We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacey Darling and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stacey, what inspires you?
In this season, I find myself most inspired by women in business, specifically mothers balancing motherhood and their professional ambitions. I felt lost when I left my career path to be a full-time mother. Being a mother blessed me in ways I could not have imagined, however, I found myself having dreams and aspirations outside of motherhood. This gave me a great sense of guilt until I came across a quote by an unknown author, “A mom who has big dreams outside of her family is still the same mom who has big dreams for her family.” At that moment, I recognized that motherhood was not one size fits all and that I could still pursue my dreams while staying home to raise and nurture our four boys. I love reading stories and following the journies of other mothers who are doing the same. I find their journies to be both inspiring and motivating. I put my heart into both my family and my business. I feel incredibly blessed to be raising our boys while pursuing my dreams.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a professional decorative furniture artist and canvas artist. When it comes to my furniture and art, my heart’s desire is to paint the world beautiful one piece at a time. I love the idea of my art bringing peace, comfort, and beauty into your home. For this reason, each piece is lovingly and sometimes painstakingly transformed and given a new life, a renewed spirit. If you ask me how I got here, creating decorative furniture and original works of hand-painted canvas art with four little boys in tow, I will recite Proverbs 19:21 as it best describes my journey, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Having taught special education for almost 15 years with two Master’s Degrees under my belt, I was well on my way to meeting my career goal of becoming a school administrator. Unbeknownst to me, God had other plans for my life. As soon as my first son, Elijah was born, my husband and I felt the nudge from the Lord to make some drastic changes. The decision was made that I would leave my career as an educator to stay at home fulltime. The Lord’s ways are certainly mysterious and in His perfect plan, He had me stumble upon this passion for transforming vintage and antique furniture into beautiful, functional pieces and creating original works of art for your home. We now have four sons, Elijah, Jeremiah, Josiah, and Caleb. My children are my motivation and my inspiration and my husband has my heart. My love for them ignites my creativity and my drive. My journey has not been without struggle and sacrifice, however, it has been defined more by strength, striving, thriving, determination, and faith. My achievements and growth within the artist community have all been possible solely through my faith and the fellowship of other like-minded and like-hearted individuals. Early on someone told me not to ever compare myself to another artist. I didn’t realize it then but that has been one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever been given, both personally and professionally. When thinking about what advice I wanted to pass on to young women who may be just starting their career, that voice in my heart was saying, “Walk your own path.” I think we have a tendency to compare ourselves with others or feel as if we need to emulate the journey of successful women in our industry. It’s just not the case. There is the only one you and your path will be unique to you and your personal journey. Let that empower you and ignite you every single day, but especially on those days when you want to give up. Even the most difficult days are necessary stepping stones toward reaching your goal. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about others during the course of my journey thus far. I’ve learned it can be difficult but not impossible to find other women that genuinely want to lift you up, mentor you, empower you, and celebrate you. Find those women and surround yourself with them but most importantly be that woman for someone else.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When family and friends visit, we love loading up the car and visiting the Phoenix Zoo or the OdySea Aquarium. For our family who hasn’t been, exploring the Grand Canyon or the beauty of Sedona is a must. This year we loved the magic of the Cirque du Soleil show at the Talking Stick Resort and hope to catch another show during their next tour. The Phoenix Art Museum, the ArtWalk in Scottsdale, and any and all wine tastings are highly recommended.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without the encouragement, love, support, guidance, and generosity from others, I would not be the mother, artist, or business owner that I am today. My path has intertwined with some incredible women who have befriended me, taken me under their wing, guided me, encouraged me, and loved on me when I needed it most. There are so many I want to recognize because they deserve recognition, however for the sake of this article, I will only name a few. At the very start of my journey as an artist, I was blessed enough to virtually cross paths with Julie McDowell in a mutual Facebook group. It wasn’t long before we gravitated toward one another and quickly became friends. I don’t know what I did to deserve this but she has since become a cherished friend, mentor, teacher, encourager, and one of my biggest cheerleaders. Julie took me under her wing, nudged me outside of my creative comfort zone, introduced me to a world of painting techniques, tools, color palettes, and creative inspiration. She so freely shared all she knew, pouring into me while simultaneously encouraging me to find my artistic voice. I have always been in awe of her talent, her generosity, and her heart. Without her, I would not be where I am as a creative. . Bianca Gunderson has become both a sister artisan and a true sister to me. Her friendship has been invaluable to me on this journey. Not only is she an incredibly talented artisan that I am constantly in awe of but she is the true definition of a ride or die. She has been in the trenches with me and is the first to applaud my successes, no matter how small or how great. My husband, Richard, has been the catalyst to me being able to stay home with the boys, explore my creative talents and passions, and grow my budding small business. He is my hype man, my advisor, my anchor, and many other things behind the scenes. He genuinely believes in me and encourages me to go for it, regardless of how unattainable, far off or impossible it may seem, he believes I will get there and will do whatever he can to make sure I do.
Images are the sole property of Stacey Darling, Renewed Spirit Home.