Cristina Zinnia Galliher, Founder -Instructor
I was born on Long Island, raised in California where I still reside today.
In 1984 I enrolled in classes at the Gemological Institute of America in Southern California. Fascinated by the natural formation and raw beauty of gemstones, I fell in love with the study of them. My original goal was to become a jeweler. As it turns out I loved designing best, learning how to draw jewelry pieces utilizing graphite, colored pencils and vellum paper. This instruction gave me the focus and the confidence to refine my life long drawing and observation skills and to go on to design and sell my jewelry pieces.
In 1991, motherhood became the biggest gift of my life. During those precious years raising my children, I was able to use art and storytelling to help enrich their studies. Motherhood has been an incredible joy for me, filled with efforts and rewards I would never trade. Throughout my time as a stay at home mom, I filled my free moments with drawing, embroidery, and crafting, while always challenging myself to improve and push myself skills further.
In 2003, I started my first online business selling my art. There was a lot to learn on both the creative side and the business side, but I loved the possibilities; working at home and being present for my children. As I began to evolve artistically, the internet was evolving very quickly. In 2009, I began teaching art classes online, expanding into hosting and developing independent artist teachers at my summer online art community, Artful Gathering Online Art Retreats. In addition to teaching my own classes, I created online classrooms and special activities for our summer online attendees.
I not only learned how to run my online businesses, additionally, I taught myself the technical side of web hosting and management so that I could drive down the costs for our students who take classes with us.
By 2020 I assisted in consulting for many wonderful art instructors, collaborating, promoting their beautiful talents and skills and producing their work both in the online classroom and on DVD. Learning the technical side of my business expanded my knowledge in technical code and video editing and it gave me skills I could share with other creatives.
Through Artful Gathering I have hosted first time online artists from all different countries and from diverse art backgrounds and creative philosophies. I’ve also had the honor to meet many amazing students whom I lovingly call my friends.