Taylor Mahlke: Art As Work & Her Journey To Pen + Pillar

Hello Friends!

It’s nice to chat again! After the last series, I took some time away to travel with family and explore the world a bit. Along with that, I was able to spend some time thinking through my business model and refresh my vision for this next quarter.

Out of my musings, the idea of being human and being artists kept coming to the forefront.

You see, since last fall when my business shifted in a huge way and my life with it, I have been pondering and reflecting on many big picture questions, such as what it means to be human. And the more I listen, experience, and learn from others, the more I see being human is messy. It’s responding, it’s adapting, it’s being artistic and creative. Being human is an art itself.

No matter what direction our careers take us, we each enter the day with our own set of personal programming and layers of experiences from which we engage with the world. When a new opportunity presents itself, we each react or operate in a slightly different way, weaving a new thread into our unique life story tapestry. Sometimes our past affects our choices. Sometimes we encounter situations manifested from the choices of others, but ultimately the next decision that comes our way is our opportunity to co-create with humanity, and thus create art with our lives.

That said, when you think about art in the form of a painting, rarely is an art piece ever “bad”, it may be dark, it may be controversial, but rarely “bad”. Paintings can be seen with vibrant colors or muted tones, delicate shading or thick brush strokes, complex and detailed or beautifully simple, precise and orderly or seemingly chaotic. But whatever the case, they are not good or bad: it’s completely a matter of perspective. One can look at a painting and while we may not understand it, you can respect the time and the journey it took for the artist to make it. It’s their own expression, and with that, it’s already beneficial and worth being celebrated.

We are all human, we are all artists, we are all worthy of being celebrated.

No matter where you find yourself today in life, in work, in business, know that the art you create with your life is worth celebrating.

To continue the conversation of thriving in life and work, hop on to today’s podcast interview with Taylor Mahlke, owner of Pen + Pillar. Taylor is a former client who consistently impresses me with her new product launches and creativity. This conversation is worth listening too, and hearing her story from small startup to thriving e-commerce paper goods store (that also gives back to the community) is inspiring!

Reclamation is yours,

About Pen + Pillar
Born from passions of art and philanthropy, Pen+Pillar is owned and operated by wife and husband team, Taylor and Justin Mahlke. They work out of their backyard studio in High Point, North Carolina. Taylor loves coffee, reading, traveling, any disaster movie, Target runs, going to bed early, and is the opposite of laid back. Sadly, Justin does not love coffee- but he does love reading, traveling, music, 12-hour long board games, staying up late, and is the steady, calm one.

After meeting each other while they were teaching in the Middle East, Taylor and Justin returned to the US and began their online storefront in 2015 to sell paper goods inspired by their travels, nature, textiles, color, community, and warmth. Taylor is the artist and handles all things creative, and Justin is the numbers and logistics guy. Art should bring joy and light to your life, and it’s Taylor’s aim to create pieces that evoke a sense of life and adventure.

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