We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Hultin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I am constantly in the process of fine tuning my work/life balance. I go through seasons where I’ve got it down and others where suddenly I’m juggling too much and some of the plates start to fall. I think the biggest help in figuring out work/life balance is flexibility. What I mean is that I’m constantly having to stop and assess if that balance is working for me and for my family, and if it’s not then I need to pivot and adjust (that’s where the flexibility comes in). I formed my business around the reality of raising kids/sometimes being pregnant/sometimes having a newborn which calls for a lot of that flexibility. I decided when I had my first baby that I wanted to be his primary care giver. That decision has oriented almost all of my business decisions. If it doesn’t fit into the vision of our life together then it is a lower priority to me. Sometimes, though, a big opportunity comes along and I have to weigh the time it’s going to take with the benefit to my career. Thankfully there is a lot of grace when it comes to these decisions, and most organizations I’ve worked with completely understand the work/life balance of a work-at-home-stay-at-home mama when I’m up front and honest about my needs and the needs of my family.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I use needle and thread to create embroideries that explore the often overlooked beauty of the subtle textures and colors of the Colorado landscape. I have always felt a deep desire to grow roots in one place; that place ended up being Colorado. As a child I never thought Colorado’s landscape was all that beautiful, but in an effort to grow roots in this place I closely observe the textures of the grasses and reeds in the foothills and plains and turn it into art. During the pandemic, my observations of the land around me have helped me stay grounded and calm. By bringing to life the riotous beauty I see in what would typically be regarded as a monotonous landscape, I offer my audience a new framework from which to view their environs. Life and art and land have become inextricably entwined in my life. Whether I am embroidering every plant growing in my garden or the textures of the vast Colorado plains, I am constantly exploring what it means to find a place on this land.
My practice has grown very organically and become integrated beautifully into my life. I never thought about pursuing art as a career, but in high school I accidentally took an art class and my teacher submitted some drawings for an art scholarship. I got the scholarship and the rest is history. By giving space and time for “life” to happen (aka: getting married, having kids) and creating space and time within that life to make work is the biggest reason my work has continued to grow and flourish. After getting married my husband and I thought about waiting to have children so I could focus more on my career, but it quickly became clear that my father had Alzheimer’s. I decided that I wanted my kids to know my dad and my dad to know my kids so we said, “let’s do it all.” I’ve never once regretted jumping all in all at once.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
What a fun question! We would start with coffee from Dark Heart Coffee in Loveland and then go up to Carter Lake. We’d rent paddle boards and spend the day on the water. Then we’d come back to town and get dinner and drink at any of the amazing restaurants here: Door 222, Rare Italian, Social, Vato’s Tacos, the list goes on. Some other must-see things would be the Denver Botanic Gardens, the farmer’s market, the Creperie, Horsetooth reservoir, hiking Devil’s backbone, catching a show at Red Rocks, or having a glass of wine at Sweetheart Winery.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I undoubtedly dedicate this shoutout to my husband, Lander. He is the backbone to our life together (and I know he’d say that I am too). It would be easy to lose my work or let it fall by the wayside while working from home with two small children, but Lander makes it a priority for our whole family.
Brooke Forwood (for first photo of me in studio with boys)