Patty Palmer | Deep Space Sparkle discusses running a creative business

Year in Review: The BIGGEST thing that held me back this year (and it’s not Covid)

Despite this year being one of the most disruptive years in my lifetime, there is still a feeling that transcends all the ickiness: the indisputable fact that every year — even this one — opens with beautiful possibilities.

Reflection and acknowledging the past has always been a big part of my life. I can’t recall a year when I haven’t taken stock, looked back at the year and wrote down ways in which I could make the next year better.

It’s so important, that even today on this last day of 2020, when on a day my to-do list feels unmanageable, I’m compelled to share my biggest lesson I’ve learned this year.

Let’s take a step back….

My big goal for 2020, back when the year was ripe with potential, was to update my Teaching Art 101 e-course that I created many moons ago. I still receive emails and messages asking the hows and whats over and over again so I figured a new course would help.

Timing is everything…
I worked on the course all winter…outlining, planning, drafting…until Covid hit and everything stopped. I knew filming the videos for a course on teaching art wasn’t where my energies needed to be so before the team left our offices to work at home under California’s stay-at-home order, I asked them to pivot…

I realized that if teachers had to go home, and all the kids had to go home, and if teachers struggled to understand streaming technology (which I knew they did) then I could probably help. To be a teacher during this time must have been absolutely frightening. I knew we could help ease the burden.

Emergency Sparkle Kit

Deep Space Sparkle has a huge library of private resources that benefits our members, but not every teacher or parent struggling through Covid was a member. To help bridge the gap, we assembled a collection of videos and lessons that could easily be done at home, made them available for free on Youtube and through a single download.

The team did this in two days, packed up their desktop computers and went home to work.

Over 8K teachers downloaded that kit within days.

I continued to work in the office everyday, driving through an empty downtown Santa Barbara and into an empty parking garage. It was a lonely feeling but I went in to do one thing: create art with kids.

Draw Alongs with Miss Patty

I did a LIVE art project everyday for 4 weeks. Streaming live through the Deep Space Sparkle Facebook page.

The truth is, I loved it. I loved seeing kids from all around the world join me. Plus, it was fun to be teaching again.

As the weeks wore on, I started to recognize that the kids were tuning in on their own without their parents…I could tell because their comments were written in emoji’s. Needed to bring on a few team members just to moderate!

And as much as I loved showing up for the kids at home and helping out teachers, something was happening and it really bothered me. Business owners were using my videos, lessons and handouts as their own. I would see my lessons pop up on another art studio’s page and it was shocking. No acknowledgment, just a straight copy and paste.

Growing Pains

This was the biggest challenge I faced this year. Coming to terms with how to think abundantly about what I put out there.

I’m going to be honest, this part of the business almost crushed me. It became so difficult to convince business owners that they are talented and amazing and that by teaching art their way and using their projects, can only strengthen their business.
Otherwise, they would just be a copycat of what I put out into the world.

I kindly asked studio owners not to use Deep Space Sparkle lessons in their advertising or to promote their business using any of our copyrighted material but that they were welcome to use our lessons in their classes. I thought it was a generous offer.

I received hundreds of nasty emails and comments.

I was crushed. I really didn’t know what to do. Business owners felt that if teachers were allowed to use our lessons, they should be allowed as well. Pointing out they they were using the lessons for profit didn’t seem to make a difference to them because in their minds, teachers got paid, too.

I’ll stop my ranting because the rational doesn’t make sense and it never got better. But there was a lesson in this.

And it was a big one.

I realized that Deep Space Sparkle had developed into an inspirational source for anyone teaching art to kids; business owner, teacher, parent, homeschooler.

Right before my eyes, and because of all the work my team does each and everyday, this business was making a huge impact.

And being in a scarcity mindset was not the path forward. In fact, it was a huge weight that was preventing me from showing up.

Truly. I hid.

I avoided going live in my groups. I didn’t want to deal with the negativity, entitlement and complaints from readers and members who wanted more from me. Who felt I owed them everything. It was exhausting.

I hired new team members to stand between me and these problems because it just felt too much. Neil and I would sit on our terrace and discuss this all the time. He tried to help me craft a message that would help serve our members but at the same to protect our brand. Our business.

I tried this way and that way, yet I still saw things from a scarcity mindset.

And then, one day, not long ago…it hit me.

I was receiving exactly what I had manifested.

It has always been my dream to bring art to children through teachers. I knew deep in my heart (and through years of experience) that if a teacher is well-supported, inspired and knowledgeable, they will be a happier teacher.

And a happy teacher is the beginning of a great art experience for children.

Happy Art + Happy Teacher = Happy Kids.

I know that in order to find clarity, the contrast must be great.

The months of fretting, hiding, being angry and feeling under appreciated were feelings generated by scarcity and not accepting the gift that I have been given.

Today, I have two memberships that support children’s art education: one for adults who want to teach art to kids: The Sparklers’ Club and the other for kids who want to come to my art class: Primerry.

We now have usage policies in place for our memberships and respect the folks who honor them but I no longer worry about it.

You see, Deep Space Sparkle will be here to help all the lovely business owners take their businesses to new levels. I have alot of information to share with fellow business owners and I can’t wait to offer more opportunities to do so in the coming year.

If I can share with others how to operate and run art-based businesses, I know kids all around the world will benefit from it.

Deep Space Sparkle and Primerry continue to grow at a fast pace. I’m excited to share even more of what I know and what I’ve learned with you all.

And I’m always looking for smart, organized and capable people to join Team Sparkle, so send me an email if this is something you’d like to do.

Here’s to a wonderful, happy and creative 2021!

What do you think?

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  • Kim

    I felt the same way. Some of my projects I felt like i created years ago I see new teachers re create and sell on teachers pay teachers…. i had to let things go and keep making. If you share what you do it will always be taken, copied. But if you keep creating your brand, credit will eventually come around. For you as a business you just have to keep working through/ahead. Hope that makes sense. I remember seeing you when you first started… look how far you have come/adapted! Concentrate on the good. I am glad you can learn from this and move forward. Much love from a longtime follower/fan/art teacher.

    • Patty

      This is the realization I know to be true. I’m embarrassed that I struggled with it for so long. Not anymore.
      Your words are wise. And I’ll add to them….
      People can copy where you’ve been, but they can’t copy where you are going.

  • Melissa

    Primerry has been a blessing to myself as a homeschool (who also works part-time from home) and my daughter! Art is not something I do well or teach well. She looks forward to seeing you every time I open the laptop. Your joy is contagious, and your teaching style is perfect for her. Thank you for making this available and doing it with excellence. You are a household name here (even my two graduated teenagers enjoy your class when their baby sister asks them to sit by her for her art lesson)!

  • Brooke Wallway

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I pray you are blessed by God for your generosity and your strong stance for what you’ve created. Your YouTube tutorials changed so many kids (adults) to rekindle or begin their love for art and creativity. You were so encouraging & supportive of us all. I am proud you have not allowed others selfishness to ruin your original dream.
    What the Enemy meant for evil, God uses for good.-
    Genesis 50:20

  • Loni Gross

    Yes to happy art, happy teachers, and happy kids! As I was reading this I kept thinking of all the joy you have brought us! I wish I could bottle it and send it to you. As a teacher and a mom, your art gave us something to look forward to during the long days at home. It taught my perfectionist daughter to be ok with mistakes and to work to the end result, which she always loved. Last night as she was watercolor painting with a friend she was teaching her friend about the wet on wet technique she learned from Ms Patty. She is 4! You see, happy art and happy kids spread joy…so through all the stress please hold onto the joy that you are teaching, modeling, creating, and spreading. As a teacher watching you teach it was 100% inspiring. Keep up the good work -you were a major highlight of our 2020 and I now have stacks of my kid’s art to remember the happy times of our Covid Lockdown. ❤️ We love Ms. Patty! ❤️

    • Patty

      I just want you to know that I copied your comment and I’m saving it on my desktop. This just brings me to tears imagining your sweet daughter teaching art to her friend. I mean, if that’s not the most precious thing ever, I don’t know what is. Thank you!

  • Cindy

    Yay YOU, Patti!
    Happiest of New Years to you and Team Sparkle! Keep shining BRIGHT!
    (I’ll be sending you my resume soon!)

  • Rebecca Donald

    Thank you for sharing this! You have every right to set boundaries with your IP :). Much respect! All the best for the new year!

  • Regan Snyder

    Patty, I am a classroom teacher so I don’t belong to the Sparklers Club. However, I have used many, many of your lessons over the years. Some were freebies, but many I paid for, out of my own pocket, because…..you deserve to get paid for the work you do!
    My students loved your draw-alongs in the Spring, and now that we’ve been back in the classroom, I’m back to teaching the usual way (sort of). First project for January will be “Over and Under the Snow”.
    I wonder, are you even really a teacher if you haven’t had at least a partial breakdown at least once since March? 🤷‍♀️ We have all had our moments, and I have had it a lot easier than many. Take care!

    • Patty

      So true!!! Quite a year! Cheers!

  • Cecilia

    Love your site and creativity…so do my Kindergarten students.

  • Kasi Boaz

    I still think, as I always have, that you are an amazingly generous person who inspires and motivates us to give/teach our best. I had my own heart breaking business problem 2 years ago and had to give up my mobile art studio adventure, but I still contemplate what it might be like to restart. I love teaching art to kids. I love learning how to teach art to kids by you. Keep up the good work!!!!! Don’t let the turkeys get you down. Happy New Year!!

    • Patty

      Hi Kasi! Once this Covid hting is behind us, your mobile art studio will thrive once more. Children need in-person art more than ever.

  • Stephanie Cox

    Covid put my business on a major pause, luckily I’ve still had my teaching job. Team Sparkle has done an excellent job of helping teachers this year. And since you all had my classroom lessons covered, I got to spend more time creating some of my own lessons and I am totally loving it. I’ve tried some out with my “school” students and now I can’t wait to build my business up again and use my own lessons for my business! I didn’t think I could do it, Patty, but something you said or did or whatever, pushed me beyond my comfort zone and I have grown. Thank you for believing in us, and helping us believe in ourselves, as much as we believe in the Sparkler’s Club!
    One of your business owner and teacher followers.
    Happy 2021!

    • Patty

      You can do ANYTHING, Stephanie. You are such a bright light. You are always 100% postive and everytime I see your name pop up, I know I’ll be inspired. I hope I can help you with your business this year.

  • Karen Yost

    I just wanted to let you know how much your site and your work has meant to me. Because of Covid, I was given the AMAZING opportunity to switch from the 5th grade classroom I had taught for 17 years into an Art room. My position was no longer available and I applied for the Art position that I always secretly wanted and even applied for before and was denied. I was never an Art major, but always loved art. Your site SAVED me. I had no help, no supplies (last teacher gutted the place before he left) and I honestly had no idea what I would do, but I was excited to get the chance. I have had SO many compliments on what an amazing job I’ve been doing and I have to say it’s because of you and your team. I straight up tell everyone I’m a member of an AMAZING club online and it’s where I get all of my inspiration. The kids are loving Art again, learning how to be Artists, and having fun doing it. Please don’t let others steal your joy. You bring joy to SO many through the work that you share with us all. God Bless You in 2021 and beyond!
    – Karen Yost –

    • Patty

      Oh Karen! This is why we do what we do. YOU! We’re here to help YOU shine. You are a bright light and Team Sparkle is grateful to you for sharing your passion with your students.

  • Tami Smith

    I attended one of your Santa Barbara workshops flying in from Seattle and I had some challenges getting ther and I haveto admit. I met you but I was tired and maybe a bit grumpy, but you have inspired me for a long time almost more than 10 yrs since you began your blog in 2006- or so. I think what you and Neil and your team have created is phenomenal.
    I am a teacher and I intentionally always try to give you credit when I use your lessons.
    This year with distance online teacher I have share some of your lessons with primary teachers and with students. Sorry to hear you get nasty emails when I see your heart of intention is only to help kids and teachers love art. If I could help your team… I woul love to but not sure I am what you need. Take care. Sincerely Tami Smith. Formerly Bluemoonpalette

    • Patty

      You are the best, Tami. I really hope to bring back the workshops!

  • Gloria Cruz

    Am So happy for your new insight Ms Patti..You have inspired me so much this year am so thankful for all your resources..and your passion and openess…so sorry to hear about all the negativity you really don t deserve it…wishing you an even more prosperous year and May God give you the wisdom to walk in success without loosing oneself and ones purpose..May your marriage continue to grow and your Family be even closer in love this upcomong 2021..(heartfelt wishes here!)

  • Shruti

    Oh Patty! Thank you for sharing your insights with us. I love being part of the sparklers club and love every project that you have shared this year.
    Keep doing what you do best❤️ and big hugs. It couldn’t have been easy.
    Much love & happy new year 🎊

  • Beth McGinnis

    Your time, energy and inspiration is truly magnificent! You pour your heart into every corner of the company. Thank you from the bottom of my art teacher heart. Teaching virtually was less intimidating because of Deep Space Sparkle’s resources and support!

    • Patty

      Thank you Beth!

  • Megan C

    I started looking at your lessons when my twins were three. They are 16 now and while we have outgrown them (16 now) I want to tell you they loved your projects. I’m sorry you have had to face the negativity but you continue to give and are appreciated. Happy New Year!

    • Patty

      Oh my goodness! Your’e a lifer! Happy New Year!

  • Sarah

    I am impressed that you were able to mentally work through all the struggles of 2020 and come out with a new {focused} direction for Deep Space Sparkle in such a short amount of time. That speaks volumes of your tenacity and love for what you do. Well done.

    • Patty

      Thank you. It can be a struggle more times than not but when I keep focused on my mission, everything makes sense.

  • Ellen

    I truly appreciate you Patty. I am so sorry this happened to you. Please know how imperative you and Deep Space is for many of us teachers.

  • Martha

    My daughter has made art an important part of her life now all because of your encouraging words and smiling face. Remote learning hit her hard. Unfortunately her teacher did not reach out to her or her class once during the remote learning phase. Stumbling upon your live Facebook classes gave her something to look forward to each day and gave her a connection to a teacher and other children. For this I can’t thank you enough. Your art projects have now become a weekly event in our home that we enjoy together. I’m sure we are one of many families that relied on your wonderful gift of teaching and artistry to help us through this pandemic. Happy New Year Miss Patty! We appreciate you so much ❤️

    • Patty

      This post alone makes me so happy.
      I felt that energy with kids when I went live last year. I felt so bad for the teachers who were drowning in desperation for not knowing what to do. But I felt worse for the kids and parents who were home.
      Teaching art to kids is what I love to do most and I’m doing MORE of it in 2021 so here’s to a bright, creative year!
      Thank you Martha.

  • Ms. Hagge

    Thank you for all you do and the creative team you have put together. I am an art teacher with 23 years of experience. I became a sparkler this year not because I needed the lessons but to support your mission. It was a way for me to pay you back for the free lessons you provided and the wonderful Facebook live videos that where inspirational when I was overwhelmed with distance learning. I appreciate you.

    • Patty

      Aww…this is beautiful. I appreciate you, too.

  • Helen

    I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the joy, smiles and avenues you have created for children to express their “genius” in ways other than academics. You ideas are so inspirational! Keep doing what you are doing and know that you are contributing so much more than you know. Congratulations to all the Deep Sparkle team.

  • Beth

    Thank You Patty and you amazing team! I am so glad that you found your sparkle under a dark cloud that was forming. You are an inspiration to me and I thank you for helping me get through this tough 1st part of my year! Blessings to you and Cheers to a Safe, healthy, creative New Year! Happy New Year!

    • Patty

      Thank you Beth!

  • Daniel Fromstein

    Thank you for such a sincere and transparent look back at some of the significant personal and professional disappointments and frustrations you experienced in the past year. I suppose I had some sense of the effects these situations were having on you from some of the thoughts you expressed in FB live postings, but I had no idea they had you questioning whether you even wanted to continue to do what you and your team do so magnificently. This would have been a great tragedy for teachers, kids and parents all around the world. Thank goodness that the thieves of your creative property and haters didn’t win. The fact that you refuse to dwell on the negativity and choose to spin every setback in a way that instead recharges your creative energies and passion is incredibly inspiring and the reason why so many of us would follow you to the end of the creative universe and back. This ability to pivot in life with an eye always looking forward instead of back, preferring to emphasize the insights gained rather than the scars inflicted, is rare indeed.
    I am so thankful that you and Team Sparkle continue to do what you do so brilliantly.
    I hope you and your family have a New Year filled with health, love and happiness!

    • Patty

      Thank you so much, Daniel. You are such a great friend and I do hope we meet each other someday.
      I am really ashamed of my scarcity mindset I had this past year especially because I have the ability and the team to help whoever needs it. But it’s a hard thing to come to terms with when you are working so hard (and the team working so hard) to pivot and support our members.
      I don’t know what our team will create but I do feel a sense of excitement having reached this persepctive.
      Thanks again, Daniel. You’re the best.

  • Deb Peery

    🥳 happy New Year. Thank you, for your honest writing. I can empathize with you as a business owner in 2020 yet, I can only imagine the emotions you must of gone through while watching your work being pilfered.

    I spent the first part of this year in discernment on how to best support the families in my community. I own a small toy store which has a art component oh, and I am a former educator. So I was trying to figure out what was my pivot and I tripped over your website.

    Deep Space Sparkle not only saved my soul but also the new homeschool families that I teach. I was overjoyed when I was able to become a member and use the materials in my business for my morning art classes. I was so worried about copyright laws that I sent an email and one of the new people you hired for this purpose was fabulous in getting back to me.

    I do run a bigger art program and need access to more art than I can produce. So, I buy a monthly subscription with The Art Sherpa. The subscription is only $25 a month but allows me to reproduce all of her free work in my business as paint and sips. I put her logo and my logo on this work. There’s a special group that she developed called LaBS for businesses. Of course, there are plenty of people that still use the material without paying and without acknowledging it. BUT the LaBS package might be an interesting read for your group.

    I would gladly pay for a second subscription, with your company, to also be able to use the materials in my adult art course.

    This long message is just to say, I’m so happy DSS is part of my curriculum, I think what you’re doing is wonderful, and please take time to rest.

    • Patty

      Thank you for responding Deb. I love hearing your perspective from an actual business owner. I too believe that support is needed for the small business owner. My memberships haven’t been set up to support licenses for resale but that doesn’t mean I can’t offer something that will help.
      Appreciate you!

  • Janet Troxel

    Wow! Patty I’m floored at some of the nasty responses you receive. I think you need to remember that. DSS is a business. You have responsibilities to your employees and yourself, and of course Neil. I can not understand the sense of entitlement people have. This is your WORK and the WORK of your staff, period. If a business chooses to use your lessons, then the least they can do is give you credit. You know all this, I’m just ranting on your behalf. You are appreciated and your work is valued. Thank you for the help DSS has provided me this year. Have blessed year.

  • Karen Johnson

    I’m glad that you have been freed from that negative thinking. I totally understand why that situation would have affected your dear heart. I have been following DSS for many years, signed up for several on-line classes and am currently a Primerry member. Thank you for your beautiful spirit and sharing your gift – because truly, you are a gifted teacher, and I love following you myself. Keep up the good work, dear lady. You are a blessing. Happy New Year!

    • Patty

      Thank you Karen!

  • David

    Dear Patty, I was one of those people just using one of your video lessons here and there. I was a part time art teacher for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade until I was offered to teach K-8. I had no idea where to begin. I have an art education degree that I have not used in years so I was a little rusty. So I started to use lessons from different sources on the internet and more and more I found what I needed from the Deespacesparkle site. I first was interested in the Art on a Cart, the COVID-19 hit. I was not sure where to go from here. Then I discovered your epic curriculum, and it saved me a lot of stress. I had to adjust a few things do to some students only having crayons to color with and getting used to me doing video lessons, but I would have had it so much worse without your lessons. I definitely became a better teacher because of what you have done and what you have to offer. Thank you

    • Patty

      Thank you David. Being able to support you and other teachers not only through this year but many others is what we’re here to do. I’m SO HAPPY the videos helped. And I’m happy you had the ingenuity to adapt the lesson for your students. That’s teh mark of a fantastic teacher!

  • Sara Hoch

    Patty, I love your message. I am an experienced art educator with twenty plus years of teaching art to K-12 students in public education. Sadly, this is going to be my last because this weird school year with all the ups and downs has wore me out. I love your honesty and how you express your frustration with the business end of things. My frustration is with administration and the lack of understanding of what a solid art education program gives to the children. I am tired of being last informed, having no support, and being the alone art teacher..
    Thank you for allowing qualified art teachers to join DSS. I needed your business to bump me into the virtual hybrid/full remote teaching experience. I could not have done it without all the abundant visuals and step by step drawing suggestions, I CAN statements, etc. I feel like my teaching has been altered alot this school year, but professionally I was able to stay in the game because of DSS. As I begin to plan for meeting my students remotely on January 4th, I am thankful I have the quality of the Deep Space Sparkle Curriculum & National Standards to stand firmly rooted upon. Your program helps to prove my worth and perseverance in making art with K-5 students.

  • katandthegirls

    Patti, I’m sending you a hug.
    When I joined DSS a few years ago I was looking for a community. I felt pretty lonely teaching art in my London primary school. You interviewed me for your podcast – caused me to reflect on my practise, opened me up to thinking about why I teach and what I teach. Your EPIC curriculum changed how I planned. Taught me to be more technically structured and my kids (all 450 of them) benefited. You have touched and improved the lives of children across the globe, quite probably extending their life chances. Not many can say that.
    I hope as you reflect and move through this year you feel the warmth your generosity has given to us.
    Kat Clarke x

    • Patty

      Thank you Kat. I absolutely know how much DSS has impacted teachers all over the world. And I’m so grateful to be a part of that vision. YOU are absolutely amazing and you have inspired teachers through your practice, as well.
      It takes a village!
      Business is hard. Def not for the feint of heart, but I do love the challenges. And I’m up for it!

  • Britney

    We are so, so thankful for you and all of your lessons. My children love their Primerry lessons! The shout out you gave them in one of the live lessons was so exciting for them. You have inspired my son to not give up on himself while creating art. You have inspired my daughter to make her own drawing videos. She says she wants to be a drawing video teacher when she grows up. 🙂 We are really loving the mixed media lessons lately. They sometimes take us more than one day to make and it is so fun to come back and add on to our art. Thank you for all that you do to bring us together in our homeschool and for teaching us (me included!) so much! We are thankful for you!

  • Kelly Emmert

    Oh Patty, thanks for sharing. It has been a hard year! I am an art business owner and now Covid has sent me back into the classroom. Teaching again has been the silver-lining in a mostly cloudy time!
    Looking forward to a brighter 2021!
    Happy New Year!

  • Beth Laine/ Crowder

    You are wonderful. Thank You for all you have shared with us! Your lessons are so helpful to me!

  • Jennifer Eagle

    I am sorry to hear that you had a hard time this year. I left all social media a couple of years ago which has made me a much happier person overall (even though I do sometimes miss the Sparkler page on Facebook). There is something about being online that can make people meaner and more demanding. I love DSS and value everything that you and your team are doing. Actually, I feel like you could easily do much less and still have infinite value! I hope that 2021 brings you much joy and creativity.

  • Lynne Beach

    Wow….just wow! I honestly believe business owners took advantage of your generosity! I have been greatful to have some of your lessons to help me in this very difficult time. I teach K-8 art remotely in Massachusetts. I long for the supplies that are in my art room. My lessons must use very basic supplies, as some of the kids are working from home while some are in their classrooms. Keep doing what you are doing…I know I appreciate everything that you do!!

  • Hiromi Gaud

    I think you are truly wonderful and the world is blessed to have you share your gifts with it! I know for me as an art educator, you have made my life so much easier. Now I can just focus on the joy of teaching rather than the stress and planning that teaching can bring. I teach special education kids and they really enjoy your lessons! Thank you for sharing your reflection. I have felt like I’ve been hiding as well and it’s nice to know we are never truly alone. What you have created is truly a blessing for so many, I am blown away and speak so highly of you and your resources at my school. It has become the art teams go to resource. I just wanted to say thank you!

  • Lesley Hinde

    I have really enjoyed using your ideas and videos, teaching my 4 home-educated grandchildren “art”, here in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. I honestly didn’t know where to start, even though I have A level art, from a million years ago. Your happy smiling face has won all 4 over, even the 12 year old lad, who doesn’t “do art” – he does – and he’s good! As an “Old Age Pensioner” now, I need to watch my pennies, but am very confident that my daughter will be happy to enrol me as a Sparkler, now she’s seen what her children can produce! Please don’t mind negative people, there are always some. Just keep being Sparkly. And many thanks for the inspirations x

    • Patty

      You are the best. I can’t wait to be YOU someday creating art with my grand kids. And no, none in sight anytime soon!

  • Katy Rowland

    I’ve been teaching k-5 art for 20 years and live your resources. I’ve been using your site since you started. I am looking for other opportunities for growth… am in Colorado… have my MA in creative arts curriculum. Please email me back if you want to continue discussion. Thanks!!!

  • Jeanne Paulsen

    Thank you, for all the hard work you and your team put into the lessons. I purchased your 10-year bundle in the fall of 2017 and became a sparkler in Jan. 2018. I was overwhelmed with the lesson planning for elementary and high school art and Deep Space Sparkle saved me! When I retired in spring 2020 I was a gold star member. The kids always yelled “hello, Patti” when I showed your video lessons. Blessings to you as you go forward into 2021.

  • Lisa

    Elementary kids often complain “he’s copying me!” I always tell my students- we don’t copy in art- we borrow ideas.
    Also, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. So don’t worry Patty-you are the original- the inspiration. Thanks for all you do!

  • Cynthia Smith

    Patty, you have been an inspiration. I have been a Sparkler from the very beginning.
    I am sorry for what you went through, but as a Christian, I believe and I have experienced: ALL things will work together for GOOD. I agree with your frustration, your being misunderstood, or being “used” and under appreciated for how hard you have worked to create your Brand and how generous you have been with it! Feeling the Push Back by those who feel “entitled” to gobble up and utilize your projects without acknowledgement as if it were their own. Forge Ahead! Keep your eyes on the prize! Pleae don’t be disheartened! I agree with you, the business owners For Profit are not the same as the educators! You ARE having an impact! LOVE what you do and leave the rest to God. You have been blessed to have created a BIG giant fluorishing Tree under which many of us find shelter and inspiration and there will be those who also will procure things without gratitude or acknowledgement. But please don’t fret, because you are the original. Sparkle On! C. Smith

  • Robert Hulburd

    Hi Patty, This is my second year teaching elementary art. I teach at a wonderful National Blue Ribbon school. I do consider this to be the “best job in the world.” My story is a little unusual in that I’m re-starting on my art teacher journey after a thirty-seven year hiatus from teaching art. I began teaching high school art at 21 and taught for 4 years. I loved it, but left teaching for a business career of 34 years. I retired from my business, (not at all art related), and felt I still had a desire to teach again. I always wanted to teach elementary children, but we had no elementary art teachers in my county way back when. After retiring, I substituted for 3 years, renewed my art teaching certification, and was blessed to be hired for my current position. Unusual, that I would be hired for a coveted position at my age of 64 years. I became a Sparkler right away, (out of my own pocket), and renewed again this year. Never would I have dreamed that I would face what we are all facing now with the pandemic. I have learned to use the technology necessary to teach virtually, been teaching from a cart, and had students back in school in a reconfigured, socially-distanced classroom. Deep Space Sparkle resources and ideas have truly been a life-saver for me. I have used your handouts with every lesson. My little artists love them. I just wanted you to know that I’m appreciative of what you’ve provided with my Sparklers membership. I’m sorry you felt taken advantage of by some. Perhaps I misunderstood, but I was under the understanding that we could NOT use your teaching, draw along videos to show our students on the asynchronous lessons that we send out virtually to our students. It’s unfortunate that we cannot do that, because others have misused them. I bought into Deep Space Sparkle because I didn’t want to “re-invent the wheel” in my first couple of years, figuring I had enough other things deal with. It sounds like you have given much thought to the ultimate beneficiaries of your wonderful lessons which are the children that derive a passion for creating art as a result of your wonderful tools. I just ask as a “relatively” new art teacher, that it would be a great help to be able to use your assisted drawing videos with my lessons that I’m sending home for my students. I’ve used them last year and earlier this year while in my classroom, but I have not used them in my virtual lessons. Please understand that I do very much admire what you do, and I am proud to be a Sparkler. I will abide by your rules. I just wanted to appeal for your a way to make my membership even more useful to me as a teacher.
    P.S. I’m not familiar with your videos that are on YouTube. Where can I learn more about that?

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi Robert! So wonderful to hear of your journey. It’s absolutely inspiring and I’m so happy that DSS is able to be a part of it.You can absolutely use any of membership materials with your students. You can stream the videos through your school’s learning platforms or zoom.
      We do have a training on how to do this in the Trainings Tab. It’s called Virtual Teaching that Sparkles.
      We just ask that our resources are not used in other businesses such as OutSchool, teacher memberships, Brick and Mortar businesses and anyone profiting from our lessons.

  • Jill Huffman

    I appreciate your honesty and candor. Over the years DSS has always been my ‘Go to ” resource for tried and true reliable lessons full of resources and literacy connections. More importantly DSS has been a source of INSPIRATION for me. When I found DSS years ago I felt I had found a kindred spirit. You shared the same zealous love of teaching young artists and for creating medium rich lessons full of discovery and artistic development. I downloaded dozens of freebies! I used your lessons verbatim but also adapted them with my own creative spin to meet the needs of my learners.
    This past year DSS became my life-line. In the face of Covid, being thrown into a virtual, hybrid and live teaching platforms for multiple grade levels was overwhelming. As a veteran teacher I felt like I was first year teacher once again. I made the plunge and joined the Sparklers Club. Thank you for your hard work of developing lessons that are digitally friendly. Thank you so much for being here for teachers and don’t overlook perhaps your most important work of inspiring and igniting our creativity!

  • Elizabeth Gatton


  • Diane O'Connell

    I would like to thank you for the wonderful art lessons in your Primary Art Club. Not only have you made it fun and easy for me (who has very little artistic talent) to do art projects with my grandchildren but also has you have taught me. You have opened up a wonderful and exciting world of art that I have always looked on from the sidelines and never thought I could be a part of. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.

  • Claire Meacham

    Dear Patty,
    I want to thank you for, well….everything! I volunteered teaching art soon after you started DSS -my daughters were in 2nd and 4th grade then, (They are now almost done with college)! Likeso many others, I started teaching art in my daughters’ classes, which led to teaching the entire school, then 2 schools with 1500+ kids k-6th and special Ed. It was so fulfilling! Kids would see me at the grocery store and squeal, ” THAT’S the ART teacher!!!” Along with my own ideas, I purchased many DSS lessons and enjoyed them all. They were well thought out and curated. I soon discovered that Your energy and positive spirit flows through your emails and your lessons alike. It was contagious : ) After several years, I was told (essentially) that someone had complained that I didn’t make the art “fun” so I was summarily fired and replaced. (Unbeknownst to me, The VP’s personal friend had already been hired as my replacement – she lasted 2 days). Sadly, I let the hurt from the unnecessarily mean words used when I was dismissed, wound me. I stopped doing art of any kind for many years. But, over all these years, the ONE thing I didn’t stop was your DSS emails and updates. They made me smile ( it was bitter-sweet but still a ray of sunshine!)… Eventually, I started making my own art again!
    So, Patty, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I understand your feeling of despair for the ‘takers’ our there, but I am so pleased that you chose to turn other folks’ lemons into your own recipe for lemonade! It’s a bright, happy and sweet recipe, packaged in a charming colorful handcrafted pitcher!!! Please don’t be ‘ashamed’ that you needed some time and soul-searching to find your higher purpose. Your experience will, undoubtedly, only grow your brand and your outreach with your stronger mission statement and focus. Also, Please know that YOU, your husband (and now, the rest of your expanded team) do more than you might imagine to impact the lives of budding artists- one ray of sunshine or glass of lemonade at a time! You are appreciated.

    • Patty

      Claire…you should be a life coach! These words — your words — lifted me up. Everything you say is true. I would have felt similar to you if I was let go in the manner in which you were. Thank you so much! I have found a path towards supporting even more art loving folks and can’t wait to share later this year. You are the best. Stay in touch!

  • Heather Hebert

    Hello! Just coming across your work and as a 17-year middle school art educator in MA I wanted to reach out say I love your work. This year instead of 6 hands-on classes a day, I am teaching 1 a week to the in-person disabled students at my school. With COVID I miss my hands on work and began a local, socially distanced art class in my garage for our 6-year-old boy-girl twins on Saturday mornings. Came across your beautiful Pinterest page and lessons in my search for lessons for these two new groups (I have taught middle school art for 17 years). I have wanted to monetize my own work as an art educator for many years and an am so impressed by what you have created here and how it has taken off. I have many questions for you. It looks like a tone of work- how many people are on your team? How long have you been developing your brand? I’d love to collaborate with and learn from you and I am enjoying seeing your work. Best wishes, Heather Hebert

  • Whitney B Hales

    Way to go Patti! Unfortunately today, in any way you put yourself out there someone is willing and waiting to take advantage of you. It sounds like this was difficult to overcome but you did it, you chose to see the positive and ‘take the high road’ as my husband likes to say. This was very inspirational, thank you for sharing!

    • Patty

      Thank you Whitney! I appreciate your words 🙂

  • Perla Erika Hill Flores

    Wow dear Patty, definitely it was a tough year. The only thing i can now tell you is THANKS, really THANK YOU for all your work and the whole team!!! It´s been very helpulf and sharing our work in the facebook page its just so satisfying. Its very nice to feel part of a great community that share and helps each other when things are tough. sending big hugs and all my support for you too!!. I even was thinking that maybe we could work together to make some posters in spanish!! I´m in Mexico city and would be great to have some posters in spanish.
    Hugs, kisses and my best wishes.

    Perla Hill

    • Patty

      Perla! I would LOVE that. Can you email me next week (after enrollment)? I’d love to connect and do some bilingual stuff. 🙂

  • melissaannboone

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart. You are not a super human, although pretty close :). It was really nice reading this. Teachers may feel that all the other teachers are so good, and I am always lacking – but it isn’t true. None of us are perfect at all things, in all ways, all the time. Knowing your heart is refreshing. I’ve often wondered “how does Patty do all that she does? What is her Super Power?” We all have a Super Power as teachers, and being a support for each other is one of them. Again, thank you for sharing from your heart. You have many many supporters – try to keep the negative comments in a ‘mental trash can’….after a few days or weeks – delete it, after all it is garbage. You have 99 supporters for every 1 hater – Take That Garbage Out. 🙂 Much Love, Melissa Boone, Texas Art Teacher

  • Debbie

    Your lessons have helped me with my Grandma’s Art Class for my grandkids. Thank you! Doing this has connected us living so far away from one another to spend a little time and have a fun project to jointly do. Thanks!

    • Karen

      Hello! I love your site.
      I am not a sparkler member yet and I am interested to know where I would be able to find your usage policy? I often see “freebies” and I would like a clearer understanding of how I can utilize these. Thank you so much! 😊

  • roseross9

    thanks for the support

  • Sarah McCormick

    I am sorry to hear about the negativity but I’m impressed with your vulnerability –sharing a less than “happy art teacher” side–modeling ways we too can deal with the negative.

    You are incredibly generous with your business offerings, and your price point is reasonable…especially Primerry. I’ve recommended Primerry to several of our parents who have needed to shift from private school to homeschool.

    I enjoy watching your teaching videos because I came into the art room from the “backdoor” of gifted educ and social studies with no practical training. You help me with effective ways to communicate my outcomes.

    A number of years ago my husband did a lot of research with shepherds for a book about leadership. My important takeaway from his writings was this…shepherds (leaders) are out front and therefore easy targets. (They also “smell like sheep”, but that’s another lesson). When my children or I’ve been attacked by the faceless, I have found comfort in knowing I’m likely doing something right, and reminded of the importance of having high levels of integrity as I live my life before family and others. Your business has a high level of integrity and you are delivering an excellent product.
    Carry on.

  • Cristina Londoño

    Thank you!!!

  • Rebecca Koenig

    Thank you for all you do! I am a teacher and a sparkler and almost to getting all the lessons! I have had to learn so much about lesson plans this year. I have had to simplify more than I ever thought possible. Before we had to have lots for the children to do so they wouldn’t get bored or run out of things to do. Now, I have to give them something simple that a parent can help them do in 30 minutes or less. The whole lesson plan and a space for them to draw a picture on has to be limited to one page. They will only draw and maybe use crayons or markers. So I take your lessons and simplify! Then for 3-6 grade, I make a quiz based on the history they have learned from the simple projects they draw. Again, thank you for all you do.

  • Florence Decurgez

    You are inspirational. You were patient and brave throughout the ordeal and now, it bears more fruit. Your lessons that I teach in the “classzoom” are saving kids’ socio-emotional wellbeing. I only wish I could JUST teach art and not only once a week. Kids really look forward all week to their art class. I am really happy to have found you. Thank you.

  • Cindi Panek

    I am a happy teacher because I have DSS support and believe I am creating great art experiences for students.
    I think TEAM Sparkle would be an amazing opportunity for me.

  • Kathy Tobias

    I am 68 years old, an interior designer(soon to retire), grandmother to 4 grandsons ages 4, 6, 7. I’m also a former art teacher K-12, 1975-1979. I now want nothing more than to engage my grandsons in learning about art through the ages as well as creating art! I need help though and I’m thrilled that I have found your wonderful site. I’m looking forward to learning more about how you can support my efforts! Thank you, Kathy Tobias!

  • Judie

    Dear Patty,
    I have been following your site for almost 20 years and LOVE the inspiration. I no longer teach the younger ones, I have moved up but I still have an after school art class and your lessons are a huge hit.
    Thankyou for all your inspiration!!!

  • chrisart1@yahoo.com

    It takes a person of great integrity to decide to take the High Road in such a huge way, Patty……really really difficult circumstances to navigate through. Your bright light and obvious passion for teaching is #1 and you’re proceeding in the classiest way ever! I hope to join your Sparklers Club when registration is open again. Just retired due to Covid and need a way back to the kids, I am an art teacher also. KUDOS to you, Patty! Kind regards, Christi Burton

  • MGutierrez

    I believe you have built a wonderful program. As a teacher I can countess to Happy Art + Happy Teacher + Happy Kids.
    Your ideas have been lifesavers. I appreciate all that you have done and applaud your energy and educational savvy.

  • Heidi Lynn Reiter

    Hi Patty! I just want to thank you very much for your inspiring art lessons. I taught art for about 20 years in the public school system, and unfortunately, I did not find it enjoyable. The class sizes were quite large and behavior issues impeded my ability to teach. I wish I had your curriculum back in those days. Now I am trying to develop an art and flute teaching business out of my home. I have tried a few of your ideas and your method of teaching is wonderful! I hope to keep reading your blogs and practicing your lesson ideas as I already see improvement in my student’s work!

  • Jennifer Eagle

    How can I just be seeing this post now? I am so, so, so sorry that you ever had to feel this way. I really respect you and your team. You are doing wonderful and important work, but please put yourself and your family first! The world will be just fine.

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