EPISODE TWENTY ONE :: Lisa Anderson Shaffer of Zelma Rose - The "Chaotic Crisis Pregnancy Business Plan", and Building a Creative Practice Alongside Motherhood


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The Close Knit podcast showcases artists, designers, and makers from all over the world who work with fibre in its many forms. Knitters, spinners, sewers, textile artists - all will be celebrated on the Close Knit podcast.

A huge thanks to this week's episode sponsor - Gradient Yarn Australia.

Gradient Yarn Australia is an independent yarn dyeing business started by Briony Mannering. Briony is an Independent yarn colourist, teacher and knitwear designer based in South East Melbourne. Her passion for craft lead her to yarn dyeing in 2012. A few years later started working on her knitwear design. Now, she’s known for her yarn line of smooth graduated colours, and her knitwear designs that artfully display these colour schemes.

A typical day will find Briony dyeing and experimenting with dye techniques in the mornings, and knitting in the afternoons. Her latest yarn evolution is utilising local yarn and combining with natural dyes.

When she was younger, Briony nearly ran away with the local circus! The only clowning around she has time for now is with her two young boys.

You can find Gradient Yarn Australia at www.gradientyarnaustralia.com and on instagram @gradientaus

This week I spoke to Lisa Anderson Shaffer of Zelma Rose. Lisa is a fine artist and sculptural jewellery maker living in the Bay area in California. We talk about her grandmothers (Zelma and Rose, respectively), who introduced her to needlework and crochet as a child, and how she's used these crafts to inform her art practice today. Lisa tells me about her fibre of choice in her jewellery making practice and how when she works with these fibres, it's like a dance to her, it just feels right in her body. When we get into how Zelma Rose came to be and how she approaches it present day, Lisa opens up about her experience transitioning from her career to making art and jewellery full time, and how her experience as a mother has shaped how she has shaped her business.

We discuss how fibre arts is such an ancient practice, but how presently its popularity is growing, but at the same time how it's under the radar enough that Lisa doesn’t feel the pressure to have the traditional production calendar like some of her friends in metalsmithing or leatherwork or the fashion world.

Lisa tells me about how she started zelma rose in 2010 and what she referred to as her "life in chaotic crisis pregnancy business plan", which she remarks that she wouldn't necessarily recommend. She was fed up with her day job and had to leave, and so Zelma Rose was born. She found that she had tons of creative energy whilst pregnant and a desire to make product, before that she had always made fine art. As her business grows, she has to pull the break a bit to be able to be the mother she wants to be. it’s been a steady climb for the last 6 years - a steady slow burn.

Lisa's biggest bit of advice:

"there’s this thing called time. We don’t get it back. So, no matter how scary something is… there is no dead time, no matter how crazy or chaotic life gets… you can’t freeze time… it just keeps going. Stay present with that and reflect on that. “

People/ Things we mentioned in the podcast:

  • Carrie Crawford - @mineral workshop - Lisa loves her work so much, has a “wish I thought of that” moment wth her a lot. canvasses on cotton that are handdyed, interpretations of aerial landscapes.
  • Lisa also loves following skateboarders, just something about them makes her so stoked.

Find Lisa: website | instagram | facebook

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75 episodes