My name is Holland Steinberg.
I’m a visual display artist who, four years in to active practice, still sometimes feels like a fraud assigning herself the vocation of artist. I’m also a new mom to the most perfect elf baby ever to coo - Catherine Daisy! I’m actually writing this with her perched on my shoulder gumming my hair and staring at her best friend, our newfoundland, Lucy.
Lucy and Penny, two very good dogs.
I came to my current job in a circuitous way - after studying English and Political Science at Vanderbilt, I moved to Ecuador to live and work for a year as an art teacher. Upon moving back to the States I enrolled in and completed NC State’s Masters of Architecture program, which expanded my understanding of and exposure to art and design in myriad ways. After graduating I needed a mental and emotional break from architecture in an official capacity - I began working as a part time sales associate at Anthropologie while I worked out exactly what I wanted to do. Once I joined on at Anthropologie I learned about the Display Coordinator position, which fused so many of my artistic passions and talents; I then pursued the position with single-minded focus. I’ve been the Display Coordinator at the Greensboro store for the past 4 years.
As a student of architecture, my work was defined by precision, deference to the vernacular, and a celebration of light. As a display artist for Anthropologie, I’ve built off of those principles to create work that aspires to be inspiring, beautiful and infused with whimsy. Given the range of materials and techniques I’ve been asked to use throughout the years, I view my job as a Display Coordinator as essentially a crash course in art school. From wax batique to ice dying, paper quilling to constructing a 7 layer, 25 foot snowflake, my arsenal of skills has expanded tenfold since I signed on.
Now that I have a 5 week old infant, all my established routines have been completely upended! Not that I had particularly meticulous routines beforehand, mind you… These days I operate on the whims of a tiny milk-obsessed dictator who doesn’t care if I moisturize my face or put on highlighter (note: I don’t know how to use highlighter, but I think I need it). My husband and I are soaking up these lazy, hazy newborn days and reveling in the lack of a schedule.
Thinking back to life before baby...for years I have made attempts at a more regimented self-care routine, but I always prioritize sleep over makeup, or washing my hair… As a Display Coordinator my workday started at 6am, so if I’m being honest my morning routine typically began at 5:45am when I would wake up, splash water on my face, put on Lubriderm daily moisturizing lotion, slip into my patched and paint covered jeans, and drive the 6 minutes to the store. The one piece of makeup I usually made time for was my dark brown brow pencil - I really like the look of a dark brow against my blonde hair. Of course, I’m currently trying to grow out all the color in my hair so now it matches my dark brown brow, which is annoying.
I’m inspired by poetry (the English major in me asserting herself), my husband, our dreams for our life, nature documentaries, and countless artists. Becoming a mother, specifically to a daughter, is also hugely inspiring; I want to model a life of joy and creativity for my child, which inspires me to life joyfully and be creative!
I’m still working on the confidence to express myself, on the belief that what I have to put out into the world is worth other people’s attention. Becoming a more informed feminist has helped me silence my inner critic that says “you’re not good enough”. Women are told in so many different ways that our value is less than our male counterparts, the pay gap being one of the most obvious examples. I refuse to let my own mind contribute to that chorus!
Being on maternity leave has given me time to think about the next phase of my life - both as a parent and also as a creative. It’s exciting and terrifying to think about life after Anthropologie! I frequently feel like a jack of all trades and a master of none - I’ve acquired an entry-level knowledge of a vast array of artistic skills, but I’ve yet to truly develop one into something greater. Will I pursue architecture? Become a woodworker? Dig out my oil paints? Begin quilting? Design a line of stationary? Make bespoke doll-houses? The biting voice of self doubt can talk me out of every one of those paths, belittling them and making me feel foolish for even thinking they could be possibilities for me. But then I think, why not me? Someone out there is going to do these things, why can’t I?
Things that I love: the paintings of Lily Stockman, the writing of Anthony Doerr, the work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, the music of Charli XCX. My favorite place is my family’s lake house in Bellaire, Michigan, my favorite color is peachy-orange, my favorite smell is my baby’s head!
My best friends are my role models. Paige Cox, for example. She founded Reconsidered Goods, a creative reuse center doing amazing work here in Greensboro. She’s also raising two amazing kids, is a wildly talented fiber artist, and finds time to draw chalk eyebrows on her black dog - she’s both an inspiring business owner and a big weirdo able to infuse humor and levity into the everyday. (Seriously, if you have never seen a picture of a dog with eyebrows drawn on them, you need to google that right now). I have a best friend who is a Senior Marketing Manager at Google, one who is an Emergency room nurse, one who’s a stay at home mom, one who is a math wiz, one who designs and prints gorgeous fabric, one who is writing a novel and makes something with her hands every day… All of these women are true to themselves, kind to others, and lead with love. Role models indeed.
And of course my original role model, Chris Ward, my mom. As a social worker she committed to being a positive force in her various communities, and as a mother she cultivated a home full of security, love and inspiration.