Don't think you're an artist? Estela Boudreau begs to differ, and if she could get you into her in Grosse Pointe Woods, a place she calls the "vortex of creativity," she just might commence to converting the self-doubters.
"People believe I am an artist and they are not. They say, 'How do you that? I could never do that.' I say, 'How can I be created different from you?' What I do is get them to open up to see they are creative, that art is part of our spirit. As they open up they are absolutely amazed by what they can create."
She helps them open up, to see it they are more right-brained than they may know through exhibits held every two months at the gallery, by teaching them in classes--no more than six to eight students at a time--and through her spiritual retreats.
She's been sculpting and selling her own works of art for more than 25 years, and as a way to reach more people.
"I call it the vortex of creativity because people come here and what I actually do is promote the space for their creative muse to open up…My impetus is through clay. However I would coach them to be creative in any medium," says Boudreau. "I believe that art is the language of the soul."
It's funny that she calls her gallery a vortex because it's so peaceful and beautiful and relaxing with its easy music playing and sculptures and paintings gracing the place.
Boudreau's gallery is a business, for sure, but it is hard to tell while talking to her if this is more of a mission to expose people to art and spirituality than to sell it to them.
Businesswise, art can be bought and sold here. There are gallery openings for local artists every other month. In the back, behind the gallery, students--children and adults--learn the art of sculpting from Boudreau, an artist who believes she doesn't necessarily have a special talent, she just recognizes it and uses it.
"I consider myself a good artist because I've been doing this for over 25 years…"I have a grasp of how you can use clay and can a human or face, something I have learned and can teach."
As she gets to know her students it reaffirms what she knows is inside them and herself.
"I have two sets of people: the children whose mothers are very supportive of their children's potential…They take them to sports and the best schools and now they want to expose them to art," she says. "These children are extremely open and so grateful. They are so amazingly productive and creative. Children really really know the value of that connection."
Teaching, whether to adults or children, is rewarding for Boudreau.
"Everybody has a gem to share. We are uplifting each other as we play with clay," she says.
The Argentinian-born Boudreau raised five children in Grosse Pointe and has 16 grandchildren. One daughter, Paula Ottaway, is a dentist in Grosse Pointe Woods. A son is a plastic surgeon. Daughter Maria Rodriguez has put her artistic abilities into paintings and book illustrating, including "Belly Button Love."
Rodriguez happens to be the current artist on display at Galeria Mariposa. Her bright, teasing mother-child paintings are on the walls. The last exhibit was block photography and all the artists come from Michigan.
Mariposa, Spanish for butterfly, conveys the transformation that can happen when creativity is set free, Boudreau says.
"I see it as the metaphor for the creative process," says Boudreau, who spends part of her time living in the Woods and part in Metamora, where she uses her certification in spiritual training to lead retreats connected to living healthfully, eating consciously, discovering spirituality. Metamora is also gathering spot for the children who grew up in Grosse Pointe.
As Boudreau shares her story and the gallery's story soothing music plays. Outside the door cars buzz down busy Mack Avenue.
"We are all spiritual beings having the human experience," she says. "If we could all use art as a venue, creativity as a venue to understand ourselves and each other it would be so healing. It would bring so much peace if we could find that space instead of operating from our competitive egos."