In this latest interview with Spoonflower staffers, I’d like to introduce you to Holiday (aka Holly) Anderson, the new operations manager at Spoonflower. Holly has been with us for a little over a year now and has moved from a cut/pack/ship position to fabric printing, and now to a role overseeing the daily running of the Spoonflower print floor. As seems to be the trend among Spoonflower employees, Holly is a creative person in her own right. Read on for more about the lovely and newly managerial Holly!
You’ve been with Spoonflower for over a year now, moving from a printing position into the new operations manager position. How do you like your new role so far?
I love it! When I first started working at Spoonflower, I imagined I’d just cut and fold fabric for the rest of my life, and that made me really happy. But then I learned how to run the printers and that soon became a passion. It can be hard but exhilarating work to run six or seven or more big machines at once. Now, as Operations Manager, I get to do a little of everything, and oversee the whole process. It’s amazing to participate in every step of an order’s life: through printing, cutting, packing, shipping, and all that those things entail. Plus, now I can do things my way! (Haha! My inner bossiness has come out.) But with the wonderful crew I have to work with, everything runs so smoothly here, even through the development of new products and machines. It’s a very fun job, but the greatest satisfaction comes from seeing the packages go out the door and knowing how excited and happy people will be to receive them.
I know that you’ve worked in art and antiques in your pre-Spoonflower life. Can you tell Spoonflower readers a bit more about your professional background?
My undergraduate degree is a BFA in printmaking, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I own an etching press and do small woodblock prints in my spare time (which has been none lately–sigh) at home. If I had a clone of myself, she would be at home carving woodblocks and making prints.
After graduating from U-Mass, I worked at a large art gallery here in North Carolina for six years, where I learned the ins and outs of selling paintings, photography, sculpture, blown glass, and especially handmade studio jewelry. In 2007 I moved to New York City to attend Sotheby’s Institute. Through their intensive one-year program, I earned a Master’s Degree in American Fine and Decorative Arts. School involved classes that went behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other major museums, auction houses, and antiques galleries. I learned how to evaluate an antique’s worth, and what it would be like to work in the antiques and art market. It really was the best year of my life in many ways–being surrounded by such a wealth of knowledge and to be living in New York! Just to live in the city is an education in itself. While there, I worked at a 5th Avenue store that specializes in fine antique watches and jewelry, so at the same time I was studying American paintings and sculpture in school, I was gaining an education about Patek Philippe and Cartier from my boss, an expert in the horological field. Thanks to him, I am a watch snob to this day.
Anyway, I Ioved New York and stayed there even after school ended. I would be there still if it had not been for true love. I moved to Durham last year to marry my husband, and soon after that I found Spoonflower.
What made you want to transition into a fabric-related business?
I knew I wanted to spend my days doing something fun, inspiring, and hands-on, but I didn’t know what it would be. In some ways, I wanted to go a completely different direction from the antiques, jewelry and watches, just to have a new experience and gain a new skill. When I found Spoonflower, it seemed like the perfect fit, because it was different from anything else I’ve done, but still arts-related. And I love fabric.
Do you have creative family members who influenced you to choose work in creative fields?
My brothers all got this mechanical and electronic genius from my dad, but my sisters and I got our mom’s arts and crafts genes. My mom was and is a huge creative influence on me. I think she gave me my first sewing project in our home-school kindergarten class: I had to trace a maple leaf onto fabric, cut it out, and sew it to a pillow with yarn. Now she is going to teach me rug-hooking, which I am eager to learn. My hands cannot rest–they must be painting, printing, drawing, crocheting, sewing, or somehow making something!
What sorts of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I really enjoy spending time with my husband! We garden and hike and watch old stuff like The Three Stooges, and sometimes we just drive around looking at old houses, taking back roads to tiny towns just to see what there is to see. Besides that, I’m active in my church, I belong to a book club, attend a weekly trivia contest with friends, and am addicted to genealogy. All the rest of my time is spent making things–sewing or crocheting or printmaking. If I have spare time after all that, I bake chocolate chip cookies!
What influences your own creative work?
The earth around me and the people on it. I paint a lot of landscapes and print a lot of portraits, for some reason. Patterns really inspire me, too. When I lived in New York, I lived in Harlem in a neighborhood with a lot of West African people who wore traditional dresses and turbans made of a Dutch-wax printed cotton fabric that is popular in places like Kenya. The patterns and colors were so striking, I’d have to force myself not to stare at the women’s clothing. I loved that West African fabric so much I researched it until I found out where I could buy some. Then I made myself a dress out of it too.
Do you have a current favorite design or designer on the site?
There are so many great designers and designs! Some of my favorites right now are Lydia Meiying (I love her “Autumn Flowers” and “Fish Scales + Mermaid Tails”) and Valentina Ramos (whose “Doodles” and “Flowers and Doodles” I’m obsessed with.) I also really love our current tea towel calendar contest. Tea towel calendars are my favorite and I love to see how creative all the designers can be with the idea!
How about a favorite base fabric?
Nothing makes me happier than the new cotton-silk. I am dying to make a dress out of it, but have not found the time yet. It is first on my to-do list.
Complete this sentence: If I could only ________ at Spoonflower, ___________ would be much __________.
Ha ha! I live in a really drafty old house and have often thought that if I could only bottle the hot air that is produced by all the machines at Spoonflower and take it home with me, my electricity bills would be much lower!
Is there anything else you want Spoonflower readers to know about you?
I’m secretly in love with motorcycles.