After years of working mundane desk jobs, Lisa Powers finally found her passion: making.
Making paintings, making sculptures, making crafts — anything that involves creativity. So when the opportunity came to become a full-time artist and open her own studio one year ago, Powers wanted to create a space that represents more than traditional art.
“I wanted a space for makers,” she said, while seated at a long, white table inside The Maker’s Room.
“Artists and painters, people in craft — creatives of all types.”
Located on the corner of Fraser Highway and Salt Lane, The Maker’s Room is the quintessential place for “making.” Powers hosts art lessons, hands-on workshops, open studio sessions and resident artists.
When she’s not teaching, she can be found in the back corner of the studio, working on her own multimedia paintings with her dog — a luxury she has not had for the majority of her career.
Working numerous clerical jobs to support her two sons and family, Powers always put her creative self to the side in favour of a steady paycheque.
“I didn’t think I could make it as an artist,” she said.
“But I was unhappy, and every month felt like it was dragging by. Finally I just decided to do this.”
At the age of 30, she went back to school to earn a degree in fine arts, and transitioned from typing spreadsheets all day to creating contemporary paintings and doing freelance graphic design.
The result has been life-changing.
“Art is so fulfilling,” Powers said.
“So often it involves problem solving, and it’s a private journey.”
Through her studio, Powers hopes to inspire other creative minds to follow their passion as well.
Her art lessons are open to people of all ages, and are kept to small class sizes to ensure personal feedback.
Projects are student-initiated, with Powers acting more as a guide, than a strict teacher.
“I help on an individual basis to develop their skills,” she said.
“I want people to be proud of their work. Not necessarily copying a style, but drawing from their own inspiration.
“I hate classes where everyone comes out with the same product.”
Her workshops follow the same philosophy.
Taught by Powers and other guest artisans, in the past year students have learned wood carving, stained glass making, do-it-yourself home decor and other crafts. The classes range in level from beginner to intermediate, but most are designed for everyday people.
“I really enjoy crafts,” she said.
“In art school they often look down on craft makers, but that take skills and vision, too.”
On Mondays and Tuesdays, Powers also holds drop-in open studio time to allow developing artists to work alongside professionals.
These include Powers’ resident artists, who pay a membership fee to rent The Maker’s Room for their own studio use.
“It’s really evolved from my own space to work and teach into a space for all artists and makers,” Powers said.
Although she is currently closed for the holiday season, there are many workshops planned for 2016, including a brand new 12-week program titled Finding Your Purpose —12 Weeks to Happiness.
In this, Powers will be sharing her secrets to creating a sense of fulfillment in life — the same secrets she followed when she decided to make her own life-changing career move.
Registration and more information is available online at themakersroom.com.
Photos by Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times. Top: Art smocks line the walls of The Maker’s Room. Bottom: A painting by Lisa Powers is hung behind a smaller collaboration made by students in one of her workshops.