Tell us about how you became the woman you are today. Where did you grow up? What moments in life have influenced your character most?
I grew up in a small town in the middle of Nebraska. Worms, NE is home to 35 people. A church, a very small school, a bar, and about 15 houses. I grew up on a farm, attended a 3 room schoolhouse for grades K-8. There were 5 girls in my 8th-grade graduation class. I was fortunate to attend a school throughout my childhood years that allowed free play for a large majority of the day. Our TV had 5 channels, mostly news programs, soap operas. The TV just wasn’t an option. I believe this slow, free play childhood shaped how I live in the world. My happy places throughout my day are the small moments of rest, relaxation and nature. Walking in nature always lightens my mood. Seeing the beauty in the everyday. Toes in the sand, sun on my face.
Tell us about the exact moment or period in time when you realized you were born to create.
This last year. Creating, being an artist...those ideas were never possibilities for me. I think they always intimidated me. I had a wonderful art teacher in my little 3 room schoolhouse. I remember creating art only a few times, but I remember those moments vividly. The first time she taught me how to draw a tree, no leaves, bare branches, a winter tree. I remember drawing the lines and looking at my tree in wonderment. I won a poster contest in 5th grade. A simple drawing that conveyed a message easily. My wedding gift from this wonderful woman was a black vase, handmade by a student of hers studying art in college. The card read ‘I knew a fellow artist would appreciate this gift.’ All these wonderful memories, all these pulls from the universe telling me of this path. And I never followed them.
The last year I’ve happened onto a path of creating art and sharing it with others. My art uses Punch Needle as a medium. Punch needle designs need to be big and simple or the lines are too messy and the design is lost. This simplistic design aesthetic has given me permission to think about myself as an artist. The more I learn and develop as an artist, the more grateful I am for punch needle. It has given me something that I’ve found is essential in my life. I feel alive when I create. I can’t imagine my life without it.
Finish this sentence. I find myself most inspired to create when I am…
In a romantic setting. I’m enneagram type 4 Romantic so I find I can be more creative if I take the time to set the mood. Hot tea, essential oils and floor pillows help.
A lot of women believe they need formal training in order to succeed as a female Artist. What’s your take? Did you have a formal education or are you self taught?
Definitely self-taught. I think art is ever-evolving. Someone once told me, ‘It’s like being an artist, your work of art is never done.’ So while I think having more experienced artists guide you and challenge you in new ways would be a wonderful experience, I don’t think it’s necessary. If you love it, you’ll find ways to challenge yourself and grow. If it consumes your life, you’re more likely to have too much challenged you. Trust the process, that has been key in my journey.
If you had to give a 30 min. speech without preparing to an audience of 1,000 what would it be on?
Trusting your heart, following your instincts, bucking the system, doing what you love and never taking No for an answer. And learn to love the journey. Most of life is the journey, we have to learn to love the journey.
What is the message you're sending into the universe with your work? Why do you feel so strongly about said message?
I love this question! Punch needle has been such a wonderful creative outlet for me. I’ve been a crafter and DIY home interior design enthusiasts for years. Most of the mediums I tried were stressful and messy. They were fulfilling yet not in a way that I felt the need to continue deeper and master them. Punch needle wasn’t like that. It was easy to learn. It was stress relieving. And my art came alive in a whole new way. This is what I want to bring to others. I want to bring creativity and art to others. Creativity makes you feel alive. I want to give people a medium in which they feel like artists. Anyone can pick up punch needle in minutes. Anyone can feel proud of a beautiful piece of art.
What do you know for sure?
I have a strong belief that Everything Happens for a Reason.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced as a female artist?
Finding a work/life balance. I have an obsessive personality. I want to work on my business and make new designs all day. As a working mom, I can’t do that. I also can’t be an obsessive mom because then no work gets done. Being able to be present with my children yet also get work done has been a tricky balance for me.
Share an experience that started out as a complete disaster but looking back turned out to be a magical opportunity.
How do you stay motivated? What does your daily routine look like.
I’m constantly working on this one. I have a really big strong Why that keeps me chugging on. My daily routine has evolved (over 3 years, this took a lot of time for me) to be with my children in the mornings and then work in the afternoon. I tried for years to get up early and work, but I found I was grumpy more often when I did this. Now I get up with the kids, enjoy a cup of coffee before even making breakfast. We just hang out for 30-60 minutes each morning. The next part is small but it has been key to my mood shift. After my one cup of coffee, I meander upstairs to open shades and shut off sound machines in each bedroom. I make my bed, get dressed and head downstairs to make breakfast. These small movements get me started on my day. From here, I’m in a better mood. After breakfast, the kids and I do whatever the day brings. Take a walk, visit the beach, let our dog (yellow lab named Boomer) swim, sometimes go fishing. This is my time with the kids. Lunch is next, followed by naps and screen time for the kids. I work 1-3 hours daily during this time. I have to be intentional about my time, always trying to do the most important thing first. I use headphones and instrumental music to focus. Click or tap here to listen to my favorite playlist at the moment. Then we enjoy time as a family, eat supper, do family things until bedtime. After the kids are in bed, I work for another 1-2 hours. I try to take most Saturdays and Sundays off and here and then will take an afternoon and night off.
Tell us a little bit about what drew you to your medium. Did you choose to work with said medium or did it choose you?
It chose me!! I came across Punch Needle on IG one day and I was instantly drawn to it. I’ve been a long-time crafter and interior design fanatic. Once I had children, I was overwhelmed and stressed. Creating took a backseat. Most ideas I came across, I let be for lack of time and energy. For some reason, punch needle stuck with me. I obsessed over it for days. Then I finally took the plunge and bought my first punch needle. I instantly fell in love! It was relaxing, easy to learn, forgiving of beginner mistakes and the yarn made my projects fantastically beautiful!
Name 3 of your guilty pleasures.
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramels - Trader Joe’s has the best!
What’s the most difficult financial hurdle you’ve had to overcome while running your business? Get specific!
Oh boy, I think I’m smack dab in the middle of my big financial hurdle. I’m a big overspender. I operated out of the ‘act like you will be a success’ mindset for awhile, buying anything that I knew would make my business better. I’ve learned this isn’t always the answer. I’ve learned I was using spending to avoid tough decisions and doing things the hard way. There is no way around the hard way, hard work is necessary. I’m currently paying off $10K in credit card debt, while also trying to invest in my business and myself. I’m absolutely terrified yet also find myself at peace. I feel like this is an important part of my journey and it is something I need to weather. On a less philosophical level, I plan to use the Profit First model. There within lies my hope.
Big or small, what’s the single best money making tip or piece of advice you can share with up and coming artists?
Trust your journey. There are no right or wrong answers, it’s all part of the journey. For years I played it safe, spending very little money. Entrepreneurs that have made it, preach that money is not the answer. I listened for a long time. But I also made no progress. I only dabbled with an idea, not even fully testing it.
After reading Jen Sincero’s book “You are a Badass”, she got me to think of things in a new light. What if I acted like my business was already successful. What if I knew it would be successful, what would I do. Her book got me to finally take the plunge, commit to one idea for a year and vow to make it work. Then all the overspending happened and I am where I am. However, I think I progressed quicker throughout the process. Instead of thinking for months about how that one course would take me to the next level, half-assing my business because I subconsciously believed I didn’t know enough, I took the course. And the course wasn’t the answer. Or the software program didn’t make life easier. Or the new inventory idea was not what my customers wanted to buy. I debunked my subconscious quicker by giving into my desires. Now I know when I think a course will be my answer, it really isn’t. I know what I need to know for now and I need to get my butt in gear.
What tools, apps, websites, blogs, books, or podcasts help you the most when it comes to financials?
You Are A Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
What specifically gives you the most anxiety when it comes to talking about money? Explain.
The financial side of things is not my passion. I dread updating my books, doing taxes. Because of this, I don’t do it often and thus never really know how well or how badly I’m doing. A lot of guilt and subconscious beliefs lie within my money world.
Give us three of your favorite/ most inspiring things right now. Could be a book, a food, a destination, a song, a person, etc.
- My children - I will lump them all in one or they’d take all 3 spots. Free play is very important to me. I purposely keep our day to day activities to a minimum to allow for a lot of free time and boredom. This has fostered a wonderful, creative imagination in my children. It is by far my favorite part of the day, watching them play. They inspire me to live in the moment, not care what others think and find joy in everything.
- The Bucket List Family
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Love yourself. You have to love yourself.
Let's talk about vulnerability. What role has being vulnerable played in your work, success or failures?
If you’re not feeling vulnerable, you haven’t allowed yourself to fully evolve. Creating is scary. There are so many unknowns. I think part of the journey has to involve failure. You will fail over and over before you will experience success. I think this is a good thing. It feels crappy, but it’s all part of the process. In order to fail, you have to allow yourself to feel vulnerable.
I’ve found trusting your instincts, listening to your inner guidance plays a huge role. The simple art of following these internal pulls is so much vulnerability. This is where I am pushing myself currently.
How do you define your creative gig? Full-time career or side hustle? Explain why you’ve chosen one over the other.
Full-time gig - that is my end goal. Financially I have a long way to go. My family doesn’t rely on my income, which is wonderful.
My overall big dream is to travel full-time with my family. In order to do so, we need an income that can travel. My travel dreams and showing my children the world are my big, gigantic Why. My Why has been enormously instrumental in my path. Without it, I would’ve stopped long ago. And because of it, I’ve learned that I love to create, which is the best lesson to learn.
Finish this sentence. I never leave home without my…
Keys. Haha. Literally the only thing I always have to have on me. Granted I leave home seldom and usually when I do it's for short excursions. If I’m heading off to work away from home, my computer, my journal, my phone and headphones.
A genie grants you three wishes. What do you wish for?
$5 million - to travel the world and invest in my business
A Mercedes Sprinter Van (life goals = to own one and turn it into our home on wheels for 1 year)
A sailboat (life goals = live in one for one year)
Name 3 Artists you would like to see featured on Hola Gwapa next and what you love about them.
IG @brookepetermann_art - She has the kindest heart, is always cheering me on and was one of the first people I saw trying to make a way in art. She is a patient momma, can set and live up to goals like no one I know and has a great eye for design. She’s also one of the main influences in me making it work to stay home with my children. She has inspired me to be a better person.
To learn more about Shawna Fosket please visit northshorecrafts.com or on Instagram at @northshorecrafts