Reflections on being an artist and entrepreneur
This article contains the full script of my second studio vlog. This time you get to follow along through video snippets filmed throughout the week. As I was filming and editing the vlog, I couldn’t help but start thinking about how I ended up here. Or more specifically, reflections on how I became an artist and entrepreneur.
As a result, I put together a script with reflections on my artistry, how it has always been a big part of my life, and how, eventually, it became my full time job after meeting the love of my life, Charles.
I think that to lean back and reflect on your journey from time to time, allows you to get clearer insight into what brought you there and therefore, what steps to take to get to your next goals.
My intention sharing this piece is to invite you behind the scenes in the hopes that it can inspire you who feel a burning desire to prioritize your creativity more – to dare to go for it. It’s been a tough journey (it IS a tough journey) but I would never change anything.
Thank you for being here! Hope you will enjoy it.
Ps. If you prefer to watch the article in video format, you can watch it on youtube or via the embedded video below.
What does embroidery mean to you? Is it just an art medium or is it more than that?
Perhaps you’ve never tried it? Or you’re an avid stitcher and you know just what I mean when I ask you to think about the sound when pushing the needle through the fabric.
Welcome to the second studio vlog. For this one I want to bring you along a week of work, with some snippets from each day in our home studio, while also sharing some thoughts on how embroidery has become so much more than just a regular creative outlet.
Oh and by the way, those are Salty Licorice in case you’re wondering… When I was younger I thought people everywhere ate salty licorice the way we do in Sweden. But I soon figured that wasn’t the case… Well, I love them! Will definitely miss these when we move back to France later this fall.
Now, I don’t want you to think that my intro referred to embroidery as an occasion to just snack candies…
Instead I want to open with some reflections around how I ended up here. As an artist and entrepreneur.
I always did art growing up, but I never thought anyone would want to see it… I kept it in my room. To myself.
It was my way of processing my experiences and thoughts – I guess like most people who create, do so as a way to express themselves and better understand what’s going on around them.
I thoroughly believe that to create with your hands has magic powers.
This is one of the key motivations for both Charles and I since the day we embarked on the journey of spreading the power of thread and needle to the world.
At the end of the day it just happens to be embroidery for us at this moment. But it can just as well be sewing, jewellery making, drawing, painting, scrap-booking… Anything tactile that allows you to concretely see the works of your labour.
There is something incredibly soothing and simultaneously motivating about that.
Especially in today’s world where everything circles around constant connectivity and to maximise productivity. What if we instead tuned out a bit from time to time…
Turn off the phone, pick up something touchable and start to create.
Even though I did some cross-stitching when growing up, the embroidery medium didn’t catch me until I discovered the freedom of modern hand embroidery.
Suddenly I was free to turn my drawings into a touchable medium. The floss became my ink, and the needle my pen.
As I was creating in my childhood home in the south of Sweden, I couldn’t even imagine or dream of how it would be to actually live and work as an artist.
After all… I still didn’t know anyone would want to see what I was making. I just did it because I loved it.
Fast forward some years and it’s October 2016 in Paris. I met Charles, my now husband, and believe it or not – a living example of a young Parisian artist.
This was a real thing.
I taught Charles embroidery and he kept encouraging me to share my work on my newly started Instagram account Petronella.art.
Ps. Petronella is my middle name in case you’ve also wondered where Petronella came from. When we worked for Hermés in the end of 2019, there were many who came up to me thinking that it was my last name. Well I suppose that would be alright too. I never liked it when I was younger, but now I find it very cool and I’m thrilled to have it displayed on my artist profile.
Anyhow, we began to share our work and it quickly gained large exposure with several viral posts.
Within months I went from 500 to 10 000 in the audience. And it just kept growing. A 100 thousand… 200 thousand…
I had no plan.
Frankly, I had been refusing social media for years so the whole thing was just strange. I remember my brother laughing that I, out of all the people, were going to start an Instagram account… Well I can admit that he thinks I’m pretty cool right now haha.
Who could’ve thought – that in fact hundreds and thousands of people would want to see my art.
It’s bizarre to this day. Because I am still the same. Here for the cheer joy of creating with my hands. And that is what I aim to inspire you to do as well.
Instagram brought the wave of opportunity, and Charles and I went for it . All in with no going back.
We’ve made so many mistakes, but many right turns as well. I guess the biggest struggle as a self-taught entrepreneur is the returning thought of “Oh, if we had only done that sooner”.
I will be honest with you. Social media is perhaps 15% of what we actually do to make our business run and sustain our family. It’s very hard work, even though it looks super chill with some salty licorice and a cup of tea.
But that’s the thing. Hard work doesn’t have to feel like hard work when you set the terms. Becoming a mother taught me to take time off too. Before kids Charles and I could easy go on day and night 7 days a week.
However, it was probably necessary at the early stages to be able to figure out how to actually run and grow a business that circulates around art.
When people ask me if I don’t get bored – I answer them no.
Because I never started this out of the motivation to create a business (since I didn’t know it was even possible at first haha). To create with my hands is my refuge just as much as it is my work.
If I would have a day off and could choose to do anything I want – I would still choose to create. It would be embroidery, drawing, painting, sewing, knitting. Something where I get to experience that feeling of being alive – touching paper or fibres, and to be present in the real world.
I really think that the fact that our work is based on an artistic outlet is what helps us stay grounded and keep going. Because even though much of the work is still on the computer, all the content is still based on that thing… that thing you love to do. That passion that started it all.
And for that I’m forever grateful. I will do anything that is in my power to be able to keep creating this work that I love so dearly, and to be able to keep inspiring more people around the world to pick up some floss, fabrics and a needle and give it a go.
So what are you waiting for? Your life might change as well.