My Soulful Journey Back to Design


Reviewing my journal entries for 2020, I came across this entry from last March, just as the reality of the pandemic was beginning to permeate our lives. To follow the unfolding of my latest entrepreneurial journey, please follow me on Instagram @beachtobistro.


From March 2020:

Remembering my own 3 step process for manifestation:

  1. Set an intention.

  2. Do the work.

  3. Have faith.

It is time for me to put this motto to good use. About 2 years ago I started just designing lots of prints from my hand-carved stamps, scanning them onto my computer, putting them into repeat and creating a huge inventory of designs that sat dormant in my dropbox. My friends know I entitled this phase as “Prints with No Purpose”. Meaning, I needed to do it, felt compelled by some inner drive to provide myself with a creative outlet when several of the business paths I started down came to dead ends. I did it with no idea what I would use them for, but it gave me hours of enjoyment and I kept at it. Loved the process, unattached to the final outcome. A living example of the yogic philosophy from the Bhagavad Gita (I also am studying to be a yoga teacher at the moment)—(update--I now teach yoga online 3x a week.)

All the while, there was an idea simmering on the back burner…one I had come up with a decade ago, but never had the courage or the clarity to make it a reality. The idea: to create a collection of clothing from my color and print archives that is purely a result of my own creativity with no corporate oversight, no 5-year business plan, no expecations and basically no money :-).

I had all the elements I needed: prints, color palettes, my favorite silhouettes, a small but loyal group of customers (who also have followed me on my Creative Wellbeing retreat journey) and a creative drive that just won’t quit. All I needed was the right manufacturer to interpret and produce my designs in small quantities with an artist’s eye. I did plenty of research for US production but it didn’t lead me anywhere workable.


So I went to India. I had no idea what to expect. I was open to anything. Through my yoga practice, I was well-trained to focus on the present moment and not be concerned with trying to control the outcome. This served me well in a country that is so chaotic and unpredictable that, if you are caught up in the mayhem, you miss the beauty entirely. I’d say this is true for life in general. As it turned out, my adventure in India led me to meet the most soulful, lovely person who was equally excited by the prospect of a creative collaboration. My last few days there were spent working with her on new designs. Introduced to her workplace, which is an oasis in the middle of industrial Delhi. We met at a table out in the garden with sunlight illuminating the beautiful prints and fabrics we reviewed under the trees. I’d never had a factory visit quite like this. It felt like coming home.


I made it home just under the wire, before the corona virus turned the entire world upside down. As I write this, we have been self-quarantined at home for over 2 weeks and India is in full lock-down. When I received a video from India of my block prints in production, I wondered how this was possible. The answer was this: the print studios are often in the artisan’s home, so they can work while sheltered in place. The intimacy of this process, while born out of economic necessity strikes me as right-sized and somehow very moving. I want to stay small and work to support artisans at home and soulful sisters running their own companies, not matter where in the world they might be.

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©Sigrid Olsen 2020

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