"I moved to Northampton, Massachusetts after college and have made it my home for the past 7 years. It's sort of a quintessential New England college town. It's progressive and artsy, populated by students (the historic Smith College overlooks downtown), creatives, & activists, and is surrounded by beautiful farmland and equally great small towns. I truly love it here in western Massachusetts."
My assistant used to work in my studio with me 3-4 days a week, which was great for production, but I didn't like how it felt like I was suddenly overseeing a small factory, pumping out banners as quick as possible. It just felt...weird. So for now, with my current product line, I'm keeping my production methods really small. I love what I do. I love that the pieces I make can bring positivity and hope into the homes of those who purchase them. Because of the meaning behind my work, it feels important to me to have control over how each piece was made, and the energy that went into making it. I often receive notes on orders about why a person is needing a banner, or how they are giving it to a friend in need. A recent customer told me her mother passed away from cancer and she's getting the banner because her mom always told her to "be brave". I thought about that woman and her mom the whole time I was making her banner. It's heavy and maybe not the best way to be running a business, but it's important for me to be doing it this way. To feel connected to each of my customers, to know that it's more than just an object or a job."
"This is a funny question, because any personal mottos I have to keep me going have manifested themselves as banners. IT'S OK, BE BRAVE, BE KIND, LET IT GO, FIGURE IT OUT...I'm literally surrounded by these sentiments all day long, and while the majority of my energy goes into providing these affirmations for others, they are just as important for me. When I'm feeling burnt out, I usually just need to take a break. That might mean I need to sit outside while eating my lunch for 20 minutes, or it may mean I need to be done with work for the day. Sometimes allowing myself to work on a project that is not work-related for a few hours feels really good. Stepping back and noticing when I'm just puttering around, jumping between jobs but not really accomplishing anything is the most important. You're not going to get anything done like that, so you may as well just take some time off and get back to work later."
Many thanks to Ashley for sharing her time and process with us. You can shop our exclusive banners made by this talented artist here.