Americhem International Employee Reignites Art Passion
An account executive for Americhem International, a Middletown, Pennsylvania-based jan/san distributor, Laurie Holmes’ artistic interests run the gamut from bohemian to elegant. Right now, the art styles she specializes in range from mandala dot art to alcohol ink stain art which, as Laurie says, “Looks like a lava lamp on paper.”
Art is in Laurie’s blood, as her grandfather, mother and son have all been artists.
“My PopPop was an engineer and an artist,” she says. “His artwork, whether it was something framed and hanging up, or a clock, inspired me. He would take ordinary things such as wire and make something artistic out of it. Or he’d put a picture into a milkweed pod.”
Laurie followed in her PopPop’s footsteps when, as a little girl, she carved some teeny goblets out of pieces of chalk. Then, by the time she was in sixth grade, she realized she could draw, often sketching ballerinas and jukeboxes.
Laurie stopped practicing art in junior high and high school, but ended the hiatus after 20 years when she began painting wine glasses for family members. Today, she has an art studio in her basement and learns how to practice various forms of art by watching YouTube videos.
Keeping an open mind, Laurie realized her artistic endeavors were more than just using a particular medium. For instance, she tested out mandala dot art, which is an ancient circular or geometric pattern that holds symbolic meaning for the Hindu and Buddhist cultures.
“Doing mandala art is very meditative,” Laurie reflected. “Decorating a plate with mandala dot art takes me about two hours to complete; a vinyl record album is a four- to five-hour process. Mandala art is always evolving for me. From the first dot to the last, everything is unplanned.”
Like her grandfather, creating art on ordinary household objects is alluring to Laurie, such as the set of wine glasses she was commissioned to create for a wedding.
“People ask me to do art pieces that are out of my comfort zone. I’m okay with this, and welcome these kinds of requests,” she says. “It expands my horizons.”
For the past year or so, Laurie had been selling her art at a Sunday market featuring local artists, music and food. Her exposure at the event led to her being approached to be one of the 20-some local artisans who exhibit and sell their wares at a new art shop, Create&Co, which is nestled in a historic home in the town square of Linglestown, Pennsylvania — a darling little 256-year-old town near the state capital, Harrisburg.
An added dimension to Laurie’s life is that she also teaches art classes at the shop.
“It’s like a dream come true,” she says. “I teach in the ‘Groovy Garage’ in the back. Right now, I’m teaching mandala dot art and am getting ready to teach an alcohol ink stain class.”
When asked to describe herself, Laurie says she’s “a typical artist: freethinking and not confined to a box.” Laurie is definitely living her dream.
Gretchen Roufs, a 25-year janitorial supply industry veteran, owns a marketing and public relations company in San Antonio. To suggest someone you think should be featured in “Freetime,” contact her at Gretchen@GretchenRoufs.com.