CraftSanity Podcast Episode 171: Artist and textile designer Anna Joyce talks about her handmade business, her new book and sticking with it


Anna Joyce woking in her studio. Photo by Lisa Warninger.

Those who admire Anna Joyce’s beautiful textile and design work from afar might assume that these things come easily to the artist and textile designer.

But Anna, 38, of Portland, Oregon and author of the new book, “Stamp, Stencil, Paint: Making Extraordinary Patterned Projects By Hand,” has dealt with her share of setbacks. And some thing tells me that after listening to her story you’ll want to give her a high five and buy her book. I won’t steal her thunder, so tune in to the podcast for all the inspiring details. :)

You’re also kindly invited to read on for my Q&A with Anna below.

stencilbookCongrats on the publication of your first book, “Stamp, Stencil Paint: Making Extraordinary Patterned Projects by Hand!” It’s lovely. What was your inspiration for this book and what do you hope your readers take away from it?

My inspiration for the book was to simply inspire people to make by hand. Handmade items have so much life and personality and add more depth and meaning to our lives. I hope my readers take away that it is not what you make or the finished product, but simply the act of making by hand that is important.

You dedicated the book to your parents, how did they influence you as a young artist?

Both of my parents were working artists while I was growing up, and some of my earliest memories are of being with them in their studios. It was a wonderful and unique childhood that I only realized later was not the norm. There was always an abundance of art supplies in the house and I grew up feeling that making art and crafting was a normal part of everyday life.

_DSC4156How would you describe your artistic style?
My style is very relaxed and intuitive. I love color, pattern and playful, easy going design.

_DSC4203How has motherhood influenced your creative work and handmade business?

Being a mom pushes me to work harder. Taking my girls into Powell’s Books the day Stamp Stencil Paint was released to show it to them on the shelves was so powerful. My girls know how hard I worked to make this book, and having them be proud of me was one of my most cherished moments. Setting the example for my daughters that hard work pays off is something that is very important to me.

What do you do when you’re feeling creatively blocked? How do you move past that?

I have been making art long enough to know that when I am not feeling it and everything is turning out “wrong”, that I need to step away from the studio and give myself some time to recharge. But that does not make it easy! Pretty much every time I am uninspired in the studio I am convinced that I will never make art again and it is “gone forever”. But if I give myself a day or two to relax and avoid “pushing through” I recover more quickly and come back to my work with new energy.


What art or craft tool tops your list of must-have supplies? A good, solid table covered in a canvas drop cloth.

What is your favorite medium to work with? Right now I am obsessed with learning to dye and am continuing my love affair with textile design.

What is your favorite book? “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton

What are you reading now? Ha! My emails :)

Are you a night owl or a morning person? When is your favorite time to create and why? I go back and forth. I normally love to work in the morning. When I was writing “Stamp Stencil Paint” I was a night owl. I made that book when my studio was still at home so I worked a lot at night when my girls were asleep.

If you could have a studio date with anyone living or dead, who would you invite over?
Henri Matisse

What advice do you have for those looking to launch into a new creative venture?

Work hard, believe in yourself and set concrete goals. I also like to give myself timelines for every goals. If you can see it, you can achieve it.

What do you wish you would have known when you started your business? That I would love it this much. I would have started earlier.

Is there anything else you would like the world to know about you? You can find me most weekends cooking up huge batches of Mexican food. Our family is on a big tamale kick right now!

Thanks to the podcast supporters
Thanks to ACS Home & Work for being a longtime podcast sponsor and also thanks to my Patreon sponsors for helping me keep this show going. I couldn’t do this without your support.

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