My first contact with artist Helen Hiebert was back in 2010 when she took one of my classes after she heard about my book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio. It’s been fun to watch her grow into a successful artist-entrepreneur.
On the heels of my interview with Dianna Fritzler about transitioning to a full-time artist, I thought it was perfect for you to hear about Helen’s journey.
Ten years ago, Helen didn’t think of her art as a business. Her shift of mindset changed everything and she now makes her living as a working artist. Rather than feeling icky about having a “business,” she embraced it and learned to channel some of her creativity into making money from her talents.
Probably the biggest lesson for me has been learning how to keep myself entertained (I think any creative loves to do new things all the time) but to create a framework that allows for that. I’m thinking of my blog specifically. I now have a rotation of things I do throughout the month that is fun for me to generate and (hopefully) my readers to discover!
See? You can have fun and run a successful art business at the same time. You only need a structure to contain that fun.
In this interview, Helen and I focus on her multiple income streams, which include (rough estimates):
- Art installations (10%)
- Artist books (30-35%)
- Teaching for hire, in her studio and online (30%)
- Twelve Months of Paper calendar, how-to books and class kits (20%)
- Sponsorships (5%)
Much of what she has tried and implemented has been learned from watching what other artists and non-artists are doing, and tweaking it to fit her approach.
We also discuss Helen’s process for creating online content, which has its roots in the analog world she started in. Her success comes from networking, interviewing experts, and collaborating. From that evolved both her blog and podcast.
Helen’s blog is The Sunday Paper – a weekly roundup of news from the world of paper, including news from her own studio. Her monthly podcast, Paper Talk, is the happy result of an unsuccessful grant application to document artists working in the field of hand papermaking.
Please enjoy this conversation with Helen Hiebert.
About My GuestHelen Hiebert is a Colorado artist who constructs installations, sculptures, films, artists’ books and works in paper using handmade paper as her primary medium. She teaches, lectures and exhibits her work internationally and is the author of the books Papermaking with Plants, The Papermaker's Companion, Paper Illuminated, Playing With Paper, and Playing With Pop-Ups.
Helen’s most recent installation, The Wish, is a giant dandelion sculpture at Anythink Huron Street Library in Denver.
She holds an annual paper retreat in her Red Cliff studio each September. Read and subscribe to The Sunday Paper.