Monday, April 20, 2009

interview: liz kalloch

My dears, good morning!
You are in for a real treat on this fine Monday: an interview with Liz Kalloch of Athena Dreams. Liz has appeared on Pecannoot a couple times (here and here), and I'm *honored and excited* to share this interview with her. Her answers are wonderful (and one in particular is making me laugh and nod my head with understanding at the same time)! So, without further ado....

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. (What's your favorite color? What can't you live without? What do you do all day? What's your favorite way to relax? Share whatever random bits you'd like!)

I am an artist and graphic designer and live near San Francisco, on a hill looking out over the SF Bay with my musician husband. I am a freelance graphic designer for several gift industry and book publishers, and some of my designs and art are licensed by several gift industry publishers

My favourite colour has been purple for as long as I can remember, but I occasionally lean toward lime green as my favourite, I know, a curious dichotomy...

I spend my day doing any number of things: designing, prepping files for the printer, painting, packing and shipping, making notes about how I could better sell my work (trying to get my head around marketing ideas), making sketches for paintings, meeting with a client who wants a new business card or a book designed, and most days it's a little of everything.

Jess asked me what I do all day, and all this is, in a nutshell, what I do, but I also get to do things like: think about colour and it's symbolism and interplay, work in collaboration with other creatives (writers, artists, photographers), bring to life ideas that are swimming around in my head, and more times than not, I end my day feeling like I accomplished something that made me all happy inside, in terms of my art or design work. All in all, not a bad day, not a bad day at all.

I can't live without my morning cup of coffee, or my iTunes which keep me company all day.

And for relaxation, nothing does it better than a great movie and some knitting at the end of the day. I have been loving all the BBC/Masterpiece Theatre versions of the Jane Austen novels this winter, while working on various hats, a wrap and a cardigan. Perfect day-ender for me.

{cards available in liz's etsy shop}

2. What is abundance to you?

To me, abundance encompasses a few things:
*Friends (and family) that you can share your inner most happiness, your inner most fears and your brightest and darkest moments with
*Good health

*Feeling like I have enough. Enough love, enough connection, enough joy, enough of the things that make me happy, content and "safe" from the top of my head, warmed by the sun in a blue sky, right down to my toes curling into the sweet, soft grass

*Getting to a place in my work life where I am able to support myself solely on what I create - both art and design wise - I don't even have the words to express how full that makes me feel...
*An endless stream of books to read that feed my soul and my heart and my curious mind
*Waking each morning and wondering to myself, "what new creative idea/happening/collaboration/contact that I am not expecting might happen today"

3. What are 5 things you are grateful for right now, in this moment?

*My group of artist girlfriends who listen to my stories and worries about real and potential face plants (in life and in art) as well as my moments of feeling spectacular and full of life, with equal interest, compassion and love.
*The chorus of birds singing just outside my window
*Everything, the good stuff and the bad stuff, that has led me on the sometimes winding and often curious route to where I am now
*My morning coffee (yes!)
*My husband, a musician, who always encourages me to step up and grab the present moment out of the air, and run with it as hard and long as is needed, and then know when to put it down, and grab the next one that has come along.

4. What is your favorite part of your day?

The morning. Waking up, staring out the window, (and yes, drinking my coffee) making my lists for the day, thinking about what I need to get done, what deadlines I have, and also what I might make time for that is not on any To Do list.

5. What is one huge, crazy-seeming goal that you dream about accomplishing?

Oh, I have a lot of those, so, hmmm, to pick one... One of the things that is really interesting me these days is collaboration. Collaboration between artists of different genres, between artists of different regional areas, and even different countries, and the idea of how a group of artists could work together to create something, all the while supporting each other and themselves. I would love to have an art center where I could invite all various and different groups of artists to come and work on an installation, have a big opening party and spend a few weeks looking at what was created, and then start all over again.

6. Do you have any irrational fears/worries that you'd love to let go of?

I have this fear that one day I will wake up with no more ideas, my mind just a blank echoing corridor, with nothing in it, it's kind of more like a nightmare, and I would like to banish it!
The fear that I won't have enough money to pay for even the most basic essentials, and that we will end up homeless. This one sucks a lot of my energy, and I really need to let go of it.
Oh and the fear that maybe I suck, as an artist, as a designer, and I will be revealed as this giant fraud, who should have always been a janitor, yeah, that's another lovely one that needs to go.

7. Do you have any tricks for turning a bad mood into a good mood?

Two things that work pretty consistently: dancing or walking. There are those days where things aren't lining up, where I feel like I am fighting with my computer or my paint brush, miscommunications with others are happening left and right, the presentation I worked so hard on putting together is received with an "eh", those days when everything gathers to make for a sour, crap-ass of a day, one bad mood op-out is dancing in my studio. I have a couple of playlists in my iTunes for just that mood turning purpose, and I turn the volume way up and go for it. My other option is to get outside and walk. Something about my feet on the ground, feeling my body moving thru the air, swinging my arms, it never fails. Never underestimate the power of the body to get you out of your head...

{this journal will soon be available from brush dance }

8. What daily practices do you follow, if any, to stay focused on positivity and abundance in your life? (journaling, meditating, drawing, visualization, reading, etc.)

I am a list maker and a doodler. Lists keep me focused, they keep me grounded, they remind me of my dreams, my hopes, and they help to keep my mind clear of distracting and negative thoughts. Doodling keeps my mind moving and calms my inner gremlins too. I have never been a consistent journaler, or meditator, I start with all good intentions, and then fall out of the habit pretty quickly, but the lists and the doodles, they have always kept me on a positive track, and those moments when I lose my place, bring me back to the moment at hand.

9. Do you have a favorite quote or author that help you remember to live and think abundantly?

I have many quotes that I keep around me - on the fridge, on my bulletin board, taped to the dashboard of my car, but one quote from mary anne radmacher has been my mantra for a few months now: intentional change is the most ferocious response to fear. I look at that every day when walking in to my studio and every night walking out, and remind myself over and over again, it is all about where I put my intention, and purposefully moving my intention away from fear and "less than" thoughts is when I move into an abundant state of mind.

Two other faves:

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. - J. Campbell

Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels and what one achieves. -Nehru

10. Can you share some books or blogs with us that you think Pecannoot readers might love?

In the last 6-9 months I have been going back again and again to a couple of books:

*Lean Forward into Your Life by Maryanne Radmacher
*Life is a Verb by Patty Digh
*Ordinary Sparkling Moments by Christine Mason Miller

I find new and wonderfully abundant words in new places each time I re-open these books.

What a terrific interview, wouldn't you say? To see more of Liz's work, please please please visit her blog (Athena Dreams), her website, and her etsy shop.

Thank you so so much, Liz!


  1. yay for liz.
    loved this.

    now seriously jess, how can you not come to squam??? ;-D

  2. Yeah Jess, what Jenica said: seriously Jess!