Small business diaries // Emily Jeffords

small business diaries // emily jeffords // a thousand threadssmall business diaries // emily jeffords // a thousand threads
Today I’m excited to share an interview with Emily Jeffords: artist, blogger, mom, and all-around amazing lady that she is!

Read on to see why I’m so crazy about this hard-working artist who’s taking over the world.

… and also why my new motto might just be, “another cup of coffee and a lot of grace.”

1 // Tell me about yourself and your beautiful work!

I am an artist, mother of two, writer, and blogger, (and coffee addict.) I call myself a modern impressionistic painter and I’m just a little obsessed with landscapes and botanical studies.

2 // When did you start painting seriously? (You know, beyond finger paints as a kid. ;)) And how did you know when it was time to start putting your work out there.

Just after college I took a job as a private art teacher, which really allowed me to establish my thoughts and theories on my own creative process. I had my first baby shortly thereafter and began creating a painting a day while she was small. From there things continued rolling along, growing slowly and organically through three cross-country moves and another sweet baby.

small business diaries // emily jeffords // a thousand threads
3 // Do you remember the first thing you ever painted?

I remember always having access to paints and art supplies and creativity was really something we were all encouraged to explore. One of my earliest paintings was a detailed acrylic landscape painted on a wooden fireplace screen commissioned by my grandparents. They still have it (and I kind of cringe every time I see it).

4 // Where do you find your most inspiration, and who, creatively, do you find inspiring?

Sometimes inspiration seems illusive, and other times uncontrollably active and I find it depends more on my personal energy than external sources. More than rest or relaxation, excitement is key. Feeling even a hint of passion and honing in on that feeling, allowing it to grow and develop in you mind… that is the trick. And along with that, being aware of new ideas and seeing the world with renewed eyes is endlessly valuable.

Designers, makers, florists, and chefs inspire me greatly. Looking at the work of other artists is helpful and challenging, but I often find it to be more instructive than inspiring. Not to say that art doesn’t inspire me! Oh gosh… no. But when I need a burst of inspiration to get my wheels turning the last place I go is to another artist’s creation. I need to develop and express my own thoughts and ideas, not reinterpret someone else’s.

small business diaries // emily jeffords // a thousand threads
5 // You currently work for yourself, but for some time after school you worked as a teacher. Can you talk a little bit about the transition? Was there a turning point?

I really enjoyed teaching (I taught art to small groups of all ages), but the time and energy it took from me (I am an introvert and crave quiet time in the studio) was not of as much value as time spent pouring my energy into my own artwork. So when we moved away from that city for my husband’s job with the Air Force I decided to focus on my own art career 100%.

6 // What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced and overcome. (And what are you still working out?)

Growth is harder and takes more focus than I imagined. Letting parts of my business go so that I can focus on the core of what I create is challenging. It’s hard to say no to yourself sometimes! As a crazy artist my head is always full of things I could create (and of course, my marketing brain has them all sold in 10 seconds) but it is so necessary to refine your brand and to keep it really clear and uncluttered in order to really grow.

small business diaries // emily jeffords // a thousand threads
7 // You wear a lot of hats. Blogger, artist, mom… what are some of the things you do to keep it all in check? And how do you deal with that ever-present question of work-life balance?

I have very little balance and I’m ok with that. I have let go of several things in order to focus more on the things that really matter to me and my family (apparently, folded clothes is one of those things! Ha!)

But I find so much joy and inspiration in each part of life. My children inspire my creativity, which inspires each painting, and my desire to make a living as an artist forces my business-woman alter ego to emerge, which makes me a better homeschooling mama, which makes me a better writer, which makes me really, really good at making coffee… It’s a crazy circle and it all ends with another cup of coffee and a lot of grace.

I am endlessly thankful for the support structure I have. My husband is a total dream, understanding, helpful, super involved… my kids paint alongside me every day in the studio, my studio assistants are rock stars, and my studio mates are saints.

small business diaries // emily jeffords // a thousand threads
8 // What advice do you have for those who are just starting out? Especially as artists. I know it can be a tough space to break into and you’re rocking it.

If you are a super new “undiscovered” artist, you are poised for such success it’s crazy! Enter the creative world boldly with a well thought out “brand” of artwork that you are going to work endlessly to create, promote, and spread.

But along with that, allow yourself to grow. Re-inspire yourself daily and allow your art or the things you create to evolve along with you. Share your work beautifully and frequently. Your audience will really catch your passion when you convey it genuinely and that is such a beautiful (and necessary) thing. Allow people to fall in love with your work, your process, and your spirit in the way you share your excitement with them.

And every now and then, buy yourself a crazy nice paintbrush. Just because. 😉

4 Comments

  1. Posted July 16, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Well, this is awesome! Loved the interview–especially the last thoughts of #8. So funny that you covered an interview with Emily, because I did the same with an Austin-based artist recently: http://hellopasadya.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-meeting-with-diana-greenberg.html

    I need to dive back into your blog! It’s looking beautiful. 🙂 Heading to Emily’s blog now!

    • Laicie
      Posted July 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Danie!! Headed over to read your interview! 🙂

  2. Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Just stumbled on your blog through The Blog Society. It’s just lovely and I love Emily Jeffords. I will be sharing a post this coming Thursday on her and her beautiful work. I was obviously drawn to this post immediately.

    • Laicie
      Posted July 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Aww I’m so glad, I’ll have to check it out!! Thanks for stopping over!

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