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

Hi Madeline, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?

The idea for my business came from a deep desire to heal and break free from the chains of monotony.

There are times in life when we have to put one foot in front of the other, and that’s the best we can do. During my separation and subsequent divorce, that was my only goal. Eat. Sleep. Work. Take care of my son. Survive.

As breathing became easier, the realization hit that this is not what I want to do every day. I enjoy my job, but I had a yearning to create. I was taking care of my body but neglecting my soul.

I feel there are others like me–people in all walks of life either carrying deep hurt or looking to thrive instead of just surviving. Doing something creative will help in both of those areas.

So instead of just doing art on the side and posting to my social media platforms, I decided to take a leap and start a business. I sell my art at vendor and craft fairs, but I mostly want to inspire, motivate, and connect with others through mobile workshops and by sharing others’ stories on social media.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I create mosaics, as well as lost-object and upcycled art pieces. Art has been an escape and an opportunity to heal. Every glass tile, Lego piece, or broken shell that’s glued represents a piece of me getting put back together.

However, that heavy emotion behind the motivation doesn’t take away from the playful nature of what I create. Reality is drab and sometimes oppressive, but our imaginations are bursting with color, shapes, and light.

I started my first mosaic over a decade ago. It was never completed and stayed in a box in the garage. I almost threw it away dozens of times. Each time, I would rescue it from the trash.

I’m so glad I did. It was the first one I finished when I picked up doing mosaics again.

I’m still in the beginning stages of my business. With a full-time job and a rambunctious six-year-old, this process hasn’t been easy. However, I want others to know the power of art and being creative.

If you look at everything it takes to be successful–marketing, budgets, legal issues, etc.–it becomes overwhelming. The challenge is understanding the process but focusing solely on the next step.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that starting a business is a long game. If your readers are interested in pursuing a similar venture, this is knowing this is key. Many people don’t see the hustle and grind, only the end product. Some days will be hard, but if you’re focused on mastering the current step you’re on, it will pay off.

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?

Waco has a ton of places to eat and drink and a vibrant art scene.

They should spend the mornings biking or hiking around Cameron Park or the National Mammoth Monument then hit up a brunch spot like Butter My Biscuit or The Olive Branch.

Although a day trip to Fossil Rim for the drive-through animal encounter is a must, I would recommend your readers dedicate their afternoons to hitting up an art class at the Makerspace or The Rustic Brush or visiting The Silos.

Be sure to visit the Eastside Market on Sunday, and plan to hit up the breweries and wineries in the evening. Valley Mills Vineyards has some of the best views and wine. However, don’t do all your drinking there–spread the love and join a trivia night at Brotherwell or Bare Arms Brewery.

A must-see would be the current exhibit at Cultivate 712, and, by all means, try to catch a Baylor University football game.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My leap into the public creative world is thanks in large part to a woman I met at church.

Who knew when I signed up for a random Bible study that the leader of that group would be a successful published writer? Her name is Lena Dooley, and she encouraged me to publish my first children’s book. Through her, I connected with other writers who provided encouragement, support, and prayer. Without Lena and these women, I’m not sure I would have ever had the confidence to start my own business or share my voice.

My family and friends have also been a big support. I’ve had a lot of crazy ideas in the past, but they cheer me on, buy my books and art, and celebrate any small successes. I’m truly grateful for them.

Website: hotkeyart.com

Instagram: @hotkeyart

Facebook: @hotkeyart

Image Credits
Headshot and portfolio pictures by Amber Waldron at Positive Photography.

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