Finding Grace In An Unexpected Place

I have a confession to make: designing this year's Holiday Collection was hard. Like, really hard. But also, it was one of the most poignant and beautiful times of my life. I'd love to tell you why...

To start with, one of my favorite parts of designing a new collection is pulling together all the details: colors, underlying themes, design techniques, photography props, etc.

Designing this year's Holiday Collection was admittedly a source of both high stress and deep joy. With limited time to pull all of the details together (lesson learned: start earlier!), I was forced to focus and be really intentional in my choices. Inspired by wintry nature and peaceful hymns, I chose a lighter color palette with mixes of sage (typical!), dusty rose and dove blue, as opposed to the classic bright red and green Christmas palette.

Visions of deer, balsam branches,  soft blue cedar berries and cozy winter scenes danced through my head. Sweet memories of singing hymns beside my mother and grandmother on Christmas Eve sank deep into my heart.

After experimenting with new watercolor and brush lettering techniques over the past year, I knew that I wanted to use these skills to represent the soft and cozy nature of the holiday season. Pushing my tendency to lean on technology aside, I made the bold decision to hand paint each element of every design. Under the pressures of my quickly approaching deadline, I thought to myself, "Are you crazy? You'll never finish all of this in time! There's no way you can paint everything by hand!" But here is where grace and the freedom of letting go came into play. I decided to forget my schedule and just paint. Let go of my "control" over time, give myself grace, and just paint. It is here that I found joy. As someone who was too fearful to take a single painting class in all my years of schooling, what a joy it was to see my brush strokes come together into something beautiful! I felt God's grace and movement through me as each piece came together. The words "you are enough", "we can do this, together" and "just trust" rang in my heart. I wasn't just creating to release an impressive Collection anymore, I was creating to share God's gift of grace and joy with others. Amidst the pressure of deadlines and the stress of the holiday rush, I was reminded that God's grace covers all. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound".

Whether you share my beliefs or not, and even if you don't celebrate Christmas, my hope is that my 2015 Holiday Collection serves as an opportunity for you to love those who are dear to your heart. Send a card with well wishes, gift a print with encouraging words or an uplifting illustration, or package your presents with intentionality and beauty. 

Stress, anxiety, and fear of not being enough are very real and sometimes not within our control - that's not something I will ever debate. But, we can control how we respond to these worries. Let's choose grace. Let's choose trust. Let's choose joy. Will you join me in seeking peace this season? 

Happy holidays,

Photography : Shannon Graham Photography