After a Traumatic Brain Injury in 1999 from a car accident I just felt lucky to be alive. I am correct I am one of the luckiest people I know. I was left with a scrambled brain when it came to my IT consulting job and writing code. The occupational therapists said to me you will be fine as long as your job was not technical. When they found out all I had left in my memory was college in the 1970's they grimaced. It was like everything reset to 1978. Grocery prices gave me heart attacks and still do on occasion. I had to relearn walking ,talking, reading, and writing.
I was a duel major in college Fine Arts Sculpting & Archaeology Paleontology with a minor in English and History. ALl of my jobs I had working my way through college were physical and I cannot do them anymore due to physical limitations. The Occupational therapists were aghast when they looked up my record and said Ditch Diggers UNION? Yes, why yes indeed. Finally they came to the horrific decision of my future and said, "I am so sorry all you can be is a fine artist."
Well now they suggested I take job retraining and work at a fast food job. I said how when I cannot stand? They said since you were a chef we thought you would enjoy fast food work...ooohhkaaayy. I said why would I retrain for a minimum wage job that I cannot physically do? I decided after 2 years of being told what I couldn't do to do what I COULD do.
I still had double vision when I picked up a pencil and paper and started drawing. I sold several drawings to a greeting card company and used that money to buy colored pencils and some alabaster from a kind man in Colorado. I began to sculpt in miniature. Cameos. I had always loved cameos. Why not? I had an x-acto knife and one number 51 graver. I practiced .I carved. I researched for any tidbit of information on how it was done. At that time on the Internet there was nothing.
I kept on trying including saving money each month from my SSI to pay for silversmithing lessons and tools my best friend took over and paid for my classes because she is cool. I saved for 2 years spending 50 dollars of food money a month slowly bought tools to make jewelry. I had enough stock and money to risk going to a local Irish Festival. They demanded each seller have an Irish name and in 2005 Cornelius's Pick was born.
It is hard to explain to someone how hard it is to go to a showing spend 1200 dollars and be ready to throw up the entire time until you have gotten your 1200 back. I made back my entry money on the half day on Friday.
I had made $17k in stock was ready for the next season when on Feb 26th,2012 our house burned to the ground taking everything with it including my precious cats. So here I am in a rental and I am slowly again buying the tools and supplies. I did not expect it to take 3 years to find a home where I could work in a studio, but I am still looking. I have managed to get back basic tools so again I am carving cameos this time I have 4 gravers (I need about 20) and the firm belief that you should NEVER give up. I am indeed lucky to be alive!