Emile StewartBy Beth McGee
“Adventure has always been my thing,” says Emile Stewart, who has done and seen a lot in her 31 years.
It may have started somewhere in her teen years. After high school, she planned to live on the beach, but her parents insisted on college first. So after getting a bachelor’s degree in painting from Texas Tech, she moved to the Bahamas, lived on a sailboat and interned with a hurricane relief organization.
There, she met her husband Bouie. They married in June 2010 and moved to Savannah, Georgia, where Stewart worked at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and got the bug to teach. She took classes online and earned her master’s degree in art education then taught high school art in Northwest ISD, which encompasses parts of Tarrant, Denton and Wise counties, for the next few years.
But after the couple’s first son, Ande, was born in August 2013, Stewart wanted to set her own schedule to spend more time with him. “I started teaching calligraphy part time at my dining room table and selling handmade cards and prints through my Wildflower Etsy shop, and then it sort of exploded,” she says.
That might be an understatement. As word traveled, Stewart quickly outgrew her makeshift home studio and had to start renting spaces around Denton, where she lives. When demand for her classes exceeded what she could provide, she started selling DIY calligraphy kits: “The Calligraphy Class in a Box.” She’s since added Hand Lettering and Brush Lettering is coming later this month.
Yes, her life is an adventure, one she says she’s still trying to navigate. (She and Bouie, now the director at Go Camp, a mobile camp for inner city kids, had Oliver 18 months ago.)
How do you balance Wildflower, teaching and motherhood?
It works thanks to my amazing family, who live in Bridgeport [45 minutes west of Denton]. My husband has a flexible schedule, so he watches the boys when I teach classes. My sister (who’s also my studio assistant) helps with the kids too.
Are your boys artistic?
Ande is artistic and Oliver is athletic. My sister and I are artistic, and my brother is an athlete. (He’s a safety for the Carolina Panthers.)
What do you and Bouie do to stay connected as a couple?
It seems counterintuitive, but something about taking time separately helps us connect better when we’re together. My favorite alone time activity is taking yoga at Inspire Yoga.
Where do you go for date night?
Our ideal date is probably hiking one of the trails that loop around the lake at Wiggly Field Dog Park in Denton. The sunsets there are absolutely gorgeous. But we also enjoy the year-round twinkling lights in the Denton Square. You can borrow a blanket from one of the businesses, bring a picnic and eat on the courthouse lawn.
What are some favorite activities you do with the kids?
Playing bluegrass on the Square on Saturday mornings. We enjoy the live music, and Ande brings his toy guitar to join in.
What has been the most surprising thing about motherhood?
Seeing things through the life of a child makes everything more magical.
The hardest part?
I think my inability to do it all. I’m overambitious but I’m learning that not everything on the to-do list gets done.
Any plans to travel with the boys?
Well, Ande is named for the Andes Mountains, so we definitely want to take him there. We would also love to sail across the world with our boys when they get older.
And the next adventure?
My dream is to have a workshop for kids and adults to learn all sorts of art forms.
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