Breakfast with Kelly
Guess who’s coming to Breakfast? Our own Kelly Warren! Blogger, jewelry designer, collage artist, guitarist, singer, photographer — Kelly is a renaissance woman in creativity. With twin girls, a menagerie of pets, and a full-time job, there isn’t much that this creative mother can’t do. Raise your glass of OJ in salute!
CC: Please give us an intro to who you are, what you do, and your family headcount.
KW: By day, I’m the college-wide coordinator of Student Life and Leadership Development at a very large community college in Florida. We are the second largest community college in the state and in the top 15 in the country in student population. After hours, I’m a jewelry designer and all-around-just-like-to-play-with-art artist, mom, and wife. I have a very supportive husband of 13 1/2 years, twin five-year-old daughters, one dog, one newly rescued baby kitten, one grouchy old cat who’s not very happy about the new kitten, two clown fish, two starfish, and depending upon whether or not we’ve been to the sandbar recently, anywhere from 5-20 hermit crabs. Hermit crab races are a big deal at our house. [Read about Kelly's silly self-portrait session.]
CC: What prompted you to start blogging? What keeps you going?
KW: I’ve always loved to write, I’ve always loved art, and I’ve always loved creating things myself. A blog seemed to be a way to bring all that together. I already had a website for my jewelry business, so the blog was a natural extension. My blog has definitely morphed and grown as I’ve gone along and it still takes different twists and turns depending on what’s happening in my life. I blog about my latest creations, life with twin redheads, and fun art finds I stumble across. I’m the team leader for the North Florida Craft Revolution Etsy Street Team and the founder of the First Coast Art Spot, so I love to meet and promote other artists on my blog.
CC: Tell us about your jewelry making and any other creative pursuits. What’s in the offing at your Etsy shop and your own online store?
KW: I’ve always done some sort of “creative” work, whether for fun or for employment. I started designing jewelry while I was home on a six-month maternity leave with my girls. I wanted a mother’s bracelet and could not find a double strand for less than $100, so I decided to teach myself how to make one. From there, I just got hooked, and I’m totally self-taught through trial and error. I have both a website and my Etsy store, and I do juried arts festivals. Lately I’ve been playing around with mixed-media collage and have been really enjoying that medium, so some of those pieces may appear in my Etsy store and on my website soon. And I’ve always loved photography. I really need to update my Flickr site!
CC: What does “creativity” mean to you? How has motherhood changed you creatively?
KW: I think creativity is really a state of mind. You don’t have to be an artist, a writer, a photographer, a seamstress, whatever, to be creative. You just have to look at things with a creative eye. From that perspective, you can bring creativity into any and every aspect of your life, from how you create your grocery list and navigate the grocery store (my girls and I often create a game out of that mundane task) to redesigning your pantry once you get those groceries home to creating a new meal at the end of it all. For me, motherhood has brought out even more of my creativity because I’m able to share it with two little people who also want to play. They get me thinking about new creative ideas I can do with them, and the three of us can get lost in my workshop for hours playing with paint and paper.
CC: How do you make time for your creative life and blogging with a fulltime job and twins?
KW: Geez….that’s the million-dollar question for me. It truly is difficult, probably because I have two qualities that really trip me up. I’m borderline Type-A. My guitar teacher and I discussed this at length last night and he says I’m in denial. There’s no borderline there! I do know how to sit back and relax when needed, though. (Yet, somehow I’ve just become the president of my sorority alumnae chapter here in town and I’m still trying to figure out how that one happened…must have been a meeting I missed!!) I tend to mistakenly believe that I can take on yet another project — because it sounds like soooo much fun — along with everything else I’m already doing. The mammoth Fatbook Swap I’m currently participating in is an example of that. Add to that the fact that I’m the world worst’s procrastinator. If I have a show looming, invariably I’m up late, late, late every night the week before cranking out jewelry pieces for the show. You’d think I’d plan ahead, but then all that other fun stuff just pops up! But somehow it just all comes together. Do I get everything done I’d like to get done? Heck no! But I’ve learned that sometimes it’s just more important to sit out on the dock with DH and the girls and watch the dolphins go by. I’m getting much better at learning to live in the moment.
CC: Where do you do your creative work and blogging?
KW: I am blessed! When we built our house, we initially did not close in the ground floor (we live in a stilt house). After a few years, we closed in one side of it for a real garage, and after another couple years, we closed in and air-conditioned the other side for a workshop and playroom. That’s really where we spend most of our time now. My workshop is about 8′ x 12′ with shelves and bench space all around. It’s wonderful! Now I just have too many supplies! We also created an art bench adjacent to my workshop for the girls since they were starting to take over my space. The rest of the space includes a flat-screen TV and comfy couch for DH to hang out and do guy stuff. As far as the blogging aspect, I have my laptop in my workshop for quick stuff (and entirely too much distraction at times), and a larger desktop upstairs in my office, which is conveniently located just outside the girls’ room.
CC: What do you struggle with most?
KW: Simple answer: TIME! Just finding the time to do everything I want to do.
CC: How much does guilt factor in your life?
KW: I think the guilt factors in with my jewelry business more than anything else. I show in 8-9 juried festivals a year, so that means DH is home alone with the girls all those weekends. Add to that my work travel, and that “being out of town so much” guilt weighs on me. It’s a catch-22 there; we’ve invested so much into my business to get it started, and now that it’s doing well, I feel I have to keep it up, but the time factor involved brings about the guilt.
CC: Where do you find inspiration?
KW: We have three historic districts here in Jacksonville, and I love to take photographs around there. I love the color combinations on many of the old Victorians in these areas, and they crop up in my jewelry. My art inspiration sometimes comes from the Creative Construction weekly prompts as well, and I can spend hours flipping through art magazines!
CC: What are your top 5 favorite blogs-the ones you check every day? (Aside from Creative Construction, of course!)
KW: Well, there are lots more than five that I try to keep up with but if I can only pick five….. Wyanne Thompson, Elizabeth Beck, Kelly Rae Roberts, Ink Stains, Creative Every Day, and Scoutie Girl. Wait, that was six…
CC: What is your greatest indulgence?
KW: Without a doubt, art magazines. I subscribe to more than I’m willing to admit and love nothing better than to curl up on the couch and read stacks and stacks. Of course, I never get the couch to myself or the solitude to do that, so that means I just keep a couple in my tote bag for work and sneak away every now and then. My favorites are Cloth Paper Scissors and anything and everything by Stampington & Co.
CC: What are you reading right now?
KW: On my Chi Omega book club list…The Time Traveler’s Wife, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Water for Elephants. My most recent favorites have been The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and The Mermaid Chair. I also just got around to The Secret Life of Bees and loved it.
CC: What advice would you offer to other mothers struggling to be more creative and find time for their art?
KW: Wow, not sure I’m a good one to give advice since my life seems to be so chaotic! But if anything, I guess it would be to embrace the chaos when it happens, try to remember what really matters, and take a breath to live in the moment. And dolphins….I highly recommend having dolphins in your backyard. They are excellent stress relievers.
CC: Thanks, Kelly. Whatever you’ve got, we want some!