Intro into Simone Paterson

Simone was working in a highly stressful academic position, and although she was well paid, she was also unwell and burned out. Then one day she decided enough was enough and she made the brave decision to leave. Now she is a full time artists who spends nearly every day in the studio. We interviewed Simone, you can read about her journey here….

Tell us about you, what art you like to make and how you got into art.

I am a white cis-gendered heterosexual migrant woman living and working in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I seek to develop a visual vocabulary that acknowledges women’s historically unpaid and invisible labour. My work is at the crossroads of craft and creative technologies, weaving together high stitch density embroidery, spirituality, and social practice.

As I work, I see my mother’s hands. I am indebted to her passion for craft and her willingness to pass on that passion to me. Her ability to up-cycle and “make do” with available materials made a childhood home for me in working-class suburban Australia. I see the same tenacity in my neighbours in my adopted home on Catawba Mountain.

I strive to improve community health by offering hand stitching workshops, and I am an ardent advocate for social justice. I firmly believe that making and viewing art and craft can make a significant contribution to our well-being.

My favorite art materials and art books are….

Textiles. Silk in particular. Also, love ink pencils on black watercolour paper. In my studio, I have three sewing machines and two computers, all of which are used regularly. Favourite books at the moment are not art books, but the following inspire my art.

“The Energy Codes” Dr. Sue Morter.
“Eastern Body, Western Mind” Anodea Judith.
“The Universe Has Your Back” Gabrielle Bernstein

The best advice I have been given as an artist is….

Don’t worry about what other people think. It’s your life, follow your passion.

What was life like before you became a member of United ArtSpace to now? 

Before the Hub, I was making art and exhibiting, but I was not selling. In fact, I was spending all my spare dollars on materials and paying entry and exhibition fees. I didn’t even know how much I was spending because I was too scared to really know the cost. Now I know what my monthly expenses are and I know how much I need to sell my work for to make a profit. I am also aware of how long it takes to make a piece of art, and I am also motivated to finish work to get it on my website for sale.

Even though I have been an artist for many years and exhibited internationally, I have not felt like a professional. I was an art educator, but now because of the Hub, I feel like a successful artist who sells work regularly.

What has been your biggest achievement/s so far? No matter how big or small.

I am a full-time artist who spends almost every day in the studio. To be a full-time artist has been my life’s ambition and is my biggest achievement. I am living my dream and doing work that feels good, and I believe my work helps others to feel good too. It is not always easy, but my heart is so full of gratitude to be able to spend my mature years in the pursuit of art and craft. We only have this life for such a short time, and it is up to us to make it what we want it to be.

What difficulties, doubts or fears have you faced and how did you overcome them?

I gave up a very well paying academic position. I was unhappy and unwell. I was giving this job every ounce of energy I had. I loved parts of the job, the teaching part, but all the admin took so much time and energy. At 55, I decided that I didn’t want to keep giving anymore. I wanted a life where all my creative energy would be invested in my own artwork. My new husband encouraged me to leave and to live the life I wanted to live. We made it happen with financial planning and revised budgets. I was prepared to give up shoe shopping and dinners out as well as a lot of other unnecessary indulgences. My life has been simplified. It has been difficult at times, but it has been the best decision. I know I have extended my life because I am happy and so much less stressed.

If you could send advice back to yourself 5 years ago, what would you tell yourself?

Stop trying to please people and stop trying to get their approval.

What advice would you give to other aspiring artists?

Listen to your inner voice and take the creative risk.

My favorite quote is….

Everything is energy.