Walt & Ellie is built upon the foundation of three inaugural collections: The Mandala Collection, The Brave Collection, and The Flight Collection. I chose these three designs because there is a story behind each of them, with the initial designs for Brave and Flight having been drawn several years ago. Writing and art, in some form or another, have always been my outlet in both good times as well as difficult, and I have always been drawn (no pun intended) to the beauty of words.
Every inch of this mandala is hand drawn. It’s far from perfect: the lines are crooked, the balance is off, the similar parts aren’t mirror images because of the imperfections. When I first finished it, I tucked the 8x10 piece of printer paper it was drawn on away in the back of my work binder because it didn’t look good enough. I’ve been a perfectionist as long as I can remember, so finding, and accepting, the beauty in the imperfections of this piece were lessons in patience. In all honesty, finding the beauty in any of my work has been, and continues to be, a lesson in patience.
I drew the first version of this design in 2015 after a deputy I had the pleasure of dispatching for was shot and killed one night while we were working. As I sat at work one night in dispatch still trying to make sense of my anger and sadness, the start of the design for Brave found its way onto a page of my 4x5 notebook. The presentation might be simple, but the message is powerful. Sometimes life can get scary, but we have more inner strength than we realize. I hope this design can serve as a perfect reminder of that strength. At one point or another, we all need to find our brave and wear it with pride.
The initial draft of the feather in Flight was drawn 16 years ago. I was nearing the end of high school and unsure of what I really wanted to do with my life. I knew what it felt like I was supposed to do, but I wasn’t sure if that was my version of “supposed to” or someone else’s. It‘s a simple concept, but it’s one that’s forgotten easily as we age and get lost in the responsibilities of life: follow your dreams. As children, anything we can dream seems possible. Then we get busy, time gets away from us, and so do all of those unrealized dreams. This colorful feather and accompanying quote make a pretty and simple daily reminder to give your dreams their chance to soar.