Textile Designer Dana Haim on Blankets & Babies
Dana Haim is a triple threat – an artist, small business owner, and mama.
Dana Haim studied textile design at the Rhode Island School of Design, with a focus on weaving, silk screening, and machine knitting. Many of Dana’s designs draw inspiration from her Colombian-American heritage, as well as her travels to Guatemala and Mexico. Her designs are bright, warm, and often geometric. Her pom-pom pieces made waves in 2014. Today, Dana’s brand is her own name. Visit her site and you’ll find a gorgeous collection of rugs, blankets, pillows, and napkins. Dana took a moment to chat with us about travel, design, and of course, motherhood.
You’re an extremely talented artist and textile designer – what inspires your designs?
Wow, thank you so much! That’s incredibly nice to hear. I am a big fan of Yumi as well. I always find myself most inspired when I am engaged with the world, usually traveling somewhere new or immersed in nature in some way. I seem to notice and observe things more acutely when I am taken out of my comfort zone. I also love getting my hands on something meditative like simple pencil drawing, watercolors, ceramics, or tapestry weaving. These types of things calm my busy mind and allow things to flow through me.
How did you find the transition from east to west coast, and what’s your favorite part about living in California?
This is a loaded one. I still feel a big part of my heart is back East, most of my friends and family are still there and every time I get to NY, I still feel like I am home. Having said this, I love living in California. I feel a sense of peace and respite having slowed down a bit. There is incredible access to sprawling landscapes and gorgeous food. I feel connected to a wonderful group of women and mothers that have welcomed me with open arms and made this transition a lot less intimidating. I am excited about being somewhere new and having the opportunity to show my boy the bounty of this gorgeous state. He loves being outside as much as we do, so this feels like it was the right move for him.
Balancing owning a small business and being a mom is no easy feat! What lessons have you learned along the way that you hope to instill in your son?
To be honest, this is all still very new for me and I am only just starting to get my bearings again with my work. I think it is different for everyone and for some women this comes easier than others. Life circumstances also determine how smooth this balance plays out. I was very committed to being fully present with my baby in his first year, which left little time for work. Fortunately, I was able to find times to squeeze work in when I could and batch projects when necessary. It’s all still up in the air and I am figuring everything out as I go.
I take it one day at a time and am still working tirelessly on finding new, more organized, and efficient systems to manage both parenting and my business. You are right that it is not an easy feat. I am hoping though with time, I will find solutions to make this transition easier. I have learned that I cannot do it all, that it’s ok to ask for help, and it's’ ok to take a break if you can. Having hustled in NYC for so long and trained myself to work basically 24/7 it was tough for me to let that go. But I understood that it was time to take a moment for myself and for my family. It was a deep surrendering that was challenging for me to accept, but I am glad I listened to that instinct and have been able to give him what I believe he and I both needed. I hope to teach him the value of having passions in life and a strong work ethic. The world is a wide-open place for him to achieve anything he sets his mind to.
What time did you wake up today?
5 am and then 7:30 am, I have jet lag right now.
What can you not go a single day without?
When it’s just you and your son – what’s the most embarrassing thing you could be caught doing?
Singing him really weird songs I makeup and performing strange unchoreographed dances for him that cracks him up.
What’s your favorite indulgence?
Fresh baked cookies, a long hot bath at the end of the day, sleeping in.
What do you wish people told you about motherhood?
That you give away 100% percent of yourself. However, what you get in return is 1,000x better than what you could ever imagine.
What makes you feel like a good mom?
When I hear my baby laugh or see his face after he hasn’t seen me for a few hours and I understand how deep his love for me is from that one glimpse.
How has your relationship with your partner changed since becoming a mom?
We have continued to grow closer and closer. This new bond of sharing a child stretches our bond beyond anything I could have ever understood. The love is so much deeper physically and emotionally. My gratitude and appreciation for him have also grown exponentially. Not because he is a hands-on dad, because I think all dads should be hands-on, but because he is such a supportive and loving partner and father. He tries so hard every day to make both me and the baby as happy as can be. It’s the sweetest thing to witness. I feel all googly-eyed when I talk about him now because he has shown me this new side of himself. It has made me fall in love all over again, as cheesy as that sounds. Of course, there are struggles too, and parenting together can be difficult and stressful and cause fights from lack of sleep. But luckily for us, the challenges eventually bring us closer and we tend to be on the same page about a lot of things.
If you had 30 extra minutes a day, what would you do with them?
This is a boring answer, but I’m still a new-ish mom, so sleep! Or meditate more.
Which superpower do you wish you had?
What do you value most (after your child, of course)?
Family in general and creative time to myself.
What’s your favorite baby-care shortcut/life hack?
This may seem like an obvious one, but it took me a minute to get it just right. I layer his sleep sack then pajamas then diapers on the changing table. When he gets out of the bath, I have everything ready and don’t need to lift him at all to get him ready for bed.
What are your routines with your son that involve food?
I love cooking for my boy. I am so grateful that he truly is a wonderful eater who savors food like an adult. It's so much fun to watch him enjoy the things I make for him. He particularly loves orecchiette with kale, garlic, fresh cherry tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano, and any fruit. We also like taking him to the farmers market every Sunday where he gets fresh El Salvadorian pupusas.