I was beyond honored and thrilled when Uppercase Magazine accepted my submission and posted about my trip to Spain last Oct. Over a year later, I often reflect back on the trip- not for how it changed the course of my career or the beauty of the Alhambra but how the people I met expanded my world view. For one of the first times in my life I was a minority - being a white, christian, non-headscarf wearing woman, in a group of mostly muslim women. We all became fast friends - and plainly put - I learned more in those 5 days - then any podcast, article, class, book combined. As horrible and hateful things continue to be said and done around the world - I am just a quick What's App message away from making sure we are all OK and that we are on track for our next art class adventure.
Originally posted in Uppercase Magazine Blog - Posted Oct. 12, 2017
For Courtney Beyer, a trip overseas led to a whole new career path
Here's an inspiring story from an UPPERCASE reader. It would have been a good fit to the content of the summer issue #34's Explore issue, but I had already finished that issue when I heard from Courtney. She writes, "I went to Granada, Spain for an Islamic Art workshop that I signed up for on a whim. It changed my life and now I am a pattern designer."
"Last September traveled to southern Spain and Morocco to celebrate my 30th birthday and take in as much Islamic pattern tile as possible. At the time I was a web designer in Silicon Valley and feeling like I was going to more meetings then designing. Before the trip I came across a workshop in Granada, Spain called the Art of Islamic Pattern, a 5-day workshop to learn to draw Islamic patterns and visit the Alhambra." The dates of the workshop lined up with her itinerary and she signed up. "I am usually not this spontaneous," she admits.
But this leap of faith turned out to be life-changing. "I reconnected and re-valued the craft of drawing and pattern making," she says. "I also connected with other artist on the trip who were mostly Arab in background either from England or the Middle East. I learned so much from them, about history—and about how much is actually not taught in school."
"The trip set me on a path to quitting my job." Inspired to start creating with her hands again, she decided to specialize in block prints and surface pattern designs through her company Courtney Beyer Design that she founded in January of this year. "I sell hand-printed cards, journals and tea towels on my Etsy shop and I am working on a pattern line."
Courtney says that one of her instructors taught the class a prayer that she now recites to herself before taking on a creative assignment or project:
May we all be guided by truth
May we have beauty revealed to us
and may it result in the good
There's more to Courtney's story and art over on her website.