Posted on February 04 2015
This week's Wednesday Woman is the uber-talented Emily Quinton. Someone we are constantly in awe of ~ an incredible blogger, photographer, maker, author and mother of four!
Newnham: Emily, what’s your background?
Quinton : My background is pretty eclectic. Each part of it has contributed to where I am now though...
In my 20s, I worked at a University library where I catalogued old books in foreign languages. From there, I went on to manage a music and fine art library and, during this time, I also started a PhD in the Legal Geographies of Ornamental Plant Hunting. While I was studying for my PhD, I took lots of photographs during my research trips at botanical gardens, and on trips to Thailand and Spain. I put these photographs on Flickr, along with other images I was taking at the time, and people around the world started asking to buy the prints.
A couple of gallery shows followed and before I had time to stand still I was running a wedding and portrait photography business! During this time, I also had my first baby. Two more babies followed, the PhD didn't get finished (I tried and tried but, in the end, it wasn’t supposed to be how that story ended).
I then fell out of love with wedding photography and started the next thing, a lifestyle blog about startup life / family life. And had another baby!
Newnham: Wow, and what are you working on now?
Quinton: Now, I am still blogging, although the blog’s focus and name has changed since I first started it. I also teach photography workshops in London, and around the world, through my online course on Makelight.
I love to teach and I am really growing this part of my business this year. I am also getting ready for the publication of my first book 'Maker Spaces', which will launch in April and, I’m already working on ideas for my next book! I’m also plotting something pretty new and exciting almost every time I have a dinner date out with my husband which is every week!
Newnham: Congrats on the book ~ we’re truly inspired by how you fit so much into your day, especially with 4 kids! How do you combine it all so successfully?
Quinton: Oh thank you! I’m not really sure how I do it all to be honest with you but I’ve always been like that since I was a child. I have always juggled lots of stuff at the same time and my husband is the same way. We really support each other as much as we can and I know that has a huge influence in what I am able to do.
Its not easy but over the years I’ve experimented with different amounts of childcare and I now feel that I’ve got the right balance between working and having time to spend with my children. I also make sure I have enough time for myself which I think is really important when you have lots of children and run your own business. I go to the gym or pool every day Monday to Friday; I leave before my children have woken up and when I get back, we have about half an hour before the school run begins. It gives me the head space I really need each morning, as well as keeping my body fit and well.
Sometimes I do get overwhelmed by it all - I can feel utterly exhausted - but I’ve learnt over the years to listen to what my body and mind need; which is to be happy and be able to fit everything in. I also write many lists, rarely watch television and live on about 6.5 hours sleep a night.
As a couple, we also invest in time together ~ every Tuesday evening we go out and every six weeks we have a weekend away without the children.
Newnham: You’ve built up a wonderful community of makers around you ~ how do you continue to nurture that network and vice versa? Q
uinton: Social media is definitely my friend here. It keeps me connected with lots of people and helps me find new people too. I also love to go to markets and fairs to see people I already know and meet others there.
Newnham: If you could go back in time, what one piece of advice would you offer a younger Emily?
Quinton: I would have to say, "Learn to value your time."
You can pre-order a signed copy of Emily’s new book here ~ 'Maker Spaces'