July 04, 2014

Heart To Heart: Faith Evans-Sills


On a beautiful piece of Charleston, South Carolina nestled close to the sea lives the inspiring Faith Evans-Sills and her family. I first ran across Faith's colorful life while scrolling through Instagram - I was instantly captivated. Her eye for finding beauty in the everyday and her gorgeous works of art kept me coming back time and time again. When we finally had the chance to open up together in this chat on motherhood, birth, creation, and overcoming fear, I've found Faith to be such a gentle and caring soul. I hope you leave this conversation the same way that I did; unafraid to create the works of art you've been holding in your own heart.  ~Kate




Faith Evans-Sills
mother, artist  |  web  |  shop  |  blog
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Kate: I'll be ready whenever you are:)

Faith: I’m just grabbing a bite of lunch! let's do it in 5!

Kate: Take your time

Faith: Thanks

Ok. ready when you are.

Kate: Wonderful! All set. How are you? I'm so happy we're doing this!

Faith: Woohoo, we are finally doing this, I'm excited! I'm doing really well, how are you? I'm at my studio, so its nice and quiet 

Quiet is a luxury I have definitely taken for granted! I am chatting on my phone while picking up baby wipes off the floor that my youngest managed to pull out! It's been a crazy morning haha

Eeeek! Sounds wild over there!

Always wild...

My time in the studio is my quiet time, it really is a precious gift!
I too have my share of Wild at home. I'm curious, how did you get int o doing these interviews?

I like a good dose of wild every once and awhile;) Let's get the details out of the way first! Your name, how many children, and is motherhood your full time occupation?

The details...My name is Faith Evans-Sills, I have three children, motherhood is one of my full time occupations. The other is being an artist.

Your art is so beautiful! And as far as the interviews, we don't really have any special structure to it at all, they're really more of a chat! It's so fun getting to know inspiring mothers like you a bit better.

Thank you so much!

You recently had a retreat surrounding art and creating didn't you?

Yes, I ran my first art retreat with a friend recently!

Oh, please tell me more!

It was something that my friend Em Falconbridge and I had talked about doing for years. We are both artists with blogs and involved in the online art world, but we had never met in person until she ran an art retreat in Bali last January. I was able to go, and meeting there is person was amazing and after that we knew that our energy together would be a perfect combo for the art retreat that we were envisioning. So in March, we just jumped in and booked a retreat center on Cape Cod, sight unseen! It was a bit like jumping off a cliff, but with those excited butterflies in the tummy feelings. She is a fiber artist, and I am a painter, so we were able to offer a combination of lessons for the retreat. She taught a prayer flag workshop, I taught a layered painted dream catcher workshop, and we brought in another good friend to teach a lesson on leather cuffs. We ended up with 18 women on the retreat, which was more than we had even anticipated, it was amazing. Such a beautiful circle of women. They were all so open and enthusiastic, fearless and creative. I was deeply moved by all of them.

You are amazing. That sounds like such a memorable experience. And Cape Cod? A dream... so renewing to the spirit. I wish I could have gone!
How was the experience teaching others?

Yes, it would have been beautiful to have you there! After the great success of this first one, we are already planning the next one for November, it will be so beautiful there on Cape Cod in the autumn. Teaching others was an experience that I have had before. After college I moved to New York City and got my art teacher certification. Then I spent years working for an organization that placed artists in school that had had they art programs removed because of budget cuts. So, through that I have experience teaching K-12 grade! Teaching these women was so different though. Running the art retreat was much more about holding the space for these women to allow themselves to shed layers and be vulnerable enough to create. For a lot of people making art is scary.

I never even thought about it that way. It can be scary, right? Creating is essentially a piece of you out in the open for others to see. There's a bit if fear of judgement sometimes, don't you think?

Yes, there is a huge fear of judgement, and also mistrust of the "self" when art making. I see people get to a point with their work where they hate what they have made and then they have no faith that they can take that piece and move through their hatred bringing it back to piece that they love....but part of teaching I think is helping them walk through those waters and realizing that they can do, it’s about helping them be fearless. There are great lessons of self empowerment there! After my years teaching art, and having two children of my own, I became a labor support doula. Its almost strange to say, but I see parallels between my doula work and helping women get back to that creative part of themselves that they feel disconnected from. They are both about walking beside someone while they walk through "fire", and holding the knowledge that they can do it.

The parallels are definitely there. Getting back to the primal, instinctive maternal power of birth and the self empowerment of trusting yourself and your art. This has completely opened my eyes... I've never thought about how interconnected the two were. You're a wise woman. While we're on the topic of birth, do you remember how you felt the moment you became a mother for the first time?

One of the most fantastic moments of my life! I remember every little bit!
I birthed my first baby in a birthing center, 10 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing and no drugs, but the moment he was born all of the pain melted away, I was completely enraptured with him.
As I was holding him I began to hemorrhage, my midwife was freaking out, but I was so blissed out holding my baby I had absolutely no fear.
Those endorphins are pretty crazy!

Birth is profound and life changing. You learn so much about what you're capable of. And you experience a love that completely washes over you. Nothing else matters! It's the biggest natural high there is...

So well put! I felt like that first birth experience showed me what I am capable of. My birth experiences have molded my character in a huge way.

Was motherhood anything like you had expected?

It was really a lot harder than I had expected. Which I can chuckle about now. When we were pregnant with our first child my husband and I were always being told to "sleep now before the baby comes.", and we would look at each other and roll our eyes and say how bad can it be? I think that I thought that it would be like pulling an all-nighter for a college exam, something silly like that. I was not prepared for the relentlessness of having an infant. I don't think I left the house alone for two months after having my first baby. It felt like such an earth shift for me, I had to figure out how to do everything all over again. Some of my hardest times with motherhood were in those first months of having my first baby. I kept thinking how does it look so easy for other women? Now that I have three I look back on myself as a new mom, and wish that I could tell that me not to be so hard on herself.

So very true. It seems we're toughest on ourselves when we need gentle reassurance the most. How did you learn to overcome some of those struggles during the early months?

For me it was simply a matter of time passing and being able to realize, through doing it, that I could take care of my infant in the best way possible. I had to grow into myself as a mother. I had never been one of those girls who babysat a lots, or really ever been around babies too much, so I think it just took a month or two for it all to become second nature to me. My oldest is almost 10 now, so its getting a bit hard for me to remember all of those foggy thoughts from that time!

Oh, goodness!! Time truly flies. But no matter how old, always your baby…Do you think if more mothers were open about their feelings, especially the tough-to-digest ones like not feeling 'good enough' that we could lean on each other during the tough times? I know if I would've had someone tell me that what I was feeling was normal, maybe I wouldn't have been so tough on myself. It seems many of us go through something similar at some point in motherhood. It's a tough job!

It is the toughest job, testing me in every way possible each day (sometimes before 9am!). I completely agree that moms need to be more open with each other, it always always helps me to hear someone who has been through something that I am going through share their experience. It is so encouraging and heartening just to know that you are not alone! I also feel that moms need to be much more supportive of each other's mothering choices. I see so much unneeded judgement over almost every choice that we come across as parents, this hurtful wasted energy helps to create a culture in which it is hard to feel good enough.

Absolutely. We are shamed instead of supported for just about everything these days: how we choose to feed our children, raise our children, birth our children, where they sleep, where they go to school, what toys they play with, the food that they eat... women can be quite judgmental (and sometimes downright cruel!) to each other. Especially in the day and age where most of our day-to-day can be shared online for friends and strangers to see and comment on.

I won't keep you much longer - thank you so much for sharing a piece of your story with me. I'd love if you could share one of your most favorite motherhood moments?

I was waiting for your reply on my computer and then I just saw that my last message times out and did not go through, I'm so sorry!! You read my thoughts exactly! All of that judgement is so unproductive!

It's okay! Facebook has been a bit wonky lately!

Now I'm typing on my phone, so there may be more typos! Wow, it's hard to choose a most favorite motherhood moment, besides of course the births of each of my children.  There are just so many special moments sprinkled like gems throughout every ordinary day. Recently,  I have begun loving the 20 minute morning drive to school that I make with my two oldest kids, they are 9 and 7, and having that focussed time with them in the mornings has become a special time for us to talk. I let them pick the music and then they ask me questions. We've had all kinds of discussions on that drive to school...anything from stories about my own childhood to my 9/11 experience, they want to talk about everything. That has to be my favorite thing about their current ages, they want my opinion and they want to hear my stories. And I feel blessed to give them everything that I can.

What a wonderful idea making your commute an open space for discussion and stories. You know, I bet that is something they'll remember about their mom. How awesome it was to have those conversations with you. You're creating lasting impressions, no doubt! (Hah! Clearly I am on my phone as well. We'll edit out the typos!)

I really hope so, I've started to think about what they'll remember, from age 6 on I have such clear childhood memories. Thinking about my own children's memories helps me to be more intentional about things.

And now I'm intrigued! Can I sneak in one favorite childhood memory that's influenced your own parenting before we sign off? 

Oh fun! Yes, probably the most influential thing in my childhood was that after age nine my family moved to Argentina and traveled extensively in South America. This shaped me in many ways, but as it relates to my parenting choices I think that it's very important to me that my kids always remember how big the world is. We experience so much privilege in the US, I want them to understand how fortunate we are, and to know how our choices here do effect the rest of the world. I guess you could say that we try to keep a global mindset as a family.

Your view of the world is so important - especially for the next generation. We lose sight of the global scale a lot. And we lose sight of our environmental impact. I've noticed you foraging little treasures that help you make your art... flowers, leaves, petals, sticks, twigs, feathers and seashells. Your life by the sea is a beautiful one and really is evident in your creations! 
I'm really so inspired by your mindfulness. We could all use that reset in the hustle-bustle of modern society.
Thank you so much, Faith. Your views are refreshing and ones we can all learn from. I love when I can leave a conversation filled with new inspiration! 

Thank you so much Kate, I too feel refreshed and inspired after having this time to reflect during our conversation! Its been a pleasure.

Im so happy to be able to share a piece of your world with Wholehearted!

Me too!!!


Images: The Evans-Sills family as photographed by Gray Benko

1 comments:

  1. This is such a great interview with Faith. What great pictures of Faith, her husband and the kiddos. The oldest is such a young man now. I remember when he was running around the living room, so lively and inquisitive and you were struggling to find time to paint. So glad that you have found the balance. Your paintings are amazing and there is something ethereal about many of them. I love the idea of talking with your kids in the car. I too did that especially with the youngest. They are a captive audience also. When I am alone in the car it is my prayer chamber as well. A place to pray for the kids and myself in relationship with them and God. Thanks for sharing.

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