Describe your style.
I’m often told I dress like Annie Hall, and I guess I’m cool with that (although I don’t think I’ve ever worn a vest with necktie). I like modern, structured silhouettes and tend to stray away from prints unless it’s a stripe or a polka dot. Maybe that would make me “preppy”? I wear whatever makes me feel good!
Do you have any style icons?
Not really…is that weird? I admire people who dress for themselves and are confident in doing so.
Something that I really love and want to get back to is interviewing other creative and stylish individuals. The connections I get to make in this city are more inspiring than anything else could ever be. I do tend to make connections with other women, not because I particularly choose to, but because there’s a deeper understanding between us about how our creative pursuits really affect the trajectory of our success – both professionally and personally. As women we are carriers of the responsibility to nurture families and raise the next generation. That added layer of pressure on top of trying to chase our dreams makes every step feel that much more crucial; every success and every failure is that much more important. Anyways, I digress.
Today I introduce you to Anna, a fellow artist who is brimming with talent and just trying to make her way up in the world. She’s already got the hard part down, I mean just look at her illustrations. Now all she has to do is be patient and wait for the world to pay attention. I have no doubt that soon this girl’s IG followers with explode and I’ll be seeing her drawings all over the industry. Her work is effortlessly precise yet loose, a striking balance of form and free strokes.
When did you start illustrating? How did you decide that pen and paper was your destiny?
I started drawing early in grade school–really the same time anyone else starts drawing. Nothing else really “clicked” with me like art did… and I threw myself into it wholeheartedly. Maybe art found me 😉 I haven’t stopped drawing since.
If I sat down and tried to count all the talented people that I’ve met in my life, my mind would probably implode. And yet still, I find more artists to admire, more hands to watch. As I move through different stages in my creative career, I find that there is always someone riding alongside me, just ahead of me, or right behind me. We’re all connected and relate to one another through some form of aspiration or insecurity. This instant bond over “figuring it out” is key to moving forward.
You may have noticed that some of these interviews are termed “creative maker” and some are termed “creative master”. What makes someone a master versus a maker? For me, these two terms are very fluid and subjective. I don’t know if any artists I could relate to consider themselves masters. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be moving forward. For me, a master is someone who is sure in their practice, sure in their voice, and sure in the goals they set before them. By now, all the Creative Makers I’ve featured are probably now Creative Masters.
I fell in love with Rachel’s forms before I met her in person. Over last year’s holiday season, I picked up a porcelain mug at Crafted Westside and my cabinet was then forever changed. It was smooth, elegant, and easy to hold, the perfect size. I had to have it. Not long after, I found out that Rachel was actually a mutual friend. It was then that I realized the universe was telling me that I had to meet this woman. Well.. I ended up meeting her and the time I spent with her was everything I anticipated it to be. When you connect with someone’s work, you are ultimately connecting with them as a person. So obviously, I knew I was going to like her.
Can you describe the earliest memory you have working with clay?
It was second grade–we had Art class once a week, on Friday afternoons. I sculpted a whale out of clay and, just as I was instructed, I hollowed out the inside so that be wouldn’t blow up in the kiln. After a long week of waiting, he emerged from the bisk with a giant crack extending in both directions from his blow hole. Mrs. Rosetti suggested that I fill in the crack with glaze. That seemed like a good idea, so I selected the glaze called “blue-speckled gray” because, naturally, that was the best fit for my whale. I kept filling and filling and filling that crack with the blue-speckled gray glaze but the crack just kept absorbing and absorbing and absorbing the glaze. I did the best I could and put it on the cart with the others. The next week, I met my freshly fired whale, who was now indeed a beautiful shade of blue-speckled gray, with a crack extending in both directions from his blow hole. To this day, he lives on a shelf in the closet of my old bedroom in my parents’ house.
What do you love about porcelain and why do you continue to work with it as your preferred medium?
So many things….it’s as though porcelain is this other material which lies somewhere between clay and glass. We treat it like clay when we manipulate it in its raw form, but when embraced by the fire, it begins to dance in the fluid realm of molten glass. And when it emerges, it contains luminescence. It is not transparent like glass, but it lets the light through and it glows. When vitrified, a sanded surface becomes as smooth as skin–such a pleasure to touch, to hold, to place to the lips and take a sip… In the process of slip casting, there is a certain predictability–when the porcelain is released from the mold, the form will be that of the hollow space of the mold. However, once turned over to the kiln, the porcelain may shift and transform in unexpected ways. It maintains mystery in that way. Porcelain also contains the paradox of extreme fragility and ultimate strength–it can be the finest teacup, locked safely in a cupboard, pulled out for only the most special occasion, and, if dropped, will shatter into a million pieces. It is also rugged and durable–a toilet that we sit on or floor tiles that we walk all over. And it is everything in between–it’s all in a matter of how we approach it, and what qualities we choose to expose.
I’m thrilled to share with you the enviable and mouth-watering talents of a delightful creative entrepreneur that I’ve had the privilege of working with, Shellane Pickett of Apple Butter Bakery! Three years ago she took me under her wing as an intern – teaching me the basics of cake decorating and always putting a smile on my face while doing so. After a brief stint on the west coast, Shellane has returned home (thank the heavens) to realize the dream of opening her own brick-and-mortar bakeshop, serving up everything from mini pies to brownies to custom designed cakes.
I’ve never been more aware than I am now of how difficult it is to do that, to choose a path you love and follow it no matter the obstacles. I remember when this girl had only daydreamed of this moment and to see her finally have it is so uplifting, so inspiring. With her husband, Daniel, and her family by her side, Shellane serves up an array of sweet treats that taste like home. All these delectable creations are imbued with the spirit of the Pickett family; their warmth, optimism, and capacity for love lines every cupcake, cookie, and cup of coffee.
Where did your passion for baking originate from? When did you realize this was going to be your life’s work?
My passion for baking started when I was about 4 or 5 years old… old enough to hold the bowl steady while helping my mom bake some brownies or coconut cake. From then on, I was hooked. I had an idea that this was going to be ‘my thing’ during my junior year in high school. I wanted to go to culinary school, but I took an alternative route and ended up in the same place anyways. I remember I was in my mom’s kitchen decorating a cake and saying to myself “I wish I could just live in a little cottage and bake cakes all day”… I’m still working on the little cottage part!
In what feels like a former life to me, I was completely enveloped in the world of weddings. Working at one of the best custom cake bakeries in town, For Goodness Cakes, I had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of talented wedding professionals who exemplified all the things successful business owners should be: motivated, creative, organized, driven, and each with their own unique voice. Sarah Chancey is one such professional and has remained someone I truly admire to this day. As the head of Chancey Charm Event Design, this sweet and saucy southern powerhouse leads a team of planners who ensure that their brides get the fantasy wedding they’ve always dreamed of, and more. In order to craft these custom events for her brides, Sarah goes back to the drawing board. Like literally, the drawing board. And this is what sets her apart from the myriad of other wedding planners; the creativity and love that comes straight from her hand, pen to paper, paper to life.
How did you stumble into the world of weddings? Is this something you always envisioned for yourself?
I often look back and realize that I did somewhat stumble into all of this. Like any great wedding vendor, I started helping with weddings and events for family, friends, and local organizations. I loved it. Then, I got a job doing Marketing and Events for Chick-Fil-A in Denver, CO. I think that is where it clicked for me. I enjoyed the marketing, but loved the event nights. I think that in the end I enjoyed seeing how happy the events made people. It quickly became a side venture that has now grown into what you see today!
When I first began this interview series, I had no idea what I was in for. I thought it could be a fun side project that would push me to connect with other creative individuals and provide a platform for the inspirational voices of others. It indeed does those things, but I couldn’t have predicted how important it would become to me, to my own journey. The opportunity to ask a question and have it genuinely answered with thought and care, is a joy I truly cherish now. To think that people I admire would generously give me their time and a piece of their mind… well, it just really humbles me and motivates me.
I can say without a doubt that this interview is one I’ve anticipated more than any other. Why is that, you ask? Well, it’s a multitude of things. Jacob Van Loon is an artist I’ve admired via tumblr for a while now; I stumbled upon his work organically and have been a fan ever since. Watch the video below and you’ll understand why I’m so enraptured. The infrastructure he builds with pencil and paint is complex and layered, existing somewhere in-between creation and destruction. I’d like to think (maybe hope is the better word) that the universe I draw within could maybe be a neighbor to his own. But enough words from me. Van Loon is the 27-year old sage here and his words are the ones I want to share with you.