Creating art with a heart
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent January 31, 2013 1:48PM
LeAnn Ryan of Joliet, vinyl artist and owner of A Say it With a Sign, coordinates quarterly Ladies Night Out events at The Department in Joliet to help local charities. | submitted photos
If you go
What: Ladies Night Out
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday
Where: The Department, 205 N. Chicago St., Joliet
What: Ladies can enjoy $5 signature martinis and 10 percent off their entire bill.
Updated: March 2, 2013 6:04AM
Enjoy a fun night out, support local businesswomen, nurture creativity and help a local charity. Is there a sweeter combination?
LeAnn Ryan of Joliet, vinyl artist and owner of A Say it With a Sign, doesn’t think so. Ryan said that when Halli Brenczewski, owner of The Department in Joliet, asked her to coordinate quarterly Ladies Night Out events, Ryan knew she also wanted to help organizations that help others.
So far, the money generated from the silent auctions, 50/50 raffles and 10 percent of the vendor fees have benefitted such charities as MorningStar Mission in Joliet and Groundwork. The event on Thursday will help the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement. Eighteen vendors will be present that night.
“It’s money well-spent,” Ryan said. “The venue is beautiful; the service is top notch; and the menu is divine. Halli is a kind woman and very easy to work with.”
Ryan is accustomed to combining interests with needs to produce a good result. Inherently artistic, Ryan spent many years drawing cartoons and portraits and experimenting with floral arrangements and paper crafts before she ever began a sign business that marries Ryan’s creativity with that of her customers.
She had begun fabricating new baby yard signs as a way of producing extra income when her three children, now 12, 8 and 7, were quite young. These were 8-by-4-foot plywood signs of storks and babies that Ryan drew, cut out with a saw and painted. Ryan enjoyed the work but it had a downside.
“It didn’t generate enough income,” Ryan said. “And after I did them, there was no more creative work involved. So I prayed on it.”
One day while surfing the Internet, Ryan found a website that designed original signage. That gave Ryan the idea to begin A Say it With a Sign. That first year, most of Ryan’s business came from satisfied customers passing her name along to family and friends and hosting home parties.
As Ryan’s business grew, so did her options. Seven years later, Ryan now creates and applies wall words and quotes for interior walls. She also offers logo design, commercial vinyl lettering, family stick art, silhouettes, decals, personalized gifts and glass blocks as well as tile and frame art. Favorite quotes are Bible passages and traditional sayings.
“Many people like quotes that their grandmother or parents used, something that’s been around for awhile in their family,” Ryan said.
Mostly, Ryan is thankful she can use her “God-given talent” to support her family and her community, while giving the credit back to God. “My main mission in life is to assist others as much as I can with events such as these,” Ryan said.