I love when I get the chance to meet someone for the first time and they are totally real, and vulnerable, and just all around lovely. That was my meeting with Hannah Stoney ( http://thethinks.com/). And starting off a photo session with tea and biscuits? Booom!
How did this all start for you?
I have been making art, with intention, for about ten years, but things really accelerated for me a lot last year and it went from being more of a hobby to a career.
This steely determination came over me and I really challenged myself to up my game. I started investing far more time and energy into each piece I made; making large scale works that were full of intricate and careful detail. And I also really tried to sharpen my drawing skills -- I practiced consistently all year long and closely studied the work of illustrators I really admire.
What places or things inspire you?
I normally have these seasonal moods or tones that become really important to me and either represent something I'm longing for or something I'm thinking about a lot or feeling. It's a bit of an abstract answer (!) but to give you an idea -- last summer it was all about the forest and the nighttime, Gothic tones, Victorian theatre sets, lepidoptera and taxidermy. Another year I was really into super heroes and everything was really bright and graphic-y. Like a lomo on acid. Crystal? Ha.
Then I have ongoing motifs like birds in flight (an obsession of mine) and the sea.
What types of tools do you use in your work?
Pencils and pens (microns normally, if you're curious) and of course my exacto knife and self-healing cutting mat. Most of my paper-cuts are made using kids' art roll from Ikea. It's lovely and cushiony to cut and it's an ivory hue which I enjoy.
I really find it difficult balancing being a Mom and being an artist. How do you find time to do what you love while juggling life and kids?
Yes, that's definitely a tough one. I have two little boys. When the first one was younger I used to work around him quite a lot but he's more of an introvert and so we rubbed along quite nicely.
My second child is much more sociable though and I came to realise that it wasn't fair to them to be half-distracted all the time and so I work every nap time and for a couple of hours most evenings. If I have a big show coming up, I'll even try to get up an hour before them to get some work done.
I once read a tip from a writer and mother that really helped me -- she said she always leaves her desk after a work session having set up what she is going to work on next. I do the same -- I have a very tight schedule because when your hours are so limited, you don't really get the time to stare out of the window and wend your way into projects. I miss those times in a way but I ain't half productive these days!