When I began my own 365 Portrait Challenge on January 1st, it was inspired by the extraordinary, Canadian artist, Lucky Jackson. In 2011-2012 she sewed a new piece of embroidery art every day. They were so intricate and whimsical, I couldn’t help but fall in love with her work and her dedication. I knew I wanted to share her story with Create and Thrive readers and today I’m so happy to do just that!
Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?
I began my art career after the birth of my first child. I decided that I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about and began painting and entering local art shows. This lead to opening my first Etsy Shop, “Almost Famous”.
I enjoyed success selling prints of my paintings but painting wasn’t fulfilling my creativity. I started to experiment with new materials, enjoying the freedom of exploration of my artistic practice. This is when I started to work with textiles and finding my love for hand embroidery. In 2011-2012 I embarked on a project, dedicating to sew a new piece of artwork every day for a year. 365 Lucky Days was a trying time but I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work on my craft for a year. After the project ended, I took a bit of a break but am currently working on a new series of work. I am experimenting with new materials again and am loving experimenting and coming up with new ideas. I am hoping to release the series this fall.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your business?
The “business” side of things. I find it extremely difficult trying to balance making art, taking care of my home, my husband and kids, spending time with friends, and then there is marketing, answering emails, making deadlines, blogging, mailing orders, running my website, doing art shows. I can honestly say I am not successful at this at all but I find my family, friends, customers and the art community very patient and understanding. I think you just need to be honest with people with how much you can do in a day. I still find time to watch Mad Men every week and Project Runway reruns so I can’t really complain can I?
What has been the biggest ‘fist-pump’/successful moment for you so far?
Definitely the press I received during the 365 Project. I received a lot of support and recognition from bloggers that I really admired, and they were so gracious and nice. I met so many great people during the project that I still keep in contact with. I cannot describe the amazing feeling of making something and finding a community that loves what you make. For someone like me that has always had a lot of self doubt, this was huge.
Do you ever have doubts as to your future creative direction? Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?
I think as an artist, you always have those doubts. I was afraid after the 365 that people would only want to see embroidery work and I wanted to try something new. I liken it to when you go to see your favorite band and they are trying to play something new they are working on and the audience is shouting “play the hits!” I love embroidery and Wes Anderson movies but I want to do something new.
Are there times when your creativity and inspiration seem to disappear? How do you handle that?
After the 365 I was really tired. It coincided with my girls starting school full time and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I kept a journal of ideas. I played with my kids a lot. I watched a lot of movies. I caught up with friends. If you just live your life and have fun and keep your eyes open you eventually will receive inspiration. I have learned not to force it.
How do you balance your work with the rest of your life ~ what does a typical day in your life look like?
After getting the girls off to school, I usually check my emails and then get into the studio. I always have several projects on the go. I work from 9:00 until the girls get off the bus at 4:00. No exceptions. The days that I am working I don’t go out for coffee, I’m not doing housework. I need that big chunk of time to get the focus I need to be creative. The rest of the day is free playtime! BBQs, playing at the park, taking the kids to the YMCA, and then cuddling time with my hubby watching Soprano reruns!
What has been the best marketing move you’ve ever made for your own business?
Having a blog and connecting to other creatives via social networking.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give fellow makers about running a successful creative business?
Do your own thing. Inspiration is everywhere but find your own unique style. Make it your own. And put it out there. I know so many people that are so wonderfully creative and they hold themselves back my comparing their work to others. You don’t want to be like anyone else. Part of being creative is bring something new and genuine to the world.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
My hubby is building a huge porch on the front of our house. I picture myself writing and doodling in my journal on the porch swing coming up with some crazy and new ideas to pursue next. Pretty simple but that sounds heavenly to me.
You can find more of Lucky Jackson’s work online:
In her Etsy shop: Lucky Jackson
On her blog: 365 Lucky Days