Right from the start – Back to the beginning part 2 – Lea Williams

Right from the start – Back to the beginning part 2

I keep forgetting that when I meet new people, that they really don’t know much about me. who I am, where I am from, what I actually do, it goes way beyond simply painting a picture.. so this is hopefully will change that.

A bit of background to start with, I was quite artistic as a youngster, always copying cartoons, animals and seemed to exceed in projects that had that creative requirement. As much as I loved high school, I struggled in some academic subjects – I did well enough in my chosen subjects at  high school – apart from 1. Art! Yes, I FAILED art at GCSE level! I remember getting my results and checking for this one first. Gutted. What on earth was I going to do?? I was meant to hit a certain mark to be able to enter onto the GNVQ course that I had picked. This REALLY wasn’t meant to happen. Thankfully I did OK in my other subjects, I got a range of B’s C’s and a few D’s so at this point on paper I technically got onto the course with thanks to these marks and a good portfolio (lets touch back on this another time)

So fast forwarding a bit. Completing 4 years in total in college, 2 on a general art and design course, then 2 years following that specialised in fashion. I picked that because I really enjoyed life drawing, maybe it was an underlying natural instinct? it became apparent though that the sewing and pattern side of it was not my thing.. just hated it and wanted to simply draw. At the end of the final year in 1999 there was a place waiting for me at Salford University on a specialist fashion course. Turning it down was the best thing for me at that time, choosing instead to go full time as a store manager for a mobile phone company. This then progressed to customer services for a local transport company, then banking. During that time, not once did I touch my art supplies. Never. I kept all my work, and my box of equipment.

Here we land at 2012. Alot of time had passed in the world of being an employee, bought 2 houses, got married, started a family, holidays etc. The standard pattern I guess. 2012 marked the start of something. Change was happening – at the time it felt like everything was in a mess, at the end of 2011 I had major surgery and on leave from my job for 8 weeks, a job I loved and was a top performer. Coming back was hard, and it wasn’t how I left, new people, new policies and coupled with a massive issue legal issue that came in like an atomic bomb at home –  suddenly I was in a freefall that I couldn’t control. It was pretty obvious that there was a problem that needed to be fixed. How could it be fixed? I was so unhappy, so the obvious answer at the time was to look at training myself out of the role so that I could progress, settling on heading to university to get my degree in Business Management. Why that? why not. Maybe going into teaching could be a pathway? I applied to Manchester Metropolitan and got accepted as a mature student on a part time basis to start in the September of 2012.

Summer time 2012. Holiday time! We have 2 giant Labrador dogs and are treated like our children so we holiday in the UK in the main. On a shopping trip to an outlet village my daughter wanted a pair of sparkly shoes, sadly none were in her size. This was around the time that crystalisation was becoming popular so I thought ‘I can make them’ and picked up a much cheaper pair of high tops. When we arrived home went to a craft store to buy what I needed to do the job. That was that it, I made up the trainers – took me HOURS!! Showed them off with Ruby in them on social media and thought nothing more of it… until a friend suggested I could make a little side income from selling them? Back to the craft shop. A few weeks later, a chance conversation with a good friend in work happened. She was telling me how she had seen the trainers and could I do something for her son? He was mad for Spiderman. For some reason I said I could paint something onto hightops. The weird part is that I had never thought of it before, or even what dark recess of my head that particular idea  came from. Something was suddenly born. In spite of the awful time I was having this gave me a new focus. Little did I know what was coming next…..

It was at this point I was told to make a choice. Family, work, university or my fledgling hobby, which was attracting attention. Also at the same time I had my daughter starting school and changing my working pattern was essential. Painting on shoes was a thing, a thing I enjoyed! the reality was this was the end of my road as an employee. I chose to leave an incredibly well paid job in business banking with a company that I had been with for nearly 10 years. As of end November 2012 I was officially unemployed and ready to start a new journey.

i’m going to leave this here for now. There is way more to this story.

Lea =)

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