My name is Tiffany & I am mama to one, Miles Nicholas Van Camp, who is about 1.5 years old. I am professional artist that juggles designing, dancing, & theater making with my husband Jamie Van Camp.
When not with by baby or working I love spending time in nature, long hikes, farmer’s markets… music, yoga, and sharing a drink & a good conversation. As a mama, I think one of my strengths is willingness to learn. Motherhood came to my life fast & unexpected and it’s been a huge adjustment. My strength is being able to say, I don’t know what I’m doing & also to trust what I am doing- if that makes sense! I could not feel more devoted to my little boy, and I delight in watching him grow & encourage his explorative spirit.
Can you describe how you & your husband met?
I admit, I always have to take a deep breath before answering this question, because our union has been sort of a whirlwind. I met my husband Jamie in 2009, and we were friends & artistic collaborators for many years. We were both in relationships, though, and I think it never quite crossed our minds that being with each other was a possibility… even though we LOVED to chat and go on walks and pretty much do any creative project we could together. Well, I moved to Davis to finish up my Undergrad in Dance, and at that point it became clear that we really felt more for each other than just friendship. Once we both realized this shared attraction, there was just no turning around! It was a crazy time, and we were both in the midst of a lot of life issues.
But there was also something so strong between us & I had never felt so safe, supported, and deeply in loved in my entire life. We could talk for HOURS and never get tired of each other. Falling in love with Jamie has just transformed my life for the better, and I could never have imagined that I would be here now, also a mother to our child. These last years have been filled with struggle but it also feels absolutely right in every way.
Can you share with us how your creative business went from an idea into reality?
There are two creative business that I focus my energy on, Plume & Fauna, which is my handmade designs, and See the Elephant, which is a Theater/ Dane Company I’m starting with my husband.
So, my little business Plume & Fauna started in 2010 sometime. Our theater class was raising money to go to Scotland that summer, and I took up jewelry design with my best friend to raise money for the trip. After that summer, I was hooked; I wanted to learn more, try new designs, and see if I could make this more than a hobby. It just sort of blossomed from there. I got an Etsy shop, started doing craft fairs, consigned at a few local shops…
When we found out I was pregnant, I had just finished Undergrad, and I knew I wanted to be home with the baby for at least the first several months. So I was able to continue working from home via my creative business. I worked (and still work!) like crazy- at naptimes, after bedtimes, delivering & shipping orders with Miles tucked in my Ergo… my studio was actually in his nursery for a little bit. It was more work than I wanted to be doing with a newborn (I wanted to nap!), but at least I had flexibility to stay home and work in random 1-2 hour increments. And it’s something I feel really proud of, something that I have ownership over. I design feather jewelry, hair accessories, masks, flower crowns, & bridal adornments, handcrafting every piece.
At the same time… my husband and I received a grant to begin building our own Theater & Dance Company for Placerville, which we’re calling See the Elephant. He will teach theater classes & I will teach dance, and we will also be creating new shows for the public & doing community outreach projects. No easy feat! So that’s another one of those creative IDEAS, that we are currently turning into a REALITY.
This is where I end up juggling being a designer, and dancer, a business owner, a mother… The juggle is DEFINITELY real! It’s challenging, but also very creatively satisfying.
How would you say your home and family life reflects the arts, creativity, and flow?
I suppose my first thought is chaos! We have a very “creatively chaotic” household that is always in flux, adapting, & changing with various opportunities and projects. Being in the arts requires an immense amount of willingness to shift lenses, change hats. But besides, multi-tasking and general busyness in the home. Artist schedules are rarely 9-5; they are more sporadic, with periods of intense busyness and periods of slightly more spacious “behind the scenes” kind of work… there are late nights, and traveling, and you never fully “leave” work.
But besides multi-tasking and the general busy-ness of our days, there are many other positive ways our family life reflects creativity & flow. We try to listen to each other needs & energies. We don’t force going out and doing things if it’s just not happening. We like to create space for laughter & spontaneity, for play. The theatre itself is an open & inclusive place, and we also like to invite all kinds of people into our lives. We like it best when our home is full of music, brightness, and people.
What is your favorite art form to personally express?
This one is easy! I love theater, and I love being a designer, but there’s no place I feel more “in my element” than when I’m dancing. If I could do it all day, every day, I absolutely would! I dream of having my own studio where I can practice dance, teach, or choreograph whenever I please.
What is your favorite art form to witness, enjoy, watch?
This question is a little trickier. I love to watch live dance, but I also love seeing a theater performance or live music. To me, they are all on par, and I have been privileged to see A LOT of dance, theater, & music in my short lifetime. It never gets old, either. There’s always something to take away from a performance, to be moved by. And the experience of gathering in a theater venue together is like nothing else… truly! We live in a time of endless screen entertainment, but live art just fills my soul; I always leave with a reinvigorated passion for life.
How do you foster creativity with your son? How can the standard American family promote the arts even if they aren’t necessarily performers or artists?
It’s been a pleasure to begin fostering creativity with my son. I definitely get ahead of myself too, buying him beautiful coloring books & markers, drooling over craft kits and paints at the store, and trying to get him to dance with me … all which my husband laughs endearingly about. Obviously, I’m excited about sharing art with my little Miles. Right now, of course, creativity looks more like building blocks, and pouring milk into various containers when I’m not looking… arranging his numerous toy cars, and experimenting with sounds, whether it’s the xylophone, or smashing things with a hammer. What’s so exciting about exposing babies & children to creativity is that, you have no idea what they will end up being attracted to! They’re open to everything and they’re also just really honest with what is interesting & what is not, which changes very frequently! What’s fun for me is discovering what he likes, and who he is, and as a mama my job is to support & foster whatever that thing is at a given moment. When your babies are little, there isn’t a whole lot you need to do to foster creativity, it’s more about letting them explore everything; watching a child play is literally watching creativity at work. When they’re older of course, and in school, creative activities can easily fall to the wayside with a full plate of homework, tests, sports, etc. This is where I say, encourage your kids to keep practicing an art (any kind of art!) that they enjoy. No matter who your child grows up to be, and no matter what they are interested in, the arts provide necessary outlets for self-expression, foster empathy, and help them with interpersonal connection & communication. This is just a short list of benefits. Neither you nor your child need to be “artists” in order to enjoy creative outlets, whether that’s writing poetry, painting, playing an instrument, taking photographs, cooking, or anything else!
I would also just say… support your local arts educators! The arts are always in danger of being cut & downsized due to budget concerns. Encourage your child to enroll in an arts class in school, and let your school know that you value the arts programs. Children & teens need these programs in schools because for many of them it’s their only *free* opportunity to learn an art form, at it will no doubt leave a positive lasting impression in their life.
Tiffany, Your family of three inhales creativity and exhales performance! You each have such talents and we are lucky you’ve shared them with us!
Check out Tiffany’s etsy shop: Here
Follow her on Instagram @plumeandfauna