rhiannon connelly : artists who blog

I'm so pleased to share an interview today with photographer Rhiannon Connelly from Edinburgh, Scotland. Rhiannon and I had the chance to meet at the Hello Etsy summit in Berlin earlier this year. She did a 12 Cities photography project in Europe using Polaroid film a short while back, and it has been so much fun to hear about her travel and art adventures and compare notes. More about her personal creative process today - enjoy!

Rhiannon's blog:
Rhiannon's website:
Rhiannon's shop:

Why did you decide to become an artist and could you imagine doing anything else? If so, what?

I've always been artistic and creative, from childhood drew and created all manner of things - puppet theatres inside match boxes and a full size pantomime horse made out of papier mache and material. First creative venture was a jewellery business at age 14.  But when it came to choose what to study I was torn as I also had an aptitude for languages. In the end I chose languages , partly based on the theory that it would be easier to return to something artistic later on than vice versa. I don't regret my studies as they gave me a broad world outlook and some useful language skills , but it didn't take me long to pick up the artistic threads again ! Now ,if I look at my professional history, the two strands of language and art are nearly always present to some extent. However you can't always combine things  so for the last 10 years  I've been concentrating on the artistic.
If I had to choose something else I would study ethnography because I am fascinated by folk culture and the way that melodies and dances have moved around the world.

Do you still believe "do what you love and the money will come?" 

I do believe that. But I also believe that it involves a little  more than just "doing what you love." I  think you also have to do the marketing and promotion so that people will find it.

How has blogging/the Internet influenced your work as an artist?

It has definitely influenced my work. It is now easier than ever for artists to take matters into their own hands and get their work into the world. Researching topics can be done in a few hours that would have previously taken days in a library. Blogging enables me to take part in a wider conversation and connect to other creative people whose paths I would never otherwise cross . Not to mention the inspiration of seeing so much art online.

Please name 3 of your favorite blogs and tell us why these blogs are special. 

These are three blogs  that I do come back to time and again.
Geninne Zlatkis - I just love her artwork and have a couple of her little birdies in my house. I enjoy seeing the way she writes about her inspirations, with just enough about her life to make you feel you have got to know her a bit better.
Pia Jane Bijkerk -  Stylish and inspirational  - always a visual treat.
Flora Bowley - one of the highlights for me this year was to do a workshop with Flora, so I enjoy reading her blog to see her latest work. For those who aren't able to do a workshop in person - great news - she has a book coming out soon.

What is your greatest fear and what do you do to overcome it?

Well, I am inclined to worry. So I do my best not to give it much house room these days. Artistically I suppose the fear is usually "is it good enough?"  And what I do about that is to finish working on one thing and then move straight along to the next piece. When I read that people like Degas were  frequently not happy with their work then I feel in pretty good company! And I just try to use it to propel myself onwards.

Who would you like to trade places with for one day? Why?

I'd like to trade places with someone who lived on Orkney 4000 years ago. I am so fascinated by the remains there and curious about the lives lived - they have left tantalising traces but many unanswered questions. 

What are your secrets for managing your time wisely?

Years and years ago I came across the FlyLady website (A site devoted to keeping your house spick and span. Which is a necessary but not terribly thrilling thing.) She encouraged a technique of using a timer, set at 15 minute intervals. So, if I am starting a task I set it for 15 mins and get going. And then repeat it a couple of times to build momentum. The other thing I do is a "Sunday Summit" where I review the previous week and set my goals for the next week. I have also learned to factor in quite a lot of unallocated time - giving me margins to allow for  things taking longer than expected - which they inevitably do!

If you could live anywhere in the world – all expenses paid – for one year, where would that be? Why?

Where in the world?  Decisions decisions -  I am torn between choosing a year in rural northern Romania, where I imagine the natural tempo of the year is still fairly evident and the mysterious, hectic city of Istanbul with all its layers of history. I feel both of these places would lead to very interesting projects and discoveries. 

How do you maintain a healthy balance between your professional and private life?

What's that?  Perhaps not the best way, but I don't really make a boundary between the two as one spills over into the other.  Sometimes art takes most of the energy and at other times the personal sphere takes up more time (such as when moving house). I do try to keep to a different rhythm at weekends. And I am very alert to not working so hard that I burn out as I have experienced that in the past.

What are your top 5 goals that you’d like to accomplish within the next 5 years?
To exhibit my 12 city project in some of the cities I visited.
To write/illustrate/photograph a book.
License my designs.
Organise art workshops in Europe.
Develop a range of interior products based on my artwork.

What is your advice for someone who would like to turn his or her creative dreams into reality?

Just start. Secondly look for support where you need it. I have found the Artist's Way to be extremely valuable, both doing it on my own and working through it in a small group. And finally, don't compare yourself with others. Concentrate on your own work.

Thank you Rhiannon! What a pleasure it was to meet you in Berlin this year and to hear more about your creative thoughts and dreams. xo