Three pieces of advice from Amanda Wright of Wit and Whistle

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting with Amanda Wright of Wit and Whistle, where she creates “pretty funny paper goods” and enamel pins.  Her work is just my style and is completely awesome!

We had a great interview regarding her roles as artist and mother to her 14 month old daughter.  The whole interview was great, which you can read in the book.  Here are a few key pieces of advice that I picked up on from her.

1.  When asked if having a child has changed her work.  She said:

I don’t think it has changed my work itself yet, but it has given me a sense of urgency when I’m creating. I try not to waste a single moment that I get to work. I know I’m a lot more efficient than I was pre-children.
I hear that!  I think it’s completely possible to have a set time to create, instead of waiting around the muse to come and visit.  Busy moms can’t wait for the muse.  We have to make the time for the muse.  I only have a few hours during weekday afternoon to work–creative work, not housework or mom work :).  Sometimes, if an idea hits me during a non-creative work time, I’ll jot down a note to I can visit it later.  I truly don’t believe in waiting around for creativity to strike.  It’s a lifestyle.  I’m constantly thinking and coming up with ideas and then I work on them as soon as I get the chance.
2.  When I asked her if she ever had to say no to a project because of her duties as a mother.  She said:
So far I haven’t had to pass up any projects, but it does take me a lot longer to complete my projects since work time is limited. Caring for my daughter is my top priority, but I’m being very intentional about making my work a priority too. I’ve worked hard to build my business, and it’s important to me that it continues to thrive.  I want to set an example for my daughter as I follow my dreams and build my career and family, too.
I think it’s so vitally important to set good examples for our children.  They pick up on every single thing they see us do and say.  I think a mom running a successful business from home sets an awesome example!
When I asked her what advice she had to pass along to other creative mothers, she said:
Sleep when the baby sleeps is a total fallacy—I say create when the baby sleeps!
It’s true.  Maybe not in the first few months of motherhood, when you are still trying to figure out which way is up.  But, when the world starts to make sense again, definitely.
Thank you so much to Amanda for the inspiring interview.  And, if you want more inspiration or a laugh or smile, visit her website or her Etsy shop.

Take advice from Chuck Close

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

– Chuck Close

Rachel Jones bring a new perspective

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Jones of www.nourishingminimalism.com.  You can see my previous post about her here.  I love her blog, and I’ve been a follower of hers for quite a while now.  She’s the mother of six children, and she is the author of several books and resources that she offers on her website.

One thing that I did not realize about her is that she is the main breadwinner for her family.  Her husband quit his full-time job to help her at home, and now he works part-time.  This brings an interesting perspective into the mix, as most of the mothers I have interviewed work what most would consider “part-time” and the financial responsibility of the family does not fall on their shoulders.

She mentioned something in her interview that I want to share with you right away.  I asked her if she ever turned down a project or chose not to pursue a project due to family obligations.  This is what she had to say:

No. I have taken longer on a project because I needed to parent though! I have known for a long time that I am a nicer person and better parent when I have projects and goals. I knew that I wanted my children to see a healthy person taking care of themselves, so I determined that that is what I would do. My children have joined me in my life, rather than becoming my life. Getting divorced when my oldest was 5 years old, I had to be honest with myself on what I wanted my children to see as normal and healthy through the rest of my parenting of them. The first 5 years was a toxic example, and I knew I had to change that to be as healthy a person as I could be. I want my children to value themselves and be their own person, and I knew the only way was to be that example to them. 

And generally, my projects are geared towards earning an income, and they all need to eat… so. 🙂

I picked up on two specific things in her answer.

1.  She wants her children to see a healthy person who can take care of them.  We all want that for our children.  I HOPE my children see a well-balanced, efficient, happy mother who delights in their care and well-being.  When you step back and look at the big picture, what do you want your children to see as their example?  No excuses.  Not if the circumstances were different.  Not when they’re older or you have more time or you aren’t so stressed out or you don’t have so much to do.  What do you want your children to see as their example TODAY?

2.  She has to earn an income, and her children need to eat.  That’s pretty good motivation.  I think our children need to see that hard work puts food on the table.  I think (hope) it instills gratefulness and appreciation in them.

Many thanks to Rachel for taking the time to answer my questions.  Even if you have no interest in minimalism, I encourage you to check out her website.  It will change your life for the better.  Look for more from Rachel’s interview in my book.

Sculptor Allison Streett agrees to an interview

Last week, I reached out to sculptor Allison Streett.  She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and six children.  She is the recipient of numerous awards, and her work has been featured in several exhibits.  Her work is truly amazing.

It’s so intriguing to me (and almost perplexing) how someone can create something out of nothing.  Literally, this one person can turn a lump of clay into a perfect representation of a person–complete with facial expression and perfect proportion and muscle tone.  It’s obviously a skill that I do not possess, but it’s so complex that my brain almost can’t comprehend how it can be done.

But, I guess creating something from nothing can be said of any artist.  Writers put words on paper and create stories that can take the reader to other worlds.  Painters can produce likenesses of people, flowers or skylines on blank canvases.  Photographers can capture simple, everyday moments and objects and freeze them in time forever.  The list goes on and on.  It truly is magic.  Sigh…

All of that being said, I’m excited to report that Allison has agreed to an interview for the book.  I’m looking forward to learning more about the art of sculpture and how she manages her artistic career as the mother of six children.  I will be sharing more about her in the near future, so stay tuned.

Natalie Dee = not interested

I emailed Natalie Dee today to ask if she might be interested in doing an interview for the book.  She wrote back within an hour to tell me that she’s not interested.  To be honest, that one could have gone either way.  At first, I was a little miffed by some of the things she said in her email, but the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize a few things.

  1.  Just because a woman has a baby and does creative work doesn’t mean she’s going to be interested in a book about mothers who do creative work.  It’s not a given that mothers feel the same way about the subject that I do, and that’s okay.  I’ve chosen my life’s work–being a mother, staying home to raise my children.  I feel that that is the right choice for me and my family.  But that is not the answer across the board.
  2. I need thicker skin.
  3. This response really makes me want to go out there and find so many more women who do understand and appreciate this project.  I still believe in this book, this project, this idea.  I can’t let one little bump in the road, one person’s opinion make me want to give up.  It just adds fuel to the fire.  Fuel to the fire.