Early Memories of Art-Making, Childhood & Beyond

I was in my studio the other day, thinking about my early memories of making art. One of my earliest memories, mentioned in my art bio, is of wanting people to see my paintings in the back of my closet when I was a few years old. Here are some more of these memories.

dreamzcatering.comAfter my family moved to Jacksonville, FL, I remember making little pots out of clay I dug up somewhere in the neighborhood. I buried them in a sandy slope that got a lot of sun to "fire" them a bit. 

I remember making a bow and arrow out of tree branches I found on a wild, vacant lot on the St. Johns River. Playing in nature, making things from what I found there, was my solace and hideaway.

In my Art Bio I also mention that a classmate talked about how I bore down hard with my red crayon when I was five. I remember using that red crayon for a black line drawing of a rose that the teacher gave us to color.  

I remember creating a drawing of a sapling tree in elementary school. It was displayed at the school system's administration building and then went into one of my mom's drawers and disappeared. 

I remember making ceramic ashtrays in our one semester of art in seventh grade. I wanted to keep mine, but they were all sent to a hospital for patients to use! My teacher apologized to me, since she knew I wanted to keep mine.

I remember making line drawings with black ink on notecards and coloring them with frosted pink nail polish.

dreamzcatering.comI remember doing a lot of doodling in junior high school since classes moved at such a slow pace and bored me. Too bad they didn't have accelerated academics and studio art classes for the “smart” kids. We weren't given art classes, and there were no AP classes. When I was in senior high school, I got six weeks on art in my humanities course.

When I was first in grad school in 1971/72,  I remember covering a large corrugated cardboard box with a collage of colored paper, turning it into a piece of furniture for my apartment. 

None of these artworks still exist, and there are no photos of them. All that’s left are these memories, but their basic impetus has become my career and vocation, in spite of its not being supported until I took charge of its direction in the late 1970s and began making and showing my artwork. That’s when I started listening to and becoming my true self, following my own inner direction.

Sherri Silverman