Jil Freeman has found her calling as a private art teacher.
The graphic designer has opened her home-based Starseeds Art Studio this month, offering art classes for children.
“It feels like what my soul has been wanting to do for a long time,” Freeman, 35, said.
Freeman initially wanted to move her business Freeline Signs and Graphics into her home, partly to reduce her overhead amid the current economic instability. When the District of 100 Mile’s business bylaws wouldn’t allow her to set it up from her home,she decided to open an art studio instead.
She spent the first months of this year knocking out walls, installing new drywall and converting her home’s basement into a studio space. Once it was functional and pretty, she launched a website and invited her first students inside two weeks ago.
“I’d been wanting to do something different that was more in the arts for a long time anyway but I just hadn’t had the chance,” said Freeman, who has been doing graphic design for 15 years.
Teaching has come naturally, she said. She’s kept her classes small with a maximum of five children to ensure she can spend one-on-one time with each child and keep them focused. If some students finish before others, she encourages them to draw on the walls to keep the creative process flowing.
“I think the creative process is probably my favourite part of art. For me it’s not so much the outcome, it’s more of the inspiration you get from start to finish,” Freeman said. “I feel that for graphic design, I’m hired to make something look a certain way and so that part of me has felt like a bird in its cage. I’m able to do my thing but it has to have a certain outcome.”
Since she began teaching, Freeman has revelled in the chance to stretch her artistic wings. She exposes her students to a wide range of different art styles and influential artists to encourage creativity. She views the studio as “fertile soil” for her students to plant themselves in and grow.
“I believe that there are all these little creators on this earth who have this beautiful light inside of them and I just want them to come and explore, in a safe space, what that means for them,” Freeman said. “I just want them to come here to my studio and completely express themselves.”
Freeman runs two classes, one for preschoolers aged three to five during the morning and another for ages six to 11 after school Wednesday to Friday. Each class runs for about an hour, but Freeman is considering extending it for students who are really engaged.
Anyone interested in signing up their children for an art class can do so at starseedartstudio.com. A set of four classes cost $100 for the afterschool program and $72 for six classes at the preschool level.
Freeman said she’s also willing to work with other artists in the community who would like to use her studio space to run workshops for adults as well as children. Bringing together 100 Mile’s artist community in a collaborative way would be a great endeavour, she said.
“Everbody has the ability to put ideas together and manifest something out of that and that’s really my mission, to inspire other people to create and see that creative self inside of themselves.”