Amanda Blake Soule • SouleMama
Amanda Blake Soule is a crafter, writer, photographer, blogger, and unschooling mama of three.
Can you tell us about some of the things on your board?
My board is a true mix of things I find and love: bits of my children’s artwork, cards and prints from friends, magazine tear-outs for projects I want to try, colors that inspire me, and old photographs – some of people I know and some I pick up at sales and just pretend I know!
How often do you change your board?
I’m always adding things on top of other things as I find them. When the layers get too thick, then I know it’s time to give the board a fresh start. This happens probably every few months.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
Always, my kids. What they see, what they find, what they create – it always makes me think differently and see things in a whole new way.
In the past year or so, I’ve been inspired more than ever by photography. Flickr is great for that – so very many amazing artists out there sharing the beautiful way in which they see their world.
I guess I’m inspired by anyone who is “creating” something – whether it’s my style or not, their process of creating something they’re passionate about is really inspiring to me.
What do you do to “refill the well”?
I change things up in my studio, visit my favorite blogs, stare at my Flickr favorites. Thrifting helps me “refill the well” – even when I don’t buy anything, just wandering the aisles full of old things – both beautiful and ugly – is a tremendous source of new inspiration and ideas. And visiting with crafty friends – that’s always the best recharge of all.
How do you come up with your next idea?
In the middle of the night, driving my children to lessons, making dinner, everywhere and anywhere – in the everyday little moments where there is a little bit of quiet, I start thinking. I’m always hurriedly jotting ideas down in a notebook and hoping I’ll understand it later!
Tell us a little bit about your blog and your business.
I started blogging three years ago to keep in touch with far-away friends and family, as well as a way to record our days. In retrospect, I realize that it was also a low-pressure way in which I could practice writing — something that was always important to me.
From those beginnings, a “business” of sorts emerged. I sell some of the things I make locally in shops and online from time to time. And then, of course, are the books.
My first book The Creative Family will be released April 1st, and the second book — on repurposing for the family home — will be out in 2009.
The blog — while the audience and content has changed from those early days — continues to be a fun, low-pressure, and consistent way in which I record a piece of our lives in words and photographs.
Do you find writing to be as creative a pursuit as making? How do you balance the two?
I find them to be quite similar in process, and yet, there are times when I am definitely drawn to do one and unable to do the other. Writing and making seem to provide a lot of balance for me – it’s the juxtaposition between the work of my hands and the work of my head.
Have you ever been stuck creatively? How did you get past it?
I have had periods of time of being “stuck”, particularly when I’m working under a deadline. The challenging, but most important thing for me to do in these times is to just be patient. Sometimes we have to work through those periods feeling “stuck” to get to something really wonderful on the other end. In the meantime, surrounding myself with other artists, and keeping the inspiration fresh really helps.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I’m usually pretty motivated – it’s the burn-out that can be a challenge. This past year I began setting clearer work hours and studio time for myself. There are so many advantages to having a work space at home, but the disadvantage, of course, is that it’s always there. So it’s been immensely helpful to have specific hours set for my work – closing the door on the studio sometimes is a very good thing.
How have your children changed you as an artist?
They have changed me so completely. Before children, I was intimidated by the concept of “art” and being “good enough”. I started knitting when I was pregnant with my first child – there was something immensely freeing about making something for my child – the love that went into what I made seemed to overshadow any of the imperfections. From that point, the “artist” grew, and the intimidation lessened. Now that my children are a little bit older, I, of course, learn so much by watching and listening to them and the art they make as well. They are my inspiration, the recipient of much that I make, and my collaborators too.
What’s your perfect creativity-inspiring day?
An early morning start on writing in my studio, a jaunt to a favorite flea market with my girlfriends, a walk in the woods with my family, and returning home for an afternoon of crafting with my little ones. Perfect.
Posted by Lori at 3/04/2008 11:45:00 PM