studio tour and juggling motherhood and art making

When people stop into my studio, they're often surprised that I have a 7 month old.  It's an easy point of conversation...  When she's with me, they may hear her squeal, watch her frustrated attempts at crawling, or try to get her to smile {in return, they usually get a staredown and a slight smirk}.  They ask questions about juggling motherhood and a studio practice, we swap cute kids stories and we part ways knowing just a little more about eachother.  


Before I signed the lease on my current studio, I met with 3 working artist-moms to hear their stories.  I scoured the internet to find other examples of studio set ups that were simultaneously kid-friendly and conducive to creative productivity.  So in hopes of encouraging other women out there, here's a peek into my studio and a window into the messy, never-goes-as-planned, wonderfully ordinary stuff of motherhood. 


studio tour | Shannon Newby | Raleigh, NC |

Practically speaking, the space is divided into 4 different "zones" to help me stay organized.  1-  entry gallery + retail zone, 2 - encaustic work + teaching zone, 3 - business / admin zone (desk and shelves), 4 - kids play zone (flex space, but currently includes a pack n play, crates with toys and books, and some blankets and pillows tossed on the floor). 


studio tour | Shannon Newby | Raleigh, NC |


studio tour | Shannon Newby | Raleigh, NC |


studio tour | Shannon Newby | Raleigh, NC |


studio tour | Shannon Newby | Raleigh, NC |


Most weeks, to-do lists get misplaced or forgotten about, laundry, dishes and diapers pile up quicker than I can stay on top of, and carving out a chunk of un-interrupted time to do much else seems laughable.  And that's ok.  No, really.  It's ok.  



A note to other moms out there (be it working artists, stay-at-home moms, or those with a 9-5 job)-- 

 give yourself a break.  Keep at it.  Stay strong.  Find friends who will love you, never tire of your endless kids pictures and stories, text you often to remind you that you're not alone, and who will be your advocate through thick and thin.  Entrust your child, your (in)competencies and your whole life to the loving grace found only in Christ.  



7.5 months, making a beautiful mess



And remind yourself daily that the work you are doing as a mother has never been more meaningful, more relevant or more important than right now.  



7.5 months, finger painting


Launch and free printable card

Fontface | punny, eco-friendly designs |


We're tickled pink to announce that we've been chosen to take part in VAE's Launch program. For the whole year, our growing little monster-of-a-business, Fontface, will be in a mentoring boot camp, led by local business gurus who want to see our product line grow, our brand become more successful and our pockets be filled with a little more moolah.  We couldn't be anymore excited about this opportunity to take Fontface to the next level!



To celebrate and help spread the love, we've designed a

free printable card for you

to download, print and share with your Sweet Peas this Valentine's Day!  

{thank you for helping our business grow in the last 2 years!|


////Click here to download a high res version////


free printable Valentine's day card | Whale You Be My Valentine?   



And as always, to see our full range of punny cards, check out one of these places:  Epona & Oak  |  Homespun  |  VAE  |  {coming soon: Mordecai Historic Park Museum!}



New year, blank canvas


baby's first Christmas | 2013 Christmas
Learning to slow down, my daughter's first Christmas 2013



Everyone always says the start of a new year is like a blank canvas.  And that's, generally speaking, supposed to be a positive metaphor.  But sometimes blank canvases are overwhelming.  They sit, quietly and unassuming enough, in the corner of my studio as a nagging reminder of the time I used to have to create, to make, to DO.  Rather than invite me to create, they seem to mock my self-label of "committed studio artist."  


Every year in leiu of a new year's resolution, a friend of mine chooses one word to focus on during the year.  Borrowing her tradition, I'm going to meditate on the word PATIENCE for the next 363 days.  Mostly, I anticipate needing to be more patient with myself, extending grace when another week goes by with little time spent in the studio making progress on a half-started piece, let alone touching the stack of blank canvases that are neatly tucked away collecting dust.  {Christ, have mercy on me and grant me the patience to juggle my responsibilities and commitments of being a wife, mother, friend and artist each and every day.}


So 2014 - as I think about you and what you have in store for me and my little family, I commit to patiently tackling each day as it comes.  Incomplete grant proposals, napkin sketches of new bodies of work, just-missed exhibition entry deadlines, half-started lesson plans - you don't get to mock me and rack me with guilt.  Not this year.