1: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage it?
I would say one of my biggest fears is wasting time, especially when it comes time to my work. When you put energy and time into a design you're thinking you may be taking time away from something else but you may be uncertain what that other piece is because it doesn’t exist yet. Time is an important element in creating and designing. In the creative process you almost have to suspend reality and think with your third eye yet also knowing time is a factor. Pieces need to be completed and put out into the world.
Trusting the process is actually letting go of any fear. I came to believe that there’s an external force guiding me and to trust it.
I manage this by trusting the process and the ability to do this I believe comes with experience. When I was younger I would kind of steamroll things, but I got more thoughtful as I got older. Trusting the process is actually letting go of any fear. I came to believe that there’s an external force guiding me and to trust it. Not listening to your calling in the process can derail you from continuing with your designs. I try to stop second guessing and over analyzing. Trust the process and your inspiration.
2: How do you define success?
Success for me is believing that I’m sharing beauty with the world in what I create. I feel an inspiration, I get to sit down and create a piece, and put it out there for others to see it. I think we all need more beauty in this world - it can be a bleak place when you read the news. When you get to make a piece of art, a piece of wearable art, it's a stable creation that people can cherish and love. It’s something that can evoke memories and emotions. One of the best compliments you can receive as an artist is when someone says they wear their piece all the time, never take it off. When I hear this it’s literally the best compliment. It goes straight to your heart.
Success for me is believing that I’m sharing beauty with the world in what I create.
I remember when my kids were little and I was like you know what Mommy does for work, she makes people happy. And the biggest success is that I get to keep making beautiful things in the world that will be around forever. I’m so grateful for that.
3: Who are your real-life heroes?
When I think of heroes, what comes to my mind is farmers. I went on a road trip recently where on the way we stumbled upon Cesar Chavez National Monument and learned more about farmers struggles and hardships. There’s a big disconnect in this country between the grocery store where we get our food and from the farmers who do the work so that we can put that food on our tables. Food is one of life’s greatest joys - well, food and red wine for me at least. I enjoy cooking but am also aware of the difficulties farmers face just as I am when purchasing raw materials for jewelry making. It’s important to support sustainability the best we can when we make our purchasing decisions.
4: What is the best gift you've given yourself?
I would say the gift of balance. It's challenging when you get in the creative zone and you're full of all this energy that you’re pouring into your project - you can go down a rabbit hole. But being able to balance that creative energy with having a life, a family, and managing deadlines is important. My sister in law gave me a bag once that had scribbles all over it saying something like artists are messy.
There is a time to create chaos and let yourself explore and open boxes and then to honor serenity, organization and deadlines.
There is a time to create chaos and let yourself explore and open boxes and then to honor serenity, organization and deadlines. It really comes down to knowing when to stop for the day and allowing your brain to refresh. When you try too hard to push a project through, there is a point where the universe isn't talking to you anymore, and you aren’t making the best decisions so stop. It’s in these moments that I need to give myself that gift of balance, and allow myself to take a break and come back to the project later with fresh eyes.
5: What was the last win you celebrated?
My second child just went off to college, so my husband and I are empty nesters now. That had me reflecting on the accomplishment that I raised thoughtful, wonderful children, while also being somewhat of a self-obsessed artist. I mean my kids are likely scarred from the FedEx and UPS trips - all the times I was trying to ship out projects burning rubber down the freeway with them to meet the shipping cutoff. But I believe they learned rising to the occasion and the urgency that comes with honoring deadlines, believing you did your best. Raising kids while running a business is not inherently easy, but it’s doable. As women we are multifaceted in our journey and strong in sharing our vision. That alone is cause for celebrating the woman artist.
I believe the win is in celebrating balance mentally and physically, appreciating you’re doing your best artistically while pushing boundaries, and being kind and loving to those around you.
About James Banks Design:
James Banks Design creations’ manifest through the conversations and envisions of designers Heidi Nahser Fink and Adam Shulman.
Through initial discussion, pieces are dreamt of, invented, designed and then methodically brought to life.
Every piece is handmade in Northern California.