When I started my author website, I wanted to do more than promote my writing. I know that creativity thrives in community, and I want to make a place where creatives and want-to-be-creatives can gather and learn. I hope to post an interview with a creative person each month, to give you a look into the life and practice of a creator.
My first interview was with Hannah Yoder, a good friend of mine and owner of House of Aaron, an Etsy shop. You can find it here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HouseofAaron
Hannah and I had desks beside each other at Faith Builders, and I gained much confidence in my creativity from her. Every time I started to make something she got all excited and wanted to know what I was working on. J
So when I got the idea to interview creative people, Hannah was one of the first that came to mind (She’s Artsy Hannah in my contacts list).
Here we go.
Sheri: Hi Hannah, thanks for taking time to do this.
Hannah Yoder: I’m honored to do this. Creativity is my favorite soapbox. I get really excited about the process of creativity (which is why I bugged Sheri while she was creating J) and about enabling each person to see themselves as creative beings because it’s part of what God put into us when He created us in His image.
S: Amen to that.
We’re here to talk about creativity. I know you have a lot of creative talent. What’s the easiest thing for you to create?
HY: I think that will be a tie between word art and beautiful spaces.
I’ve spent a lot of time practicing calligraphy with a pointed nib. Playing with fonts is the easiest thing for me to practice. Taking notes during church or in meetings is a fun way to capture the main points of what caught my attention in an artistic way.
Creating beauty in my home and classroom allows room for change. It’s much easier to move a plant from one side of the shelf to the other than to correct the spelling of a penned word. I enjoy the ability to keep changing until it feels just right, with the end result of a place where my guests or students and I feel comfortable and at home.
S: I love the idea of creating a space that’s welcoming. What are things you stay away from when you’re trying to create? Things that drain you of creative energy?
HY: I have to keep myself from listening to performance pressure. For example, how well someone else could do the same thing or how much time I’m “wasting” doing art (instead of cleaning my house which is usually decorated mostly by projects in various stages of completion).
S: What do you do to recharge?
HY: I’d say probably stalking other people’s creative endeavors. The internet has changed how we view creativity, I think. I like to think I use it to my advantage by seeing what others are doing and using that as a springboard for my own work.
S: What are two pieces of advice you’d give to someone who doesn’t think they’re creative?
HY: Don’t judge yourself by other’s creative abilities/output. My two sixth graders last year are a perfect example of this. One of them was the artsy, imaginative type who thrived on the creative writing and art projects I assigned. The other one froze and needed so much prompting that I felt like I was writing everything for him. Finally, at the end of the year, I realized that his creative talent lay in problem solving. He was able to visualize problems and share solutions with everyone. Artistic talent and creativity are not synonymous. You are creative because you are created in God’s image. Maybe you can write the most imaginative story. Maybe you can help everyone get their Chinese lantern in the air without burning first. Maybe it’s something entirely different.
Allow yourself to grow into areas of creativity that are difficult. I still stink at drawing, but I found a way around that. I’m going to keep working on my sketching/drawing skills, but by not forcing myself into it, I don’t feel pressure and anxiety to perform.
S: That’s good advice. I’m tempted both to judge myself by others and try to force myself to grow in difficult areas of creativity. It’s good to be reminded not to do that.
Let’s talk about House of Aaron. How did that get started?
HY: It’s a conglomeration of things that popped into my head that I pieced together. J The name comes from a plaque my mom calligraphed years ago. It comes from Psalm 115:12. “The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.” Since my dad’s name is Aaron, that was a fitting verse for our family.
Our family has always done lots of projects. I credit my love of crafts to my parents because they had supplies for almost everything we wanted to try. I knew the idea of a family run shop was an idea people who frequented Etsy would like.
My sister’s enthusiasm was the encouragement I needed to get the rest of the family on board. Her skills are the only thing that have kept House of Aaron running since the rest of us are still waiting for perfection to hit before we put anything in the shop!
S: What are good things about working creatively with your family? Any cons?
HY: Well, just in case you think we all sit down together once a week and make something together, I must tell you that we don’t. We’ve never been that kind of creative family. The thing I like most about working creatively with my family is seeing the pride in a family member when they create something they are happy with. It makes me feel good when I realize my brother wants my affirmation on a kayak paddle he made.
It’s also fun to collaborate—which brings me to the con. Most of us are procrastinators. I have a great idea for a calligraphy set that will combine my work with my dad’s dovetailed boxes. I’ve had that idea for about six months and still no kits. To be fair, I think the problem is that the idea never really got transferred from my head to my dad’s.
S: Creating with anyone is sure to bring you together. I think it’s great you can do it as a family! Of course, it usually brings out weaknesses as well. But I’m inspired by what you do with your creativity, in House of Aaron and everywhere else. May God bless your family as you create!
Make sure to explore Hannah’s Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HouseofAaron