We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacie Forest and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stacie, what matters most to you?
Freedom is a value that can easily be taken for granted. For me, and for many entrepreneurs, freedom is my driving force. Although many don’t want to admit it because it seems so basic, money brings freedom; freedom to choose; freedom to come and go; freedom to do what you want; even the freedom to fail. And though, “Money isn’t everything”, not having it is awful. I stumbled into being an artist/entrepreneur on accident. I simply wanted to make extra money for our growing family and I discovered I could paint simple murals for homes and businesses. I then found myself in the sports photography business as I took photos of my own kids and others began to pay me to take photos of their kids, too. My artistic drive has led me to now throwing pottery and making whimsical ceramic sculpture. At first, those extra dollars each month gave me the freedom to buy things for the house and get special treats for the kids. But eventually, I was able to use that income to pay bills, travel, give to charity, and, of course, buy supplies and upgrade my equipment to go to the next level in my art. Women, especially, need the empowerment that economic freedom brings to entrepreneurs. That economic freedom encourages our self-esteem, provides opportunity for community, and offers the chance to live life on our own terms. My life as an artist has been a winding road from paintings to photography to pottery and ceramic sculpture. I am thankful that others have enjoyed my art enough to pay me for it. It has offered me the freedom to make money as a creative, which feeds my artistic soul as well as my wallet.Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Photography was my introduction to art. It gave me courage to explore my creative side which I didn’t really understand for years. I was drawn to design and composition and devoured books and watched movies about artists and what drove them. Sports photography was my entry into selling my work and I grew more confident in considering myself an artist. Even though I never had the top of the line equipment, I developed a good eye and techniques that others enjoyed. It was also a thrill to be able to give away much of my work. Although I now do other forms of art, I can never give up my first love and enjoy landscape and wildlife photography along with taking portraits and, of course, sports. Falling into pottery was a life changer. I took a simple clay class around the time I was becoming an empty-nester. The clay was so therapeutic to work with and so forgiving. When I started on the wheel I didn’t progress as quickly as I wanted and I decided I would give up. But I told myself I would try one more time. That next attempt, I was able to get my clay higher than I ever had before and I was so excited; although looking back, it was such a simple, short little bowl. I am so happy I made myself try once more though. The pottery “addiction” grabbed me after that. I now sell functional pottery pieces in bold and fun colors, as well as whimsical yard art and sculpture.Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Denton is such a great little city that’s kept a small town feel. When anyone new visits, I send them straight to our downtown square. Recycled Books and Records will keep you busy for hours, and I love to meet friends at Jupiter House Coffee. Atomic Candy is super fun with novelty candy and gifts, then right next door is More Fun Comics where I can pick up kid comics for my nephew and Superman gifts for my husband. And many family celebrations have happened at Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream shop. But, one of my favorite things to recommend for a Texas newbie, is going to a high school football game. You have to experience, at least once, watching a couple of small town teams put everything they have into the game they love while cheerleaders fly and the fans go wild, all while accompanied with the soundtrack of a fantastic marching band. Just make sure that afterward you head to Whataburger for that traditional after-game treatShoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am very thankful to my art teacher and master potter, Mindy Faubion. She is a world-renowned water color painter, but also an amazing teacher in all art fields. She gave me my first lessons, and even though my style is much different than hers, her patience and encouragement have helped me try new techniques. I have worked in her studio for several years now and love to listen in even as she is teaching others because I feel like I learn something new every time.
Instagram: @forest_fired, @sforest1
Samuel Speights Greg M. Hammer