Monday, February 23, 2009

The OSI Interview: Andrea Scher

Andrea Scher is a photographer, jewelry designer, life coach, mama and overall amazing, inspiring woman. I've been following her work and reading her blog for several years now, and what continues to intrigue me is her bravery. She is incredibly honest, and by that I don't mean that she is big on airing her dirty laundry. Instead, she writes about life as many of us experience it: not just a series of highs and lows, but the tiny joys that add up to a spectacular tapestry, the banal sorrows that can sometimes dampen our spirits even when we know better. The things that make most of us smile to ourselves, cringe, say a silent prayer of thanks, squirm--she tackles them with an unusual grace, wisdom and very palpable sense of love.

1. In the context of your work, which bits of minutiae matter most?
In the context of my jewelry business, the bits of minutiae that matter to me most are the ways that I connect with my customers. I opted out of selling jewelry wholesale after a short time because of the disconnect between making art and actually connecting to the people who were enjoying it. Cranking out dozens of necklaces for stores made my work feel like product and took a lot of the pleasure out of it.

I love knowing a bit about each person that orders my jewelry. Sometimes that is a story about who it is going to, and sometimes it could just be their address. Either way it helps me connect and get satisfaction out of my work. On the other side, most of my customers read my blog, and I think they get pleasure out of knowing a bit about me, so the connecting goes both ways.

2. Which bits matter least?
The bits that matter least...I strive for excellence, so I am tempted to say that everything matters. The quality of my work matters, the relationship I have to my clients matters, the bottom line matters. I suppose what matters least to me is doing it the "right" way, or the way my inner critics (or outer critics!) think I ought to be doing it. I work very intuitively, very unconventionally at times, and I like to trust my gut when it comes to choices. It is possible that I could be making more money by doing things more in the box but I value my creativity and spirit, and this way works for me on that level. My business is a true expression of who I am... and I wouldn't want to compromise that by making choices that don't feel good in my soul.

3. In the context of your life, what types of minutiae once seemed important, but have since fallen by the wayside? Why?
In my life, the bits of minutiae that matter least at the moment are the virtual ones. I have pulled away from the obsessive checking of email (it's so tempting!), limited the blog reading I do, and just generally trying to focus on tending my life that is more local. It's tricky because there are so many incredible people out there, so many dear folks in these creative circles to engage with, but I have been noticing the degree to which I have not been tending and cultivating my friendships that are right here in my town, my neighborhood, and my home. This pulling in feels good and appropriate for now. I have been getting to know my neighbors more, meeting more real live moms these days and trying to keep in check how many "screens" I am looking at in a given day.

4. What types of minutiae, if any, have you had to train yourself to pay closer attention to?
I have had to train myself to pay closer attention to the big and small details of my finances. I am one of those people that has survived so far without balancing a checkbook, but I often wonder if I would feel more secure and grounded in the reality of my financial life if I kept closer tabs on things. I have taken baby steps with this, hired a bookkeeper, learned to use Quickbooks, etc. but I still have so much resistance. I am looking for that sweet spot between paying close attention and just trusting that everything will work out fine. In the name of not worrying and just trusting the universe, I suspect that I am burying my head in the sand a little... so I am challenging myself to grow in this area.

5. Just for kicks -- what are your favorite bits of minutiae (personal, from a book, a piece of music, moment in a movie, etc.)?
Just like all of you, I adore the movie Amelie. One of my favorite bits is the one where she is dipping her hand in a barrel full of beans...

Bonus question: What are you up to right this second?
Right now I am working on an online class in collaboration with Jen Lemen. It will be a Mondo Beyondo class! where we support people in realizing their most outrageous (and ordinary) dreams. Stay tuned on my blog for that...

Andrea, thanks so much!

Tune in next Monday for another installment of the OSI Interview!


susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy said...

Emma and Andrea, what a delightFULL and inspiring interview. Thank you, you gorgeous polka dotted, smiling, bursts of energy & enthusiasm! :-)

Emma said...

OMG, sARK left me a comment! OMG OMG OMG! I am totally melting down!!! Thank you, lovely lady!

Marianne said...

Fantastic interview - as always I love your minutae questions and what they elicit from your subjects. And OMG - indeed sARK left a comment on your blog! Superhero superstars can make that sort of thing happen I guess. ;-)

Gypsy Alex said...

I'm so glad to discover your blog via Andrea. It was great to discover new bits about her. She is a keeper, that sweet smart girl! ;)

Emma said...

Marianne -- thanks so much, I'm glad to know that you're enjoying this! Somehow I am having even more fun with it than I'd anticipated.

Gypsy Alex -- oh goodness, another of the beautiful blogs where I lurk! Andrea is indeed a keeper. I hope you will come back to visit often!

pixie said...

Mmm, good interview w/ andrea-wherever she talks I try to listen sharply, I always learn something to pin on my collar and take along. love that you've got the sand to wonder if you'd have the sand.

Emma said...

Pixie -- I agree wholeheartedly about Andrea! She's good stuff, that one. Heh, I wondered if anybody had gotten that sand bit. ;)