My name is Rina and I am a nurse, artist, mother and wife. I am a self-taught fiber artist and loom weaver in my time outside of my career of which I am a Registered Nurse. I always dreamed of being a nurse since I was a young girl and my nursing experience has led me to the area of mental health, an area I have worked for over 15 years. I have been married to my husband who is an entrepreneur and we have two young boys ages 7 and 9. I am passionate about so many things! I love what I do as a mental health nurse, the relationships I build with my patients and being able to have the privilege of helping through some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. I am passionate about my family and spending time together doing our favorite things. Through my boys I have also developed a passion for sport and am a full-fledged hockey and soccer mom!
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS AND WHAT LEAD YOU TO START IT?
My business is tapestry weaving. I create woven art on frame looms that I also create myself. I have always been engaged in creative endeavors, needing something to keep my hands and mind busy. I have had struggles through the years with anxiety and have always searched for ways to be more mindful, present and ‘out of my head’. Though I have tried many things it wasn’t until I found a simple beginner loom weaving class that I felt I had met my soul mate. My business, Avelane Wall Art, started after that first class 2.5 years ago and has grown into a true passion project.
I have always wanted what I do to have meaning, to be able to merge my passions together. All of my woven pieces bears a small green heart in the lower right hand corner that represents my passion for mental health. As a mental health nurse a part of me will always be an advocate for better knowledge and education surrounding mental health issues. I also believe that giving back and kindness are one way of showing compassion to those who may be suffering. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of my pieces goes back to mental health initiatives and helping those who may be suffering. More recently, with the cold winters we have in Calgary, my boys have partnered with me to support people in our city who are homeless to provide socks, bus tickets and small gifts over the holidays.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
The question is who doesn’t inspire me! I am inspired everyday by my patients, their stories and struggles, I am inspired by artists I see on Instagram and I am so inspired and encouraged by other working moms who pursue their passions. The courage and passion of others can be contagious and a great reminder of the things I am grateful for in my own life.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR TIPS TO MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
This is such a tough question! I don’t think I have mastered the art of work-life balance and it is a continual work in progress. I often spend the late hours of the evening, after the kids have gone to bed, in my studio working away until the wee hours of the night. I spend some time on the weekends working on my art, and sometimes the time I spend does mean I don’t spend as much time as I would like with my family. I try to explain to my boys what I am doing and include them when they are interested so that they can hopefully understand why I am doing what I do and how it is important to me.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER MOMS WANTING TO START A BUSINESS?
I feel like I am continuously in need of advice on this very topic, “how to manage it all and still keep your sanity!” I will say though that one of the greatest things I’ve learned thus far is to be flexible. I’ve always been a planner and organizer but I’ve learned (and am still learning) that I need to practice flexibility. I’ve had many days where I’ve had to change my plans or adjust things because of a sick child, unexpected changes in plans or just life that day and I’ve learned that it is not the end of the world. For me it is about perspective and how I look at the unexpected. Flexibility has been a learning curve for me that has been helpful in how I manage both my time and my kids.
IF YOU HAD AN EXTRA HOUR TODAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT?
Honestly, if you asked me that right now I’d say knitting. I’m knitting a sweater right now as a part of a sort of ‘fiber bucket list’. There are so many creative things I have wanted to try and for awhile felt that I had ‘no time’ but decided that this year I would make my desires a reality. So I’m slowly working away on this cardigan that I’m excited to finish!
GET TO KNOW RINA