Have you guys met Alli yet? She is the artist behind The Art and Soul Shop and has been brightening up my Instagram feed with every one of her cheerful posts. She is also passionate about helping other creatives (that means YOU) grab their dreams. She pulls from her own experiences to get the conversation started. You'll find practical tips, sincere encouragement and beautiful pieces coming from Alli's heart.
Here we go!
Scrolling through your feed I notice cheerful colors and mixed media- it's a happy account to spend time looking through. What inspires you?
Thank you so much for your kind words and for asking me to participate in your Maker Q&A. I'm so excited to be here!! Yes, I am indeed a color lover!! My inspiration comes from lots of places. Nature constantly inspires me. I'm always blown away by the colors God uses for things like flowers and sunsets and even bright green grass. I like to study how colors interact with each other and how they make me feel. I am inspired by words and phrases and Scripture as well. I love how a simple phrase or verse can impact your mood and your day. It can remind you of who you are or who you wish to be. Most of my work includes both color and words because I believe when you pair powerful words with powerful colors, it can change the whole atmosphere of a room.
When did you start to see yourself as an artist? Do you recall a point where you began owning that as part of your identity?
I was actually afraid of that word for a long time. I felt it was reserved for "trained" artists and I am self taught and for a looong time felt I wasn't good enough for that title. Some time about 2 years ago I began to own it and use it and not be afraid to call myself that. I think it's powerful to make that statement about who you are. And now, I actually believe God made all of us artists - some of us use paint and paper and wood and canvas and some people are artists of completely different kinds - even those who work in what most would call "non creative" fields. We are all creative beings made in the image of the Creator.
Tell us about your very first sale ever. What was it and how did it feel.
I sold my first item at a little craft show 13 years ago. It was a wooden box I had painted and embellished. I remember pausing for a minute when the lady said she wanted to buy it. I think the look on my face was something like "REALLY? Are you serious?" I was giddy with excitement. I made $100 that day but you would have thought I had made $1000 by how happy I was. It was the first time I thought there was a chance I could actually do this for a living.
Have there been any struggles that you had to overcome in your artist's journey? Looking back, were these struggles important to getting you to new levels?
Yes! I have had lots of struggles along the way! I could write a book about the struggles. For starters, lack of confidence and comparing myself to others were really hard for me for the first several years. These were important hurdles to cross for me as an artist and a person and I'm thankful to God for walking me into a new season of confidence in my life and art. I may not be the best artist by a long shot, but by God's grace, I now realize that I have something valuable to offer people. It took a long time for me to be able to say that about myself. I still say it from a place of humility and a bit of awe that people pay me to do this! It is really a dream come true.
You recently launched a #makedreamshappenmonday series to encourage every kind of dreamer out there. You've addressed things like the importance of accountability and just starting somewhere. I'm a big cheerleader of people just jumping in and making the parachute on the way down too. What will you be writing about next?
YES!! I am glad we see eye to eye on that! I love your parachute analogy. I started the series because I have a serious passion for helping other people follow their dreams and I love to encourage people along the way. The series is especially relevant to makers but lots of what I share will apply to anyone following a dream. I am planning future posts about walking in confidence, developing your brand, shipping help, finding your tribe and time management to name just a few.
What advice would you give to someone who is hoping to become more involved in the IG Maker Community? Any practical tips? Would you like to give a shout out to someone who came alongside you in the beginning and helped you find your IG footing?
I am thankful to many people who have helped along the way and I would love to give a shout out to my real life friend @susoutter. She and I meet together regularly and share research about IG and the maker life in general. She has shared so much knowledge, wisdom and time with me and has helped my business grow on IG and etsy. I also learned a ton about IG from @rosemarywatson. She offers lots of practical advice and I highly recommend her Instagram Intensive course. As far as advice to makers, I would say put yourself out here on IG as much as you can! Start interacting with accounts you admire, do giveaways, join a trade group and keep sharing your work with relevant hashtags. The community here is so helpful and I personally love to meet and encourage other dreamers and makers so I hope you all will come on over and say hi!
<If you want to see more of Alli's work you can check her out on Instagram or over at her online shop here>