My journey begins with my momma, Maxie Ramey. Because of her, my childhood was saturated with creativity. I grew up spending time in her quilt shop, watching her sew and making things alongside her. We spent time learning crafts together, decorating the house and cooking meals. Whenever I wanted to learn a new craft, I knew I could turn to her. From pottery and painting to photography and baking, she has mastered it all! Creativity seems to seep from her pores, and it’s through her wisdom, willingness to teach and kind guidance that led me to know that my world had to revolve around being creative too.
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so naturally, I decided to attend business school. After graduating, I quickly married my high school sweetheart and returned to our hometown in North Carolina. Not knowing exactly what to do next, I began working at my mom’s fabric shop. I worked here on inventory and routinely met with representatives to see the latest and greatest from the quilting industry. Working at my mom’s shop is what brought it all together. All of a sudden, I knew my passion was design; it took everything I loved in life, all of my passions, and wrapped them up as a beautiful career option. I had decided I was going to be a fabric designer.
In 2010, I began pursuing my dream of becoming a surface pattern designer. I knew nothing about design, however, and had no idea where to start. After feeling completely overwhelmed for months, I decided to simply start doing one thing every single day that would just help move the needle towards accomplishing my dream.
After a year of ‘daily things’, I had learned Adobe Illustrator and had started creating artwork and a pattern collection for a portfolio. After two years of ‘daily things’, I had signed my first contract as a fabric designer. I’ve been working as a full-time licensing artist and educator ever since.
This simple yet powerful method of doing just one thing at a time is what I still use today in order to tackle the big goals in my life. It helps break them down into manageable chunks and prevents me from feeling too overwhelmed at any given time. When I look back, I can’t believe how all the little things have added up over time!
When it came time to share my work with the world, I was terrified—putting a name to my work, reaching out to companies, asking them for their opinion of the work I’ve poured my heart and soul into. Rejection is inevitable and boy, does it hurt!
It’s nerve-racking to present my work, but I knew that if I didn’t put it out there, no one would see it! I’ve always told myself, “It only takes ten seconds of courage”. It will only take ten seconds of courage to dial a number, introduce myself or ask someone’s opinion. After my ten seconds of courage was up, the conversation would be started and things would flow. I still use ‘this trick’ to this very day!
I’m a big believer in not running my business from a place of fear, but rather from a place of positivity and abundance. I have found that in a flourishing art practice, there’s no room for fear or doubt.
Let’s dive into this and look at the difference between a ‘fearful artist’s mindset’ and a ‘flourishing artist’s mindset’ because I believe that a vital part of our success is due to our mindset alone.
A fearful artist believes that doing what they love will mean struggling financially, while a flourishing artist believes in abundance and is excited by all the possibilities their art brings them.
A fearful artist might feel:
- Fear that my artwork isn’t good enough.
- Fear that my artwork will get stolen.
- Fear that I won’t make any money from it.
- Afraid of success.
- I’m not a business person.
- I’m not tech savvy.
- I’m too old / too young.
- I didn’t go to art school so I don’t know what I’m doing.
- I’m just an imposter.
- Suffering will make me a better artist.
The flourishing artist mindset says:
- I can learn anything that I set my mind to.
- There’s room for me in the market.
- I have something unique to share.
- Learning how to market my work allows me to do what I love.
- I enjoy sharing my process and my work with the world.
- My skill set allows me to explore so many different opportunities.
“The road won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.”
– Cas McCullough
My Favorite Tip
Do one small thing every day. When big dreams seem overwhelming, begin reaching towards them by doing just one small thing each day. At the end of a week, a month and a year you will have made giant leaps towards accomplishing them. These will be the steps that will lead you to live your dream!
Are you ready to flourish?
If you’re leaning towards the ‘fearful artist’s mindset’ like I was, think about it this way: you can be transformed by the simple renewing of your mind. Nothing needs to (necessarily) change except for the way that you think about who you are and what you’re doing to begin thinking like a flourishing artist.
For me, becoming a flourishing artist means learning how to promote yourself, how to market your work and how to run a business. It requires a lot of work but can create one of the most fulfilling careers possible.
Take action…take a moment to make a list of any negative or ‘starving artist’ mindsets you may have. Then, make a list of the opposite, positive mindsets you can change them too. For example, if you find yourself saying, “I’m too old for this,” change your mindset to, “It’s never too late, and I’m capable of anything I set my mind to!”
I’m elated to say that I am living my absolute creative dream. Looking back, I can now say, “It wasn’t easy, but it was absolutely worth it.”
Because of my journey, I’ve become passionate about teaching what I’ve learned. I host a membership for surface designers and creative entrepreneurs called Flourish—a place where I share all of my secrets, teach everything that I know and encourage a community of like-minded creatives. I also teach an annual course called Surface Design Immersion where students learn exactly how to pursue a career in surface pattern design. I hope you’ll come and join me. I look forward to connecting with you there!