We had the good fortune of connecting with Callie McAuliffe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Callie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I was growing up, I was very much a rule-follower and definitely NOT what you would consider a “risk-taker”. As I grew though, my perception of what risks were changed, and I began to see that I took many risks – by pushing my comfort levels, trying new things, and purposely putting myself in contexts that made me grow. As my teens grew into my twenties, the risks I took eventually led me to art.
One of the biggest risks I ever took was moving to Spain after I graduated college. I only kind of spoke Spanish, I did not know anyone, and I didn’t even know what to expect. I moved there with a part-time job offer, and nothing else. Throughout my life, creativity has always been a haven that I turn to in these moments – the kind where you rely on yourself alone and there is not much of a close support system. In college, I turned to dance. In Spain, I turned to guitar, and then eventually to sketching the places I was traveling. I bought myself a sketchbook, and that was the beginning of everything else.
When I moved home, I went into graduate school for School Counseling. I was stressed to an unhealthy level and again found myself needing a safe haven. I started again with sketching, but this time, on wood… with a hot pen. Wood burning (Pyrography) is still my favorite kind of art I do, and I have been fortunate enough to start teaching classes as well to other locals who are hoping to learn. I have picked up quite a few other mediums as well, including tapestry weaving, and resin, but I guess that just means that my flair for trying new things is not quite done yet. You can currently find my adventures in art at @calliemacdesign on Instagram or CallieMacDesign on Etsy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The ability to try new things and experiment is what I love most about art. I like to mix things up and have created quite an arsenal of crafts that I know my way around. That being said, I think that my art often reflects a lot of what reminds me of the beauty of home – plants, trees, mountains, and I find different ways of incorporating natural elements to my pieces. It is often difficult to overcome the natural curiosity and worry about what people think of what I make, but ultimately, it makes me very happy to create something with my hands. I have to remember I do this for me, my own mental health, and making something that someone loves is just the bonus on top of putting what I have in my mind into reality
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am from Portland, Oregon, which means there are so many spots to visit and so many pretty things to see. If you had a week to see the highlights, I would definitely recommend a drive through the Gorge, and a brewery tour at our many fabulous brew houses for at least one day. If you are up for it, there are many small areas to take a kayak out on a smaller river, and enjoy the beautiful and plentiful trees around the area. For shopping trips, definitely check out NW 23rd for more ‘mainstream’ stores, or Hawthorne and Mississippi for less ‘mainstream’ stores. There is a place for everyone in Portland, and as long as you love good food, good beer, and the beautiful outdoors, your people are here.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shout out to my parents, who have always celebrated the arts, valued creativity, and encouraged me to really dive in with my art adventures. They have financed many trips to Michaels, and always ask what I am up to now. They taught me at a young age about different mediums and crafts, and I am proud of them for following their own artistic dreams.