An artful life


L. Anne Thompson, aka Tenukihandcrafts, aka The Introverted Admin. Ok, I just can’t write any more in third person. This page is long and the most personal wordage you’ll get from me. I’m not one of those people who shares all the personal things with the world.

My artistic career is documented at 5 years old, when I got my first set of washable crayons. Art was always my favorite class in school, but when mom (a banker) took me to work and had her coworkers “train me on their jobs,” I discovered a love of office life and supplies.

My first camera was a high school graduation gift from mom and dad, a Sears KS-1 camera (Ricoh’s XR6) SLR. I still own this camera and break it out every so often to flex those manual photography muscles. I’ve always taken a lot of photos but was never particularly happy with them. Yet, I continued because I simply love photography.

Dad was a artist and he inspired me to want an artistic life and career. After high school graduation, I spent a year trying to decide on a college and a major. I took an office skills class at my local voc tech and entered the world of temporary office work.

I headed off to college with a vague plan and ended up with a BA in technical theater, where I focused on stage craft and management. Throughout my college years, I supplemented my theater wages and grants and scholarships with temporary office work.

After graduating college, I took a job at a fabric store. Although I loved it, I spent most paychecks on fabric. So I subsidized my crafting with temp office jobs until I accepted my first full-time admin position at a local nonprofit. About 1 year into the job, my first hand problems cropped up.

I needed a creative outlet and turned my free time to the craft side of creating: jewelry, fiber arts and paper arts. By the early 2000s, knee problems began to crop up.

I started my first blog, Musings of a Crafty Wench, in 2006 to chronicle my knitting, spinning yarn, rubber stamping, card making and bead/wire jewelry projects. By 2013, I was on the path to the Knitter’s Guild of America Master Knitter program for hand knitting.

In April 2013, my lingering hand problems became unbearable. My doctor put me on a crafting hiatus. By fall that year, I had carpel tunnel release surgery on both hands and had to give up all the crafts because they hurt my hands.

About a month after the second surgery, I found myself getting really grumpy because I wasn’t creating. And I found the wonderful world of online mixed media art and digital photography classes. I started with Zentangles, went on to art journaling and mixed media art and found digital photo manipulation classes in 2017.

Finally! All those seemingly random photos have a purpose!

As for my admin career, I found IAAP back around 2013 but felt the CAP certification was too expensive and I didn’t have the confidence to take it.

By 2015, the knee problems became unbearable and I started physical therapy. In 2017, facing my first knee replacement, I thought it would be a good time to study for the CAP. By the end of 2017, I earned my CAP and was on the long road to my first knee replacement recovery.

In 2018, my other knee was replaced. Walking was re-learned. Again. Recovery was much faster. I also had a new view of myself. It took a lot of grit to go through 18 months of physical therapy, pre- and post- surgeries. It didn’t make me cocky, but I found new depths of character, self and overall confidence I’ve never had before.

Near the end of 2019, I’ve finally come to accept my art and administrative careers are running parallel.

I’m fine with it and going to own it, wholeheartedly.

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