Featured Female Maker - Denali Paper Co.
Hello Friends! We are back with another Featured Female Maker!
This week we are featuring Karissa of Denali Paper Co. Karissa is also our Monthly Maker in the shop for November! Come by the store to check out all of the gorgeous prints, cards, mugs, and wrapping she has for sale.
Let's learn a little more about the woman behind Denali Paper co.
How did you get into your craft or hobby?
I have always been into art and creative endeavors. My parents had so many art projects hanging on the refrigerator. In middle school I started color coding my class notes, using different pens for headings and practicing my cursive. This was my first (unintentional) introduction into hand lettering.
Who has been your biggest mentor or role model?
My biggest mentor early on (middle school) was my art teacher, Ms. Brownstein. As far as hand-lettering goes, I look up to Lauren Hom and Stefan Kunz.
My biggest obstacle has been dedicating time to my art while also being a full time high school English teacher. Teaching takes up so much time and emotional energy, I really have to be intentional with the time I carve out for creating. The second biggest obstacle has been imposter syndrome. I know I'm not the only creative that has felt this way, questioning if your work is worthy, if you're good enough, if you're a "real" artist. I think it was especially tough for me when I chose to go to graduate school for education after completing my bachelors degree in art. Since I chose to pursue teaching for a long time I felt that also meant I chose not be a "real" artist. The best part is, you can be more than one thing, and it took me a while to realize I could be both.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement has been launching my business. It was something I thought about and toyed with a few years, but actually deciding to take the leap was a big deal for me. Now its time to grow, build, and continue the journey.
Tell us something on your bucket list
My artist bucket list is ever growing! I have so many things I want to accomplish now that I've decided to make this creative business my reality. At the top of the list are: 1. Publish a children's ABC book featuring hand-lettered, empowering quotes. 2. Become a full time artist/creator 3. Work/create while traveling SE Asia for a month or more 4. Collaborate on a Starbucks holiday cup
What advice do you have for other female makers?
Never, ever think your dream is too big, too bold, or too "extra". If it lights a fire inside your soul, go after it, regardless of what other well meaning people in your life think. Invest in yourself and take risks; no one ever charted new paths by playing it safe. Even though it's 2019, I still hear women and girls say they have interest in pursing something but their parent/friend/significant other doesn't think it's something a girl/woman should do.
F*ck that, do it anyway! And while you're doing the damn thing, lift up, encourage, and support other female makers and entrepreneurs along the way.
What is the most frustrating thing about being a small business owner?
The most frustrating part is that people who haven't been there don't always understand how much time it takes. Friends and family don't always understand that business hours is a relative term, especially if your small business is a side hustle. For me, any hour in which something needs to be done is part of business hours. I'm really lucky to have great friends and family that are super supportive, but there really is always something that I could or should be doing for my business.
How do you "treat yo self?'
Self care is my motto for this school year. Probably because I'm a teacher, but I make my new years resolutions at the end of August. This year's is all about self care. As a natural "helper", I tend to focus on the needs of others, so this year I'm being intentional about making time for myself. For me, that's getting my nails done, getting a massage every few months, and actually taking my vacation days this year.
Favorite show or podcast to binge while you work?
Criminal Minds, Disney movies, and HGTV (Fixer Upper, Home Town, & Good Bones are my favs). I also love Aaron Manke's podcast, Lore.
Your go to song to get you pumped up
Lizzo's - Like A Girl & Alessia Cara - Here
Where do you get inspiration?
I'm an English teacher, I LOVE words, quotes, books, and how they inspire those who encounter them. I get inspiration from my students, travel, and old buildings.
If you could have any super power what would it be?
Draw a perfect circle, or a perfectly steady hand... or to teleport, lunch in Rome on a whim sounds fabulous.
If you could give your past self any advice, what would it be?
Don't worry about what every one else thinks, including your parents. They may be well meaning, but life is too short to make decisions based on what you think other people want you to do or what others think you should do. Follow your heart, work hard, and everything else will fall into place.
When you face a creative block how do you work through it?
When I can, I travel... traveling clears my head more than anything else. If traveling isn't an option, I get outside. Hike, walk by the water, sit outside at a new cafe, anything to put myself in a new place and to get fresh air.