We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Delonas and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
I have only succeeded by developing habits, rituals and routines that serve me. I often get described as a highly-motivated person but for me motivation isn’t what’s building the success in my art business, self-discipline is. You have to be disciplined enough to force yourself to work every day, grow and learn and I have dedicated the last 12 years of my life doing just that. I thrive on routine, and calculated risk taking. To really grow as a creative entrepreneur, you have to be the one who shows up for yourself and consistently puts in the work for yourself. Nobody else wants your success or happiness as much as you do. Be your own hero… 😊

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My journey to becoming a full-time artist began in 2009 when I started a new chapter in my life as a single mother to my son, Tripten. Looking for a way to support myself and my son while working on an art degree, I began selling my work at local Farmer’s Markets and Art Shows. As I found success and gained a large following of supporters, I began to dream the “impossible dream” of becoming a professional artist. Over a decade later, I am living that dream and my portfolio includes a variety of media, primarily working in glass, antlers, silk paintings, and clay. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the exclusive Western Design Exhibition & Sale in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and sold one of my glass antler chandeliers for over $20,000. The sense of accomplishment I had at that moment was so rewarding. All those months spent tirelessly building my chandelier and the decade it has taken me to master my craft, culminated in me creating something that a person wanted to have as their centerpiece in their home. And, above it all my client felt my work was worthy of a 5-figure investment. I was humbled, shocked, and a little bit in dis-belief when she was handing me her credit card. I even began to shed some tears as she signed her name and at that exact moment, I knew she had changed my path, my mindset and set a new bar for me. This beautiful lady had just changed my life.

Before, arriving in Jackson I had named my chandelier Ascend which means to reach to the next point, rank, or degree. And before selling it, I knew that who I sold this piece to would have some sort of connection to my work and be connected to me. People don’t easily invest/spend that kind of money if they aren’t connected with you and the work you create. So, to put it simply I was very humbled and filled with pride in accomplishing such a long-standing goal of mine.

What sets me apart from other artists is that my creative process starts out first, by me finding and collecting the materials off my western landscape. Through climbing local mountains, I would often find the abandoned crowns of elk, moose, and deer. There is nothing quite like the high of finding a beautiful, massive, 6-point elk shed bathing in the Idaho sun. Working with these antlers to create unique chandeliers and stained-glass art drives me to know more about the magnificent beast who left them behind. I find myself longing to hike the toughest terrain, battle the wind and rain, cross treacherous scree fields, study tracks and rubs, all in search of these hidden treasures. Shed hunting fine-tuned my understanding of animal patterns and the lessons to be learned from the yearly shedding ritual comes through me and my artwork.
Each antler I find symbolizes the beauty of nature’s regenerative powers and motivates me to regenerate and grow as a person and artist. Over time, I have adopted the annual “shedding” ritual as the central theme for my artwork. Each spring, me and my family hike hundreds of miles in search of the sheds that will serve as that year’s artistic foundation.

How did you get to where you are today professionally?
To put it simple I got where I am today by developing positive habits, rituals and routines that serve me and my growth to becoming the best version of authentic self. This includes all aspects of my personal development whether that be personal, spiritual or in my art career. Every day I wake up and shape my mind and my business into the life I have always dreamed it to be. For me, one key ingredient that has helped me all these years is my deep-seated belief in myself and the work I am creating. Bottom line, you’re the only person who’s going to make it happen for yourself and you got to be your own hero.

Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
Nothing about being an artist entrepreneur is easy. It takes focus, discipline, and vision to make all the running pieces work. It has taken me 12 years to get to the point of where I understand the business side of art and created my own niche. Even after my first 5-digit art sale, I just now feel like I’m getting started and have a clear vision of where I am headed.
One of the hardest parts for me on this journey is how extremely lonely it can be. The majority of the people in the world wake up in the morning and go to work. This allows people the opportunity to interact, converse, and provide feedback with each other where the studio is usually a solo experience. To combat the isolation, I have joined various groups and organizations such as artist membership clubs, hired an art/business coach, and developed positive habits and rituals that help me stay centered. And always take the time to stay connected to nature by hiking, hunting, and just watching the sun come up.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
The biggest lesson I have learned along the way is to only take advice from people who are experts in that field, especially art. For me, the first 12 years running my art business I listen to people who I admired and respected for their success or status but none of these people were artist entrepreneurs. This advice was always well intended but I can now see how much it set me back and crippled my growth. For years, I was taking advice from friends, family, and even customers on things like pricing my artwork, selling my artwork, how to market my artwork, managing social media, running a website list goes on and on. I was so thirsty and hungry for guidance on making it as an artist that I was taking critical advice from all the wrong people. It wasn’t until my 30’s that I realized this, and set out to find professional guidance on running my art business.
My advice to anyone trying to make it as an artist entrepreneur is to remember that most people especially the people closest to you, have unintentionally adopted archaic belief’s and have a “starving artist” mindset. Most people don’t know that there is a thriving and growing art market and that there is plenty of room for every artist at the table.
So, to put it simply be careful who you listen to, seek out professional advice on growing your art business, follow your passions and listen to the beat of your own drum. We as artists no longer need gatekeepers to our success and we don’t need to be “found” or “discovered” by anyone, we have the power and tools to do it all by ourselves.

What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am an Idaho artist who creates mountain luxury home lighting and antler decor using stained glass, crystals, precious gemstones and fossils soldered in-between the tines of bone. My work conveys my love for the outdoors and the life found in the mountains surrounding my Idaho home. I am an avid outdoorswoman, and I am one of a handful of women who has summited all of Idaho’s nine tallest peaks and I am completely spellbound and captivated by the sport of shed-hunting. If you’re interested in connecting with me, you can find me on my website at www.mountaingirlstudios.com or on social media at mountain_girl_studios….
Here’s to…. Shedding Nature’s Light by Ashley Delonas

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

The only way to really know and fall in love with Idaho, is to explore her vast wilderness. If I had one week to wine and dine anyone, especially my best friend, we would begin our week-long adventure backpacking in the Lost River Range, which is home to 7 of Idaho’s 9 tallest peaks.
While we are traversing mountain peaks, eating the best homemade freeze-dried food, high mountain lakes, and fishing we would especially be looking and glassing Idaho’s land for dropped elk, deer and moose antlers. And when coming to an end of our journey we would hopefully, with a heavy pack of “brown-gold”, soak our muscles in one of Idaho’s most infamous hot springs… Gold Bug…Living the best life Idaho style.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shout out to my art business coach and mentor Rachel Wilkins. I hired Rachel over a year ago and she has been my secret ingredient with my most recent success. Rachel has gone above and beyond in helping me navigate the nuances in running an art business. She has helped me align my goals and figure out my “why”… but most importantly she helped me shed old habits and ways of thinking that was hindering my growth and success. I first fell in love with Rachel by listening to her podcast “Smart Art Business” and even joined her “Art Business Boot Camp” program for the last year. If it wasn’t for her and her guidance, I firmly believe that I would not be where I am today.

ersonalAshleyDelonas

Website: www.mountaingirlstudios.com

Instagram: mountain_girl_studios

Facebook: Mountain Girl Studios

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