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State of the Studio 2015

State of the Studio: @psstudio www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

After Jude was born in 2007, I had what you might call an identity crisis. I didn’t recognize myself anymore and it took me a long time to get comfortable in my own skin. Between the body changes, emotional upheaval that came with a preemie, postpartum depression, and adjusting to being someone’s mom, it was a lot to take in. I felt like my career was over, to be honest.  I wish I could go back in time and give 2007 Me a big hug. It all turns out okay, is what I would say to her. In fact, it will turn out better than you could ever imagine.

So now fast forward to 2015. I expected some amount of identity crisis after Archer was born and it happened, but less about my role as wife and mom but more with my business. Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I going? These are all tangible growing pains. And pain is the right word – it’s uncomfortable to do serious self-introspection, especially when it’s your own business. And as creatives, this business we do – this business I do – is intensely personal. There is a blurring boundary between personal and private. The work lives in our house and is there during nap times and after the kiddos have gone to bed.

I realized as I’ve been working through my long term goals for my business that I needed to do a couple of things:

1. SLOW DOWN

My first few collections back in 2011 were carefully crafted and thought out. But all too soon I fell into the rat race of “New.” As a designer and a retailer, there’s huge pressure to always be putting out something NEW and IMPROVED. I get it – I have always loved to explore the New. But I realized that in my pursuit of the new, I was losing myself as a designer. It became quantity over quality. My #1 goal at PSS is to solve a problem: I’m designing something that I couldn’t find elsewhere. Something true to my style, to my brand. Sure, I can be uber-prolific and crank out 100 new designs every few months, but is that really necessary? If I stay true to my personal style (which is an ongoing journey), does that really change all that often? Or can I focus on What Is Essential and hone in on that?

All that to say, I’ve learned to slow down and tighten up. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I just need to design beautiful, quality things that ring true. So if it feels like the shop is edited down and not as broad, it’s true. You don’t see a design that used to be there (that maybe even sold like hotcakes?) and you miss it? It’s for a reason. It’s time to tighten up.

2. LEAVING A LEGACY

In many ways the work I do is transient. An iPhone case for a phone that will only be relevant for a brief time until it’s tossed out because it’s out of date. A notepad that is scratched on, crossed out, then crumpled and tossed in the trash. These things are fun and I absolutely will continue to create them because again, they are solving a problem of filling a niche that wasn’t previously there. But I want to supplement those items with some beautifully crafted heirloom items that you’ll want to keep forever. In purging my closet and home of unwanted items that don’t bring me joy, it’s all too easy to realize how much money has been spent on disposable things: cheap clothes from a big box retailer that fall apart in a season. Trendy pieces that are here today, gone tomorrow. What happened to beautiful items that are passed down? Things from your grandmother that are cherished? Quality is the word that is ringing in my ears night and day lately.

So I’m collaborating in the next few months with some fantastic artisans to bring some of my bigger Pencil Shavings Studio ideas to life. Items you’ll want to invest in for the long haul that bring color and personality into your space. And hopefully they’re the kind of pieces that the Pencil Shavings Studio girl will want to pass on to her equally stylish granddaughter one day. They’re the showstoppers.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity that the internet, this blog, and this shop have all brought to me. I’m living a creative dream, and for that, my friends, I am truly thankful. Thank you for being my tribe. I can’t wait to show you what comes next.