Category Archives: art biz mama

Art Biz Mama: Concetta Perot of Glittering Shards

It has been incredibly long since my last Art Biz Mama interview. I don’t think I have even done one on this new site. Either way I am so incredibly honored to share my lovely friend Concetta’s interview with you! These days I find myself really needing to re-read all of the awesome wisdom that has been shared in these interviews.  Enjoy!

Please share a short intro to you and your business.

I am a London-based  mosaic artist and mum to two little ones aged 5 and 4. I make mosaics to commission, to sell and exhibit. I also teach weekly classes from my home studio &  facilitate community mosaic making. I am currently helping a group of children with special needs and their parents to make 6 giant mosaic insects for their centre garden! I am passionate about contemporary mosaic art (most people don’t know it exists – you have to discover it!) and about teaching others that they too can make stunning mosaic art. My web site is dedicated to teaching mosaics – including a whole section on mosaic projects with children that all parents can do at home – and to the more artful and soulful aspects of life. The site was re-launched last week and to celebrate I am having a giveway of a year long access to an Experimental Art E-course and a piece of mosaic jewellery! So do visit before the giveaway closes on Sunday 6th November!

First, let me say a huge “Thank You” for taking the time to answer these questions. I know how busy you are so it really means a lot to all of us that you took the time to be here today!

Thank you Dana for the privelege of being interviewed by you.:)

So let me start by asking when did you make the decision to start your creative business?

My website went up in 2004, which is the year I did my first commission. Quite by accident, I developed this sideline in making mosaics and sold a few pieces here and there, but my main job, until Jan 2009 was as a social worker / trainer.

How has having children affected your business and creativity?

My daughter was born in January 2006 and my son in April 2007 (yup, it was full on!). I went back to social work after having both of them but I have to thank my children for making me re-evaluate my life. In September 2008 I realised that, whilst I loved my job, a different kind of life  was calling me. This, coupled with the need for me to have more flexible work so that I can be here for my kids (after school, when they are sick, which as you know, is very often when they are little!) gave me the kick up the back side that I needed to change to an art career. This was a huge step for me as I loved my work and had spent 20 years building my social work career. Howver, ‘art’ felt like a track of my life that had followed me silently, waiting for me to step onto it. I finally did in January 2009 and I have not looked back.   Of course, the presence of children in my life causes me not to have as much ‘unbroken’ time as at times I would want, but, overwhelmingly, they have given me the courage to follow my heart.

Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Is there school or childcare, etc. while you are working on your biz?

My youngest has just started full time school so the ‘work’ day is between 9 and 3. I find this quite hard as I am often in my creative peak in the afternoons and have to drop what I am doing! But it has only been 2 months since he started, so I am allowing myself time to adjust and find a new rhythm. In reality, I struggle to maintain a balance between work and home care. The home gets neglected when work is full-on (which is most of the time!)

My aim is to do school drop-off, do some exercise (this is a bit hit and miss!) then start my work. I then pick up children at 3pm and try to be in their zone and the ‘home zone’ until after bed time. I will also work in the evenings 4 nights out of 7 (made easier by the fact that my husband does too, so we sit at the kitchen table together working which is nice!).

The last year has been full to brimming with work – lots of community mosaic projects, which need very thorough preparation, as well as a nice number of commissions and exhibition opportunities. On top of this,  I have just launched my new web site (which felt much like having a baby!) and I find that when I am knee deep in a creative project, all else falls to the wayside.

How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends?

About 28-30 hours.

I know this is a subject that is always being addressed but I need to bring up balance. Do you feel you have a healthy balance between your work life and your family life?

This is a massive issue for me. I am struggling to keep a balance between lots of things. Firstly, ‘work’ as ‘making’ and ‘work’ as ‘admin / development / web presence’. I love computers and the web, but I also struggle with how easy it is to get sucked into a life ‘on screen’. I have to constantly pull back. That is the beauty of mosaic making for me – it is so physical and a great antidote to admin and screen time. I have started switching my computer OFF (rather than having it on standby and easy to look at). That helps a lot!

Secondly, I am struggling to maintain a balance between work and rest  / relaxation / home rhythms.  On these two areas, I have to be honest and say that I make some headway and then projects roll in and I lose all the little gains I made. But then I brush myself off and try again to get balance (that’s me this week!).

The balance between work and family is a bit easier – because most of the time, when the children are around, I try and switch off from the work part of my life (sometimes hard when there are deadlines). Also, my husband is just the best dad in the world and works very hard to be around during family times and at bedtimes.

As a family we are also very challenged by living in London which is a very fast city. We find it is a constant struggle to unwind and relax as both our works require more time than is available to us. For me, I have had to make some brave choices as a creative business owner in the last few months – namely to turn down 4 exhibiting opportunities. It is very easy for us as creative business mums to feel they have to say ‘yes’ to all these wonderful possibilities, especially when we are still early on in our business. But  I have had to say to myself, what is the point of having switched to a creative career so that I am in control, if the ‘opportunities’ and  ‘possibilities’ then take over and I end up feeling overwhelmed and out of my control? My days and my stress levels are governed mostly by the choices I make. So if I am unhappy with the balance, I have the power to change that. That has been a big lesson (and I am still working on it!).

Our other antidote as a family has been to get into green spaces, particularly at the weekends. We took on a disused allotment in June and we go there as a family to dig, plant and care for the land. Perfect.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?

Its has been said before but the following has been true for me. Listen to your inner voice, to what is calling for your attention.

Be inspired by others and their journey but do not try and do their journey. That is theirs and their alone and only YOU can walk your path.

Lastly, a dear  friend sometimes tells me this old English saying, “If you are stressed its because you are trying to squeeze a pint into a quart pot!“. Whenever life feels overwhelming, I remember that saying and realize that I have the power to make choices that will change my situation.
Thank you so much Concetta. It was great to have you!

You can find Concetta at her beautiful new site, glitteringshards.com

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Art Biz Mama: Suzanna Scott of Sushi Pot

 

Today I have a brand new Art Biz Mama interview! This time with Suzanna Scott of Sushipot. I remember

coming across her Etsy shop and just falling in love with her creations. She is a hugely successful seller

and of course a mom. Enjoy the interview friends.

Could you please share a bit about you, your family and your business?

Hello to all you fellow artists and blog readers of the lovely Dana! I’m Suzanna Scott, a 36-year-old artist/wife/mama living in the “Little Apple” (aka Manhattan, Kansas). My best friend Patrick and I were married 10 years ago and we have a little girl named Lizzie who is at the spunky age of six. Patrick is a graduate student at Kansas State University. We homeschool Lizzie and we’ve been running a home business together, Sushipot Art Objects, since 2006. I create and sell my own ‘art objects’ and vintage goodies as well. Patrick handles the business side of things to give me more time in the studio and ‘cuz numbers make my head ache. Lizzie keeps us from getting too serious about life!

When did you make the decision to start your art business?
Shortly after Lizzie was born in December of 2004 I started to seriously look for ways to make it happen.



How has having children affected your business and creativity?

Both have flourished! Before Lizzie came along I had no steady business. I was an artist and would sell my work from time to time but was not making a living doing it. My daughter has inspired me to create every day from the day she was born and she is an artistic little soul herself. We feed off of each other’s creativity. 

Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Is there school or childcare, etc. while you are working?
On a typical weekday Patrick and Lizzie wake up first, have breakfast together and Patrick leaves for school. They let me sleep in ‘cuz I’ve been up late working in the studio the night before! Lizzie and I take the morning a bit easy. I shower and get ready for the day while she takes care of her chores. After my first cup of coffee, Lizzie plays in her playroom or reads while I turn on my computer, answer any urgent emails, post my blog post (hopefully composed the night before) and check our Etsy shops for activity. Next we do schoolwork together, gather any orders that need to be packaged up and stop for a lunch break at 1:00 pm. After lunch we go for a short walk if the weathers nice and read a few chapters out loud from our current book. The afternoons are spent packing orders and/or working together at our huge 8 foot crafting table that Patrick made for the studio. This table has been a lifesaver ‘cuz we can work side by side and I’m able to keep working while overseeing Lizzie’s current craft projects or school work at the same time. Patrick returns home at 5ish and we cook dinner together and have family time until Lizzie’s bedtime at 7:30. I hit the ground running after the little one is in bed and work in the studio until the wee hours.

How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends?

Let’s just say I put in more hours at this job than any other full time position I’ve ever held! I work in pockets of time throughout the day. Before becoming a mom I’d have scoffed at the idea of working in my studio in only 15-20 minute intervals but it’s truly amazing what you can accomplish in that short amount of time. My prime studio time is from Lizzie’s bedtime until at least midnight (and dare I say sometimes later). Every weekend Patrick gives me another big chunk of studio time while he and Lizzie run errands and spend some time together.  

Balance seems to be a myth for many women.  Do you feel you have a healthy balance between your work life and your family life?

I liken the ideal of “balance” to more of an “ebb and flow” or a “give and take”. What works and lends “balance” during one season doesn’t always work for the next. There’s a constant juggling act going on during periods of transition where we have to “go with the flow” or fall off that proverbial tightrope. If it weren’t for Patrick’s voice of reason when the going gets tough I’d have fallen off a long time ago! 

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?

Thank you so much for inviting me to share my story with your readers Dana!! To any of you artist/mama’s out there who want to do this I’d have to just say—Go for it! Seriously, start using those tiny pockets of time in your day to create and make it happen!

 

 

 

Thank you Suzanna!

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Suzanna by following the links below.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
ART OBJECTS: http://sushipot.etsy.com
VINTAGE: http://sushipotparts.etsy.com
BLOG: http://sushipot.blogspot.com
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/SushipotArt
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

 

 

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Art Biz Mama: Amy Friend

I am so happy to be back with a new Art Biz Mama interview! This one is with the lovely Amy Friend of Cypress Sun Jewelry. It has so many lovely nuggets of inspiration. I know you are going to love it. I did! Enjoy!
First, let me say a huge “Thank You” for taking the time to answer these questions. I know how busy you are so it really means a lot to all of us that you took the time to be here today!
I’m absolutely honored. I can’t tell you how inspired I’ve
been by the stories of creative mamas. I’ve learned something from each one, and have been reminded that I can do this wild and crazy thing.
Could you please share a bit about you, your family and your business?
I’m Amy, a gypsy hearted girl with a passion for creating soulful, feminine jewelry. I live near Austin, Texas with my husband and (almost) 3 year old son, Z.
Cypress Sun Jewelry came to be right before Z was born, but I’ve been drawn to beads, wire and oddities since I was the tiny girl that transformed her grandmother’s rosary one morning in the pew. I’m fascinated by the little details in life, the intricate ways that people have adorned themselves throughout time, and a good, earth-shaking thunderstorm.
I read on your website that you started your business just 10 days before your son was born! What led you to that decision? 

I think I might have panicked, and thought it wouldn’t happen
if I didn’t do it before Z was born! I was also more inspired than ever before to make that jump from 8-5 to a creative business.
How has having children affected your business and creativity? 

 

Soon after I started the business and opened an Etsy shop, everything stopped.
Z was born. This precious child didn’t sleep (not for more than one hour -ever!), I had postpartum depression….It wasn’t the joy I had expected. But this experience was also the catalyst to discovering and creating joy.
A year after Z’s birth, I began to laugh again, and find strength in my creativity. Who knew that putting on a necklace would give me the spark to get going? I wanted to give that inspiration to others, both literally and figuratively. To honor my passion and live it.
Whether or not someone buys, or even likes the jewelry I create, I know I contribute a little more beauty and happiness to the world each day. And when someone does find my jewelry to be their thing, the happiness just goes further.
Having a child is, in my experience, the ultimate meditation. The present moment is all that matters, over and over again. You can survive it, or sink into it fully.
This simple concept has made all the difference for me. I don’t know if I would have gotten here without having an amazing child who reminds me every day to see this world so vividly.
Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you?

 

Gratitude, exercise, priorities, work & play. Repeat, repeat, repeat…
There is an interlude of morning where anxiety or excitement seem to compete for prominence in my day. Starting the day off with a simple meditation of gratitude followed by exercise gets me on the higher track, and opens the door to amazing possibilities.
The rest of the day is broken into flexible increments of play, clean up, and work. I’ve found that I can usually work for 30 minutes while Z plays somewhat independently, especially if that 30 minutes will be followed by an active game of hide-n-seek or painting.
Occasionally, I can work for a couple of hours straight in the morning, and then spend the afternoon with him. Sometimes I can’t work at all! If Z naps (he has, by the way, learned to do this thing called sleep!), I work on jewelry and listen (via the ever entertaining Natural Reader) to the blogs posts, and other online articles that help shape my life and business.
Evenings go by so quickly. Sometimes there is time to finish something – a necklace, a blog post – after Z goes to bed. I always try to reflect on my plans for the day, and create a basic plan for the next. Some sense of completion at the end of the day, and focus for the next morning are two things that help me sleep better.
One technique that helps me a lot is note taking throughout the day. I carry a plain jane spiral with me almost everywhere, and jot down thoughts for blog posts, ideas sparked from online information, sketches, appointments, and anything else I need to do/remember.
At the end of the day, all this information gets organized (in a calendar, etc.) or discarded (crossed, but not torn out). I could do all this on my (not so smart) phone, but somehow it just works better, and I’m more expressive with pen on paper. A side benefit is that Z gets to doodle too.
How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends? 

I work at least 40 hours a week in divided time throughout the week, and typically on weekends as well.

 

Are you running your business alone or do you have help?

 

Z helps me chase the beads that have fallen to the floor…does that count? I also happen to have a creative and supportive soul mate in my life. Without him…well, let’s just say that he tops the gratitude list each day.
Do you have a separate studio space in your home? 

 

In the home that we plan to build – yes! For now, I have a corner of a bedroom. This actually works out really well. I can hear and see Z from this space, so I probably get more work done with this arrangement than I would if I had my own studio space.
Many of the Art Biz Mama’s have said that really there isn’t any balance when you are a mom and have a creative biz.  Do you feel you have a healthy balance between your work life and your family life? Is it all intertwined for you?

 

Absolutely intertwined. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. I’m finally living and breathing something that is exciting to me.
With that said, I have to admit that this balancing act has been really challenging for me. I used to be a workaholic perfectionist, and now I’mforced into recovering from that personality!
When I read about other creative individuals being able to sit with an idea or a project from beginning to end, or spend all day in the studio, I’m apologetically jealous. But I’m also aware that I am often more productive and efficient in smaller amounts of time than I used to be.
Having a child just may have been the push I was needing to get going on my jewelry business after all.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?

 

Don’t compare yourself to others. You have no idea how many years (or $$$) the rock star creatives have put into their businesses, how many people have helped them design their websites, or how many tears they have cried along the way.
Seek and maintain positive relationships with other creatives that will cheer you on, offer heartfelt advice, and get excited about the journey with you.
Let the negative people and thoughts go.
Keep your focus on connection rather than competition.
Stay centered in your dream, and take at least one tiny step each day in the direction of living it.
Get as much sleep as you can.
Celebrate something in terms of living creatively each day.
Tune into supportive, encouraging sites (such as Dana’s beautiful space) where you can leave feeling inspired and intrigued.
When it’s all too much, unplug, walk outside, feel your feet on the grass, snow…searing pavement, and reconnect to what is real. I’m right there with you.
Keep going!

Cypress Sun Jewelry

To connect with Amy click on the above link.

Thank you Amy! It was so great to learn a bit more about you and your business!

 

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Art Biz Mama: Cathy Nichols

I am so excited to be back with an new Art Biz Mama interview. This time we have lovely Cathy Nichols.
Cathy’s art just makes me happy looking at it. I love her thoughts on motherhood, art and business. I am sure you will agree. Enjoy!

Could you please share a bit about you, your family and your business?
I am a wife and mother of two young children as well as a stepdaughter. My two little ones are (brace yourself) 2 and 3 years old, while my stepdaughter is 8.  My business started out as selling just my original paintings, but I have branched out into selling all kinds of things based on my designs: prints, giclees, calendars, illustrations, greeting cards and most recently, jewelry.

 


When did you make the decision to start your art business?
This is a great question because there was a distinct moment in my life when I made this decision. It was about 8 years ago. I had been studying to become a teacher and was about to enter an intensive internship program in Los Angeles when I had this epiphany: ‘I want to be an artist!!’  Having made this announcement to myself, I did what my entrepreneurial mom always taught me to do — printed up some business cards. They said: “Cathy Nichols: Artist.”  lol.  Then I bought some huge canvases and started painting. After a few months, I was lucky enough to join a fabulous artists’ co-op called Ten Women in Venice, CA, and it was there that my business really blossomed. We had tons of foot traffic, and it was an amazing thing to sell my work to the public in such a creative, supportive venue. When I moved to New York in 2007, I reinvented my business as an online presence — primarily through Etsy – and branched out again in my local community. My art business has been an ongoing process of re-invention for me, but once I made the decision to be “Cathy Nichols: Artist,” I have never looked back.
How has having children affected your business and creativity?

Well, they ARE time-consuming, those adorable little bundles of joy. So on the one hand, I have much less time than I did before they were born, but on the other hand, I feel like, through them, I have learned to be much more efficient in my creative process. I’ve also developed a piece-work kind of working style because my time has become so segmented into shorter creative blocks. I feel a bit like a quilter — stitching together pieces of creative work over chunks of time into a larger whole.

 

Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Is there school or childcare, etc. while you are working?
Typically, I wake up at 6:30 am, take care of the kids until they start preschool at 9:15, then from 9:30-11:30, I have a glorious block of creative time for myself. This is when I actually make new paintings. I will brainstorm for a new painting and design the piece one morning, then I will start painting it the next and finish/scan it for printing that evening or the next day. Of course, longer paintings take more days, but this is how I work.  After the kids get home from school, they get my attention until bedtime at 7 pm. After they go to sleep, I can do more mundane work like processing orders or setting jewelry.  If I want to fit in something else, I need to get up at 5 am (like did today to do this interview!).
How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends?

I devote about 8-15 hours a week to my business. I rarely work on the weekends, and I never do actual paintings at night because I need to do the encaustic work with lots of ventillation, and it’s just too dark to paint in the evenings on my sun porch. Plus it’s a tad chilly!
Balance seems to be a myth for many women.  Do you feel you have a healthy balance between your work life and your family life?

Right now I think I do have a healthy balance between work and family, but there is a real deficit on the side of other things… like exercise or just plain fun time for myself. And since I’m always thinking about either my work or my children,  I find that I am a little too forgetful in other areas. Like paperwork. And school functions. And just plain ordinary life maintenance. But I have to remind myself that being a mom is still new to me. I have only had children for 3 years. I’m still a novice. Maybe in time, I will become more organized. Hopefully.  And, of course, I would love to have more creative time for my business. This is something, too, that I hope will come in the future.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?
I think, of course, the most important advice anyone can give is to believe in your art and keep making it despite the ‘odds’ against you – whether they be financial struggles, childcare, geography or even technology. It’s important to put those logistics to one side of your mind in order to make space for the freedom to create. Yes, as moms we know more than anyone that limitless freedom is a myth, but I think just making a space for this romantic notion allows us, as artists, to create the kind of work that will inspire others (and ultimately sell!).  So it’s a little mind trick. And don’t underestimate the power of making a new business card that says “ARTIST.” 🙂

 

Here are the links to Cathy and her art-

 

 

 

 

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Art Biz Mama: Maegan Beishline

An ARTIST, a MOM, a CREATIVE BIZ OWNER. What happens when you combine all three? Welcome to Art Biz Mama.  A series of inspirational interviews about being a mom, an artist and a creative biz owner.
In an effort to connect, share and get to know some of my favorite artists (and I am sure they are yours too) a bit better and because I am a mama who has creative biz visions myself I have asked for a sneak peek into their very busy lives. To share a bit about just what it means to juggle these roles and how it all really plays out.

I know this is a topic that has been discussed plenty but for me (and you) I need to hear these stories. To know there are others reaching for their dreams and maybe stumbling at times, all the while caring for themselves and their family.

I believe we will glean a bit of insight from these smart and talented women that can inspire us all.

 

This week we have an interview with photographer Maegan Beishline. She is one busy and talented lady. I very much enjoy her blog, Life Set to Words and her beautiful photographs. Enjoy!!

 

Could you please share a bit about your business, yourself and your family?
I’m a wife and a momma to three beautiful girls {age six and under}. This is always and will always be my primary job. But I’m also a fine art and portrait photographer and the writer of Life Set to Words. My creative work allows me to flex my non-momma muscles while still being at home and making my family my first priority.


When did you make the decision to start your creative business?
I got into photography a few years ago while I owned and operated a soap making business. I needed good images for my website and Etsy store and, in the process, began loving the art of taking pictures. I found myself wanting more time to focus on my new hobby and not having the time or heart anymore to make and sell soap. So a year and half ago I closed the doors to my soapmaking business to develop my photography skills.
In April, I opened an Etsy shop and began selling my fine art prints. This past summer, I began taking portraits professionally and just last month launched my new photography website!
I have been blogging about my creative journey since 2008…journaling my experiences with making and selling soap, motherhood, my transition into photography, and now my experiences starting yet another new business and all the growing pains that come with it! All the while, my blog has carried an underlying tone valuing the importance of creativity. Last spring, I hosted the Creativity Boot Camp {a two week intensive creativity building e-course} which turned out to be a huge success!  I now host a weekly creative prompt and link up called The Sunday Creative.
So, there’s just no simple answer to that question. I guess I should have asked “what creative business?”
How has having children affected your business and creativity?
Wow, you know…I have never been as creative as I have been since becoming a mother. I actually wrote a guest post for the Wishstudio last April about how each side of me {the creative and the mother} actually contribute so much to each other. So I don’t know that I would be here today, doing what I am doing, if I hadn’t had children. The very ironic part is that, since having children, I have less time for anything creative than I ever did before. But I think that the challenge helps me to stay motivated.


Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Is there school or childcare, etc. while you are working on your biz?
A typical day includes me getting up and ready and getting my eldest off to school. Then I usually spend some time answering emails and checking in on FB & Twitter while my little ones play and watch Sesame Street. Then I’m pretty much just a momma until nap time when I can do some photo editing, write on my blog, or do any other computer related business work. Then I’m momma and wife again until the kids go to bed…when I usually catch up on my blog reading.
I have my camera with me constantly so I’m always taking pictures. I have the majority of my portrait sessions on the weekends when my husband is home and our time is not so sparse. As I mentioned, my family always comes first for me, so I tend to those needs first and fill in with work when I can.
How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends?
That would be really interesting to know…but I would have to really count hours for a whole week to know the answer. I don’t have set working hours. But I do make sure to take entire days off…no “work” allowed. Also, there are days and times when things need to be done for work so I make sure I really concentrate then. But other than that, I work whenever I get the opportunity and don’t feel like doing anything else. I love my job and therefore it never really feels like “work.”


So far none of the Art Biz Mama’s have felt there is a balance between their family life and biz life. How do you feel about the topic of balance?
I think balance is an elusive concept. I’m not sure it exists. But I do believe in the constant pursuit of balance and the need to evaluate where our time and energies are going. It’s a continual process.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?
Do it! Don’t wait until that perfect moment…it simply doesn’t exist. And all those things you may be waiting to figure out before you jump in may just need to be worked out as you go. Try things and then, if they don’t work out, try something else. Don’t be afraid!!! 

Thanks Maegan!

For more of Maegan please check her out at:


Her site:
http://www.madelinebea.com/

Her blog:
Life Set to Words

Her shop:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/madelinebea

7 Comments

Art Biz Mama: Faith Evans-Sills

An ARTIST, a MOM, a CREATIVE BIZ OWNER. What happens when you combine all three? Welcome to Art Biz Mama.  A series of inspirational interviews about being a mom, an artist and a creative biz owner.
In an effort to connect, share and get to know some of my favorite artists (and I am sure they are yours too) a bit better and because I am a mama who has creative biz visions myself I have asked for a sneak peek into their very busy lives. To share a bit about just what it means to juggle these roles and how it all really plays out.

I know this is a topic that has been discussed plenty but for me (and you) I need to hear these stories. To know there are others reaching for their dreams and maybe stumbling at times, all the while caring for themselves and their family.

I believe we will glean a bit of insight from these smart and talented women that can inspire us all.

Hello! I am very happy to be back with a new Art Biz Mama interview! This time we have a really lovely lady and artist, Faith Evans-Sills.This is a really great interview with beautiful and thoughtful answers. Thanks so much Faith!

 

 

Could you please share a bit about you and your business?
Hi! I’m so excited to be a part of your great interview series, I have loved reading about how other artist mama’s make it all happen! My name is Faith, I am an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York with my husband and two young children who are almost 6 and 3.5. I sell prints and cards of my paintings, and small originals, online in my shop Leaves and Feathers, I have a blog of the same name where I talk about my life and what inspires me. I also sell my prints at a couple of shops in Brooklyn and show my original paintings here in Brooklyn at Swallow Gallery.
So let me start by asking when did you make the decision to start your creative business?
My art has always been the driving force behind most of the big decisions that I have made in my life. I was an Art major in under-grad at Skidmore College, then moved to New York City back in the late 90’s to try to figure out the art world here. After having many art related jobs, showing my work here and there and meeting lots of wild interesting people, I ended up getting my MFA at Parsons where I met my husband who is also an artist. I went on making and showing my art right up until I had our first child in 2004. With an infant I was not able to go to the warehouse studio that my husband and I shared, I also no longer had the luxury of time to work like I had before children. I knew that I had to keep making my art but I also made the commitment to being home with my children while they were young, I realized that the way I had made my art before was going to have to change. So, I moved my studio into our home and went about re-inventing the way that I made and thought about my art. Working on my art in my home studio served the main purpose of having a place in which I could create, but I started to feel like I was alone in a solitary vacuum of my own head and studio. I also really came up against the stereotype that many people seem to have about women being an artist (or any other job) OR a mother, but not both. When I would tell people that I was an artist and a stay at home mother people always seemed to think that I couldn’t really be doing both seriously. The fact that my husband still worked in our old warehouse studio space just seemed to give him more credibility as an artist. I kept bumping up against the walls that people place around being a “homemaker” and feeling surprised and hurt that people didn’t take me as seriously as an artist now that my realm was in my home.
Then, a couple of years ago I started looking at art blogs online, I think that the first one that I found was SouleMama after reading her book The Creative Family, which really spoke to me as a creative mother. From there I began to read many other artist blogs and I realized that there was a whole community of artists sharing right there on the internet! Reading what inspires other artists and how they also made their art between nap times and play times and refused to accept that being an artist and parent were mutually exclusive roles, really helped me to feel connected to a professional community in a way that I had not felt for years! I was especially inspired by the way artists were marketing their own work on Etsy, and other online marketing sites. This blew my mind right open as I realized that this was something that I could integrate well with my working at home and parenting. I opened my Etsy shop shortly after that, and started my blog both with the same name Leaves and Feathers. The whole thing evolved, and is still evolving, very organically and I did what felt “right” with each step.
How has having children affected your business and creativity?
In every way possible! I don’t think that I would have gotten so involved with this amazing, vibrant online world right now if it had not been for the evolution of my working style since having my children. Marketing and selling my work online became part of the natural evolution of artistic motherhood for me. I feel very strongly that I want my children to see their mother doing work that she loves, I think that there is no better way to prepare them for eventually following their own passions. For me, having my studio in our home, and integrating as best I can my art practice with our family life serves this purpose.  Being a mother also greatly inspires my own creativity, I am always looking for inspiration in our everyday lives. Shortly after I began blogging I started carrying my small camera with us everywhere and just this practice kept me always open and aware of inspiration. The flood of moments of beauty that I experience with my children is amazing! As much as I can I try to take the world in through their eyes, and celebrate the small things that I know are important to them. They are only very young for such a short time and the commitment that I have made to dedicated motherhood has been so full of life lessons and changes for me. The internet direction alone is a direction that I never would have foreseen before motherhood. I can say that I know more about who I am as a creative person, and my goals are clearer, than at any other time in my life.
Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Is there school or childcare, etc. while you are working on your biz?
Even though I have become good at combining my work and family life with my studio in our home, I definitely need quiet time alone in which to get all of my focused work done. I actually thrive on time by myself in my studio. Once I have that time to myself and focus my thoughts, then I am able to continue working on a project during other times…sometimes even at the kitchen table with all of our beautiful family chaos going on around me!
As far as having that alone time I have to be very organized. Right now we are just starting our first year where our oldest is in “full time school” outside the home, he just started Kindergarten, so that is a big change! Now, five days a week he is at school from 9am to 3pm and our youngest is just beginning a Waldorf playgroup so she will be out of the house for 4 hours a day three days a week. This is totally new for us and will give me much more time to devote to my art and business. I am looking forward to seeing what this new time allows me to do!
A typical day now includes all of us getting up early to get the kids out the door to their programs. One thing that we love about Brooklyn is that we can walk to school, starting my day with a walk fully wakes me up. On a day where both kids are off to their programs I am home from dropping them off at about 9:20am, then I take a shower and evaluate what I need to focus on that day. I am very much a morning person so this is the time in which I fill orders for my shop, go to the post office (also just a short walk away), and get my best painting done. I have the good fortune to have a husband who has flexible working hours as a freelance artist, so when he is not working on a full time job, the two of us try to work out a balance of childcare. This means that we split picking the kids up from school, so every other day one of us gets a longer working day in the studio until about 4pm. On the days that I pick up the kids I only work until about 12:30pm, then I go to get them and spend the afternoon at the playground with friends and then come home and make dinner. Family dinner is a very important part of the rhythm of our days. On Mondays and Fridays my youngest is at home full time, this is a very special time for us and we spend all day doing fun projects or outings together.
I also want to share that when my children were small I had a wonderful babysitter who would come over to our home for 4 hours a day two days a week. This was my time to go into my home studio. For me this was the best of both worlds as I was still there in the house so that if I needed to nurse them or help out in any way I was available but still separate. This worked very well for me and it was the only way that I was able to make much of my art when my children were small.
How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends?
This varies week to week and season to season.
For example, over the summer I had my children with me full time, all day everyday, so I gave up all expectations of being in the studio and just let everyday unfold in an easy relaxed way. I did manage to fit in some good studio time when my husband’s schedule allowed him to take the kids, but for me letting go of any expectations about having that time was the key in my just being able to relax into a schedule with the kids.
Last year was my first holiday season as an Etsy seller and I was totally taken by surprise by how much a huge selling season it is, so this year I am already beginning to prepare for the holiday season and am starting to dedicate more time this fall to the studio for this. I am also preparing for my next solo show in November at Swallow Gallery here in Brooklyn. Right now I am spending about 15 to 18 hours a week in the studio total, this includes the time during the days when the children are at school. I am usually too tired in the evenings to be very productive but I spend that time answering emails, creating blog posts, visiting my favorite blogs and social networking on Facebook
I also know my limitations right now. As I grow my business I have plans for working on licensing my art, growing my blog and website, but I know that these are things that I do not have time and space for in my schedule right now. I am happy with the work that I am creating and with the energy and nurturing response that I have received from this wonderful online community, and I am enjoying things as they evolve. I have to say no to things sometimes and be OK with that, and know that as long as I am giving as much as I can to my family and art right now, that is enough.
I know this is a subject that is always being addressed but I need to bring up balance. Do you feel you have a healthy balance between your work life and your family?
Balance is one of those ideas that I really struggled with until I read this inspiring article by the amazing Danielle LaPorte, I felt like she finally gave me permission to voice what I felt in my heart which was that sustained balance is impossible and was something that I was beating myself up with. There is always that wobble of energy and focus going to the place that needs it the most at any given time. Sometimes this doesn’t feel like balance at all. If I am not able to pick my kids up from their playgroups for days because I have to get work done in the studio, or if I am staying up too late and feeling tired during the days, this feels very unbalanced to me, but, just noticing my own patterns has made me good at self-regulating. When I start to feel like the drain of energy is too much in one direction then I make an effort to change course. This requires a lot of energy and a lot of honesty with my husband as he is often the one to point out to me when things are getting out of whack. Truthfully, one of the first things to go off balance for me is the house cleaning, when things get beyond the point of organized chaos then it is time to pull back!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?
The thing that I always tell other moms is that, “you can do it!”, whatever “it” is for you. After having my own children I have done labor support doula work and through that I strongly have come to believe that we all need a cheerleader, someone who truly sees the work that we are doing and tells us that “yes, it is good work, and yes, that is just what you need to be doing right now!”.
Often, other moms will say to me, “How do you do it all?” and I try to be really honest about my journey. I especially let new moms know that I took time off after having my babies, when I had my first child I took 6 months off from doing my work as I slowly moved my studio into our home, and then I had a show scheduled so I had to start getting back into the studio. After I had my second child I took a full year and a half off from painting as I adjusted to the wildness of having two children! That was just what had to happen during that season in my life and there was never a moment where I doubted that I would get back into the studio and make my paintings again. Making my art is part of a life long journey for me, and integrating that part into the other aspects of my life takes effort and commitment everyday. I truly believe that we make time and space for what we really want to do, and it is OK to be honest with our selves about what those things are. Don’t put too much pressure on your self and remember, the best things come with the sweet rewards of time!

Here is all of the contact info for Faith plus the links to things that she mentions in the interview.

faithevanssills@gmail.com
www.faithevanssills.com
www.leavesandfeathers.etsy.com
http://harmonyandfaith.blogspot.com

www.francissills.com
http://www.swallowglass.com
http://whitehottruth.com/creativity-art-design-articles/the-suck-factor-of-life-balance-passion-as-a-cure-to-stress/

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Art Biz Mama: Belinda Kemp

An ARTIST, a MOM, a CREATIVE BIZ OWNER. What happens when you combine all three? Welcome to Art Biz Mama.  A series of inspirational interviews about being a mom, an artist and a creative biz owner.
In an effort to connect, share and get to know some of my favorite artists (and I am sure they are yours too) a bit better and because I am a mama who has creative biz visions myself I have asked for a sneak peek into their very busy lives. To share a bit about just what it means to juggle these roles and how it all really plays out.

I know this is a topic that has been discussed plenty but for me (and you) I need to hear these stories. To know there are others reaching for their dreams and maybe stumbling at times, all the while caring for themselves and their family.

I believe we will glean a bit of insight from these smart and talented women that can inspire us all.

I just want to take a minute before getting to the interview to say that I am so thankful to and inspired by all of the wonderful women who have been here as an Art Biz Mama. Your honesty and sincerity are greatly appreciated. I really believe that we all have our stories to share and something you say can touch another in a way that you may never imagine. And really you have ALL touched me!

This week I have lovely Belinda Kemp who I first came across way back when I discovered art and design blogs. I was really attracted to her art and I am so excited she is here today!

Could you please share a bit about your business, yourself and your family?
Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of this series ~ it’s a really fascinating topic 🙂
I live in Melbourne, Australia with my husband and 2 sons {aged almost 6 and almost 3}. I work from home{part time} as an artist ~ I paint, draw, collage, stitch and blog!
When did you make the decision to start your creative business?
My working background is in publishing and graphic design. Before I had children I had decided that I didn’t want to work full time, or in these areas anymore. I found that my creativity was being stifled rather than fueled working in these jobs! I was looking/thinking vaguely {as you do with small kids} about what I could do down the track to make a living. At some point I discovered the very exciting world of Etsy and blogs. A whole world of possibilities opened up! I found people who are doing amazing things and also people who value the same things that I value.
I didn’t think of selling my work on etsy as a ‘business’ as such, I just thought I should try it out ~ there was nothing to loose! {I had been making a lot of art and the house was filling up!}.
How has having children affected your business and creativity?
Having children is what made my whole business possible! Somehow they bring out the creativity, just by being! They are constantly inspiring in the way that they think and work {I love to paint, draw and make with them}. But also there is very little time for my own creative work. I find it hard to switch off my own creative brain and come back to the requirements of the real world a lot of the time.
Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Is there school or childcare, etc. while you are working on your biz?
I have 2 ‘child free’ days during the week to work.
Mornings start at 6.30-7am. Most of the getting ready is done by 7.30 when my husband leaves for work {he gets the kids dressed and breakfast while I get showered etc}. Then there is the school and childcare drop off. Usually I’m back home by 9.30. Then I have coffee #2 while I read blogs + emails. This part of the day is like a guilty pleasure as by the time I get back from dropping the kids off I kind of need to sit and collect myself and get into that quiet focused work mode, but I also have to be as quick as I can!! If I’m leisurely I can use up a big chunk of the 5 hour work day! I try to know before the start of the day if it’s going to be a creative day or a computer work day, or a combination ~ the best days for me are the creative ones! The morning is good for creative work ~ I don’t like the panicky feeling of starting to get into something in the afternoon, knowing there’s only a short time left to either finish or leave it for another day. I like to squeeze in a little more blog reading over lunch then get back to work at my ‘studio’ desk or just keep on the computer for the ‘business-side-of-things’ work. Before I know it, it’s 3.20 and time for the school and childcare pickup.
How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends?

It’s hard to give an hourly figure for my work. I tend to go through phases of working at night a lot and other phases of really just wanting to relax at night. I have my {up to} 10 hours a week during the day and then during the winter months, one day of the weekend. If I work at night, it’s kind of a squeeze! Usually there’s only about an hour at most between dinner and bed where I’m capable of using my brain!
So far none of the Art Biz Mama’s have felt there is a balance between their family life and biz life. How do you feel about the topic of balance?

Mmmm.. I’d have to go along with other art biz mama’s and say that finding a balance must be the hardest part of this creative life. There’s always the feeling of guilt, that I should be spending more time with the kids ~ and not just the ‘getting through the day’ kind of time. I’m feeling this now especially as our eldest son started school this year and our youngest is almost 3. The baby days are pretty much almost over. I feel that for my business I’m super impatient for more time to work, and I really need more time to make a good go of what I’m trying to achieve, but then to have more time is to have no kids around!

Then there’s the thing of finding time to do family things and to take time off to relax and re~coup! My husband and I really don’t take time to do this ~ it feels like there is no time! I’m just starting to feel the impact of this kind of schedule on my health and would love to discover a solution to fitting it all in {without giving anything up!}. I have no idea what this actually means at this point!! I do know though, that the best days seem to be days that I had planned to work, but decided at the last minute to spend with the family!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?
I guess the advice I wish I had listened to {and remember on a daily level} is to try not to expect too much of yourself! I often expect to have things going along as they would if I worked full-time on my business and then feel disappointed that I can’t do it all. It’s better to set small, attainable goals and then feel great about each success! Also, if possible, try to fit in a weekly yoga class!

To see/learn more about Belinda please visit her here:
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