Erin Wyatt, a Central Territory
transplant now living in the South has created a bit of creative buzz causing many of us to say, Why didn’t I think of that??
For example; this one
, this one
, and all of these
. I was curious to know when this all started for Erin and where she wants to take it. So I asked her a bunch of questions because in general I’m nosy and curious person but really because I want to celebrate this women who uses her talents for Jesus. Read on to learn more about Erin and Boundless Designs.
When did you start creating these Salvation Army themed designs?
September of 2013. I work in the Personnel Department here (North and South Carolina Divisional Headquarters) but I do a lot of projects and graphic work for other departments. I was working on the program for Camp Crop-A-Lot (our scrapbooking retreat) and Major Brenda Raymer of the Women’s Deparment was encouraging me to actually attend the event. Now, I have zero skills in scrapbooking – but when she told me I could sell stuff if I went, I grew intrigued. I had this secret board on Pinterest of crafts that I always wanted to try or had visions of personalizing, but never had the time or the inclination. Why not attempt my favorites and see what a couple hundred strangers think?
Long story short, I ended up going to the retreat with just signs to sell. I brought 5 and made two sets of blocks while I was there – everything sold very quickly.
What was you first design?
My first design was actually a scene and quote from Gilmore Girls (“We’ve been here before” “I recognize that tree”). My first Salvation Army design was the ‘Home is Where The Army Sends Us’ sign. I had seen dozens of variations on Pinterest for the Army, Marines, etc, and thought we should have one. So I took Army elements and designed it as my first sign; it’s also been the one that’s most popular.
Do you remember what first inspired you?
It’s always been a frustration of mine that there weren’t cool Salvation Army things out there. Growing up I was basically limited to what trinkets were given out at events, shirts from summer camps, and whatever I could see at Trade during those two days they were out at CMI. I’m also a fifth generation Salvationist and am very passionate about the Army – so with all of that there was no question about what I’d paint. In fact, whenever I try to design something non-Army, it always falls flat and becomes a wasted effort. Even that Gilmore Girls sign is half-finished and I love Gilmore Girls!
Have you always been a ‘creative’ or is this fairly new?
I’ve been creative as far back as I can remember! That’s something, looking at both sides of my family, that I can truly speak to as being ‘in my blood.’ I used to write when I was younger then fell into photography in high school which became my major in college; now I’m wielding a paintbrush! Couldn’t even guess what’s next.
How has this venture surprised you?
–That it’s even a ‘venture’ is shocking. Like I mentioned earlier, I painted a few signs with the idea of selling them at an event and that was it; I planned on going my merry way. But then my DC ordered two dozen signs to send to the Territorial Executive Council and a few people who missed out on buying at the scrapbooking retreat emailed inquiries… the rest is history.
Do you view this as a ministry?
Let me paint this gloriously flattering picture for you: when I paint signs, I’m generally in sweats, my hair’s in a messy bun, I’m on the floor of my apartment guzzling Mountain Dew and marathoning Friends or The Office and surrounded by a big ol’ mess of paint supplies that frankly, I probably won’t be cleaning up for a couple of days. I’m hardly thinking that I’m engaged in a ministry amidst all that. But really, it only took two emails to change my perception – the first was from a lady whose parents had been ardent Salvationists. She told me a little about them and about how she’s not Army but celebrates how much the church meant to her mom and dad by collecting Army paraphernalia. The second lady who contacted me wrote about her passion for the song ‘O Boundless Salvation’ and how very special it is to her, the last verse especially (which is painted on my sign).
It’s become a quiet, unexpected ministry and one that I hope will continue to bless people!
Do you want this to remain a hobby or side job, or do you want it to grow into something bigger?
I want this to remain a hobby. Lt. Colonel Willis Howell, my DC, has been very encouraging about all this since I started; offering to help me sell to Trade, giving me names of people ‘in the business’ to talk to to grow and produce signs faster; discussing different techniques and styles I could attempt… However, as I make them now, each sign can take up to about 10 hours to complete. It’s easy to get burned out, physically and creatively; taking on more than I do now would ensure a quick and early demise of this whole venture.
How can customers place an order with you?
I have a Facebook page called Boundless Designs (www.facebook.com/BoundlessSigns)! I take orders only a few times a year and am already compiling a waiting list for the next round. Any questions, comments, and order inquiries can be
sent through that page.