i first met grace of lark + arrow at a meet and mingle that she co-hosted with the creative gals at makers mess. a recent transplant from portland, oregon, grace jumped right into the creative community here in los angeles, sharing her love for all things handmade. while in oregon and in search of fellow creatives, she founded CYL (craft your life), an online resource for female creatives and makers that provides relevant resources and a supportive community. i got to stop by her los angeles home studio for a peek into her daily work and cozy aesthetic. you can become a part of the CYL community yourself, follow along on instagram for information on her curated handmade markets, and of course get a behind the scenes look at her gorgeous weaving work at lark + arrow.
were you working elsewhere before leaving to start your business?
yes! I was working in post-production photography. I had a whole six month plan of how I was going to transition out of that at the start of 2017. Quite literally banking on holiday sales to offer the security I needed to make the leap. But my plans were foiled when I suddenly didn’t have a job late Summer. I was totally unprepared and panicked, but it ended being the best possible thing for myself and both my businesses.
was your new path motivated by a particular creative need or personal goal?
at that point I had been running CYL for 1.5 years, and Lark + Arrow for about one year. I felt that I was spread very thin and straddling this line that made it difficult to be immersed in a way that would actually move my businesses forward. Plus my mental and emotional health was taking a beating! So the idea of making this my full time was motivated by creative and personal needs. I needed less on my plate so I could more fully give to what I felt important while still finding personal time to recharge. I also needed time where I didn’t feel pressured and was allowed to create without restrictions or tasks burdening me.
did you receive any particular advice that stood out when starting your own business?
at the time this advice was lost on me, but I’ve come to appreciate it and apply it regularly now! Learn to clock out! Step away from emails, work, your desk. Create a differentiation between your work life and your ‘you’ life.
where do you gain fuel that inspires your creative endeavors?
i’m lucky to have such incredibly kind and talented creative friends. They are doing wonderful things and watching their journeys pushes me to rise up with them. It keeps challenging myself and exploring new ways to approach my medium.
what was the most unexpected aspect of putting together your business?
when you work a regular job and have to clock in and out, typically you are assigned one role. When you run your own business, especially in the beginning when you are the ENTIRE business, you have to wear EVERY hat. Which has surprisingly been one of my favorite aspects of being an entrepreneur. Growing up my future career aspirations changed from week to week. The idea of being just one of those things seemed unacceptable. But now I find from hour to hour I can take on a different role-designer, counselor, photographer, writer — the list goes on!
what kind of vibe did you have in mind while designing your studio space?
i like blank canvas spaces. Spaces that at a moment’s notice I can ‘customize’ to suit my mood. So plants, textiles, ceramics, basically things are that mobile! I take my plants very seriously, which is evident upon looking at my Instagram. And since I can’t always be with my dear maker friends, I try to surround myself with their handmade goods.
what are some of your work tools that you can’t live without?
one of my favorite things about my medium, is that I always have my tools with me! All of my work is hand-knotted. Which is great, because I’m a very tactile person so I love to get in there and get really handsy with my work! I also always keep an assortment of combs nearby. I have a love affair with fringe and the combs are a great way to create beautiful texture within the rope.
what are the top three things someone should consider before changing careers or starting their own business?
make sure you are passionate about your business. The amount of work that comes along with being an entrepreneur is not for the faint-hearted, and without passion, it will be very hard to pull through those insane no-sleep work weeks! Also, learn to be disciplined and manage your time. It’s easy when you work from home to let lunches become four hour Netflix binges… Lastly, have you come up with an actual game plan? I highly suggest writing a business plan so you have a clear map of where you are going.
• photography by lily glass for sfgirlbybay.
from sfgirlbybay http://www.sfgirlbybay.com/2016/11/14/studio-tour-lark-and-arrow/