When you’re working a full-time retail management job and trying to sustain creativity in your free time, it can be difficult to stop and smell the roses. It can be difficult to do anything in your off time besides lay on the couch like a petrified mummy. Not too long ago, I had all the time in the world to do exactly that – to contemplate, to plan, to nurture my studio practice. But I didn’t. I dragged my feet, knowing that there was always a tomorrow to continue working on my checklist. And I ended up never finishing, never starting anything really. I was treading water.
It was inevitable that I’d have to return to full-time work. I mean, the drawing thing just wasn’t happening (well, I wasn’t making it happen) and a girl has got to eat and support her caffeine slash shopping addiction. So here I am, struggling to keep up the energy to be positive and motivational for my team at work and baffled as to how I’m going to manage keeping up the pace in my independent pursuits. With the holidays here and in my face, all I want to do is eat and be merry. Can you blame me? I don’t want to keep holing myself up in my house, with my little paints, trying to produce pretty on paper (or bags). But if I stop now, then what? What comes next?
After spending the day pouring over websites and blogs about “how to sell your art” or “how to become an artist”, I feel very… uneasy. And really, I guess that was everyone’s point; becoming an artist is just not easy. There’s no formula for becoming successful and so you have to figure out what is going to work for you. Selling artwork, patterns, creativity in any form is always going to be difficult. I never said that I believed otherwise; there are just some days where I feel more confident than others. So I feel the need to fess up to the truth, the ever steady truth… that I just don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I will be doing. I don’t know how to get to where I want to be. This is ultimately what sums up my journey-into-adulthood experience. How’s yours going?
I haven’t been posting as much personal introspection on this blog as I used to especially because so many people in my life actually take the time to read it now (bffs, family, and coworkers alike). But I’m taking a risk here in order to stay genuine and let it all hang out in hopes that everyone – particularly those also my age – will understand that this is just a part of what it takes to get there. You know. There. Wherever there is, that place when all the pieces will start magically falling into place. Who knows when there will actually present itself.
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.
So it’s that time of year. You know, the beginning. And everywhere you look – tv, social media, blogs – you are reading or listening to something about crafting goals for the year ahead. As always, I’d like to think that I’m different than everyone else, but really I’m not. The start of a new calendar year is a ubiquitous marker of time and instead of being cynical and ignorant about it’s importance, I’d rather join the bandwagon and do whatever it is I need to feel like I’m ready for what’s up ahead.
I don’t think I can go a traditional route of making a list of all the little goals I’d like to accomplish because it just feels too mechanical and all the more difficult to follow. There are generic things I’m always trying to improve in my life no matter what the month – trying to eat healthier, trying to be more patient, trying to be active, trying to be a better daughter/friend/partner. The turn of the year doesn’t really mark a new motivation for any of these things because I’m always in progress, always working on getting better at them.
One of the biggest mental setbacks I have is the fear that I’m not as great as the people I admire and aspire to be like (artists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, etc). Those beautiful creative professionals seem like they have everything together so effortlessly and they continue to surprise me with their ability to stay fresh, relevant, and inspirational. Despite knowing that they all had to start somewhere, I always find myself feeling so far behind with so much left to go. Why do I feel like I have to start big and so close to the end?
I keep forgetting that you don’t begin a success. You become a success.