EPISODE FIFTY-FIVE: in conversation with Lise Silva

Lise (sounds like Lizzie) Silva is a fiber artist and fiber artwear designer and creator. Her knotted work is benevolently opposed to macrame, in that her necklaces are based on one knot rather than a series of knots. Influenced by Chinese, Korean, and sailor knots, a single ornate knot makes the entire design, and through her career she has designed her own sacred knots for these wearable artworks and wallhangings. Lise talks about how she started in illustration and photography- short careers that seemed like dead ends, but are actually accumulated skill sets that still serve her today. Lise also offers guided visualization sessions, and she talks about getting people out of the idea that visualizations are about control and getting exactly what they ask for. She sees the practice as a way to help people align more with the path that they are on. Lise explains her techniques of guiding meditations for individuals and groups; she uses various oracle decks including the Vessel Oracle Deck by Mary Elizabeth Evans. Marlee and Lise talk out the ties (pun intended) between the world of meditation and knot-making. In her book Sacred Knot making, Lise explains how the knots are symbolic; the process can be a meditation; and the resulting necklaces are ceremonial and powerful. Lise also muses on teaching as an artist, and how she teaches basic knots but feels protective about sharing her own designs. She asserts that copying is a great tool for learning as a student, but is not for selling as your own.

Words of wisdom:

“If you just keep working, and meeting people, and staying true to what’s interesting you in the moment, and what feeling honest to you- things will pan out… I honestly feel like, something’s gonna stick if you are making work that feels good to you and you’re also supporting other people’s events, and meeting people… If you want people to support you and go to your show, you have to be out there in the community.”

“Visualization is, you’re taking responsibility for your mind space. That’s huge. So if we want something, but we are allowing all of this stuff that’s counter productive -and actually destructive- to that thing that we want, how could we possibly get that thing that we want, right? And so, when you take responsibility for the thoughts that come into your mind, it can change everything… You are supporting and acknowledging your intentions and desires, and that will put you into a completely different mindspace to do the things you need to do to attain them.”

“If it looks like it came from someone’s workshop, then it’s not really your work… It’s not ready to be your artwork.”

Coming up:

Lise is making new work for her show at Red Poppy Art House, opening on April 31st.

She will be on a pop-up tour with Mary from Spirit Speak at the beginning of May, and heading up to Ojai to teach a class at Cattywampus Crafts on May 6th.

Her more long-term project is taking shape: creating a website spotlighting female fiber artists from the 50s and 60s that really created the genre, and featuring women who are continuing that tradition in contemporary art today.

Follow along with Lise on Instagram @lisesilva

HUGE thank you to our sponsors How to Hair Girl & Fringe Supply Co

How to Hair Girl is a community for anyone looking for hair musings, styling, craft & culture facilitated by Roxie Jane Hunt.  Visit the online shop for small batch remedies, tools, & handmade art for the crown chakra & dive into a shampoo free lifestyle with the help of the Free Your Hair Brush.  Learn to braid, read interviews with your favorite with your favorite witches, make your own hair rituals, and get your monthly Hairoscope.  Follow along on Instagram at @howtohairgirl

Fringe Supply Co. is an online resource for knitters, run by the amazing Karen Templer, Fringe Supply is the sister shop component to Karen's inspiring & thoughtful blog - Fringe Association.  This simple & beautifully curated online shop is home to well made tools & accessories as well as Fringe Originals like the Porter Bin project bag & the greatest invention ever for the knitter on the go, The Field Bag. Follow along on Instagram @fringesupplyco

You can read about the first time on my made a sweater on Karen's blog HERE

EPISODE FIFTY FOUR : in conversation with Sarah Schulweis

Our Guest : Sarah Schulweis is one of the most hard hitting no bullshit women I’ve ever met. Her approach to consulting with her business Anchor & Orbit is gentle yet firm, organized yet flexible. I met Sarah when she attended my How to Not Always be working class at Gravel & Gold last year and almost immediately made a joke that she should just teach class. Between her clients and her new online workshop, she has a way of reaching into people’s lives and businesses to set up new systems that ACTUALLY help them grow. You can find sarah on Instagram at @anchorandorbit and online at anchorandorbit.com                 - marlee

 photo by   Rachelle Derouin

photo by  Rachelle Derouin

Sarah Schulweis is a consultant for creatively-inclined businesses under the name Anchor & Orbit. She helps these business owners maintain creativity through the process of business growth. For the most part, she is both a project manager and a therapist to her clients. Her own path to self-employment began when she took Business 101 while training to be a professional dancer. Business concepts really clicked for her and she attended the San Francisco State University entrepreneurship program, then worked as a publisher, then followed her gut and few right turns to end up where she is today. Marlee and Sarah talk through the fears of being a sellout, choosing between making money off of artwork or having another job and making artwork outside of work. This episode goes on longer than others, because they have a BIG important conversation about strategies for working for yourself- from bucketing time, to structuring your week, the guilt that comes with success, forgiving yourself when you get off track, and drawing boundaries.


Words of wisdom:

“I don’t want to stay in one place at one time, I want to affect a lot of people. And I want be able to grow my own business, and not just jump off of someone else’s ideas. So I am growing my business while growing other people’s businesses.”

“Who are the people who are going to want to buy your stance- as a business owner and as a maker?”

“There is beauty in owning your own business, because you can make enough money to get by, you can then make enough money to put aside money, or you can make enough money to really create a future for yourself… And then the other beauty of business is that you have control over the situation- you are not stuck in your office, answering to a boss.”

“If you can understand everything you need, truly… Be real with yourself about what you need. I think there is a lot of creative freedom that happens when you get really clear about your vision and your finances.”


Things Sarah thinks you should check out:

Business self-help books like Zingerman's Guide to Good Leading Part 3: A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Managing Ourselves and You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Organizing without being distracted by using digital applications like workflowy & to doist, also google calendar and spreadsheets!

The Netflix series Abstract

A slew of awesome podcasts:

The Creative Agency (that granted Sarah an interview last year)

My Favorite Murder (for fun!)

After the Jump with Grace Bonney

Startup with Alex Blumberg- particularly the episode about realizing that he needed to grow up and run an “adult” business.

Cheryl Strayed and her podcast Dear Sugar Radio

And for more great small business advice- Meighan O’Toole and her creative online strategies.


Podcast Sponsors : 

Sub Rosa Coffee is one of the sunniest & sweetest spots to get coffee in Oakland, California. Located at 419 40th street, Sub Rosa is opening a second location next to the MacArthur Annex on the corner of 40th and MLK this spring. Women-owned since 2009, their minimal approach to serving coffee really makes the drinks and pastries shine. They serve Four Barrel coffee, roasted right in San Francisco, and a great time to swing in is during whole bean happy hour every Tuesday & Wednesday, for 20% off beans. Follow along with them on Instagram @subrosacoffee to hear about community events, tarot readers, and more.

Fancy Tiger Crafts might just be the dreamiest shop in all the land. Located in Denver, Colorado, this shop has truly revolutionized the craft community both online and in person. Owners Jaime & Amber host an open craft night every Tuesday, and live by the idea that making things by hand makes people feel better; and if more people made things the world would be a better place. If you can't stop by in person, visit their website and extensive online shop filled with fabrics, yarn, notions, patterns and more at fancytigercrafts.com You can follow them on Instagram at  @fancytigercrafts. You can also listen to Jaime on EPISODE THIRTY of this very podcast.

EPISODE FIFTY-THREE: in conversation with Mira Blackman

Mira Blackman is a clothing designer and maker, she cuts and sews her own line of sacred textiles in Oakland, California, using handwoven fabric from Uganda. Mira has a background in healing arts and teaching yoga, and moved to Oakland from her hometown of Marin, California. She grew up sewing, then a few years ago she made the decision to study apparel design and merchandising at College of Alameda to learn more about pattern design, drafting, and construction, and go into business for herself. Mira tells the story of how she first discovered the indigo dyed 100% cotton fabric that she works with on her trip to Senegal. She and Marlee discuss the details of starting and running a business as one person with many tasks, and talk about how to find your people after moving to a new place. Mira’s approach was to go dancing enough times until she found a scene that felt like her home, and going to a church that vibed with her beliefs that serendipitously intersected with the community she found House dancing.

The blog post by Stacy Feyer Solo I mentioned about the benefits of a church community is here 

Words of wisdom:

“It’s fulfilling [the fabric]’s purpose, to make it into something… The fabric is all hand-woven and hand-dyed, so I wanted to make stuff that I felt like really respected the fabric and showcased the fabric… I felt like it already had so much life in it, it’s just about making it something that can be worn and something you can move in.”

“The people who were speaking there were speaking my truth and my heart… and it was just a really sweet community that connected me with so many people.”

Current Projects:

Mira is just following the path and seeing what the next step is. It has been a process, from deciding to move her studio out of her home, to meeting new stockists through instagram and selling at markets, to balancing spiritual and romantic life while being her own boss. Life and projects unfold as they come.

Things to be excited about:

Podcasts! Mira listens to podcasts while she is working in the studio, namely storytelling platforms like Risk and The Moth, but she has also recently rediscovered KPFA station programming. KPFA hosts awesome shows, and Mira’s favorites are Your Own Health and Fitness, and The Visionary Activist- an astrologer’s point of view on activism.

Continuing to learn! Mira loves the benefits of taking a class. She is excited to take an upcoming Boro textiles workshop with Jody Alexander of Wishi Washi Studio.

EPISODE FIFTY-TWO: in conversation with Solee Darrell

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Solee Darrell was born in Bermuda, grew up in the United States, and has recently moved to Canada. She works as a jewelry designer, running her own business, Solee Darrell Jewelry. Solee tells her story of how she first went to fashion school, but skeptical of her prospects after graduation, she decided to start a new path and study Silversmithing in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico under Billy King. Back in the Bay Area, she applied to work at Crown Nine, where she learned so much about production and how to run a business as a woman, as well as had access to the tools she needed to develop her own line. All of her work is one of a kind, she grew her business through instagram, responding to what people order and request; she sells in her shop online and at a list of stockists on the west coast. Solee describes her “female-centric brand” as an opportunity for her to make tangible items of love. With each custom order, she asks the client what they are working on, and follows her intuition and knowledge of stones’ vibrational properties to pick stones and forms that are specific to the person who will wear it. Marlee and Solee discuss our current political situation, what happens when you move, the inherent self-care in having a creative practice, and the struggles of when your creative practice becomes your job.


Words of wisdom:

“In my own life, it’s so important to me to be a woman, and to have that energy around me at all times. So, I’m bringing that energy out into the world and manifesting it into an actual piece of something.”

“I’m not leaving this magical arena of the world, just because some people don’t understand it.”

“I think if every single person was taught how to make something with their hands, we would be way less upset… It’s a form of meditation”


Current Projects:

Solee is getting to know her new home better- she moved to Vancouver from Oakland last summer and is still working to find her community there. This is also her first year working entirely for herself, and she is producing new work and learning how to envision each day, then follow through.


Things to be excited about:

Being informed! Solee is currently obsessed with an app called Think Dirty, that you can use to scan products and it will tell you on a scale of one to ten how bad it is for your body and the environment.

The women’s march! The amazing world-wide gathering of women was the day before this podcast recording and she was still in a daze, but Solee wants to make a book of text messages between her and female friends, so people can see that women are having the same tough conversations and are not alone.

Reducing scroll time! Marlee and Solee related on their struggle around checking instagram way too often, and ON AIR they made a pact to reduce their use together. Try a book or a conversation instead….

EPISODE FIFTY-ONE: in conversation with Texas Isaiah

Texas Isaiah exists and breathes in this world as a visual narrator. He takes pictures and gets to know the world and other people through photography, building his narrative and reflecting it back into the world through his work. Texas is a magic being inside of a skin suit. Through documentation and portraiture, he is working to rebuild the problematic relationship between POC and photographic representation, and creating a new archive of these unique narratives. His self-portraiture focuses on showing the complexity of being a non-binary trans person, and visually capturing this narrative in a beautiful way.

Marlee and Texas talk about taking a break from posting work on instagram while making work in peaceful silence, how gender doesn’t exist, finding inspiration across creative genres, finding the small things that make one at ease while living on the road, and communicating with ancestors in dream spaces. Texas shares how he sustains as a professional photographer- selecting those corporations to capitalize on and get a paycheck, which enables his ability to work within the community on a sliding scale.


Words of wisdom:

“I think that a lot of the work that I’ve received within the past two years, and I can see it’s really growing, has been because I’ve been doing a lot more personal work. I think that people, especially within the commercial industry, they’re finding this huge importance within narratives. And I think that’s really awesome.”

“In those self portraits that I took, that was the beginning of trying to insert myself in my work in a way that was very abstract, in a way that embodies my spirit more than the physical attributes that I have.”

“I think we have this prototype for what a powerful person should look like, and I think that’s just total bullshit- we are all powerful in our own ways.”


Current Projects:

Texas has work in the group show, Torrent Tea: Queer Space and Photographic Futures, at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland. The show is on view January 13th through February 25th. He is also working on an upcoming book of his photography and thinking about the places and spaces where his work is shown. Thanks to a friend naming a topic he has always explored, Texas is doing research around topophilia- the relationship between people and places, and reading a bunch of books on the subject.


Things to be excited about:

Frank Ocean! The visual album Blond has been a huge inspiration to Texas, informing much of his own work, and Frank Ocean’ sounds and choices in self-management have been an ongoing inspiration.

Decluttering your life! There’s the Minimalism documentary on Netflix that might help us all cleanse a little… 

Being an informed artist! Texas is reading a book called ART/WORK, it offers advice for artists on gallery relationships and how to be prepared for dealing professionally and protecting yourself.

Making music! Texas is headed back into music-making and reading song lyrics from many sources as research to writing his own lyrics.

The future! Texas is on a path to living in LA, finding a new West Coast home base, while keeping a transient lifestyle.

Gilmore girls is also cool!