Many of my readers already know that I love ART. I am an artist, but I wasn’t always an artist. In college I fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a debilitating injury. Leaving me wheelchair confined and bed ridden. During the several years of my recovery I rediscovered my childhood love for art and crafting.
In the midst of recovery, I graduated from college and landed a job at one of the biggest banks in my state. However, I still had chronic pain and life altering mobility issues. Eventually, I had to leave my job which caused my social circle to rapidly begin to shrink; as I was unable to climb stairs, visit certain homes and venues, walk the distances across parking lots and to restrooms. Yet, I still wanted to attend and even host social gatherings. In particular, crafting and creative art events.
While I still did art projects as much as I could; sadly, I was in solitude. Feeling lonelier each day and unmotivated. I began to wonder how I could somehow merge art with limited mobility. I thought surely there were others like me with mobility issues who wanted to participate in art activities and connect with people. I began to be consumed with the idea of ‘social crafting’.
My personal desire to craft in community led me to the idea of offering art and craft activities that can be done in the comfort of home or a handicap friendly venue. I created the IMAGINarium Art Studio adjacent to my home. Being able to physically go into my art studio whenever I desired was so uplifting. Making art every day was therapeutic. I wanted nothing more than to share this wonderful experience with others. I began formulating the idea for Tina Riley IMAGINariums.
In the beginning, I sold greeting cards, handmade items, commissioned pieces, and participated in craft shows. I also revived my teaching skills by hosting themed parties for the neighborhood kids. I called them Pass-it-on Parties.© The students were having so much fun that they didn’t realize that they were actually in a class and learning.
THEN: Once the IMAGINarium Art Studio was up and running it quickly became a no judgement safe zone where folks could unite, unwind, unleash and IMAGINe! In those early years we facilitated art activities in studio, in customer’s homes or venues they choose. We offered a diverse selection of art projects such as painting, paper crafting, jewelry making, fiber arts, journal making, up-cycled projects, and card making to name a few.
NOW: We still like to think that if we can IMAGINe it, then we can create it. IMAGINariums has changed with our times. We now offer online classes, and workshops. We focus on using art as a tool for transformation and empowerment.
No matter how we are making art we do not limit our creativity. We come alongside of you and encourage you to unleash your own creativity.