I’m the Sole Proprietor of Megan Pawlak Arts in Aurora, Illinois. Some of my talents include crocheting, knitting, designing SVG files for use on home die-cut machines, such as the Cricut Explore Air 2, and watercolor painting. I’m always dabbling in many arts and crafts, but the ones I come back to the most are crocheting and making SVG designs for die-cutting.
A little background on me: I grew up on the south-side of Chicago. My mom was very crafty with us as kids and my dad was a painter and photographer. On my mom’s side, grandma made giant couch-doilies. On dad’s side, grandma painted gorgeous oil-paintings. You can see where I pull my inspiration from here! I do have an older sister, and while we are very close, she chose to become a lawyer. We think very differently, so I often consult her to get a different point of view from my own artsy world-view. I lucked out in the family department!
While learning to crochet happened organically for me as I was growing up, discovering the digital arts started in High School. This was my first introduction to Photoshop and how to pick colors on a screen and have it come out the same in print.
From there, I went to college for Illustration since I always loved to draw bother traditionally and digitally. I earned a BFA in Illustration from Columbia College Chicago. It became obvious to me towards the end of Junior year that I wasn’t in the right place with my art. My experience with college was very disheartening and for a while I gave up the idea that I was meant to be an artist.
My first job was as a “pixel jockey”, editing photos for a technology company that dealt with product photography and data capture. I was there for just over 9 years and in that time I had loved and lost, finally treated my depression, found that crocheting was a great comfort to me, and even found love again (i married him this time!) and found that crochet offered a hither-to-unknown salve for my creative aches. I made my sister a queen-sized topper blanket that she still has to this day – it’s about 6 years old now and every bit as nice as the day I first put it together. However, the job, editing photos all day, monotonously, wasn’t meant to be forever for me. I was let go from that (decently-paying) job and for a while was on unemployment.
I started doing freelance graphic design and eventually landed a job at a small sign shop in Aurora, IL. I learned a lot about my strong suits when I came to creativity in my work life. Sadly, this job, too, upended and I was let go. It’s no longer around, but I’m still using a lot of the knowledge I gained to design SVG files for die-cutting. Freelancing was a saving grace, earning much-needed cash when I was once-again day-jobless. It wasn’t a permanent solution. Too much competition from other countries caused freelance pay to stay relatively low on the open markets, like Freelancer.com. Upstart was better, with a bigger pool of US-only jobs available, but still not my destiny.
Today, in addition to my crafting, I hold a full-time day-job in retail. I’m much happier than ever before and have been able to make strides turning my real talents into a business. It’s not perfect, and I still have a long way to go! It only gets better from here.
Take it easy and remember to smile!