Betsy Greer is a writer and maker who lives in Durham, North Carolina. For the past fourteen years, she’s written about craftivism, the place where craft and activism intersect, and she loves discovering the ways in which people use (and have used) the two together. Currently, her main craft project is You Are So Very Beautiful, in which people make affirmation signs then leave them out all over the world for others to find.
We talk in this episode about the value of letting what we need out into the world, and about being in a flow state when we create. If our conversation got you thinking, let us know how in the comments!
In this first episode of Compulsory in two years (two years!), we return to our roots with an honest conversation with quilter Cheryl Arkison about the power of habit in creative life, and about embracing the mess of, well, pretty much everything.
After two years on hiatus, Compulsory Podcast is coming back! Listen above for a brief update about what's changed (and what's staying the same), and how you can help keep the show going long into the future.
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I just returned from Craftcation Conference (more about that in another post), where I recorded three interviews for future episodes of Compulsory. One of those was with Lauren Venell, who's an artist and a designer of plush, among other things. She told me a story that made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to die (you can hear my near-death wheezing in the recording, obviously). The story was about the time a few years ago when she was commissioned to design a human-size plush burrito costume.
So then I got home from Craftcation last night, and this morning I see that, in an amazing turn of internet magic, the very same giant burrito is going viral. Like, Boing Boing viral. Like, I texted Greg about it after he went to work and he told me that yes, he'd seen the burrito… viral. That's why this episode is out before the second season of Compulsory is even fully scheduled.
So. More about Lauren and the things we discussed:
Lauren Venell is an artist and designer specializing in editorial props and product development. Her work has been published in titles by Chronicle Books, Klutz/Scholastic, Uppercase, Monsa Books and Quarry Books, among others, and featured in several media outlets including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Everyday with Rachel Ray and on Canal+ Television. She has launched several of her own successful toy lines including her current line, the Deep Creeps, which can be found in stores across the globe.
In addition to her creative work, Lauren speaks at events about small business financial topics. She has aired two bookkeeping classes through Creative Live and contributes in-depth small business articles to several creative blogs, including design*sponge and Craftzine. From 2009-2011, she co-founded and programmed the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs. Lauren lives in San Francisco with her husband, her daughter and an ornery parrotlet named Elvis.
Because of the huge amount of attention the burrito is sending her way, Lauren tells me that the contact form on her website isn't working. If you need to reach her during this particular time of burrito virulence, she kindly requests that you do so via social media (see below).
Our hiatus is a great time to catch up on the first season of Compulsory, which you can find on iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. Subscribe now so you won't miss the start of Season 2! And if you enjoy the podcast, please give it a rating and a review, so more people can find it.
As we discuss in the podcast, I've read Rachael's blog for about a decade. Such is my admiration of her dedication to her writing, craft, job and family that I interviewed her for my book Make It Mighty Ugly. She walks her talk, man. She walks her talk.
AND, Rachael has offered to send a signed copy of her new novel, Splinters of Light, to one randomly chosen commenter on this post. I'll randomly choose said commenter at 3PM Pacific on Tuesday, 31st March. Be cool and write something in response to something from the podcast, eh? I mean, that's not a rule or anything, but it sure would make for interesting reading. Just saying.
To get future episodes of Compulsory immediately when they drop, subscribe to Compulsory on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. And if you enjoy the podcast, please give it a rating or a full review, so more people can find it.
My conversation with Joel Watson from Episode 6 of Compulsory went about fifteen minutes longer than what's included; this bonus episode is the remainder of our chat. We talked primarily about stay-at-home working parenting, and I enjoyed the conversation so much that I didn't want it to languish alone and un-listened-to on my harddrive forever.
Joel is a cartoonist who writes and draws a webcomic called HijiNKS Ensue, which he describes as “a semi-autobiographical comic about a lifelong geek and aspiring artist who turns his back on an unfulfilling but financially stable career in order to pursue art full time and set a better example for his daughter.” I first interviewed him for Make It Mighty Ugly, and it's been a treat to catch up with him again for the podcast.
Craftcation Conference, at the end of March 2015, where I'll moderate a panel on this exact topic with some very smart, very interesting women.
To get future episodes immediately when they drop, subscribe to Compulsory on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. And if you enjoy the podcast, please give it a rating or a full review, so more people can find it.
Is there someone you'd love to hear in conversation about the things they simply can't help but make? Let me know!