From painting and drawing to photography and nearly everything in between, the Sacilowski family can do it all. Creativity runs in their blood and they are ready to show it off at Buffalo Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, May 20th. The Faire is proud to have them back year after year and could not hesitate to ask them about their creative family, which they were kind enough to do.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you got started as an inventor/maker?
We are the Sacilowski Family: Mike & Kathy (Dad & Mom), Trevor, Noah, Hannah, and Mary (4 children). We are a homeschooling family who loves creating art. We incorporate art into our school day for many different subjects. We are also independent members of 4H and show our artwork at the Erie County Fair. We create quite a bit of artwork in all kinds of mediums and styles. We draw, paint, sculpt, craft, make Pisanki (Traditional Polish Egg Writing), paint rocks, build Lego’s, build forts, make paper models, and try new kinds of art or crafts all the time. My husband and I are very artistic and have passed this on to all our four children. I went to college for art but never finished because we started a family. Now they are quickly growing and moving on. Our oldest son (22) finished homeschool and college and has a degree in Electrical Engineering from UB, and then he found a good job with it in KY. Our second son (20) finished homeschool and is in college now at UB working on his Electrical Engineering degree and does landscaping and lawn/yard work to pay for his college. The girls (17 and 13) are still homeschooled and we do quite a bit of artwork at home. The girls also have their own dog walking and pet sitting business and they both show dogs in the Erie County Fair through 4H. When the kids were all younger, they did lots of art but I was too busy (teaching and taking care of them). Now, I’m able to do more artwork alongside them and it’s been wonderful for all of us!
2. What is the first thing a new inventor/maker should consider?
I’m not sure about an inventor or maker but when I create a new piece of artwork, I usually have an idea of what I want to do and then I figure out how to make it happen by doing some research on my subject either online or through the library. I think about what supplies I’ll need and their cost and what will work well to produce the best results. I’ll get books from the library for learning about a new type of art or to study different artists or mediums. Looking at pictures also helps in visualizing the subject and/or background. Then I see what I have on hand and what I need to purchase. Sometimes I “make do” with what we have instead of purchasing and we see new results or creative ways that are sometimes even better than expected. I get lots of ideas from what other people create too.
3. Are you selling products? What sorts of licensing/patents do you have in place?
We, as a family, don’t have a business to sell our artwork; we usually give it as gifts. But, we have sold some artwork over the years and even been commissioned to do certain pieces for individuals, friends, family, etc. My mother is a great salesperson and spokesperson for our art as she shows and tells all her friends. She has gotten us a few commissions for her grandchildren’s artwork. We have also been asked to sell certain pieces that people have seen at the Erie County Fair and even a couple pieces that we had shown at the Buffalo Mini Maker Faire.
4. What has been your greatest success in business?
Our “business” is really just doing our artwork for pleasure or for family gifts or as part of our homeschool. It’s a great hobby and gives us joy to create art for ourselves and for others. I find it very relaxing and fun. I also enjoy learning new styles and working with different mediums which happens because I homeschool and I want to expose my children to a variety of art. I will research and learn something new so that I can show my children how to do it. They also have done their own research and learned things that I don’t even know how to do (ie. paper models). I have also taught some art classes (on Pointillism and on Pisanki) within our homeschool group over the years and this year I also taught Pisanki to a 4H group.
5. What advice would you offer fellow inventors/makers who are in the beginning stages of development?
I’m sorry but I wouldn’t know what to advise; this is out of my league!
But I can tell you that homeschooling has been a blessing to me and my children by giving us a chance to use our imagination and to be creative in so many ways. I think we were able to become inventors and makers by having the free time to pursue our interests because of homeschooling. Whether they drew sports logos for every team in every sport or made paper models of the Vatican or painted superheroes on canvas or created Pisanki (Traditional Polish Egg Writing) or painted life-like tigers and dragons on rocks or made endless clay figures of penguins and owls or built a fort/shed in the backyard using their own money or designed and built a huge multi-room lego house for superheroes or even inventing a way to get dressed without having to get out of bed or so many other things, they learned how to dream and imagine and create and invent and make. They are all creative in different ways but are all the same in being able to use their imaginations and being able to solve problems to be able to make or invent what they dream up. And that is awesome!
Don’t miss the Sacilowski Family at Buffalo Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, May 20th, where you can check out their artwork!