Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Art Biz Mama: Amy Ambroult

An ARTIST, a MOM, a CREATIVE BIZ OWNER. What happens when you combine all three? 

Hello and welcome to my new series called Art Biz Mama. It is a series of inspirational interviews about being a mom, an artist and a creative biz owner. I am really excited about this!

In an effort to connect, share and get to know some of my favorite artists (and I am sure they are yours too) a bit better and because I am a mama who has creative biz visions myself (maybe you too?). I have asked for a sneak peek into their very busy lives. To share a bit about just what it means to juggle these roles and how it all really plays out.

I know this is a topic that has been discussed plenty but for me (and you) I need to hear these stories. To know there are others reaching for their dreams and maybe stumbling at times, all the while caring for themselves and their family.

I believe we will glean a bit of insight from these smart and talented women that can inspire us all.



First up is Amy Ambroult. We are so lucky to have Amy. She is an awesome jewelry designer and a beautiful light in this creative world. Amy is the hands–and heart–behind AG Ambroult and Elemental. She is a mother and a metalsmith, trying to make a living through her craft, while staying at home with her 2 kids. She designs and fabricates jewelry and small metal craft in copper, silver, and gold.

First, let me say a huge “Thank You” for taking the time to answer these questions. I know how busy you are so it really means a lot to all of us that you took the time to be here today!

So glad to be here, among so many like-minded folks.

So let me start by asking when did you make the decision to start your creative business?

I left my job (as a graphic designer for a newspaper) when I had my second child. From that moment on I knew I would be making my move toward something a little more flexible, a little more creative, a little more "me." I had taken a few metalsmithing classes before and loved it so, as a way to get out of the house I signed up for another metals class. I had this amazing and inspirational teacher who didn't bat an eyelash when I started talking as if this was going to be the way I was going to make my living. Soon enough, it was.

How has having children affected your business and creativity?

Having children has affected my creativity in ways I couldn't have guessed. We have explored things I never thought I would or could with a 6 and 8 year old. And because I want to expose them to all kinds of mediums and styles, I have found myself rediscovering techniques and forms of expression I had forgotten all about . The kids are so open and receptive to it all, and they go about their art with such freedom and abandon. I try to follow their example, and to not be quite so rigid, but I definitely lack that confidence they have.

Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Is there school or childcare, etc. while you are working on your biz?

A typical day goes like this: I wake early and park myself in front of the computer to get some work done. I respond to emails, send out inquiries, touch up and size photos, hang out on my etsy shop, take care of some other sites I am associated with, blog and read blogs etc....
Then I wake the girls up and get them off to school. I race home from dropping them off, in order to make hay while the sun shines. I have exactly 2 hours and 40 minutes to make as much as I can in my workshop (in my basement) until it's time to pick up my half-day kindergartner. The rest of the day is spent with her, and then her sister too, once she's out, but I do sneak peeks at my email throughout the day. Once they are in bed I either go back down to my workshop or get on the computer to do some more admin work and social networking stuff.
(but wait! this is all changing in September, when both my girls will be in all day school and I will get six hours in a row to work!)


How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends?

I'd say I give my biz roughly 30 hours a week. This fluctuates with the seasons, and nearing the holidays that number jumps to about 60 hours a week. In the summer, when the girls are home all day with me, it's more like 15-20 hours.
And yes—days, nights, early mornings, weekends...whenever I can fit a task or two in, I do. 

I know this is a subject that is always being addressed but I need to bring up balance. Do you feel you have a healthy balance between your work life and your family life?

uh, no. The scale always seems to tip too much in one direction, and that direction changes constantly depending on the season (as mentioned above), what's going on at home, our collective health, school, sports, etc... The grass is always greener with me, it seems. Some days I pine to have more time with the kids, some days I am groveling for a few minutes in the workshop.
Somehow I don't feel  like I'm always walking around off-kilter, though. This might just be the way I function. 


Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?

Strive to change your definitions of "wife" "mother" and "artist" in order to make it all work for you and your family. Let go of unrealistic expectations and it will allow things fall back into place they way you need them to. If you are creative with your art, then be creative with the way you mother, the way you run your household, the way you go about being a wife....everything, including the way to run your business.

A little flexibility and humor will go a long way, too. (because when that guy places an order for a piece you have yet to fabricate, at 7pm for next day shipping, two days before Christmas,  you're gonna need it)

To learn and see more of Amy's beautiful work please visit her at:

Thank you so much Amy for an honest and inspiring look into your creative life!


Kristy's Art Corner said...

Thank Dana and Amy, this is a wonderful series, an awesome topic. I have 2 boys ages 2 and 4 who are home all the time, and I am trying to start a business from home. This seems impossible some days, so I'm glad you ladies are here to help me to see that it is possible.

Kolleen said...

thank you for this Dana!

such a great idea to interview
artists who are
moms who are
creative biz owners!!

wonderful insight from Amy....looking forward to learning more!!!


AG Ambroult said...

yes! I'm super excited to connect with and read more about other "art biz mamas"

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. Amy and Dana, for bringing to the fore the ways that we women have to think 'creatively' about the ways that we build the balance and structure in our lives that is so important to us as our roles change throughout each day. I am a mum, a wife, a jewellery designer and silversmith-in-training, a jewellery fabricator - I've probably forgotten a few there :-) I am aiming to run two jewellery businesses side-by-side (one is further along than the other). One will be fab and funky colourful beaded designs and the other will be contemporary silver jewellery, hand-crafted by me. I may be striving for more than I can deal with but if I don't try, I will never know!

Lisa said...

Amy and Dana - thank you! This is a WONDERFUL blog, Amy...it is so amazing to connect with other artsy-mama's who "get it"...even if it isn't all together. :)

Review Crew said...

Good Job Amy!!!

jacqueline said...

Oh Dana, this is such an awesome series!! I am a HUGE fan of Amy's work and it's so inspiring! I love reading amy's story and getting to know her more! Thanks so much for sharing sweet dana and lovely Amy! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you and yours!

Kim Klassen said...

what a completely wonderful post dana.... very inspiring.... love this idea!!

fabulous interview amy....

xxo, kim

5orangepotatoes said...

I love Amy! What a wonderful interview, it was nice to read about her business side.


Mousy Brown said...

What a fantastic idea - as someone 'thinking' about taking the plunge it is so interesting to see how other Mamas manage to get it all to fit! Plus Amy is my favouite artist ever - Thanks both of you xxx

Louise Gale "Dream-Inspire-Create" said...

Thank you for sharing Dana and Amy, im not a mum myself but i know its going to be so lovely to read about creative moms here, so great you have started this Dana. xx

Jennifer Snellings said...

Hi Dana!

This series is such a wonderful idea! I'm so excited to learn from these wonderful creative women and mothers! I too am in the same boat...mom of young kids trying to balance my art and start a creative business while taking care of my family. This is so very encouraging!

Looking forward to the next interview!

Take care,
Jennifer (fellow "flying" classmate!)

Jen said...

Really enjoyed reading this interview! It's such a great idea because I think we all want to know how other moms do the balance thing.

Thanks too for the sweet comments you left on my blog. I really appreciate it that you took the time to comment. :)

Wini said...

Hi Dana & Amy, thank you for an interesting and insightful interview! Its great to learn about how Amy juggles work & family. Amy's jewelery is absolutely gorgeous too.

Regina said...

Great interview. Amy's work is stunning!