“I always wanted an airstream when I was a kid; I would see one and think, ‘what is that?’ I didn’t know if I would travel across country but I just knew I had to have one,” Ayesha Reynolds says.
Michael and Angela Meriweather brought their daughter into this world while living in Indiana. They moved to Atlanta for a brief time and then settled in the Collegedale area. Ayesha remembers Collegedale as her home, growing up there and part of the time at McDonald.
“We had horses and land. I was a super tomboy and that was enjoyable for me. I loved growing up in the country and having access to downtown as well,” Ayesha says.
She credits her father for nurturing the creative spirit in her. Ever since Ayesha was a little girl her father never persuaded her to move away from her dreams but to embark on them. “My grandparents told him that he had to get a job that would make money and they didn’t foster that creative side with him, so I think he felt the need to cultivate that in me – it worked out great,” Ayesha acknowledges.
“There is a video of me in second grade saying that I wanted to be a lawyer, which is the farthest thing from what I have turned out to be. I think I just liked to argue,” Ayesha laughs.
She decided that she wanted a creative career and journeyed to the Art Institute in Atlanta after having attended a year at Southern Adventist University. “Atlanta is where I got my background. I knew art and photography would be a part of my life. From there I just jumped around and did different jobs, to see what was out there. I moved to Virginia and was a dean and, then I moved to Boston which was a highlight in my life because I worked in a homeless shelter where we did art therapy,” Ayesha says.
Being able to reach people who have closed off for some reason and to help them find creative ways to express themselves is what makes Ayesha truly happy. “It is amazing to see how art can transform people’s lives. People that have never used art therapy before can learn to release a lot of emotions when they could not just come out and say what they felt – but you could see it in their art,” Ayesha insists.
Leaving Boston six years ago, Ayesha says this is home. She has been married to husband Zachary for two years now and they would like to eventually move to the downtown area. Zachary works at Heath Consulting but has a side business called Woodwise Urban Designs. He creates designer furniture from recycled pallets.
Ayesha is a partner with her friend Kelly Brown in Homespun Parties and Events located in Warehouse Row. The studio is spacious and eclectic displaying the art and creativity she and others have fashioned.
“We mostly do events and weddings - our niche is having the décor handmade. We do buy things but the majority is what we make and individualize themes around the person’s interest,” Ayesha says.
The duo also holds weekly crafting classes. “It’s not just a business – it is more than that to us,” Ayesha professes.
Having just come from a yoga class, Ayesha says it is a huge part of her life. “Calming down, taking time to reconnect. Anything that has to do with the spirit and the mind and the body really attracts me,” Ayesha says.
“My husband and I are both vegans. We spend a lot of time cooking healthy things; we go to a lot of Crabtree Farms sales and we have had big gardens but they just got away from us. It is something we would like to get back to. A healthy mind and a healthy body help in your creativity. I am not always the best - I have my splurges,” Ayesha admits.
“I used to be a staunch vegetarian but I don’t think that attracts people, it makes them recoil. You want to meet people where they are. We go to Sluggo’s a lot; we like to introduce people to vegan food that way. It’s tasty; it is not what you probably would think.
Ayesha was able to purchase her dream, the Airstream. “It’s just an iconic thing I simply love. About two years ago I was on Craig’s List and found one. Sight unseen from my husband; he was probably expecting a smaller trailer and it was this huge 32-foot-long monstrosity,” Ayesha laughs.
The brainstorming began. At first the couple thought it would just be some sort of extension to the house but then they came up with the idea of “MAKE”.
“It was combining my love in using art as therapy and goodness for the soul with his missions in working with the pallets; working with people that don’t get to learn a traditional skill like carpentry. We were looking for ways to get funded. We thought of doing a kick starter – a platform to raise money online; but too many people seemed to be doing that so when I had heard about a contest called ‘Power to Change’ I thought – that is exactly what we want to do!” Ayesha insists.
After submitting a video, the Reynolds became finalists in the contest. The last day for voting is Wednesday.
At the end of this article will be a link you can go to and see the video in which Ayesha tells why she entered the contest that will help fund the MAKE project. In the video, she lists how art is a big part of the power of change. “It could be a confidence builder for a shy girl; it could keep teens off the streets; it could help an over-worked mother de-stress. It could give a homeless person a voice; it could help heal the emotional wounds of a soldier; it could be cathartic for a recovering addict. It could spark imagination in a senior who felt hopeless - or it could help a father reconnect with his children.”
Ayesha’s professionalism, confidence and passion are sure to win many votes as she describes why the project is such a gift to the community. But she hopes to reach as many as possible who will support her efforts and, it is as simple as a click of a mouse.
“No matter what happens we are going to keep going with it, but there is a lot of change that needs to happen. Everyone has great ideas; ours is to re-do the Airstream and take it on the road to travel and create things. To be able to make something from start to finish builds character, it can be a stress reliever and it can be so many things in a time of need. That is our mission with it,” Ayesha attests.
As Ayesha speaks, you would think she would have become that lawyer she thought she wanted to be. Articulate; poised (and looking as though she belongs on a runway) Ayesha surprises you as she passionately speaks of what is important to her.
Her dream is to reach those less fortunate – in ways that bring joy to their lives. “With my personality, I am one of those weird people that can live in the uncomfortable zones,” she reveals.
“I want people to know that there are a lot of people hurting who don’t know how special they are and how many talents lie within. Many people don’t get their basic needs met or to experience the beauty that is life. My mission is to help people tap into their creativity – learn fun things about themselves that they don’t know because they are just in survival mode,” Ayesha says. “This makes me happy; giving back, being creative, seeing people smile - that’s fun to me.”
Being a dreamer has led Ayesha down many paths. “Sometimes people would discourage me but being a dreamer has made every single adventure that I have had possible and because I have dreamed it - I can do it; I can make this happen,” she vows.
While anticipating the MAKE Mobile project to unfold and not having certain doors open, Ayesha’s determination is unwavering. “Even if it comes out that this is not how we are going to do it – I feel like it is going to happen. My daily goal is to just be radically different. It’s hard to get a lot of things started but that isn’t the most fearful part; to me the most fearful part is never having tried it,” Ayesha confesses.
“I want to shake things up. I want to do things to help people, basically don’t want to die and unlived life.”
To Vote for Ayesha’s project, click on this link: http://www.strivectin.com/powertochange/?x=us_showcase22_2718_31