Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Alana Rose Abbott. I am a self-taught artisan living in Ithaca, NY. In my 28 years on the planet, I have always felt like a lone wolf – not quite knowing where I belong or feeling a sense of community around me. I began my shop Run With the Tribe because I wanted to do just that: run with like-minded individuals. I wanted to find my tribe.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I have a son, Seneca Jaimes. He has recently turned three. My first priority is being his mama. I work my craft, and I take care of my boy. We keep it pretty simple around here. There’s a lot of music in our home (specifically analog sound, as I am a vinyl enthusiast). We adventure around the state park behind our home and throw stones to the waterfalls. I always have a project or two in my bag; crocheting as we walk or sewing when we sit. I will admit it is a challenge juggling motherhood with a demanding business, but we do our best to compromise and find the balance. All in all, we’ve got a really good thing going on.
Dedication to my meditation practice is also very important to me. I am a regular at the Namgyal Monastery here in Ithaca. Namgyal is the North American Seat of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It’s a very special place, quite possibly my favorite spot in town.
What would be the title of your memoir?
Hoppin’ Fate Trains. Although my vision and inspiration are quite worldly and eclectic, I am still just an Americana kinda’ gal (and a sucker for a good pun). I am continually taken aback by the auspicious, serendipitous, intuition and faith driven nature of the journey this life has given me. I let life flow, and hop on opportunity when it comes to me. The end result or destination is not so much my concern, but rather it is the process, the moment, and the adventure that I live for.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The journey is my inspiration. Whether it is the internal journey of mind, heart and spirit or the external journey of travel and experience.
Expression through adornment can be an exceptionally powerful thing. How we dress transforms the life experience. When you feel good wearing something that holds a little meaning, your posture lengthens, your pull shoulders back, the heart chakra opens, and you take the Light Warrior posture. In this posture, you approach the world with more intention, compassion and acuity in each moment. The aesthetic of your story is also heightened. I live for bringing the dream into reality. Perception is everything.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade is within the process. The handmade objects that hold the most appeal to me are ones that sweep me up into the world of the creator. Beginning from the material choices, to the intention within production. The finished piece resonates with the creator, and I am brought to think of the person with every interaction with the possession.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
From 2001-2005, I lived in New York City studying performing arts. The last two of those five years I had an acting mentor, Nico Hartos. Nico’s favorite question is “Who are you?”. He places absolute emphasis on being honest and pure in the moment, knowing thyself, and having complete devotion to the craft. Although I am not on a stage or in a film, I am still offering my moments with this work. I am still having to examine my intentions, continually work with my inner self, bring pure honest expression to the table, and sustain complete dedication every day. My craft is a direct translation of my life. Nico’s teachings brought me to understand what it means to have true craft.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
Always. I don’t believe there was ever any other choice for me.
How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process is visceral. I don’t premeditate the designs too much. I allow my materials to tell me what they want to become, how they want to be put together. I feel that my best designs are the ones that seemed to reveal themselves through happy accidents or spontaneous “a ha!” moments.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Rather than peer in on just one person, I would like to take witness to a scene. I am particularly captivated by the scene around the Chelsea Hotel in 1969. And while I’m time traveling, I would love to step into 1920s Paris, taking André Breton as my guide.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I look forward to cherishing the gifts made by my son’s hands.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
Lack of inspiration is rarely something I struggle with. The muse always seems to be standing over my shoulder. I would say my biggest challenge is sustaining a steady production pace to keep up with the busy shop. I have to remind myself to swim to the surface from time to time and do something solely for myself. Just get out and catch some music in town. Dance all the kinks out.
Maintaining harmony in my space is crucial. I’ll open all the windows, clean the dust from the corners, move the furniture, invoke a little drala. I have always felt that the state of my home is a mirror to the state of my mind. I also recently bought myself a long board to skate the mile to the post office. That trip is no longer a chore, but rather an epic break mid-day. And when I need a quick fix for motivation, there is nothing like turning upside down in a headstand to get the blood rushing to the brain. There is wisdom in inversion.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
There are many things I can see manifesting for my future. Each possibility holds just as much appeal as the other. As much as I try to plan, the path continually evolves to surprise me. For this reason, I try to not to place much expectation on tomorrow. But one thing is for sure: I hope to remain true to myself (and have a little flat in Paris to escape to from time to time to write that memoir).