I’m Hilary Clark and I am an Artist, Writer, Poet, Joy & Ease Believer. I didn’t always claim these titles. In fact, I actively avoided believing in my own creativity for a good portion of my adult life.
As a child, I knew I was creative. I began writing poetry in 4th grade, as the US curriculum considers that the age to start. I remember being absolutely fascinated by all the poetry forms. I dove into haiku and sonnets, couplets and iambic pentameter with avid zeal. I think I wrote a poem every day, or maybe that’s just childhood memory painting a pretty picture. Whether true or not, I was prolific. Poetry writing stayed with me into high school and college, as did other forms of writing. I wrote a children’s story while still in high school and have several unfinished novels in my files.
My senior year in high school, I was the editor for the school’s literary anthology. What a coup! I thought my future was clear before me. I’d go to college, major in English, and grow up to be a famous author of poetry and novels. I can still remember the joy of those days and that belief in myself.
I lasted as an English major all of two trimesters in college. My professor critiqued my writing style, which was a blow to my young ego. I rebelled against what I saw as his harsh criticism and decided I’d show him – so I changed majors. Hindsight allows me to see he was trying to teach me to become a better writer. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have followed his advice.
Instead, I switched to a political science major, which made sense at the time, but was the beginning of the end for my belief in my own creativity. In my senior year of college, I did have space to take a few electives, all of which were writing classes. But then I graduated and entered corporate America. There was no time to write. There was no time to be creative. I came home every night wanting to write or create but I was exhausted and drained. So I gave into the exhaustion, set aside my creative dreams, and settled into a years long internal conflict where I dreamed of being creative but never did anything about it.
During that time, the urge to create would occasionally be strong enough I’d dabble. I’d write a poem, or try my hand at a short story, but I never stuck with it, convinced I didn’t have it in me anymore. However, in 1998, the urge became overwhelming. My first father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He was given 30 days to live. My reaction to this news was to create. He felt constant chills from the cancer so I made him a lap quilt with simple piecing and minimal stitching. I knew how to sew, but I didn’t know how to make a quilt. I did it anyway and he was able to stay warm beneath it in his final days.
Making that first simple quilt opened something in me. Over the next decade, I made a number of lap quilts, with periods of constant making interspersed with long dry spells. In the last few years of that decade, I shifted from lap quilts to experimenting with making art quilts. Through it all, I continued to write poems and essays. Then I got divorced for the second time and I stopped.
From 2008 to 2014, I did very little creatively – no art, minimal writing. Nor did I recognize the creative opportunities within my work in Aviation Construction Management.
In 2014 I decided it was time for a career change. I wanted out of aviation construction management, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I enrolled in an online, self-directed career coaching program. What I learned surprised me. I went into that program hoping to find a new and interesting job path. Instead, what I found was a soul-deep need to create. For me, this meant making art and writing.
From that moment, I committed myself to creativity. I chose to return to art quilting. I set myself up so I’d see my tools every evening when I got home from work. Initially, my work was intermittent and sporadic, and then, one day, I realized I needed to turn creating into a habit if I was going to maintain the peace creativity was giving me. I defined what that habit could look like for me and then I gave myself permission to fail – as long as I tried again the next day.
And it worked. By developing, growing, and maintaining this habit by putting systems and structures in place that guaranteed productivity and time management – my creative skills grew. So did my level of joy and my feeling of freedom to express myself. The more I created, the more my eyes opened to all the other possibilities available to me.
Eventually, after over 25 years in Aviation Construction Management, where I successfully managed over $8 Billion in construction contracts (if that doesn’t take creativity, I don’t know what does!), I left to focus on my creative work. My portfolio is available for viewing here on my Art Gallery Page and available for purchase via Artwork Archive.
I create and sell bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings. I’ve written a short book of poetry available on Amazon (the link to buy is in the sidebar). I’ve also written an intrigue/romance novel as well as the essays I post here on my website.
In addition to the joy I feel from being creative, I’m partnered with an incredible man and have two grown step-sons. All three amaze me with their intelligence, strength of character, and support. I love craft beer, good wine, sunshine, reading, baking and doing my best to never grow up while navigating growing older. This is my goofy face:
Please visit my Gallery page to view my art, where you’ll find a link to purchase the piece that calls to you and would look perfect on your wall. 🙂
Interested specifically in my art? Want a piece in your home? Then let’s talk! Go here to contact me about scheduling a virtual coffee, a private (virtual) art show of my existing work, or a commissioning conversation about creation of a textured fiber painting uniquely yours.