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Hagerstown teen makes her mark with a Sharpie

April 09, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • Miriah Garnett, bottom, decorated a tote bag for her little sister Armani Kenney to use in her kindergarten class at St. Mary Catholic School. Miriah earned a backpack filled with Sharpie markers for her effort.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — It had to be pretty and pink — a tote bag that would mirror the personality of a kindergartner the family calls "a girlie-girl."

There should be flowers, hearts and bows and maybe a butterfly or two.

And an artistic big sister was the perfect person to do the job.

Accepting the challenge to embellish a school book bag, 16-year-old Miriah Garnett decided to uncap her creativity.

She used Sharpie markers.

And before long, a craft project turned into a work of art and garnered some national attention for the Hagerstown teen.

Her stylish design caught the eye of people at Sharpie —makers of permanent markers — who contacted Miriah and interviewed her for the company's website.

"It was pretty exciting," Miriah said. "When I saw the article online, I thought it was really cool that so many other people would see it, too."

And it all started with a tote bag.

Miriah said it's a tradition at St. Mary Catholic School for kindergarten students to decorate their satchels.

"I remember doing it when I was a kid," she said.

So when her little sister, Armani, needed to make her bag special, Miriah said she and her mother, Marisa Kenney, went to a local fabric store to look for pretty prints or designs for inspiration.

Miriah said they found one that was pink with doodles — something she could add her own touch to and incorporate some of Armani's favorite things.

Doing art projects is nothing new to Miriah, who said she's always been artistic.

She inherited the talent from her mother, she said, who is an art teacher at St. Mary School.

"When I was little, I remember my mom doing arts and crafts with me and I really enjoyed it," she said. "I've always loved to draw. I just love art."

And, in most artistic endeavors, Miriah said, she uses a Sharpie for precise lines and long-lasting effects.

"I've used Sharpies for a variety of projects, but this was the first time I used the multi-colored markers to decorated a tote bag," she said. "I knew it would be perfect for what I wanted to accomplish."

The finished product met the approval of her little sister, as well as Armani's classmates at school.

It also met the approval of her mother who wanted to give it a little recognition.

"My mom is on Facebook," Miriah said, "and had joined a Sharpie group. She saw a form where you could submit photos of Sharpie art and she sent a photo of the tote bag to the company."

It wasn't long before her mother was contacted about interviewing Miriah.

"I had no clue this was happening," Miriah said. "But when they contacted me, it was pretty cool."

For her efforts, Miriah said Sharpie sent her a box of supplies, including multi-colored markers and the newest Sharpie pens.  She also received a white book bag that she can decorate.

A junior at North Hagerstown High School, Miriah said she has a lot of interests "but school comes first in my family."

Her favorite class is biology and she plans to study medicine in college and has a goal of becoming a pediatrician.

In addition to art and scrapbooking, Miriah said she's a huge "Twilight" fan, enjoys Facebook, plays softball with her sister, reads and enjoys music.

"I like hip-hop and pop but I also love R&B and old-school stuff," she said. "My dad says I'm an old soul."

And she loves to shop, especially for shoes. But she also loves to shop at art stores with her mother.

"I can spend a lot of time there," she said. "And I like going with my mom because she knows the best tools."

Miriah said her friends have seen her interview online and "think it's pretty cool."

"They know I do art," she said. "But now I've been recognized for it."

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Read the story online at http://blog.sharpie.com/2010/12/tote-self-expression-to-school/

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