Kristine Farnum is the woman behind Phoenix Feathers Calligraphy, which is a local calligraphy business that seeks to encourage and create for weddings and the everyday. She also assists me the last couple of months. We bond over coffee, chocolate chip cookies, and make each other laugh while we’re suffering through a Barre class together. Here, she shares about her small business and how she finds inspiration.
Tell me about Phoenix Feathers Calligraphy. How did it begin?
Phoenix Feathers Calligraphy began as a hobby for friends getting married and wanted invitations or signs created. Eight of my friends were getting married in the same year, so I would create designs for them as part of my gift.
After a couple of months, I took an online course with I Still Love Calligraphy through Melissa Esplin and that changed everything, entirely. I learned how to use a nib properly, spent hours practicing my lines, and found the entire process meditative. In 2018, I made Phoenix Feathers Calligraphy an official small business as I walked away from my corporate job. I’ve been doing it full-time ever since!
How did you transition from part time to full time?
I was at a corporate job, but it came to a point where I had to decide what my long term goal was. I had to ask myself: ten years from now, what would I regret not pursuing? And I realized it was this. This creative work meant more to me than climbing the corporate ladder or the generous annual income. Pursuing this creative life is my dream. And through the support of my husband, I get to pursue it.
What’s the story behind the name?
The Phoenix Bird is mythologically one that represents renewal, rebirth, and strength. The idea of “Phoenix Feathers” comes from a line from a poem my husband wrote a decade ago. For me, it symbolizes a pursuit of creativity without fear. I find that whenever I create, I am constantly questioning myself- am I good enough? Am I actually talented? Is this even original? But representing the brand name “Phoenix Feathers” reminds me to renew my mind in truth and, like a bird, to be free.
What about your work? What do you create?
My specialty is creating fabric calligraphy banners of various sizes for weddings and home decor! I made a 24 ft. scroll of the Song of Solomon as the ceremony backdrop for my wedding, and creating fabric banners for brides is such a dream for me. I hand dye the ribbons that are used to hang them! They make such an impact at any wedding. In addition, I love doing innovative escort cards and creating prints for the home.
What’s the biggest challenge in owning a small business?
Courage! It takes courage to show up to work that I’m truly passionate about. The risk is greater because the work means more.
What is the best part of owning a small business so far?
The community! Oh my gosh, meeting other creatives with ambitions and dreams has been so refreshing for me. The community is incredible. Everyone is so gifted; collaborating and working together is the best part!
How do you stay inspired?
Before Phoenix Feathers was full-time, I would wait for inspiration to strike and then create for hours. Now, I find that the self-discipline of devoting at least thirty minutes a day to creating is key! I started a morning ritual: I walk my Shiba Inu along the ocean, come home, make tea, and journal for thirty minutes. After that, I take thirty minutes to create. I tell myself that something is better than nothing. Sometimes it’s incredible, sometimes it’s not. What’s important is that I just invest in creating each day.
Thank you so much, Kristine!
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