When the world teaches you
Our daughter Gabriella has been drawing, painting and creating art seriously for a few years now. Each day she draws or paints for a few hours, and every single piece of paper in our home is filled with her original art. She sees the back of school printout, the back of the electric bill or the hotel room notebook as an empty canvas, as something ready to be filled with her imaginative art. This summer we decided to support her art hobby and I helped her to open her own shop, Gabypie.com.
We live in a world where it is easy for most parents to support children’s soccer or other team sport hobbies. Taking a kid to girl scouts, or dance lessons seems to be the norm, but we haven’t had the luxury of team sports or clubs because we have been moving every two years on an average. It is impossible to try to keep our everyday life normal just as it is, when the kids’ schools and the houses, the towns, the countries we live in change every so often. If on the top of this we’d have new soccer teams, new scouts clubs and new dance teachers each time we move, there is just no way to raise grounded children and keep their life in balance with so many changes happening all the time. To us it has never been easy to support individual hobbies outside our family time.
Gabriella is Finnish-American, was born in Germany, and in her almost 14 years she has also lived in eight different places in the USA and in Sweden. She holds two passports, speaks three languages and has sometimes hard time identifying her nationality. She often says she feels more like a global citizen, than a citizen of any country. As parents we know we have been able to offer something very unique for our children; not just a multi-cultural growing environment with well-grounded view of the world, but also experiencing the different cultures in first person by living in several places, and traveling in close to twenty different countries with our children.
We also know that it has it’s negative side effects. Our children don’t have a home, or a place to feel they belong to. We have never lived close to family, and we have never experienced the same closeness many families have with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. It’s not always easy to be the traveling black sheep of the family, especially when you are a child, and you don’t even know there is any other way really to live. At the same time, we know we have raised amazing children who are more adjustable, tolerant and maybe even globally educated than many adults, but who often also feel they are different when they are among their peers, whether it is at school in New York or Sweden.
Art has been one of the escapes for all of our children, in one form or another, and Gabriella has taken it to the extreme. She has created her own characters with stories, and she has such an amazing imagination, that I don’t even know what to do with that. So I did what I could — helped her to see there is a way to be entrepreneurial and to show some of her art to others. We opened a Gabypie shop just a few months ago, where Gaby now sells her original characters on t-shirts, sweater dresses and tote bags.
Gabypie shop is now open
If you ask Gaby what she wants for Christmas, she says every product in her own store, but other than that she doesn’t talk about it much. She is humble, and doesn’t really promote her own store much, even though she is excited and has almost half a million Pinterest followers to whom I keep telling her to promote the tees. It’s not really about sales, or becoming Insta-famous or anything like that to Gaby. Her face lights up when someone orders a product from her store, but she doesn’t race home from school asking if someone bought something.
Gaby just hopes that maybe she reaches girls, who might find her art and tees cool. Maybe even girls who are the followers of their own paths. She knows how it feels to be different in the class, and she has always had her own individual fashion sense too.
The cutest thing: she already has a fan of her work. Her older sister Isabella wears Gaby’s designs to school, and posed on the clothing for pictures. To our family, this is a project of love. To us supporting this is a no-brainer.
Check out Gabypie.com for t-shirts, sweater dresses and tote bags with original art!
Post by Katja Presnal
“My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.” Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief and the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle.