Art was not something that Joan Nix did when she was younger. She said she struggled with drawing stick figures.
DORA – Art was not something that Joan Nix did when she was younger. She said she struggled with drawing stick figures. It wasn’t until later in life when she was raising three young children and her brother was injured in a horrific accident on his job with the railroad that she turned to arts and crafts. The pastime was a great way of dealing with stress.
Nix was close to her brother Jerry Bland. They were 18 months apart in age. “I was under a lot of stress,” she said. “I had three small children, going to the hospital every day, and farming my children out.”
A friend got Nix started with tole painting classes as a stress reliever. It seemed to help her during that period of her life, “I became lost in my own little world when I was painting or sewing,” she said.
Nix did that for several years, but there was something missing because she had to stay within the lines. Once she decided that it was OK to get outside the lines, her love of painting and other forms of art grew.
She did china painting classes for several years. “You paint china in layers because each layer must be fired in a kiln,” she said. Her pieces of china art evolved over time through this process.
Once she realized that she didn’t have to paint within the lines, Nix discovered talents she didn’t know she had. The more she practiced, the better she became at her art.
About five years ago, Nix started taking painting classes at the Jasper Activity Center with Billie Phillips. It’s a weekly group class, and participants take food. It’s almost like a social club, according to Nix. The group typically has a theme, and all the students in the class paint their rendition of the painting.
Some of her work is quirky. She painted a nativity scene that included all her dogs in the scene.
Walking through Nix’s home, you see framed paintings on the wall, but you also see other decorative things – the blades of a ceiling fan in her craft room, furniture, and the hood of the oven in the kitchen are pieces of art.
When Nix worked in the library at Crumley Chapel Elementary school, the sun coming through the window as brutal. To show movies to the kids in the library, Nix painted a window shade with storybook characters. The shade now hangs on the window of Nix’s craft room.
For the last several years, Nix created holiday paintings. Once she’s happy with the piece, she takes a picture of the painting and uses that picture as her Christmas cards. Nix is currently working on the painting for this coming Christmas.
Another way to express herself artistically is by quilting. She draped several quilts over the upstairs banisters in their living room. Each handmade quilt is a piece of art.
About eight years ago, a friend who was interested in quilting, invited Nix to a quilting group meeting. She started with a quilting kit. She and a few friends completed the project. From there, Nix learned the finer points of quilting. Her next project is more complicated than the quilts she’s made in the past. It’s called an English paper piecing quilt.
Each piece of the quilt pattern is hand-cut and sewn together by hand. “This will be a challenge and something I’ve never done before,” she said. Nix has made quilts for each of her grandchildren. She’s about to start quilts for her children. She smiled as she said, “They say (the children) they are going to fight over them when I die.”
Summertime is busy for Nix because she and her husband Clyde have a big garden each year, and she preserves the bounty at harvest time. It’s during the winter that she has more time to work on the painting, knitting, and quilting, according to Nix.
When asked how she fits all these things into her schedule, she said: “An idle mind is a worried mind.”