Artist Interview: Jan Avellana

Name: Jan Avellana
Name of Business: Jan Avellana | Art + Words
Creative Influences:
Preferred Medium of Creativity: Mixed-media       

Brief Bio:
I am a mixed media artist with a passion for all things vintage, books, deep conversations, and seaside adventures with my three favorite men (ages 4, 7 and 41). With both a bachelors of fine art in graphic design and a master’s of education in teaching, I spent the better part of my adult life trying very hard to be a grown-up with a traditional job. After the birth of my two sons, my newfound-mama-love released me to follow my heart, reclaiming the artist that I have always been. In 2007, I created a line of silver hand stamped jewelry under the hazelnut cottage brand. Today, I revel in mixed media messes, making heartfelt connections with others through art and words.

{New Etsy Shop}
{New Website}
{HazelnutCottage Etsy Shop}


  1. What is one of your earliest creative memories?
Gosh, that was a loooong time ago! Leseee…I remember drawing field mice standing under large mushrooms! As a youngster, I also loved to write—short stories, poetry, you name it! I was even in a creative writing class when I was in elementary school and got one of my poems published in some kind of international children’s magazine.

  1. How did you find your creative voice?
Wow, these questions are hard, lol! I am really only now discovering my creative voice. Like an adolescent, my voice is shaky; it cracks at times and can’t seem to “settle” itself on one pitch! Still, I suppose I have found my way, by doing the work. By showing up in the studio regardless of my mood and by doing my best to choose the path of joy and love. Whenever I get to the point of confusion or insecurity about my artwork, I have been trying to listen to my gut, learning how to bravely allow myself to be led by God, to follow His leading which usually means allowing myself to boldy let myself love what I love.

  1. Did your creative habits make a smooth transition into your adult life?  What did the evolution look like?
Gosh, no! I could be the poster child for “Non-Linear Meandering Artist”! As I shared previously, as a child, my first creative love was writing. Then in college, I fell into a string of studio art classes and chose to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. I practiced in this field for a good number of years before leaving to pursue what I thought would be more soul-quenching work; teaching. After getting my Master’s Degree of Education in Teaching and teaching in the classroom for a few years, I left on maternity leave for the next 7 years. During this time, I became a mom to 2 exuberant and wonderful boys and through the transformation of motherhood, re-discovered my pure artistic passions.

  1. If you had a creative hiatus, what event/circumstance brought you back to your creative lifestyle?

There was a time—nearly a decade—when I let go of all artmaking, and it has been a slow trip back to my creative roots and passions. Many things happened at once; the farther away I wandered from a life of creativity, my depression worsened. A dear friend gave me a book entitled, “Let Your Life Speak” by Parker Palmer. Right around this same time, I met a man who would become my mentor and Pastor. At the same time, desperation at the thought of having to go back into the classroom full-time motivated me to find something I could do from home to earn an income! From this chaos came hope. I discovered the indie artist community and eventually, Etsy. Soon afterwards, I created a line of handstamped silver jewelry and Hazelnut Cottage was born.

  1. How has GOD been a part of your creative process/lifestyle?

It has taken me a long time to embrace and run with my creative gifts, trusting that God will determine how to best use me and my artwork to accomplish His will in the world. There is a quote from Elizabeth O’Conner’s “The Eighth Day of Creation” that says it best:

“The charismatic person is who, by her very being, will be God’s instrument in calling forth gifts. The person who is having the time of her life doing what she is doing has a way of calling forth the deeps of another. Such a person is herself Good News. She is the embodiment of freedom of the new humanity. Verbal proclamation of the Good News becomes believable. The person who exercises her own gift in freedom can allow the Holy Spirit to do in others what He wants to do.”

I pray that I may be that person.

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