#GathreGood with Amanda Jane Jones
Q: You are so amazingly talented. We feel so lucky to have been able to work with you in so many different ways. Where do you get your inspiration?
A: Oh my goodness, what a kind thing to say. Thank you! I’ve loved working with you all! The packaging we created together is still my all time favorite. My inspiration comes from many different places. We love to travel and every new place we go, we look for unique books, toys, etc to bring home and enjoy. I keep an inspiration board on my office wall full of ephemera I’ve collected over the years and just can’t seem to let go of. Old train ticket stubs with beautiful numbers, a note from someone with beautiful handwriting, a postcard from an old friend – it all has elements that inspire me and for those reasons I keep it on my wall. Books have always been a massive inspiration to me. It’s funny to be someone that says, “I grew up before the internet was readily available…” but really – I loved, loved, loved collecting magazines and books – still do! They’ve always been a constant in my artistic journey and I keep a large book wall at home in our dining room. I love to sit and look through them all when I’m in a design slump.
Q: Obviously you’re a crazy talented artist and photographer, do you have any recommendations for the rest of us novices who wanna take our artistry and images up a notch?
A: Yes! You’d laugh hysterically if you saw the first things I ever photoshopped or designed. TERRIBLE! My photoshop skills were legitimately scary and my understanding of type was zero. For me, the best way to learn is from others! I was an intern FOUR times. Crazy I know. I even took internships while working full-time. I worked at a design firm in NYC, an ad agency in Philly, a letterpress studio in Philly and then another letterpress studio and shop in Washington DC. When you apprentice or intern for different people you admire, you learn so so much! Each experience taught me something valuable about design, running a business and even helped me hone my skills.
Another thing I like to do is practice – or set personal goals for myself that allow you to practice. For example, I’m terrible at shooting in the sun, so last year, I just asked a couple people I admired to give me a couple lessons and then I practiced. It totally helped! And has made a huge difference in my daylight photography. When I started out designing freelance and didn’t have a huge client base, I worked on personal projects and tried things I wanted to learn and those personal projects (posters, postcards, blog series, etc) brought in new clients that I still work with to this day.
Q: Do you mind sharing some of your biggest fears and how you overcome them?
A: Oh gosh – biggest fears? That something will happen to my family. I don’t think I'll ever overcome that one. When I was dating my husband, my mother-in-law would call all the time to check in. I remember thinking it was kind of a bit much, but now that I’m a mom – I GET IT! I’m totally going to be the check in mom.
Q: So many people who are just starting to chase their dreams admire and look up to you for what you have built. What do you wish you had known when you were in our shoes?
A: It’s ok to make mistakes! Just try it! I’m a total fake it til you make it kind of girl. Just figure it out as you go! I’d never designed / published a magazine before Kinfolk, I’d never owned a business before starting mine, I’d never tried to get funding for a project until we published Define Magazine, and I’d never given a keynote address until I gave one last year. Probably won’t do that last one again, ha! Public speaking is not my strong suit. You never know until you try, right? I’ve been grateful for every chance I’ve ever taken – no regrets! Even for the failures. I learned something every time.
Q: We all have gifts. You have a gift to gather_______.
A: Ha! My husband and I are pack rats when it comes to books, so I guess that’s going to have to be my answer. When we got married, Cree said, “don’t register for a blender! I have a new one in the closet.” Once we moved into our new home, I took out the blender box, only to find it full of dusty old paperbacks from the thrift store. We still to this day have no idea where the blender went. Makes me smile everytime I think about that. We are kindred spirits that way.
Q: Parenting is amazing and hard. Mind sharing any mantras you try to encourage with your kids in your home?
A: I had a friend once say, “Being a mother is too much and not enough all at once.” that’s stuck with me – everything goes so fast, we’ll never get these years back, so we try to make the most of them. We work hard so that we can play hard and cuddle lots and enjoy our time together. We try to teach them to be kind and we try to make service and family a major part of our week. Some weeks are better than others. Another quote that I can’t remember who said it – “They won’t remember what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.” One of my biggest goals as a parent is to create an environment where my children feel peaceful, safe, cozy, happy and loved.
Q: What does a typical day look like in your shoes?
A: Everyday starts with miles yelling, “Mamaaaaaa! Wheeere awwwwe youuuu!” from his crib. Then we bring him in for cuddles and Jane shortly follows. I like to workout in the mornings, so I’ll either take Miles for a run while Daddy takes Jane to school, or I’ll do an at home exercise — something that the kids get a kick out of. Cree and I trade off work days, so some days I’m home with the kids or out adventuring with them in the city or on the lake and other days I’m still home, just as my desk. It’s pretty regular, but we’re so happy to be doing what we’re doing with our little people.
Q: We love hearing people talk about their dreams. What is your greatest dream? Big or small?
A: I want to publish children’s books! Something I’ve written and illustrated. I’ve been working on some fun projects in the evenings while we watch netflix after the kids go to bed, and I’m just trying to get the nerve to send them to publishers. Some day!
Q: What are some of your favorite resources (books, blogs, websites, etc) you could recommend for a fellow dream chaser?
A: I love Maira Kalman! Her books have been such an inspiration to me!
Q:What are 5 things not many know about you?
A: 1) Hanson was my first concert and I had a full hanson picture wall in elementary school. 2) I’m double jointed. 3) I sang jazz in college. 4) My “top 25 most played” list on itunes is really embarrassing. 5) I hiccup REALLY loudly.
Q: Lastly, what is at the top of your travel list?
A: Norway and Australia!