I have had a love for the Minnesota-based company russell+hazel for many years now. Growing up, my favorite part of the school year was picking out my R+H binder and planner. I began looking forward to this day as soon as summer began. The added color, clean lines and simple beauty each product brought to my school day was unparalleled. I cherished R+H back then and continue to do so today. Watching the company grow to its current scale has been such a pleasure!
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to live-paint binders at the Minneapolis flagship store. The support, excitement and fun was such a full-circle moment for me! Check out my interview below as well as a link here to their blog-post!
Abbey Holden is a Minneapolis based artist who’s vibrant work caught our eye back in November when we partnered with her for our MN Made Pop-Up event. Since then we have been impatiently waiting for the opportunity to collaborate with her again and are excited that the time has finally come. On Saturday, June 24th our flagship store will merge the world of organization and art by hosting Abbey Holden for a unique customization event. Abbey will be hand painting on our customizable binders that are available at our in-store customization bar. This is a rare opportunity to not only see Abbey in her element but also leave with a one-of-a-kind binder designed by you that also features the work of this amazing local artist. We sat down with Abbey to find out a bit more about this incredibly talented woman.
Describe your process. Where do you look for inspiration? What is your favorite part? Least favorite?
My process, like many creatives, is ever-evolving and changes weekly. My career has certain elements of work, personality, inspiration and practicality. Currently, I’m learning to find that sweet spot of balance where I can flourish as a working artist.Being inspired is one of the best things life has to offer. I find inspiration at the most unexpected times and places, but it usually comes from being surrounded by other creatives, spending time outdoors and challenging myself with my work.My favorite times, of course, are spent painting in the mornings when the world is quiet and the daylight grows through my studio windows. That being said, my least favorite times are when I haven’t made the time to physically create.
What are your passions outside of art and design and how do they influence your work?
I’ve always been drawn to the outdoors and natural landscape. To me, nature is the highest communicator of peace and beauty. The grace that comes through living in this beautiful world inspires me to create. I aim to reflect that awe-inspired feeling and overwhelming sense of peace through my artwork.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received when it comes to your craft, and who was it from?
Just start. Create. Create. Create. Push through fear. Shake off rejection. Sell your work. Be wary of perfection. Get your work out there. Be patient while learning to run a small business.”This is just a snippet of incredibly thoughtful and poignant advice from artist Kristi Kohut of Hapi Art. Kristi encouraged me to start my business through her guiding advice and support!
What other artists/creators work do you admire? Why?
Hands down Emily Jeffords. Emily has put special emphasis on the process of creating rather than focusing solely on the final product. Through this lens, she has organized a number of resources for emerging artists and works to encourage those in creative fields.
What do you find inspiring about russell+hazel?
I have been a long-time fan of russell+hazel! The blend of beauty, great design and functionality is consistently evident in the product. As a small business owner working in a visually-focused field, I tend to want beautiful things all around me. russell+hazel has elevated the office/desk environment through clean and beautiful products that make me want to work!
How do you “add life to your work”
As a working-artist, my passion in life is also my work. The intertwining of these two things allows my work to be a reflection of everything I love! That’s a pretty special thing. As my creative eye, influences and passions evolve, so does my work. I feel very blessed to have this blend of life and work!
You have lived in a few other cities/states, tell us why you love living in Minneapolis?
I can’t say enough good things about Minneapolis! My life has taken me to Denver, New York, Philadelphia and now back to my hometown of Minneapolis. I can honestly say I didn’t appreciate this city until moving back here. Now, I’m impressed every single day by this city and how it supports the people living in it. Minneapolis is a beautiful, clean, active, friendly and immensely creative city. I am inspired on a daily-basis by the creativity and support for the arts here!
What’s one question that you’ve never been asked that you wish you had?
What did you want to be/do when you grew up?” I still have a piece of homework from second grade with that question. My answer then was “artist.” I think I’m making my seven year old self proud today!