A day in the life of fibre artist Anna Mathis
Anna Mathis is a fibre artist who lives outside Fredericton, NB and works with fibre using a wide variety of techniques such as dyeing, weaving, felting and much more. She is an energetic, passionate person which is reflected in her work, creating elegant, playful pieces and combines bright and soft colours, some just for looking at, others as “wearable art”.
I met Anna awhile back in the in-between place when she’d finished at NBCCD and was about to get married. She had finished the creative part of her training and was about to embark on the more practical end of it, studying adult education at UNB. Anna wanted to be able to teach what she loved, to pass on those skills that bring her so much joy. She recently launched her own creative business and I thought it would be great to a peek into her day-to-day.
Thanks for sharing Anna!
*Words and photos courtesy of Anna Mathis*
This past spring, I graduated from university and was scared out of my pants about getting this business (whatever it was going to be) off the ground and making it into a career. The world of work is changing, there is hardly such thing as a stable job any more. We read news articles saying that this is an amazing time to be an entrepreneur; I believe that it is also an amazing time to be an artist.
My husband and I moved into our new home in May 2016, and it already feels like we have been here forever. After only a few months of unpacking, organizing and planning I finally felt ready to jump into my business, so in June I started working full time as an artist out of our new (old) home. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Slowly, but surely, I have begun carving out my daily routine for this new chapter of my life and I want to share my day with you.
At 6:30 am, Andrew and I roll out of bed. I get the coffee going and breakfast started and we consciously take this time to slow-down and enjoy these precious quiet moments together. Once he is out the door, I head out to the chicken coop to feed our four chickens and let them run around outside. I make my way across the yard, water our garden and do a bit of harvesting.
At 9:00 am, it is time to head into the studio!
In my studio I make lists, I spend some time on the computer advertising workshops and responding to emails, applying for gallery shows, and submitting proposals for fiber festivals. I try to get all of the online work out of the way first thing in the morning so I can spend the rest of my day making.
I dye wool and yarns, and cut out labels and package them.
I create felt samples that turn into products which I make and make and make until I am tired of making them and then I make some new samples and see how they sell before I start making some more. I try to exaggerate, use vibrant colours and feminine forms so the wearer can stand out from the crowd.
Sometimes these samples don’t turn into products they turn into workshops, or I create a composition and photograph them into something that I can use for marketing.
I want to share an outlet of self-expression; either by handing over the materials and passing on the knowledge for someone to create on their own, or simply allowing them the space to find a piece of themselves in my wearable art work.
(TWIST Fibre Arts Festival, Felted Vessel Workshop - Photograph by Sebastien Lavallee)
But by the end of the day, at about 4:30pm, I clean up, shut the door and “head home”. I typically do last night’s dishes or get supper started before Andrew comes home, but once a week I steal away some time to collect a wildflower bouquet for our table.
I am so grateful for the pleasure of watching the summer season bloom and fade away again. Now as I walk around our property I can tell that the growing grass has started to slow and the trees are beginning to lose their apples. I feel a change in the air as I begin preparing for fall and Christmas craft sales, and getting ready to bundle up and teach workshops in Woodstock, Cambridge Narrows, Saint John and of course here in Fredericton. After four short months of being an artist full time I feel the momentum building and propelling me forward as I grow my studio practice.
Find out more about Anna below: