We’re excited to introduce, Tana Hensley, the ShardWorx Artist of the Month! Tana is a Dallas-based artist who utilizes resin, glass, wine bottles, beads, glass rods, mirror gold leaf, and other unique materials to create amazing pieces. Tana got her start in the corporate world and ran across Mary’s art on a trip to Key West. That trip jump-started her creative journey, which has led to an exciting new career and brought Tana’s art into countless homes.
We asked Tana to share how she got started in glass and resin art. This is what Tana shared:
For most of my adult life, I would say the only talent I had was shopping and decorating people's homes with interesting and unique designs, sculptures, and art. I grew up in Arkansas, didn't have much at all, moved to the Lone Star State in 2003 in my early 20s, and I've been here for over 20 years. That should give you an idea of how old I am. *wink wink*
I've always been very good at working as an executive assistant to very busy, very important CEOs of large and even some global companies. That job is extremely taxing — it's your whole life, and you're always on-call, wondering if you're going to be interrupted if you actually do take some of that vacation time you've had racking up for years now and know if you don't take a few days, you may just go crazy.
I decided to finally ask for some help at the company I worked for because I was tired of having no life whatsoever. I had a great apartment, a great car, no friends, no life, and nothing in my apartment to compliment it and to make me feel happy or love being in this very expensive empty apartment. Once I got help at work, I started to take vacations, even some out of the country, which I never thought would happen.
On one of those trips, I went to Key West with a special man I was seeing at that time. If you know much about Key West, it's not very big, but it has a lot of great little art galleries with absolutely stunning artwork. My story about how I started working with resin, glass, wine bottles, beads, glass rods, mirror gold leaf and so many other fun things all started from that first trip to Key West in the summer of 2015. I walked by this gallery that was showcasing this resin, glass, beautiful blues, clear and light transparent blues of all shades, white, glossy, sparkly glass that all came together to create a unique and glamourous jellyfish. Oh, I loved that art piece! I wanted to go in so badly, but I would never dare. I didn't know anything about art. I couldn't go in and think I might be able to actually buy a piece of art so unique and beautiful. So, I just thought about it for months. So, we went a couple more times that summer, and every time we went, I made a point to go by that gallery where they were always showcasing this artist's beautiful glass, glimmery, whimsical, art in their window. I finally got the nerve to go inside and start asking questions.
At this point, I had just been laid off and got a nice little severance package. After spending the next hour talking to the gallerist about this artist and her work, I was willing to buy one of the largest pieces of Mary Hong's artwork in the gallery for just about my entire severance. I loved it that much! Thankfully, my friend that I went to Florida with had come inside and found me at the table going over a payment agreement about to sign the dotted line and risk putting myself in a homeless shelter, but I would have this gorgeous piece of artwork, and that's all that I cared about. So, he talked me into taking the night to think about my situation before spending all of the money I had to get me by the next several months I reluctantly agreed, but I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel to start researching this artist. I found out that she was this amazing, generous, and confident artist, that actually taught people how to create their own art!
Back at the hotel, I was a little pouty but curious to know more about this artist. In my research, I found out that she offered online classes that teach how to create artwork using recycled crushed glass, paints, and resin. This artist was so generous and passionate about her craft that she was willing to share her techniques with anyone interested. I was so ecstatic that I purchased the course immediately and couldn't wait for the products to arrive so I could start asap! It was all over from there.
Now I have a small business, and people want to buy my art! It's taken years to create pieces worthy of posting, but after all that practice and taking more courses from other artists I've been interested in, I can confidently call myself an independent artist. I am so thankful for this artist, and her sparkly piece of art that captured my eyes that summer and opened me up to a whole new world. It's incredibly humbling to know I've created a piece of art that will provide joy and positive energy to others while bringing me satisfaction, happiness, and GREAT appreciation. It's a win-win! No one will ever know how much Mary Hong taught me and how she made me feel so confident. Thanks to her selfless passion for what she does, she's able to help others make their dreams come true as well.