when I was little, everyone thought it was cute to call me Alaina Grace Pumpkin Face (OR it could have been from the pumpkin costume my mom dressed me up in for my first official Halloween as a trick-or-treater). Either way, my grandma still calls me that today when she is feeling extra sentimental. Not only that, but I had a friend in college who would always call me Alaina Face, unaware of my nickname as a child. Grace Face just feel into place. It had a nice ring to it, not to mention my middle name is Grace and I was named after my Great-Grandma. She meant the world to me. Naming my business Grace Face Designs, means I am carrying a bit of my great grandmother with me every where I go.
With GFD being an up and coming success (fingers crossed), I do not want to limit myself to just that. I want to create more and I feel like I am starting to do just that. I have recently taken up painting, making greeting cards and I am an avid amateur photographer. Since my move to North Carolina, I have worked as a photographer at two different studios (see how life comes full circle?!) and I was a nanny for a sweet little boy in between. I am now, in the process of moving back to Grand Rapids, to invest in the city and in my future.
With all of that being said, I still have a great deal of skills to learn. I wish I would have been more grounded in my studies while I was a student. I have learned so much more discipline living outside the comfort of school. Is that not the point, though? I am much more confident in who I am, what I want and where I want to go because of my “real life” experience. So I guess, now I will just gleefully trudge along and continue to look for inspiration everywhere, learning and making along the way.