The project that changed the course of my business

Having a day job and being the Uber/ Lyft for my active children leaves very little time to focus on my side hustle and truly take it seriously. So many awful things happened to a lot of us during the pandemic. However, with the bad also came some good. Many startups flourished using e-commerce. Certain food industries, tech companies, and many other businesses were able to thrive during this odd time.


Since many of use were forced or willingly decided to work from home, I know many including myself had a lot more time on their hands. I work remotely with other co-workers from different states, and so I managed to meet a lot of individuals who have gotten to know me and my work. Me being the social butterfly, I proceeded to chat with these colleagues and asked them to view my work either through Etsy, Instagram, or Facebook.


One of the *Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) at my job had an idea for a project to gift to a special person in their family's life. After lots of researching on Pinterest and google, she and I were able to decide on a watercolor map. This was my first attempt at watercolor. She wanted the ILY American Sign Language image inside of a heart where Salem, OR is located on the map. After completing this project, I actually decided to partner with a local Deaf agency for their ROCK program (this program allows Deaf individuals to do home/ video visits to hearing families with Deaf children to teach them ASL). (A portion of all profits from my business will be donated to this program quarterly.) I am forever grateful to the Deaf community; they have been instrumental in my growth as an American Sign Language Interpreter. This is my way of giving back.


The day that I picked up the framed artwork, I drove home in tears. I did. In that moment, it dawned on me how I have undervalued myself as an artist. I also had made lots of excuses to delay my artistic craft. In that particular moment I realized, I CAN DO THIS. I don't need to keep comparing myself to other family members who are amazing at what they do. I told myself. I will find my own niche.


With the help of many friends and colleagues, the fall and winter of 2020 proved to be a busy season for me. It was just the right push I needed. I know that with the right attitude, confidence, determination, and hard work, I am capable of achieving many things. If there's one important thing I want my children to learn, is that you're never too old to chase after your dreams. More importantly, I'm a Christian. I believe this was God woven and all came together at the right time.


Photo by: Michelle Ramolete

(Project is handpainted and hand lettered with a paint brush.)

*CDIs work in conjunction with Hearing interpreters in order to provide a more comprehensive form of Sign language to provide full access to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals who have varying communication modes and needs.