Meet Cindy Zell

Hi There! Would you like to introduce yourself?

 

Hello! My name is Cindy and I make large-scale fiber sculptures (@cindy.zell) and brass, fiber, and wood wall hangings (@wkndla). I live in Los Angeles with my husband Matt and my cat Timber.

 

What does being a creative mean to you?

 

Being a creative to me means manifesting the ideas in my head in some way. If I am obsessive and excited about a new idea I have to try to make it real, whether I can sell it or not. I definitely believe that not every creative pursuit needs to be monetized and being creative to me simply means listening to my gut and going along with it!

 

Do you recall when you first realized you HAD to be creative?

 

I used to go all out on my school projects and presentations. I would be assigned to write an essay on a president and end up handing in a hand-bound book with illustrations. The effort I put into the aesthetics always gave me some extra credit. It’s embarrassing to admit how much of a teacher’s pet I was, hah! I learned that I could use my creativity to make things beautiful and add value to something ordinary.

What is your favorite work ritual?

 

I like to start my day by writing down my to do list. I have endless lists on my phone but putting pen to paper on the most essential things to get done that day helps me focus and feel accomplished when they are crossed off at the end of the day!

 

How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed?

 

I start getting really clumsy when I’m tired or overwhelmed so when I start dropping things late in the afternoon I have to call it a day. Sometimes I just need to take a nap and hide. I quickly miss working though and after taking a break and spending time outside I’m ready to go back to the studio and keep going!

 

What three traits would you say are a must for someone going into business for themselves?

 

Compassion, optimism, and perseverance.

What is your definition of success? Do you feel that you are successful? 

 

Success is tricky to define for me. I think about all the things I have to be grateful for in my life and I know that objectively, I’m successful. However, I have so many goals and milestones I haven’t reached, so in this way success always feels far away. Perhaps I need to learn a new word to differentiate between the two conflicting feelings!

 

What has been the best advice you have received?

 

Many people I admire such as Elizabeth Gilbert, Ramit Sethi, and Brooke Castillo have changed my outlook about money. Some people have the notion that art is somehow more legitimate if it is created through struggle, that asking for money for doing what one loves is shameful or selling out. But It’s okay to want to make money. I’m learning that It’s okay to market my work because I want it to sell. If I don’t do it who will?

 

Who is a female (past, present or fictional) you find inspirational? 

 

My favorite show growing up was I Love Lucy so I’ve always admired Lucille Ball. She was talented, brave, confident, and determined, and broke so many boundaries like becoming the first female studio head of a production company.