Thursday

Conversation with Phoebe




Vibeke: First Phoebe could you share a little bit about yourself?
Phoebe: I was about to dive right in and then my fingers hovered over the keys for a while after thinking about this question. It’s tough to know where to begin and end. I grew up in a small town- Wyoming, Pennsylvania. I had an amazing childhood. My parents liked to travel and do interesting things so looking back I feel really fortunate for the values they instilled in me. They shaped who I am today. I moved to New York City (my dream) when I was 21 and spent 17 years studying and working in the textile design industry. I never thought I’d leave NY. I love that city, but a subtle change happened within me a few years ago that made me examine what I wanted in life. I left my job, and started designing my own textiles. Before long I decided to leave New York as well. It was absolutely life changing and scary in the absolute best of ways. So, here I am, back in Pennsylvania. I’m reconnecting to my roots and appreciating things that I took for granted when my younger self lived here.




Vibeke: "Untold Imprint", what were your thoughts behind the chosing of these words for your art label?
Phoebe: My sister Zoe was actually the one who accidentally came up with the name in the end. I had settled on Unfold after months, and I mean months, of deliberation. I called her to run it by her and get the stamp of approval. I was still hesitant, something about it just didn’t feel right. My family, being my greatest focus group, always weighs in and I trust them. When I told her the name, she misheard me and said, “Untold. I like it.” As soon as the word left her mouth I knew that was the name. It conveyed the feeling I was searching for in such a simple way. My work is very inconstant. It changes as I change and most of the time I don’t really know how a print will look until I lift the screen. It’s like the untold part of a story that one is waiting to hear. The best part. I added Imprint to distinguish it a bit more and also because I love the word. It seemed like the two belonged together.









Vibeke: What have you learned about yourself through the process of starting up your own business?
Phoebe: Starting my business just happened to coincide with a personal shift. I was delving into who I was being and who I wanted to be in the world. The two never seemed to meet and it wasn’t until I realized that, that things started falling into place and making sense for the first time. I didn’t realize how important it was to be truly ‘me’ in both my work and personal life and then the realization that the two should blend seamlessly was a revelation. I thought for a long time that I could be good at my work and make money and not need to love what I was creating. I hid that part of my life from my personal interactions and then dimmed down my true self in my professional interactions. It was such an unnatural and insincere way to live. It was almost like I was two different people. It’s difficult to put into words how much I’ve learned about myself in the past two years. I’ve learned to feel worthy of good things. I’ve learned that not everyone needs to like me or to like what I’m doing but that I need to love me and love what I put into the world. If I can do that, I feel like a whole person.

 

Vibeke: I am passionate about the topic of beauty and my favourite quote is also about this topic: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.”.John Muir.
i would love to know what beauty is for you and what it means to you?
Phoebe: Of course I find beauty in majestic things like the Taj Mahal, but I find the most beauty in simple everyday things. Beauty is everywhere. I’m most affected by the quiet moments. The little things that go unnoticed a lot of times as we rush through our days. When I stop and slow down, that’s when I find beauty almost everywhere. I started kayaking last year and my favorite time is just before sunset. This summer I was sitting in a cluster of lily pads in my kayak watching the birds and I noticed a Bittern (a medium sized Heron) a few yards away from me. He was so beautiful, bright chartreuse legs with a brown and white striped throat. He stretched his long neck out to catch a dragonfly in his beak and my eyes filled with tears because I couldn’t believe I was there for that moment. The sun on the water and the blue sky above me. It was simple and real. I’m fascinated and in love with nature. I think living in the city for so long has definitely given way to this. It’s a privilege to be amongst all these gorgeous creatures.








Vibeke: I know that your greatest joy in life is to travel. Can you share some special moments from your trips with us and i am of course also curious to know if there is a place you have been to that has a special place in your heart now?
Phoebe: I did a lot of traveling with my family growing up. I cherish those memories. Our first big trip that I was old enough to remember was to Italy. I was 12 years old and didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to leave my friends. We were going for seven months and that seemed like a lifetime to me. My parents took sabbaticals from teaching and we were home schooled. I cried when we left but then cried even more when we had to come home. I grew to love it so much. That trip started it all. My passion for travel began and it will never end. I did a lot of solo traveling for my jobs over the years which gave me plenty of opportunities for those quiet moments of beauty I spoke of. There’s something about traveling to another country by myself that gives me a sense of confidence and independence like nothing else. Of course there were times that I wished someone was with me. You want to turn to someone who knows you and say, “Can you believe that we’re standing here?!” My most favorite place is India. It’s been several years since my last trip and my heart really aches for it. India is the most inspiring, beautiful, heartbreaking, joyful, love-filled, chaotic, peaceful place I’ve ever been. That’s a trip I’d like to take with my family some day. My Mom and one of my sisters have been and love it just as I do. I can’t wait to get my niece and older sister there. A girls’ sojourn to India would be incredible.



Vibeke: How does it make you feel when you see a person wearing a piece that you have made?
Phoebe: It’s thrilling to see someone connect with my work. I cherish emails from customers who tell me how happy they are when they wear one of my necklaces or that my towel hanging in their kitchen brightens their day. People send photos of themselves and I’m really proud and grateful when I see them. Because my designs and materials are so personal and I myself love them, I feel a link when someone gets my work. It means that they get me too.




Vibeke: What other things do enjoy spending your time on?
Phoebe: My most serious endeavor right now besides Untold Imprint is sign language. I started taking classes last year after studying on my own for a few months. I love it, it’s such a beautiful language and I hope to work with the Deaf community in some capacity when I’m more fluent.
I have a difficult time staying focused on one hobby or project at a time so I usually have a few going at once. I can’t even sit down to watch a movie without doing something while I’m watching. Knitting is one of my recent pastimes. It’s so relaxing. I particularly like knitting with hand spun and hand dyed yarns because of the imperfect quality to the material and the finished product. Imagine that!








Vibeke: Do you have a quote that means something special to you?
Phoebe: I had a binder in high school full of my favorite quotes. Now I have a word document on my laptop but I do still have that binder somewhere. I look at my collected quotes once in a while and take from them what I need in the moment. One that came to mind today is a quote from artist and author Janeen Koconis. I found it on a really cool card a few years ago, which I purchased for a friend. The quote speaks to the feeling that welled up in me when you asked me to share a bit about myself. We’re all so many things that it would take a lifetime to really know someone, if ever. She talks about all that we’re capable of and our “many parts”. The ending is very special to me.
“We are here. We are everything that is real…and everything we could ever imagine.” –Janeen Koconis

 


Vibeke: Lastly what are you most grateful for in your life right now?
Phoebe: The love of my family and friends. It really is the most important thing. I mourned the losses of three very strong and wonderful women this past year. When someone you love is no longer here, it puts things into perspective and makes it easy to see just how insignificant things are when compared to loving each other. You just want one more moment to love them enough.
I watched a film this week, very fittingly called Love. The story focuses on an astronaut who finds himself stranded alone in orbit around Earth for what I’m guessing is at least a decade. It explores the importance of our memories, human connections and of course, love. In addition to it resonating with what I’m grateful for in my life right now, I was completely inspired by the spirit and determination of the writer/director. I read that he and his then teenage brothers built the entire set for the film in their backyard using mostly salvaged materials. Took him four and a half years to finish the movie. I thought that was incredible. A true labor of love and a beautiful message.


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10 comments:

  1. Beautiful. I adore Phoebe's work. She is an inspiration.

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  2. Oh my, what an amazing interview with wonderful Phoebe !
    I loved knowing more about her & her life & her work.
    Thank you so much Phoebe & Vibeke !
    ox

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  3. Anonymous22.2.13

    Dear Phoebe and Vibeke,

    Beautifully written. Greatness is always in the wonder of the journey! Best, Cynthia Hanson

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  4. Loved this ... so inspiring :D

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  5. Such a thoughtful interview. Thank you for bringing it my way.

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  6. I'm such an admirer of Phoebe's beautiful work. I wear her necklaces all the time. This lovely interview makes me love her even more.

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  7. Enjoyed reading this - thanks :)

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  8. Another beautiful interview. Thank you both Vibeke and Phoebe!

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  9. so inspiring, the way Phoebe thinks
    the way she makes.
    thank you both!

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  10. I'm so appreciative to everyone who spent time reading my conversation with Vibeke.
    And thanks so much for all the incredibly kind comments!

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Thank you for taking the time to write, i hugely appreciate your comments!: ) xxx