I am asked all the time, where did I learn to create and design. Did I go to college for this? Did I take special classes? Is it something I have always loved to do?
To be honest, I am not sure. I always respond it is a gift from God. It's true. I would have never thought in a million years, I would be doing what I am doing and living where I am living. But God knew the entire time. Along the way, God has placed family members, teachers, and friends to encourage me, to think outside the box, believe in myself and use the gifts God has given me.
I sit back and think about all those who have influenced my life. Gosh...there are so many. And I am thankful for each and every person.
One in particular was my art teacher, Mrs. Dana Osburn. I don't remember the first time I went to her class, nor do I remember every single class I took with her, but I do remember how she encouraged all of her students, how each time I left her classroom I felt empowered and encouraged that I had made something worth showing my family, and that even if I may have colored outside the lines, it was ok and there was a way to fix it. She and I shared the first name, Dana, which I thought was super cool, because I didn't know a lot of people named Dana growing up. She was the mother of three dear high school friends and I spent many times in the Osburn home in high school. She always made us feel so welcomed.
When we moved back to my hometown, I was so excited that she came to our grand-opening. I was even more thrilled and honored when she and her granddaughter, Maggie attended one of my workshops. We had so much fun that day and I will never forget Maggie asking for the real Dana's help, which I smiled and said your DeeDee is the real Dana as she taught me all I know. They both smile and you could see the genuine love they had for each other.
A little over a month ago, Dana had called me and ask if I could paint a piece of furniture for her. I honestly was so honored that she had asked me. I knew that she could do it on her own, but she trusted me enough to do it for her. You see, Dana, was a true artist. She could paint and draw free handed. She had an eye for art and decorating and was so talented.
This past week, Dana passed away. Sadness filled my heart for her family. I was heartbroken that I wasn't able to finish this piece for her before she went to be with Jesus. Just a few days ago, I finished it. It is quite the transformation. She and I had several conversations about what she wanted it to look like. Black, not glossy, matte. She decided to keep the handles and have them painted black as well. The piece was beautiful before, but I love how classy it looks now solid black. I hope she would have loved it.
What I've learned through all of this is to share with those who make a difference in your life. Don't wait. Thank them. Hug them. Tell them how much you appreciate them. I was able to share this with Dana a month ago when she came into the store to ask about our ceramic tree workshop. You see, I learned about ceramics from Dana. She was the reason I even attempted to offer this type of workshop at MDT. I will be forever grateful for what she taught me. She will be deeply missed.