Jessica Angel, Mini Cactus Kit Maker, Seattle, WA
Jessica Angel is the creator behind Spalted Home. She started her business a few years ago when she was making and selling wooden spoons. After the birth of her daughter Jessica stepped back from all creative work. The idea of the mini cactus kits came when her daughter was 6 months old. In the course of a few months she slowly worked to bring the cactus kit to life and started selling them in 2018.
Have you always wanted to be an artist? What inspired you to start creating?
Yes and no. I never really had the thought I wanted to be an artist but I was always making things as a kid. At home I would make doll furniture and clothes, I would try to recreate jewelry I saw in magazines, and in nature I would make tiny houses out of leaves and grass. Throughout high school and college I enjoyed taking art and ceramics classes and really loved it. I'm sure at that point I thought being an artist would be cool but was always hearing how hard it would be. I also really enjoyed mathematics so that's what I ultimately ended up studying.
How have you, as an artist, found your creative voice?
This has taken me a few years but I finally feel like I've settled on something that really feels like me. The best part is that I can see how so much of my past businesses and creative work has led me to where I am now. So many things I had no idea I'd be doing again have come into play.
Where do you create your artwork?
I live in a fairly small space with my husband and toddler and luckily we have a small garage space that can't be used as a garage. I cleared out a space and set up a little studio out there. It's far from pretty but works well for me right now.
What is your typical day like?
My toddler usually wakes up around 6:30-7 am and I cuddle with her for a bit before we have breakfast. My husband heads out for work and we both get dressed and ready for the day. We usually head to the park for a little while and will come home for lunch around 11:30 am. She takes a nap at 12:30 and I have 2 hours to work. I will usually make tiny ceramic vases in my studio or prepare a wholesale order for shipping. If there's time left I will catch up on emails or relax. After my daughter's nap, we have some cuddle and snack time and then we usually venture out of the house again to the park or play in the house. We usually have dinner at 5:30 and once dinner is over we might play in the backyard for a bit before bath time and bed. She's usually in bed by 7:30 at which time I head back to the studio to finish up some vases, glaze, or any number of things that need to get done. I have been trying to be done around 9:30 pm so I can wind down before bed, but some days I have more things that need to get done and might not finish until close to 10. We head to bed between 10 and 11 pm.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?
Know when to move on from something that doesn't fit with your current life anymore. I probably held onto some of my other businesses longer than I should have because of sentimental reasons when really they were holding me back. There are probably so many skills you've learned over the years, so think about how you can incorporate or find inspiration from them. This is something I keep going back to again and again.
How do you build community as an artist? How has the creative community helped you grow and share your art?
In person events! One of my favorite parts of doing craft shows and pop-ups is meeting other makers. Not only do they fully understand what you do but so many of them make incredible work. When I find makers that I really enjoy I follow them on social media and keep up with what they are doing and stay in touch. It's not always easy to meet in person but it's so nice to make those connections and then grow then organically as you continue to see them at other live events.
What are you most excited about right now?
All of my experiments! I always have a long list of things to try and test and I love making time to try them out.
What are your goals and aspirations for your business?
I am really interested in growing the retail side of my business. Currently most of my business is wholesale so the goal is to grow individual sales. I want to see mini cactus kits everywhere I go!