Meet: Michelle Enriquez
Michelle lights up a space & radiates grace. Her artistry is dainty & delicate, simultaneously fresh & timeless. Over time she's learned to EMBRACE - embrace her identity as an artist & freedom that results from refinement. Meet our new friend Michelle - Wander by Hand.
It all started in 2015 with artistic journaling during her time at college in North Carolina near the beautiful Boone mountains. Michelle tells me, "I remember praying to the Lord "wherever you want to take this thing, I have my hands, just use them."
Ever since she was a child, Michelle loved drawing. But she remembered learning it may not be successful or "professional enough," which eventually led her to pursue a degree in art history.
After several soul moments, Michelle tells me, "I remember hearing the sweet whisper of the Lord stirring in me to continue creating. It hit the point where I couldn't shut it down or deny it any longer. So I pursued it. Now Wander by Hand is at the forefront of my mind when I go to sleep and when I wake up. I know that I know that I know this isn't going away.
I remember praying to the
Lord wherever you want
to take this thing, I have
my hands, just use them.
Michelle discusses her creative process. "When we moved to Chicagoland I experienced culture shock - I missed the Carolinian pace. Journaling & drawing became a way for me to slow down, pray, & create. You know I love nature & florals. I see the Lord in nature. The ways things grow and form fascinates me. There's so much more the Lord does in the dirt that we don't even know it exists because we cannot see it - things bloom in seasons, in His timing."
There's so much the Lord does
in the dirt we don't
even know exists because
we cannot see it -
things bloom in seasons,
in His timing.
Michelle's work is simply stunning. It invites you to embrace nature, discovering the beauty behind the Creator's creation. It's truly awe-inspiring, and invites us to breathe fresh air.
"In addition to drawing nature, creating art with Scriptures is one of my favorite things to do. Drawing and meditating on Scriptures for me is an act of worship. I experience sacred moments in the secret place, which I don't always share. There's such an affirmation & validation from the Lord in this place."
Michelle often gets the opportunity to create commissions with Scripture for other families and the local church. She considers it such an honor & privilege to connect with folks, pray, & create these pieces for them.
One of the things I love most about Michelle's work is that she does not trace. To her, integrity is in the free form. She goes on to explain, "It never looked quite right to me tracing. There's such a beauty to me when I know I've only got one shot. I'll practice a few times prior, but I don't like tracing for the most part. I remember learning about this Chinese art form where it's very impulsive, and then it is what it is. It's so much more beautiful because it's all out there."
Michelle embraces free flowing art because she recognizes their is beauty in the perfectly imperfect, organic outcome.
I asked Michelle about the struggles she's faced over the last couple years as she pursued Wander by Hand. She tells me honestly, "For so long, I chose not to identify as an artist. I went through this phase of feeling foolish for not utilizing my degree. When I stepped out of the "achievement-oriented" environment in school, and became a nanny & artist as I got married & moved, honestly, I struggled with feelings of insecurity."
Overcoming challenges related to identity became a daily battle she knew she had to press into, and I could identify with this wholeheartedly.
Michelle read the book "Real Artists Don't Starve." While reading this book, she was moved when the artist was asked this simple question: At what point did you start calling yourself a writer?
This prompted a wave of boldness in Michelle. She tells me, "I came upon the realization that a lot of times people identify themselves on what they work for and what they "do." The Lord's calling deep into me that I am an artist, and that I need to embrace it. I remember the first time I said aloud "I'm an artist" to someone. For the first time I truly felt freedom and clarity in my identity."
As Michelle embraced her identity as an artist, another struggle submerged - comparison & affirmation. "I recognized for so long I thrived growing up on receiving affirmation from others," she says. "As an artist, sometimes I struggle with comparison. It mostly creeps up during the social media scrolling.
God impressed on Michelle's heart Joshua 1:9... "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
"God continually reminds me to take heart & have courage. For the longest time I prayed away the comparison, saying, 'God I want to overcome it, please help me.' After a while, I realized I needed to acknowledge the fact God was working through the struggle and it was the thorn in my side that needed process. You know someone once told me you are not shined if you are not rubbed. God wasn't ready to take me out of the struggle - I was being refined for greater glory...rubbed & shined."
I was being refined
for greater glory -
rubbed & shined.
Michelle is one of those creatives that takes in everything like a sponge. It's beautiful. She tells me about attending The Breath & The Clay conference a couple years ago in North Carolina and how her world was rocked. She's also followed Cageless Birds, blessed by their Cultivate Magazine as well.
I asked her what her biggest takeaway was from the conference. "I walked away with the revelation we're all created to create. We are all creatives. I walked away with validation that I was pressing into something important. Melissa Helser reminded me creativity and glory comes in the monotony of daily living, and I was so encouraged. Average days are okay. I can change diapers while nannying to the glory of God. Every moment sketching & creating can bring glory to God, too," she tells me.
Michelle continues to take baby steps to balance her workload between her day job and her art dreams.
"The dream is to continue pursuing Wander by Hand wholeheartedly with an open hand. I want to be a good steward of my time/talent/treasure not just to build the Kingdom, but also for my husband/our family," she says.
The dream is to continue
pursuing Wander by Hand
wholeheartedly with an
Ya'll we LOVE Michelle and her small business Wander by Hand. Please join us in praying for Wander by Hand to grow & flourish over the coming months! That Michelle would continue to establish her plans as the Lord orders her steps (Proverbs 16:9).