Your Neighbor: Meet Dot McCollum

Published 12:05 am Thursday, March 21, 2024

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By Mandy Haggerson

For the Clemmons Courier

You never know what moments will really influence your path in life until you look back. Dot McCollum recalls the first moment art stepped in and played a meaningful role in hers.

“When I was four years old, I won first place in a contest for my Christmas-themed Snoopy drawing. I still have that picture hanging in my dining room with the ribbon,” McCollum said. “That contest ignited something in me to continue experimenting with art.”

McCollum was fortunate enough to have parents that also supported and celebrated her creativity.

“I would often enter my work in the fair. Outside of those competitions, I was constantly taking classes,” McCollum said. “Luckily, at Summit School, where I attended, I had teachers who introduced me to the art world, which broadened my horizons. My art teacher, Mrs. Ritter would have themes and lessons every class. I was enthralled with the different techniques, and also learning about various artists during different time periods. During that time, I also appreciated Mrs. Spoonfeather, who introduced me to pottery. I had a real hands-on experience with art from such an early age.”

When it came time to decide on colleges, McCollum had a fine arts school suggested to her by a friend.

“At that time, Converse College, which is now a university, was all girls,” McCollum said. “Since I attended Salem Academy for high school, I didn’t think that I wanted to go to another all-girls school for college. My dad was smart and made me think we were going on a daddy/daughter day trip, and we ended up visiting the campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I loved it immediately and he knew me so well by making sure I got to see it for myself. He even encouraged me to consider art schools in New Mexico, but I chickened out with going that far.”

Once on campus, McCollum realized, “It was nice to be in an all-women’s environment because you didn’t have that added pressure to impress anyone. A lot of the girls in the art program declared a specific intent within their major and specialized. I had been fortunate enough to go to New Mexico and study various types of art like watercolors and silver smithing that I didn’t want to limit myself to just one area. I loved learning more about pottery, stone sculpture, 3-dimensional design, Indian ink and printmaking, just to name a few. For my senior art show, I titled it ‘Kaleidoscope’ because I didn’t want to reflect my love for multiple areas.”

After McCollum graduated from Converse, she began working at a boutique as a wedding invitation coordinator.

“I got to create, and I’m very organized and tidy. I also started dating my now husband, Matt,” McCollum said. “We had known each other for years because he was my brothers’ friend. I had a crush on him since I was 18 years old, but I had gone away to college, so it wasn’t until I graduated that we actually started dating. I asked him to marry me four months after we began dating, and we were married in 2004.”

Once McCollum’s children were born, Evan in 2008 and Zeb in 2010, she became a full-time stay-at-home mom.

“I have fully embraced being a boy mom. They have been so much fun. My knowledge of everything from dinosaurs, trains, dirt, construction equipment, Legos, Dungeon and Dragons, and the NBA is vast,” McCollum said. “I have loved raising my boys with their cousins, too, which has made it more special and meaningful. My brother married someone who is amazing, and her sons are in the same grade as my oldest. My sister has younger kids, but the bigs love the little cousins so much and vice versa that I can’t imagine celebrations and everyday moments without all of them.”

With McCollum’s kids getting older, she realized that she wanted to really get back to making art, too.

“I realized how much I missed carving out time to actually get to do it. I love playing with mixed media. I use a lot of acrylics these days and watercolor. I also started getting into collage making. I’ve started making my own stencils with hot glue, which is a very versatile material. It’s fun to do things unconventionally. Something that really intrigues me in the creative process is sewing glass beads onto canvases after I finished the layers of a painting. I’m that person in a museum that gets as close as I can to the side of a piece to see the texture and the brush strokes,” says McCollum.

McCollum was excited to begin participating in pop-up shows and local events to showcase her art.

“I mainly put my art on Facebook and Instagram under Delightfully Dotty,” McCollum said. “I don’t love technology, but I was blown away by the interest of people in wanting to purchase it when I put it online. When I create something, I want it to elicit an emotion and make you feel joyful because it brings up a memory or reminds you of something special. Whether it’s your favorite colors that bring up happy feelings or a time in your life or place that brings you back to that moment, I love making that connection. I’ve also started taking on commissions, too.”

If not creating, McCollum enjoys planning adventures with her family.

“I realized how close the kids are to going to college,” McCollum said. “We’ve started doing cross-country trips all over the country, and it’s been so much fun. I realize how fleeting this time with them is, and it’s neat to explore the outdoors together. I’m hoping to release a couple more collections before they are out for the summer and prepare for the Ardmore Art Walk. It’s important to me to strike that perfect balance of being with my family and also getting to create.”