There is a colorful, creative theme circulating in the life of Beth Young, a wife and mother who understands the importance of making time for arts and crafts.
Young was born in Chattanooga but raised in Cleveland, where she attended Cleveland High School and took art classes all four years, honing her skills in various artistic mediums. But long before high school, Young had shown her affinity for the arts.
“Play-Doh and a new box of crayons were among my favorite things with which to play,” Young recalled. “I loved art as a child. My parents, Sally and Jack O’Grady, were a big influence, because they took me to art festivals and museums and encouraged me to hone my skills. I never knew my biological father. He may have had some talent, but my mother is very creative. She and my dad were always very supportive. My exposure to the arts was a huge factor. That, and buying me all the things I needed to do the art.”
After graduating from high school, Young attended Cleveland State Community College and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she took more art classes and branched out to the medium of clay. She graduated from UTC with a degree in communications and worked for BlueCross/BlueShield of Tennessee until the birth of her daughter Chloe in 2006.
Opting to be a stay-at-home mom, Young continued to use her artistic skills while trying new things such as silk painting, cake decorating, sewing, face-painting, helping design the Allen Elementary School yearbook as well as drawing and painting a background for a children’s musical at her church. Although she is skilled in a variety of arts and craft styles, Young admits to being partial toward using watercolors.
“A lot of people don’t like painting with water colors, because it’s so hard to fix,” Young explained. “I think the richness of the colors and the way you’re able to blend them makes it easy. For those reasons I love watercolors.
“When it comes to the arts in public education, Young said, “That’s hugely important to me. At my daughter’s school, the burden to teach art falls on the teachers now. When I was growing up we had a specific teacher who came in once a month to teach us art. But they don’t have that any more. It saddens me that the burden falls on the teachers when they have so much to do already. Chloe loves anything creative — coloring, drawing. She’s already expressed interest in doing those things. Even my husband is artistic, but he’s an accountant. So he doesn’t get to do that as much as he wants.”
Young said, “I think it’s important for everyone to have a creative outlet in their lives — something apart from their work that they can be creative in. I find myself more centered and I enjoy the beauty in the world around me more. It really does make you look at things differently in the world when you’re being creative.
“Sometimes it’s hard for me get in that creative zone, but then when I’m there, it’s like everything just flows and I don’t want to stop. I try to do something creative every day. I just created a studio for myself downstairs. It was a spare bedroom, but I just converted it into my art room. Now I actually have a space to go into and work.”
Young, who is still in the early development stages of a career in arts and crafts, explained that in the past when friends asked her to create a certain item or paint a picture, she would do so for free. But now she is ready to work for hire.
“Right now I’m working on a project for a friend that’s three pencil drawings of her girls’ faces up close,” she said. “This is my first one for hire. I did some custom art for a friend to match a bedspread she bought. Then I put her girls’ names on it. It would be great to do something you love and get paid for it.”
Young currently resides in Chattanooga with her husband, Derek, and their 7-year-old daughter Chloe. Her future plans are to create a website to showcase her art and promote her business. For further information, contact Beth Young at 423-715-6821 or email her at: email@example.com.