Welcome to Week 11 of Motherhood by Design – the series where mothers who also run creative businesses share their inspirations and their experiences juggling the demands of raising children while growing a creative career.
"I think having a creative outlet can be a great form of self-care, and being able to find take to take care of you will make you a better mom and person!"
Bev is an early childhood educator turned small creative business owner and mom. She designs and makes modern chainmaille jewelry for women and blogs about creativity, life, parenting, and small business. When I ran across her online, I knew she'd be a perfect fit for this series. And just look at her gorgeous work!
Welcome to Motherhood by Design, Bev - can you please describe your family?
Husband; daughter Eve, age 15 months; cat Leo
What is your business?
I design and make sterling silver jewelry for women. My work is a modern and feminine twist on chainmaille that incorporates freshwater pearls, beach stones, and metal work.
When you were a child yourself, how did you spend your free time?
I had a very active imagination. I was constantly transforming our basement, which was my designated playroom, into one thing or another, from a doctor's office to a house. I have very clear memories of waking up early on Saturday mornings and watching cartoons while I made houses out of legos or did origami. I was almost always doing something, whether it was alone or with friends.
Did crafting or handwork play a significant role in your childhood? If yes, in what way?
Very much so! I had a seemingly endless supply of craft supplies and you could often find me coloring or making something in my free time. I loved creating with my hands and was fortunate to be able to take some art classes when I was younger. I have always enjoyed making jewelry, from friendship bracelets to safety pin beaded bracelets.
When you were a child, did you have ideas about your own future as a mother? Was motherhood something you’d always imagined for yourself, or is it an idea you grew into later in life?
Yes, I always imagined I would be a mom. When I was about 5 I told my parents I was going to be a Mommy Doctor when I grew up. No, not an OB/GYN, but a mom who was also a doctor. My dad is a doctor and since I understood his profession more than my mom's (she was a social worker), I think it made sense to me that I would do that. Although I suppose I borrowed a bit of each of what my parents did in imagining what I would do as an adult!
In your early years of motherhood, did you have/make time for your creative pursuits, or was your creative work put aside for a while? If the latter, when did you pick it back up?
I have only been a mom now for a little over a year, but it has always been essential to me since my daughter was born to find time to pursue my creative interests. Part of the reason I started my jewelry business was to allow myself the freedom to be home with my daughter while also feeling like I had something for myself that could contribute to our household. I also started blogging regularly for the business but along the way discovered that writing was another wonderful creative outlet for me.
Did you start your creative business prior to becoming a mother, or after?
I started my business a couple years before becoming a mom.
What prompted you to start your creative business? Is it something you saw yourself doing when you were a child?
I never imagined that I would ever be a creative business owner. Sometimes I still surprise myself with it! I have always loved working with my hands, but I was on a very academic track and even have a master's degree in education (although at my last job I did help to run playgroups with toddlers which entails lots of playing and making things with my hands!) I started my business as an outlet for making jewelry, which is something I have always loved doing, and then it grew as way for me to still work while being home.
How do you balance your creative work with your role as a mother and how has that changed over time?
It is definitely a tricky balance. I try to squeeze in a much work as I can in the early morning and while my daughter naps, both making jewelry and writing. I don't have the same amount of time for doing other crafts as I used to, but I have been making an effort this year to also find time to try other creative pursuits. For example, I am taking a class right now via Skillshare on hand lettering because it is something that interests me. I certainly have less time to do my work than I did before I became a mom, but as she gets older I want to include her more in it. Sometimes I will make jewelry near her while she plays and I have showed her and talked to her about my tools. When she is old enough, I want to teach her to make jewelry as well.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work processes?
Since my daughter is still young and naps, sometimes I find myself with a really solid chunk of time to work. Other days, she naps for half as long and my process gets interrupted. I don't have quite the steady, uninterrupted time that I once had, but it also helps to focus me because I have such limited time to actually work. Sometimes I find I'm actually more productive because I have less time to work!
In what ways does motherhood affect your creative products?
I think the only way it has really affected me is I don't have quite the time to devote to creating new lines or learn new skills. There are new weaves I had intended to learn last year but simply didn't have the time for. At the same time, my work and my products still continue to evolve, just perhaps they take a little longer to get there!
What is the biggest impact that your children have had on your business?
I think the biggest impact besides the time is just the extra coordination that it requires as a family. I have found that my husband and I have to be really good about communicating with one another so that I can get work done on the weekends. I also didn't do as many shows last year because I wanted more time to spend with my family. It's one thing to do a show with your husband, it's quite another to bring a baby who is a little less predictable in how she will behave at one!
How do you think your creative pursuits, including your business, affect your children?
I hate to say it, but some days I worry that I'm not as focused on my daughter as I would like to be because I have work I really need to get done or want to get done. At the same time, I do hope to model for her, especially as she gets older, the importance of pursuing creative interests and using her imagination!
Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
More than anything I want her to learn the value of working with her hands and using her imagination.
What advice would you offer the mom who feels drained by the demands of motherhood and wants more hands-on creativity in her life?
Even if it's 5 minutes, find some time to do something you enjoy. Maybe that means leaving a couple dishes in the sink for the night or leaving a basket of laundry to be folded. I think having a creative outlet can be a great form of self-care, and being able to find take to take care of you will make you a better mom and person!
Thank you so much, Bev, for sharing your thoughts with us today! You can find Bev in the following places: