Wander By Hand

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Wander By Hand is a small business that puts to paper hand drawn and written breaths of fresh air for the soul. From weddings, custom work, prints, to handmade pieces each one piece is uniquely created. Michelle Enrique, The Founder and Artist of Wander By Hand, grew up with love for art deeply rooted in the essence of who she is, but was first inspired to take on calligraphy when a fellow classmate in college wrote her name in such a beautiful manner. A simple moment breathed to life an intricate passion in her heart. Since then, a dream, “to fill homes with beautiful words, weddings with the perfect touch, and hearts with the beauty of creativity” has begun to flourish.

As I have begun to know Michelle via email, I have been privileged to witness glimpses of God’s heart.

He is relentless in His pursuit for not only our hearts, but for us to behold all the goodness He has prepared for each of us individually.

From her life story to her journey as an artist, God’s hand is evident in a powerful, meaningful way. When God has called you to something and you step into it in obedience, there’s no limit to where God will take you and this is only the beginning for Wander By Hand.

ABOUT MICHELLE ENRIQUEZ

Her story as a creator and Christ follower go hand-in-hand. Growing up, she loved creating. She grew up with loving parents, who divorced while she was young. During this time, her mom soon took her family to a non-denominational church in the Chicago suburb. It was there that she accepted Christ.

Growing up she continued to paint, draw, color, sculpt, and invest her time with anything and everything art related. Furthering into high school, her desire to create broadened into the admiration of visual arts and photography.

I loved the quiet of the darkroom, the process of capturing beauty through my own point of view, and the challenge to see beauty in all things.”

Transitioning into her college years, her artistic journey takes a turn into a dark valley as her heart drifts from the Lord. But God is faithful and even through the darkness that enveloped her during this season of her life His light still shone, His hand was always at work, and His heart was always for her. It wasn’t until a much-needed breakup with a 4 year relationship that her search for the Lord reignited as she refocused her heart and mind on the Lord.

To touch on that story, this breakup is one of my all-time favorite stories on what restoration looks like…because now, I am married to the man I had been dating and it couldn’t be better! He found the Lord, and I re-found the Lord, and now he’s a Youth Pastor…I genuinely love how God pieced together our story!

After college, she started to tap into her creativity once again. What began as a hobby has turned into a heartbeat.

I love championing on the creative in all of us. It’s so wild how artwork flows out of what the Lord is doing in my heart.”

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For the first few years of taking on this artistic endeavor, she felt extremely foolish. Foolish that she wasn’t utilizing her degree in Spanish and Global Art History and silly that she thought she was even good enough to pursue this. It wasn’t until she fully humbled herself to the Lord that she was finally comfortable identifying as an artist. When she finally identified as an artist is when she finally felt empowered to pursue art as something more than just a hobby. While there are times where she doubts if she can do this, she is reminded that being an artist is not so much about where your finances come from; but about identity. As an artist, she has been equipped for this very thing to create.

Wander By Hand started up in 2014, and until recently she only invested part of her time into it. As of now, she is working on Wander By Hand full time. This huge leap of faith is only the beginning for how far God is going to take not only this small business, but this artistic soul. Michelle is not just an artist. She is a masterpiece and each piece she creates has not only glimpses of her heart, but God’s heart in her. The genuine love flows from her hands to paper to your hearts.

Q&A WITH MICHELLE ENRIQUEZ

What would you say are a few of your struggles?

Comparison. Crossing the street on foot. When my love language of affirmation becomes a source of validation; I have to always be careful with that! Mental math. Discontentment I’ve got the heart of a world traveler. Over analyzing myself and all that I say to people….and many more.

What motivates you?

Having TIME; coffee; and Jesus.

What is your favorite medium to work with?

My favorite medium is ink and watercolor. With calligraphy, I love not tracing my words. There’s a beauty in knowing I’ve only got one shot to create the lettering. With watercolor, I love how it allows me to slow down. The two combined is like a rush and a meditation all at the same time.

What does your creative process look like?

My creative process 100% of the time begins with my face in the Bible, or in another theological book. My ideas always stem from there. Some sort of word or phrase will always speak to me, and from there I letter that word/phrase in a couple different ways. I’m also very inspired by the kitchen, the garden, and nature. So, I study a lot of florals, fruits, herbs etc. and like to use them in my work.

How do you overcome a creative block?

I’ll read more, look at others’ art to get inspired, not paint for a while, and/or try something new. Often, I find if I’m stuck, I need to do something different.

When did you realize that you could make a career out of your art?

I didn’t start to truly create at all until after college. It began as creating calligraphy pieces of quotes and scriptures for friends and family. I do remember my first sale. It was to my former employer (my boss at Lululemon) who was gifting our team with cards. I’ll never, ever forget that. It was the first time I thought, wow I can actually make money with this?

What advice would you give to any creative?

We are ALL called to be creative. This is the advice I would give to anyone who is struggling in their identity as an artist. We are made in the image of a CREATOR. He wove this into our SOULS! Whether you are in business or hold a paintbrush in your hand, you have the ability to think creatively, create artistically, or converse with creativity. Alongside this truth, I would encourage every creative to continue to dig into Jesus. He is a never ending well of creativity. There’s a TON of beauty in a relationship with the Lord, and that will outpour from you the more you press into Him and your relationship with Him.

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How did you come up with the name Wander By Hand?

I’ll never forget it. I was sitting on my parent’s couch; the sun was beaming through their big front windows and I just sat there and prayed. It kind of just drifted into my mind. I then texted my brother, my now husband, and sister-in-law. Each of them responded “YES”, and I knew it was the one!

What is your vision for Wander By Hand?

This is a big one, and a really vulnerable one. I would love to be full time with this. And not full-time in the struggling senses, but full-time to the point where I can financially support my husband and I and our future family.


Since I stumbled upon Wander By Hand on Instagram a few months ago, my life has been extremely blessed with not just words of encouragement but a sister in Christ. Michelle is such a genuine soul and getting to know her even if just through her art is a blessing in itself. Her genuine heart for the Lord and purposeful way of living is inspiring and contagious.

I am ever amazed by how a few words can make such a huge impact on a bad situation and in one’s life. They are indeed “sweeter than honey” like Psalm 119:103 states. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Psalms 18:21) and what better way to bring life into your workplace, special event, or home than by including some meaningful written art by Wander By Hand to not only decorate and inspire but to bring about change in your life and in the lives of those around you.

By Maali Padro // Photos courtesy of Wander by Hand

Desert Sage

IMG_0983Meet Ginny Melby, the owner and artist behind Desert Sage. Desert Sage is a watercolor and calligraphy company that makes elegant, one-of-a-kind pieces for every occasion. Whether you’re in need of envelope addressing, place cards, or handwritten notes, Desert Sage can create it for you. They even offer stunning geodes with individual words written on them, to inspire you or encourage a friend. What started as a way for Ginny to bring color and life out of her darkest days, has turned into a flourishing brand that aims to transform others’ lives through beauty and joy.

Read on as Ginny shares some of her business insights and inspiration.

Q: Why you do what you do?
A:
If God can use my artwork to encourage just one person’s heart, than it has served its purpose. I want to be a good steward of the gifts and passions God has given me. To me, Desert Sage means beauty out of brokenness. A desert sage flower grows in the harshest, driest conditions. Somehow this beautiful purple flower sprouts up from the dry, cracked desert ground. Similarly, the joy and beauty of my artwork surprised me by springing up during the most desolate time of my life, when my father passed away and I started writing and painting as a way to calm my soul. My vision for this business is to plant little seeds of hope and joy in other people’s deserts making their dream art pieces a reality and bringing beauty into their lives and homes.

IMG_0992Q: What’s the biggest mistake you made your first year of business?
A:
I compared my work to others’ constantly. I think this flowed from a feeling that I had no idea what I was doing, an insecurity in my own artwork and a harmless desire for inspiration. But the best advice I ever received was, “Unfollow me and all your favorite artists.” As humans, we tend to compare our creations to the creations of others. It’s good to be inspired by someone else’s work, but don’t fall into the trap of studying it, thus stifling your own creativity and never truly finding your own voice in art. That feels like robbing the world of some unique beauty that can only be found in you.

Q: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A:
Every time a customer tells me how much my artwork has encouraged them or how much peace/joy/hope it brings them to see my piece in their home everyday. That’s why I do what I do! Also, the moment I finally finish an elaborate piece is SO satisfying. They take so much of my time and concentration, it’s very exciting to see the finished product.

Q: What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained?
A:
I get out into nature! Walking and admiring creation is one of the most refreshing things for me. It always seems to give me perspective again, that the success of all my tasks really isn’t on my shoulders…I just get the privilege of playing a part in it all. That frees me to do my best (and have fun!) and leave the rest up to God.

“We may know what we want, but God knows what we need.”

Q: What business owner or entrepreneur do you admire most? Who is your role model?
A:
I really admire Ruth Simons of Gracelaced artwork. Apart from her talent as an artist, I love how real she is about life. She doesn’t sugarcoat things or put on a false front for social media. You can tell she doesn’t spend hours trying to formulate a trendy post or make her life seem perfect. She often posts about the hard, sanctifying parts of life, motherhood, marriage…She’s approachable and relatable, and I admire that.

Connect with Ginny and keep up-to-date with her latest creations here or visit her website: desertsagescripts.com

Blog photos by Mary Irene, Taylor Graham, and Graham Johnson.

Master Piece in Progress

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Back in 2014 while I was working in Southeast Asia, I became very fascinated by the idea of having a tent at home, which would signify the Holy presence of God. I wanted a refuge, a resting place, a space where I can always go to encounter the One I love. Yes the Spirit of God is everywhere and is not restricted by manmade things, but there is something very special about having a designated place for the person that you most honor and treasure.

I was engaged then and due to fly back to London to be married in a few months’ time. I called my fiancé then, hubby now, and asked whether we could have a tee pee tent at home. He said yes! So this tent has been my place of intimacy, rest and soul-searching. It is where I bring my utmost brokenness, joys and mysteries to the One my soul delights in.

When it came to the time of forming some kind of a brand for this artwork-making business, I had this logo in mind. It came to me one time while I was worshipping the Lord.

I had no pen and paper with me so I quickly sketched it with my finger on iPhone using the doodle app, not wanting any detail to slip away. I saw something like the shape of a tee pee tent, and wings on both sides, overlooking the thing in the middle. That reminded me of the cherubims that guarded the ark of the covenant. At the same time, I had this thought that the name should start with an A, which is kind of like the shape of the tent in the logo. Then suddenly, it all made sense! “The Ark of Presence, where Love and Glory dwells” became the identity of the brand.

Moses said to God, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
(Exodus 33:15-16)

My hope is that everything about The Ark would breathe the glory of God. If the Presence of God is not in this, it would be completely in vain.

So, the hands and the heart behind The Ark is this girl (or rather married woman) who adores wild daisies, succulents, cacti, leaves, branches, trees, sunshine, extremely warm weather, the sea, pebbles, seashells, sand, being in water, adventur-ing with flip flops and backpack, scented candles, open space, quietness, joyfulness, childlikeness, reading while sipping tea, genuine love songs, dance performances that make you cry, vulnerable story-telling, and different cultures in the world.

I am a lover of love and beauty – a lover of the Person of love and beauty and glory and grace and truth – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my beginning, my process, and my destination – in all of my existence and everything I do. He brought me from death to life; an amazing, hope-filled, darkness crushing and light-shining life.

I am an art psychotherapist by training and have had the privilege of using the profession to reach the lost, bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free. Before that I was a graphic designer / art director. I had left the design career to carry out the current ‘mission’ God laid on my heart.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetHowever, I have never actually stopped creating. A couple of years ago I found myself feeling rather discontent about the gifts I was buying for friends’ birthdays, weddings, Christmas, special occasions or simply to show encouragement. I started to hand-make different types of art pieces to give to family and friends and strangers (this is a ‘custom’ that I developed as a child, I’m grateful to my parents who loved and kept the endless Disney cards I painted for them).

In October 2016, after a series of amazing events and encouraging words from friends, I decided to step out and start a tiny, tiny little online business, selling ‘stuff’ that I make. Jesus called me to start The Ark, to create and sell artworks for His glory; to bring hope, light and love to this weary and broken world. I had very little idea how it might work. And I am still learning a lot each day.

I had a lot of struggles to start with. I was afraid my work was not good enough, that it’s not worth looking at, that people wouldn’t be interested, that it’s going to be a failure, that it was just a projection of ugly self-ambition. However, the Lord Jesus and my wonderful hubby keep encouraging me and spurring me on the right track. It is so easy to get back to that dark loophole and compare with others and lose the vision and the joy of creating, but I thank God that ultimately He defines ‘success’, not me, not anyone else. If I seek to please people, I lose everything. But if I seek to do everything for the glory and pleasure of Jesus, I would be the richest I can be. I have learnt and am learning that I always just need an attitude of a daughter making something for her Father – all love and no fear.

Everything in The Ark is hand-crafted by love, inspired by nature, and filled with life-giving thoughts. It is my passion to impart encouragement, childlike hope, joy, love, and dreams to the world.

One piece that I’ve been working on behind the scenes for a while, and I’m thrilled to release, is my new “Master Piece in Progress” tote bag*. The inspiration for this bag came from the book of Ephesians: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph2:10) and a quote by Sophia Bush: “’You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.”

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I am astounded that God would call us His masterpiece. We are created in His image – the image of pure love, light and holiness. His wonder is placed inside of each of us, no matter where and when and how we are born. We are created in Him, through Him, for Him – our life purpose is to worship and enjoy Him. I find it extremely easy to appreciate the beauty of God, but the beauty of myself? I’m not so sure. However, God calls us His masterpiece. He creates as He speaks. Even when we’re not quite there yet, that’s how He sees us.

I’ve been learning to give grace to myself and the rest of broken humanity – which includes anyone from a family member who gets on my nerves to traffickers who sell and abuse people for money; from the most well-off and arrogant person in the world, to street children who don’t know their worth and cannot imagine anything beyond picking food from garbage dumps.

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I pray that this bag will serve as a reminder, wherever you bring it, that we are all hand-crafted by the Artist of the universe – unique and holy and made for love. We all deserve respect and honor; and at the same time, we all require patience and grace from others, because we are all “not quite there yet”. But the process is beautiful. Because the Artist is beautiful. I am so thankful that I get to share a piece of my heart with you in this simple tote bag.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
-Pablo Picasso

I give all the glory to my amazing God – the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit – the Creator of creators, who loves and inspires me daily; who has given me courage to be me, and a fearless heart to dream again.

-Bonny

*Artfully Seeking subscribers receive 10% off their tote purchase until April 18, 2018.