Today on Meet the Artist we will be talking to Anne Weil. Anne and I met several years ago during some creative classes that were taught by Marisa of Creative Thursday. We later joined an online arts community that Marisa and her partner Sean developed called Creative Coconuts. The photo above shows me and Anne with Marisa, Monica and Bel all members of the coconuts circle that came together this past spring at The Makerie. Anne and I spoke a lot about teaching and about her sources of creativity and I was so excited when she said yes to coming and teaching a weekend of knitting at our retreat. Here is a little about her story and about her thoughts on living a creative life.
Tell a little about yourself. Where you have lived, what type of creative work you have done and how you came to build your business.
Hi everyone! I’m so happy to be here sharing a little about myself with you. I grew up in Minneapolis, MN where I was a little girl that loved to create all things. I learned to knit when I was 7, but also adored making anything and everything, from friendship pins to ribbon barrettes, from hooked rugs to cross-stitch pillows. Even as a girl, I loved texture and line and color and light and just generally how things looked together. I did not know how this passion could become what I did for a living. After college, I lived in New York pursuing a career in real estate finance. I was following paths I thought led to my “highest potential,” yet I didn’t find my work fulfilling. Sadly, I didn’t make time to create in that busy life. Adding a family didn’t help add time for that. About two years ago, as I found myself craving a different sort of life, a dear friend told me to just start blogging about creative things, and so I did. I promised myself I would write once a week. I started pursuing my love for the handmade, explored my own creativity, made things as I became inspired, and, best of all, taught others how to make what I was making. Over a million and a half page views later, I am in awe of what my creative endeavor has become. I could not be more thrilled with my developing creative business.
Do you think most people are living their creative dreams? Are you living your creative dreams? How?
I think it is hard to live your creative dream, mainly because it can be scary. Creativity, in its essence, is putting your self, your being, out there – even if its only for your eyes. By bringing your ideas, your interpretation, your conception into being, they become public. It can be difficult to embrace that exposure and to do it in a non-judgmental way. What is great though, is that I have discovered that the more I make and create, the more inspired I become!
One of my favorite quotes is from John Irving:
“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”
I grew up believing that pursuing my creative dreams were somehow less worthy than other pursuits. This belief has been shifting. I have come to realize that if you have a passion for creating, in any form, it is vital, and I mean VITAL, that you pursue that passion. Owning your own creativity and having faith in it is essential. I am ecstatic that I have been able to bring so much creativity into my life. It makes me giddy to have the opportunity to encourage others to do the same.
How does family and life experience play into you achieving your goals? Who around you encourages you?
My kids inspire me everyday. They inspire me with their words and their light and energy. My children are unbound by expectations and what is possible. Sometimes they ask me to do the impossible! Everyday, I am bombarded with “let’s make that,” or “you could make that, mommy” or “what if we tried this?” My blog exploded to cover so many different crafts, in large part because of them.
What are the steps you follow when you are working towards a goal?
If a goal is huge, with so many things that need to be accomplished in order to get there, it can be challenging not to freeze up. I try to break goals down into pieces to avoid being overwhelmed. To get right to the nitty gritty, this is what I do: I write my goals on sticky notes. For every goal, I write separate sticky notes with the steps needed to reach that goal. Then, on other sticky notes, I write the steps required to accomplish those steps. I keep a large calendar with each goal placed in what seems like a reasonable time frame. I try to dole the sticky note tasks out to myself in doable chunks. Each day, I sit down with a new set of sticky notes and just start knocking things off. If frozen, I try to push myself or allow myself to do “just one thing.” Doing “just one thing” frees you somehow, and before you know it you’re ten things down the road.
After you have achieved a major goal? How do you wind down and still keep that momentum moving forward?
I remember the first time I was on design*sponge. They featured my hand-embroidered note cards. I jumped up and down in my studio, looking around for someone to celebrate with. I called my husband, but he didn’t really get it. It was hard to feel satisfied, especially with more DIY posts rolling in so quickly right on top of mine. All of a sudden, I was dejected and sad, instead of elated.
How do you take a huge accomplishment in? I think it is important to take the time to celebrate your achievement in whatever way feels good for you. Have a glass of champagne, rock out to an awesome song, or go on your favorite hike. Then, take the time to think about what you’ve achieved. Breathe in your success, revel in the fact that you set a goal for yourself and achieved it, grin from ear to ear with pride. Ponder all those steps taken to get there. If you aren’t present in your own success, deflation is inevitable. By taking the time to enjoy it, you’ll be ready to turn to the next steps and work on what’s upcoming.
tell me anything else that my readers may want to know about you….
I would truly love to inspire others to pursue their creative interests and dreams. If people have a passion for creating, it is essential for them to pursue it and make time for it. If you are driven to create, then creating is something that feeds your soul and gives you joy – make on!
Thanks for sharing with us today, Anne.
Here’s where you can find more about Anne and her work:
website: flax and twine
photo credits: Creative Coconuts (Alessandra Cave); all remaining photography by Anne Weil