Turning holiday giving into an artistic career
Pam Corwin can serve as an inspiration for anyone looking to turn a setback into success.
Corwin lost her job at a women’s shelter in 1981 when funding for her position ended. Friends suggested she sell hand-painted eggs like the holiday gifts she created for everyone at the shelter. “That sounded like fun to me,” she says. “My first day selling at Pike Place Market in Seattle, I sold out. The next day it happened again.”
A career was born.
“Soon my work was being featured on television shows, in magazines, and I was even asked to paint one for the White House,” she says. “But there were only so many eggs I could blow out and paint in a week, and I was burning out on it after 10 years.”
Corwin switched to less-labor-intensive products that she could wholesale: clocks, nightlights, cards, alarm clocks, magnets, and magnetic bookmarks, all featuring her artwork on them.
She starts her designs in pencil, then adds outlining in ink when she is satisfied with them. Choosing the watercolors to complete the work takes many starts and finishes. “I can never envision the finished design ahead of time. For me, as corny as it sounds, it feels like the painting tells me where to go.”
Corwin finds inspiration “everywhere” ― including museums, galleries, customers, friends, gardens, and other artists. She creates her “whimsical, colorful, playful” works at her studio in Olympia, Wash. She hopes to add cabinet pulls and knobs to her wholesale lines.
Company Name: Paper Scissors Rock
Product Categories: 2-D; For the Wall; Home Decor: Lighting, Clocks; Religious: Inspirational
Studio Location: Olympia, WA