Lisandra Vazquez of Auraology

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I interviewed Lisandra Vazquez of Auraology. She is an LA based photographer and Aura reader who has participated in Girl Gang Craft once and will be killing it again at our Holiday Show. Her slots always book up, so we suggest you sign up here. Also you can check the Girl Gang Craft Instagram for your chance to win a FREE aura reading with her on November 17.

How did you first get into Aura Photography?

I was doing a seven-month kundalini yoga program called Immense Grace with Guru Jagat. During that time, we were given the task to do a 40 Day feminine arcline meditation to clear out karma and make room for new great things. During these 40 days, I kept getting a vision of aura photos. At this point, I had only really seen aura photos a few times and considered them to be "not real photography". (This is all due to my conceptual fine art training/conditioning I received from my education at CalArts.)

I kid you not- EVERY MORNING- I would get up to do my sadhana (morning practice) and there it was: AURA PHOTOS. I was like, "Alright, I GET IT." Lol. So- I set my ego aside and looked into it... From that point on, I couldn't get enough. The field of auras is SO expansive and the fact that I have a tool that can not only produce still and moving images of the energy field is not only dope af but I feel like I can really help people understand and potentially shift their energetic field because of this tool. What more could you want?

Were you always into Aura magic?

I've always been spiritually inclined. I have been working with women's groups and studying energy for over 10 years... but even beyond that, I would say that I have always been reading energy. My family moved to Ohio from Puerto Rico when I was 8 years old. Since I didn't speak the language I had to learn to speak energy really quickly. That's the beautiful thing about working with auras... when language falls short, energy speaks volumes.

What does your aura look like? What does it say about you?

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This is a photo of my most recent aura status. I have been doing a lot of work with gratitude and magnetically calling in the things I desire to expand. My aura is currently Gold AF as a result. Gold is the color of someone who is literally going for the gold. It belongs to a person that is globally minded, perfectionist (to better themselves not against others) and has an adventurous spirit. People with gold auras usually have an immense amount of talent and have it in them to have great fame or wealth. Not bad, right?

I will say, that I didn't have a fully gold Aura in August when I started measuring my auric changes. I have added a daily gratitude practice where I consciously verbalize gratitude for anything that particular day. This even goes as far as me turning moments of frustration into opportunities for gratitude. "OMG this person is so frustrating... (now automatically turns into) but I am grateful that this work is bringing money that will help me spend more time with my family." 

I also play a lot of White Sun music in the background all the time. Their music is encoded with magic that infuses itself into your aura. I recommend "Eka Mai Recitation" or even their gong album as something to infuse good energy into your aura subconsciously. 

Can your Aura change?

Absolutely. We have lots of layers to our aura, the outermost layer is colloquially called the mood layer. That is the one that is affected by any aggression in traffic, being around a toxic environment temporarily, or even being in a 60 minute sound bath. The mood layer shifts more frequently for those who don't have a conscious energy practice to maintain a certain balance in their energetic field.

I've done "before and after" aura readings for people that have done three days of intensive energy work and also a 90 breath work workshop. Every person that I've read has had a shift or amplification of energy. What that means is that the work they did helped them achieve a different vibration, most likely they will return to the original colors but if they keep up the work they can lift their energy to match what they did in the workshop.

What is your favorite thing about auras?

I could talk forever about auras, I guess that's my favorite thing. Haha. I just think it's so important for us to be aware of the energy that we broadcast. I know I run an aura photo/video booth but for me, that is not the primary focus of each session. I want people to walk out of my booth with more insight into themselves so they can feel empowered to either shift or amplify what they have going on at the moment.

You are also a full time photographer, right? What kind of photos do you take?

I am! So, I've been a photographer since 2012 focusing on portraits and events. I do a lot of work in the wellness space. My joke is that my life is a series of women's retreats because I photograph a lot of women's retreats, haha. I love helping people with brands really flush out their vision so we can translate that into imagery that will be understood and adored by their ideal clients.

How do you balance both the regular photography and the Aura photos?

Luckily the regular photography is kind of on autopilot at this point... I definitely have to try if I want to promote a certain service but for the most part, work comes in pretty organically through years of networking and word of mouth. The aura work is so much fun for me that it genuinely feels like a treat anytime I get to work or plan something for it, so maybe that's why I feel like there is a balance.

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Have you ever been shocked by somewhat’s aura?

YES. I've had one client that had white flashes pop up during their animated session and I had never seen that before. To describe it, it looked like I was doing flash photography during the recording session... and I wasn't. When I finished, I explained to them what I saw and they started crying. (Happy tears) They said, "I know exactly what that is. I had been asking for a sign and that is it." *Queue chills*

It was pretty incredible.


Are all auras created equal?

For the most part, yes. All human beings are born with an aura and the only time it fades is before the moment of death. It can have holes and "muddy" areas during times of illness or negativity but the aura is the same kind of field around each human. There are so many variables that can change what the aura looks like in different people but the "stuff it is made of" is the same in all of us.

Do you have any other magical practices besides aura reading?

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I don't think I've ever shared this publicly but I am clairaudient, which means that I can hear or perceive things that are inaudible to the rest of the folks around. I have been able to use that during my aura readings because I start a day of sessions with a meditation/prayer to only give readings that will align to each client in a positive way.

I never know what I am going to say with each reading. I could see two people in a row with similar colors and because of what I'm being guided to say the interpretation can be different for the two people. That is unless those two people are really heavily involved with each other, but that's a different story haha.

For non-aura related stuff, I give tarot readings to friends and also use my intuition with my traditional photo practice as well.


You’re such a boss babe with your beautiful graphics and engaging Instagram, any words of advice for all the other lady business owners out there?

First of all, that is very kind. The only advice I can give is: just be yourself and keep showing up. There are lots of other people who might be doing the exact same thing that you do but only you can do what YOU were brought here to do.

For example, there are lots of other great aura photo businesses out there. We are all utilizing the same technology, some analog & some digital. The beautiful thing is that we are all different channels and interpreters so you could go to all of us and have a completely different experience. Competition only exists if you believe in lack. I choose to believe in an abundant universe where there is more than enough for everyone.

So if you find yourself comparing or competing against someone you feel is a competitor, remember that as long as you keep "doing you" and showing up every day to your business/mission, no one can stop you. Your light is just as much a gift to the world as the next person, so shine on sis,

What is your favorite thing about this photography work?

My favorite thing is without a doubt, the people I get to meet. It makes me wanna cry because I get the privilege of photographing people all over the country. The fact that people are giving me permission to photograph them and trust me to give them a reading of their energy is not something I take lightly. I have had only incredible humans walk through the crushed velvet doors of my booth, even the skeptical ones. :)

There is usually one or two people a day that cries in the booth because they received a message that deeply connected with them... that is why I am doing this. To help with healing and energetic expansion in a positive way.


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Phoebe Sherman

is the founder of Girl Gang Craft.

follow her on instagram & check out her site.

The Driven Yogi

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I interviewed Keisha of the Driven Yogi, an online resource for newly certified yoga teachers. Keisha is an incredibly gifted yoga teacher with an ambitious drive to create and foster community. As a yoga teacher myself, I know the aches and pains of trying to get into studios to find work and teach classes and as a beginning teacher I really didn’t know where to start. Keisha has created an online space for newly certified teachers to get the help they need.

How did you first get into yoga?

I found yoga when I was in a high-visibility, high-stress career as a television news reporter. The pressure of the job, on top of covering countless murder, crime, and natural disaster stories took its toll on me mentally. I've always been an athlete and have used working out to deal with stress throughout my life, but during this time, even that wasn't working. I decided to try yoga because I hadn't done it before and I was open to trying anything new that could possible help with the stress I was dealing with. Surprise! After my first class I was hooked. Not only was I able to deal with my stressful job, but I was able to use the tools in yoga off of my mat to keep me calm, focused, and clear-headed throughout the day.

How long have you been teaching?

1.5 years

How would you describe your style?

My classes are...intense as one of my students put it the other day! But really, my classes are a mix of alignment paired with power vinyasa. But I will say, after my "intense" class there is always a great savasana paired with essential oils.

How did the Driven Yogi come to be?

It was on one of the last days of my YTT. I had asked the teacher if she knew of a program that new teachers can take to ease them into teaching, and she couldn't think of one. She told me people just go teach. But being at the level I was, I was no where near ready to lead a class. And, I would have preferred more training or a teacher to give me advice on the next steps I should take. We continued to have the discussion in class and one of my fellow teacher trainers said, "you should create one!" And thus, the seed was planted. I went home and did research to see if such a program existed anywhere, and I still couldn't find one. For the next two weeks I interviewed experienced yoga teachers and studio owners about the idea and they all agreed it was needed. Within three weeks I was working on a website, and within a month, The Driven Yogi was born!

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What was the most frustrating thing for you as a beginning yoga teacher?

The nerves! Honestly, all of the nerves didn't go away fully until my first 6 months of teaching. Even after teaching for 1.5 years, there are still times I get nervous when I am teaching in new spaces.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a yoga teacher?

The students practicing this form of self-care. I seriously get so much joy with the fact that people show up to class to work on their mind and body health. In fact, I use this phrase and thank them for taking time out for themselves after every class. Many people don't put themselves first, and to do that for an hour is so huge.

How many classes do you teach a week?

I have a full-time job, so at this moment I only teach two yoga classes a week.

Do you have any other revenue besides just your teaching schedule?

Yep! I work full-time as a communications/marketing professional in the non-profit sector. I also teach pole dancing. I know, I know, I have a lot going on!

How do you balance teaching, self-care and your personal practice?

Self-care is the most important thing to me. Seriously. My family and friends tend to get annoyed about how often I ask them if they are taking care of themselves or taking a break from the things that are causing them stress or pain. Because I do sooo many things I have to make sure my mind and body are health. If not, everything could come crashing down, especially my teaching! So, how do I balance? I have a flexible schedule. For example, I have specific days I go to yoga classes, pole classes, days dedicated to working on The Driven Yogi, and days dedicated to hanging out with friends. However, if my mind and body aren't feeling doing any of those things on the scheduled day, I disconnect. I am very in tune with my body and if something is off, I listen to what it needs. Sometimes self-care is binge watching a TV show. And I'm here for it!

How do you think the Driven Yogi is helping the community?

After YTT it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and have no idea what to do after that last training day. That's where The Driven Yogi comes in. It picks up right where training ends and gives new teachers tangible steps they can take to stay on the path of becoming a paid yoga teacher. We recently created an after teacher training checklist for our members. It's been very popular and very helpful! To access, go to thedrivenyogi.com, click the purple tab, and it will be in your inbox!

How did Driven Yogi begin to reach a wider audience? How has social media played a role in that?

Instagram has been instrumental for our growth! I never thought we'd have over 13K followers, but social media is powerful if you are consistent with it! On top of having a strict posting schedule and making sure I engage with my audience, I also reach out to studios where I have relationships to help spread the word about The Driven Yogi and how it can be an asset for newly certified teachers. Honestly, it's all a lot of work but I love it!


Any advice for yogis and healers starting their own business that exists besides their classes and clientele?

As a communications and marketing professional, I'd say start with the message you want to convey and how your fonts, colors, and branding will help make you stand apart from your competitors. Always be authentic and don't try to emulate what you see others doing. From there, get your website up and running! You don't need to wait until it is perfect. I'm not going to lie, having a side business is extremely stressful and tiring, but it is so rewarding. Make sure you have people in your circle who understand what you are going through and who you can bounce ideas off of. And if you currently don't have those people, seek them out! There are creators everywhere.

For more info on Keisha + The Driven Yogi, you can check out her site or give her a follow on instagram.:

https://thedrivenyogi.com @thedrivenyogi

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Phoebe Sherman

is the founder of Girl Gang Craft.

follow her on instagram & check out her site.

Pat Bailey

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Pat Bailey is a friend, mentor, and a beautiful free-spririt who has taught me to manifest the hell out of my dreams. I met Pat through the interwebs and attended her free Instagram workshop in San Francisco. This was about 3 years ago: before Girl Gang Craft, before I was really selling my art publicly, and even before my 500 hr Yoga Teacher Training. She taught me the BASICS, and when I mean basics I mean basic hashtags, how to present yourself, plus she told me to archive all my college party pics that I still had on my instagram (which I have yet to do).

Recently we re-connected and she called me into her Hell Yes Life. I participated in the HYL Portal and then the Academy. I built my brand with Pat shouting my name from the sidelines.

Pat is a travel writer, an entrepreneur, and a practicing yogi. She eats, breathes, and sleeps her Hell Yes Life. She is someone who follows her heart, manifests her dreams, and finds herself in places like Paris because that’s where she wanted to be and she made it happen. If it’s not a Hell Yes, than it's a no!

I interviewed Pat to get the inside scoop on her brand and balancing it all to have it all.

How’d you get started with this whole instagram thing?

I literally created my Instagram account when Instagram started because my sisters told me about it and it looked like a really cool way to share things with them, and in general.  My @patbailey account began when Instagram began, nearly 7 years ago and it started as a “moment sharing” account where I shared my #ootd and lattes and every day things…it was a creative outlet for me and I used it in a way that it was originally intended to be used, to share everyday things with people I love.  This start evolved into what it is now, but the start was simple with a simple intention to share what I love.

What was the catalyst for you to be really being SEEN on the platform?

I think people who do well on Instagram don’t necessarily have the original intention to be “seen,” I think we are all being authentic with our stories and creating compelling content and this creates a collection or story that a community is interested in and then this community grows…everything else evolves out of this I believe.  This is what happened with me.  My original content changed when I found my yoga practice again and I started sharing this practice on Instagram daily, then I had a big heartbreak happen in my life and I started writing poetry and I shared my story and used the Instagram space as a creative outlet to heal.  In addition to this I started sharing my cycling in the space and combining all of these things.  While I was doing all of this, which was really authentically me and my story with no solid intention to be “seen,” more and more people started to see me and engage with my story and my community started to grow.  During this time Instagram put me on their “Suggested Users” list in 2015 and Bicycling Magazine featured me in an issue for cycling and yoga and this was certainly a pivotal time for my story, content and account to be “seen."


What is the biggest thing you’ve ever manifested?

I love this question, I manifest big things every single day.  Probably the biggest thing that I’ve manifested is my Hell Yes Life.  Every single day I live a life on my terms doing things that I love.  I’ve designed this life to do work that I have created (my own brand and academy), that I know for certain is my purpose.  I do creative things my heart loves (luxury travel writing, poetry, content creating) and I have designed this life to do these things and this work from anywhere in the world, because I am open to it being “anywhere” I have manifested living in my dream city of Paris currently which is where I am living, working, and creating. 

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What is your advice for those that want to follow their hearts but also pay the bills?

I don’t see these two things as separate things.  My official answer to this question would be that if you feel like “following your heart” and “paying the bills” is two separate things, or independent from each other or not connected, related or possible, then that will be your reality.  Instead I choose to think, say and believe: “I follow my heart which creates opportunities and abundance for me to pay my bills,” and this is my reality.


Can you give our GGC readers an insight scoop on the traveler influencer thing? How do you get to sooo many fabulous places? Is it on your dime? How do you make it work?

I would love, love, love to share every detail with your group and anyone reading this - none of it is exclusive or a big secret and everyone reading this can have access to and create this opportunity and reality.  There isn’t one way to do it but what I do believe and know is that the “traveler influencer thing” is based on currency, just like other types of work.  In my case the currency is trade: I travel to places that host me in exchange for sharing the experience.  In order for this trade to be perfect and effective both parties must have something the other one wants/needs.  The properties have the story and experience that I would like, and I have the audience, skill and creativity to share their story and the experience.  It is a win-win.  So, the first bit of insight is that you must have something of value that travel partners need or want.  Can you write?  Do you have an audience that loves what you do and is influenced by it?  Are you a photographer or creative that can create beautiful content for them?  Most travel influencers have one of these or several of these skills and they offer them in exchange (or for pay) to travel partners.  We are writers, content creators, photographer, videographers, ambassadors, models, etc.

I decided last year that I wanted to add travel writing to my life and creative projects, I had been traveling on my own up until this time and I published my poetry book and I love to write and tell stories and share my travels.  I also had a solid community on Instagram.  At this point my “currency” that I could pitch to travel partners was: content creation, sharing on social and writing…but I didn’t have a single travel writing piece.  I could have started my own travel writing blog which many people do, but I realized that if I wrote for an established blog that I loved that this would be better leverage for me (and I honestly did not want to focus my time and energy on a new travel blog) - so that is what I did.  I was introduced to my current editor by a friend, and I write for The Fit Traveller.  Now when I pitch a travel brand or partner I can say that I have influence (nearly 100K Followers on Instagram), I can create beautiful content (I’ve been successfully doing this for years, and that I am a luxury travel writer with a portfolio of writing (my page of content can be found here on The Fit Traveller: https://thefittraveller.com/author/pat-bailey/); this is a compelling pitch for my brand partners to host me in exchange for this exposure and sharing and we both win.

Last year many of the trips I planned were on my dime, I traveled to the properties and they hosted me.  This was my investment in my new idea while I was building my portfolio and proving my talent and skills.  I traveled on my own to places like Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Italy, Corsica, France…and I built my portfolio along the way.  At the end of last year I was invited on my first Press Trip which was my first travel writing experience that was fully paid, and since then into this year I have been invited on many trips hosted by travel partners, properties, agencies and tourism boards that are fully hosted.  It is indeed a dream job, and it is something I feel is well-deserved because I put in the work and time and investment in myself to do this - I also take the work and opportunities very seriously and I’m incredibly grateful and I know this shows in my work every single day.

I think the biggest misconception is that being a travel influencer or travel writer is easy and pays well/is fully sustainable.  No matter what it looks like, it is not easy, it is work.  The best influencers and writer make it look easy as they are sharing the work, but behind the scenes it is a lot of work capturing content, sharing in real time, managing travel, keeping up with the itinerary, writing, etc.  And, rarely are influencers and writers fully sustaining themselves on being a travel influencer or writing alone - most of us have additional forms of income that off-set the travel we must pay for on our own, additional expenses, and everyday life expenses.  Many of us have additional brands, work other jobs in addition to the travel, up-sell additional content, etc. to travel partners, etc.

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Does your heart belong to a specific place?

This is a popular question that many ask people who travel a lot and it is also the hardest question for me to answer - I love so many places!  What I can tell you is that I let my heart decide on a place right away and I hear my heart clearly and quickly when I land in a new place.  I know almost instantly if a place feels good in my heart or feels like a “heart place.”  Some of my favorite heart places are: Paris, Thailand and Bali, Italy and Greece, Nicaragua, and newly Cook Islands.  To choose one of these wouldn’t be possible…but I’ve currently chosen Paris which is speaking to my heart the loudest these days.


What is your favorite thing about traveling?

This is another hard question!  Traveling is addictive, the more you travel the more you want to travel…and now when I’m not traveling it feels strange and I get the itch to move or go.  I love traveling because it exposes me to the world: people, cultures, beliefs, food...and each new experience teaches me something about the world and myself. I love the empowerment it has given me, I travel mostly by myself and this is a beautifully liberating and powerful feeling.  I love how light I’ve gotten and how traveling more and more each year has taught me to really focus on what matters, instead of material things I focus on experiences.  I love exploring brand-new places and feeling anonymous.  But mostly, the more I travel the more I realize that we are all so much more alike than we are different, this has been a really beautiful realization as I experience people and places all over the world.


What is your favorite thing about instagram?

My favorite thing about Instagram is how small it has made the world, partly by the intention for this to be true that I place on the app, my vibration with it and the energy I attach to it, and partly by design of the platform.  What was once not accessible is literally at our fingertips, people who we may not have ever connected with are magically our new friend, connections, etc.  I have experienced so much magic over the seven years I have been on Instagram.  Magic in experience, magic in abundance, magic in connection, magic in having a space where I can create my own mini universe and glean all kinds of intentional things from it!


What do you think are the components to making a good photo?

First and foremost a good photo is one that you LOVE, it is a HELL YES for you.  You love everything about it.  Great content tells a story, it invites the viewer in, it is edited well, styled beautifully and shows thought and creativity.  


Any advice on how to stay grounded when running your own business?

Staying grounded in life is important in general.  I stay grounded by focusing on ritual, discipline and routines that keep me in my heart, connected to spirit and to myself.  Grounded means connected to myself, to what matters to me.  I stay grounded by meditating, by connecting to my faith, by listening to myself, and by focusing on following my heart and intuition.  All of these things are helpful when you add anything into the mix, including running your own business.  Taking care of yourself first, everything is integrated, means everything else is easier to manage beyond this.


What is the Hell Yes Academy?

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The Hell Yes Academy is a 12-week program in three parts: creation, management and elevation that began as a program to help people with their brands, and it has evolved to be a space for people to shift and evolve in life as well as with what they are creating.  I bring all of the parts of me: teacher, guide, healer, yogi, entrepreneur into the program’s content and I create and hold space for the students I have the honor of guiding to feel fully seen and supported as they learn how to create in their life, manage themselves, their brand and their lives, and elevate themselves, and their brands.  The program is an intimate one, 7-10 students participate each quarter, group classes happen online and students come together from all over the world.  Each student has a Mentor who is a graduate of the program and every single student has unlimited access to me and weekly one-on-one calls.  The program is a holistic approach to branding and business with beautiful integration of intentional living and mindful work.  Students are working on their passion projects, their dharma, their heart work and it is my biggest honor in life to do this heart work of mine and witness their evolution and shifts in this sacred space.  The Academy will be 2 years old on January 1st and it currently has 41 graduates of the program.  I will take the Academy public for it’s 2nd birthday and also launch a Passport concept which will bring all of us together in real life in the coming months.  It has become more than a program, it is community…family, and something I am really proud of.


What is your favorite thing about helping other ladies trying to start their own businesses?

My very favorite thing about helping women is a deep knowing that I am doing what I am here to do, and feeling fully appreciated and seen for doing this work.  Nothing feels better than this.  This is selfless work and it feels incredible to be the catalyst for someone, anyone, to make a shift, evolve, create something they love, live a bigger/happier life, feel better…etc.  I feel so grateful to be able to do this in my life, and to be able to serve in this way.


What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in this lifetime of entrepreneurship?

I’ve learned so many lessons as an entrepreneur!  But the biggest thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is that who you are as a person and the work you put into this has everything to do with what you create in your life.  The lesson is to work on yourself to create the foundation for your life in every way: personally and for business.  And, I’ve learned the power of intention; intention is everything.


Any advice for our readers on how to stay positive?

Staying positive is a choice, just like anything else.  I know sometimes staying positive seems beyond our control and certainly we all experience extenuating circumstances that challenge this, but ultimately even when things are beyond our control we have a choice in that moment for how we respond, or our outlook.  Choose to be happy, choose to be positive, choose to look at sadness, difficulty, challenges as a great teacher or contrast for you.  We are as positive as we choose to be, as happy as we choose to be.  If you don’t believe me, next time you aren’t feeling super positive, smile.  Just try it.  It is impossible not to start feeling more positive instantly if you are smiling…see?  We have the power to instantly choose to change how we feel.

Find out more about Pat Bailey and her Hell Yes Life :

insta: @patbailey

site: www.thehellyeslife.com

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Phoebe sherman

is the founder of Girl Gang Craft.

follow her on instagram & check out her site.

Meghan Shimek

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By Phoebe Sherman

I’m sitting in Meghan Shimek’s bright loft, her live-work space on the cusp of Oakland and Alameda. Her room is long and rectangular. The bed is situated right next to a mess of fiber, weavings, and looms, which  are scattered amongst the village of legos that Megan and her son, Grey lovingly built. Above the long room is a loft where Grey sleeps. The space is a gentle chaos mashed with a serene light and deep inner knowing. Her pieces connote healing and softness within the organized disarray. Her cat makes an appearance to say hello.

If you haven’t heard of Meghan, you’ve been living under a rock, and you need to check out her website immediately. As a well-established fiber artist in the Bay Area, Megan’s work hangs in places such as The Assembly, Merchant Roots, and All Birds in  San Francisco. She is a staple at the largest craft fairs, including West Coast Craft, and has held various solo shows in the Bay Area, Portland, and in Paris.

Born in Flint, Michigan, Megan lived there until she was 27. After receiving degrees in both History and Nutrition, she moved to Washington D.C., where she did nutritional research at a farmer’s market and oversaw a program for food stamps.Meghan loved working with food and people, especially because, according to her, everyone is generally in a good mood at farmer’s markets. (so true). The spirit of D.C. just wasn’t quite for her though, and she wanted a change. She and her then boyfriend packed up their entire lives, and bought one-way tickets to San Francisco, both without jobs in the middle of a recession.

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She found a job working with Farmer’s Markets out here in California, and with that work, she became interested in Agricultural systems, focusing on where our food comes from and how it is  grown and raised. Through this work, she learned about how animals are raised for wool, which in turn led her to fiber. She had always “kinda knit and crocheted” since her teens and started to use fiber in her knitting.

When she went home to Michigan, her parents convinced her to take a class at the local yarn store. She took a workshop on weaving scarfs (these are the only two scarfs she has ever woven to this day) and then decided to try her hands at wall hangings. She just started playing, exploring, and became addicted to the art form. She woke up early in the morning to weave and when Grey went to bed at night or when he took a nap. She spent every chance she got at her loom.

A couple months later, Nate, her then husband, got a job offer in Arizona, and they all moved together as a family. Grey started preschool, and Meghan, once again, had extra time to weave. She found a store in town and took Navajo weaving, floor weaving, and spinning classes. She said “which I’m terrible at. I don’t spin. Like yarn spinning not exercise spinning, which I’m also sure I’d be terrible at.” She started to weave more and began to post on Instagram. At some point she opened a small online shop.

At the end of 2013, just one year after starting her business selling weavings, Jessa Carter contacted Megan, saying that she had been following Meghan’s work and wanted some pieces for a pop-up at her gallery in Seattle. At that point Megan was using yarn, found objects- like bark, frawns, and raw fleece (curly like when it’s just been sheared and not processed).

A couple months later, Megan and her family moved back to San Francisco, where Megan began teaching workshops on weaving and fiber arts Then another gallery contacted her in Oakland. “These little opportunities started to present themselves,.” Megan said. There had been discussion of her going “back to work,” but the world’s kinda collided and she was able to put her energy into weaving and was able to get a bit of an income. An Oakland gallery owner encouraged her to apply for West Coast Craft (at the time in its second year as a craft show), and got in.  

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Then, her father unexpectedly passed away. And two weeks later, her marriage fell apart. “The rug was just ripped out from underneath me. My whole life was all of a sudden not my life anymore,.” Megan said.

“Being able to weave is what saved me. It was so mediative, it was an expression of everything I was going through.”  According to Megan, weaving through these painful experiences allowed Megan to connect to others who had experienced loss as well, especially women.  

Being able to weave is what saved me. It was so mediative, it was an expression of everything I was going through. In our world, there is so much pain...there’s always war, there’s always death, and there are all these hard edges. I think this [my art] just feels really soft, feels really comforting, and it adds a softness and a texture to things that can speak to people. And [they connect to] knowing what I put into it, and where it came from, it came out of me.

She had spent a month in Michigan when her father passed, and when she returned she had to make pieces for West Coast Craft, with not much time left. She learned she could weave fast with roving. Roving is the step before wool is spun into yarn. It is fluffy and thick and kinda looks like pieces of cotton candy. “Working with the material itself felt so good...it was really healing,” she said. “I could move my whole body. With tapestry weaving, you’re sitting there and beating it down. You don’t get to move as much.” Megan began getting more recognition from roving because of the unique quality to her work.. “No one was working with roving in this way,” she said.  “This style I started to develop was my own. It was something really different.”

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When she first started working with roving, she stuck to neutrals, whites and greys and blacks which are colors she usually wears, and also Grey’s name is Grey! In 2015 she started working with blues and greens, selecting only a few colors at a time due to the high cost of roving.

To her amazement, she sold two large scale pieces at West Coast Craft, in addition to some smaller pieces. To her it felt like she had found her calling. She was doing something for herself, She was doing something that was recognized and that no one else was doing. Weaving with roving was not a common thing. “I knew I was an artist, when I saw that I had done something no one had done before. It wasn’t informed by anyone else’s work. I spent time developing what I was doing and finding my own voice in this work. To this day if people see this work, they knows it’s mine. That’s what defines when you become an artist.”

She got a contract with the fashion retailer Splendid  to make a piece for all of their American stores. They wanted indigos and whites.She inched her way through purples and some “creamsicle” colors and then last year she discovered red.

Growing up, Megan rarely wore red (she claims it was due to her “rosy cheeks”), and she generally stayed away from using red in her work. This changed, however, after seeing a dancer wearing a bit of red roving interact with one of her pieces (a woven cocoon) at a show. Megan thought it was extremely powerful, and changed her mind about red.

After the 2016 election, Megan describes a time when she felt like “All of my nerve endings were on the outside of my body. I was so sensitive, so upset. How were we going to get through this? And I think all of us did. We felt very raw, it was very difficult.” These sentiments inspired a piece titled Exposed, made up of two smaller white weavings connected with red roving. That was her first red piece, and she decided to run with the idea, next doing a show made up entirely of red pieces

Today, Megan is working with a lot of creams, pinks, and earthy tones. She still loves working with the “creamsicle” palette and neutrals, but likes to experiment.

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Meghan gives the ladies of Girl Gang Craft some advice:

  1. Don’t undervalue your work.

Price your work to sell, not to sell fast. When you lower your prices, you lose value. “This is a creative expression, it’s not an hourly rate”

      2.  When you’re first starting out, say “yes” to everything. If something isit’s outside of your comfort zone, do it anyway-maybe you’ll love it, maybe you’ll hate it, and that is okay. Once you are more established then learn to say “no”. Say no to those opportunities that don’t nourish you. Create balance.

       3.  Keep on working, and don’t give up after rejection.

 

Meghan serves as an inspiration to artists throughout the Bay Area. Her work is unique, consistent, playful, and brings a vibrancy to any residential or commercial space. Her calming paletes and literally soft pieces bring a gentle cohesiveness to any environment. She is a joy to talk to. Her works, like her thoughts, are decisive, steady, and warm.


You can find more about Meghan and her work at https://www.meghanshimek.com.

All photos taken by  Phoebe Sherman .

All photos taken by Phoebe Sherman.

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Phoebe Sherman

is the founder of Girl Gang Craft.

follow her on instagram & check out her site.

Copy editor: Aviva Maslow

Source: meghanshimek.com