WHAT started as a way to keep busy has morphed into a creative business opportunity for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant Bec Dougan.
The 37-year-old Ipswich artist has embraced diamond painting since she was urged to give it a go by nurses at hospital two years ago.
She had been diagnosed with chronic pain and anxiety from a workplace injury and went on to complete a pain management program.
“When I got out of hospital I went and got one just to give it a try; it was my way of escaping reality,” Bec said.
Diamond paintings involve using diamantes and wax sticking together to make colourful artwork.
Bec was able to quickly develop her skills in the craft.
“I can’t use things like paint as I’ll drop it so doing this is relaxing to me, and it’s just my way of coping with life,” she said.
“I love doing the colourful ones like Marvel and cartoons; on average it takes around two weeks to do one.”
Now Bec is taking her craft to the next level; she sold her first lot of paintings and bookmarks at the Carers Queensland Be Your Own Boss Marketplace in December.
“I hadn’t really thought of selling my artwork until my Local Area Coordinator (LAC) in Ipswich told me about the Marketplace. She gave me tips and a little bit more confidence to do it,” Bec said.
“The night before the Marketplace I was anxious as I didn’t think I could sell.
“My LAC wasn’t pushing me but said, ‘if you don’t sell anything, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got your name out there.’
“And that’s the whole point of this, you don’t need to sell anything, but just getting confidence to show your artwork, instead of just putting it away.”
Bec sold bookmarks and a painting and is more confident in her ability to sell more of her artworks.
She said it was important for people with disabilities to be able access opportunities to promote their businesses.
“It enables us to be able to show what we can do in society; not someone who can’t do anything or needs constant care,” she said.
“We’re still human, we still want to get out there and work and do what we can. “(For me) it means an extra income and it means I can stand on my own again.”
Carers Queensland is reaching out to local business owners to share their expertise and mentor people with disability looking to establish their own microbusiness as part of their Be Your Own Boss Microbusiness Project.
Bec said she is looking forward to taking part in the new project, which includes mentoring workshops, to learn further skills and grow in confidence to continue selling her artwork.
“I want to be shown the ways of selling my products and my business itself, and it comes down to more confidence as well in my ability,” Bec said.