“Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it… What the world needs are people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman

Happy 10th Birthday Family Heirloom Arts!

FHA-Book-Emily-Stewart-Standish-500x538cThe seed that would eventually grow into Family Heirloom Arts began to take root around two in the morning in my college apartment. I was listening to tapes of my uncle interviewing my grandfather, Henry Kagan, while I worked to weave together bits of old maps and reproductions of our family photographs with my painting illustrations. I was a college student at the time and I was working on my first illustrated heirloom book, The Journey of Henry Kagan. This book was created as a way to honor my grandfather’s immigration story, and preserve his story for future generations. My grandfather fled Russia due to religious persecution and journeyed to the United States as a young child.

While I worked, my great-grandmother Diana’s eyes gazed steadily at me from the pile of photographs on my desk. Her posture spoke of resilience, determination, and unwavering strength. My grandfather’s voice playing on the recording cut across time and space, his story came to life in a moment where I could truly hear it, as he had passed away when I was only a child. I realized then that family stories may actually be some of the most profound sources of wisdom that we have access to. Amidst the pile of history books I had on the floor, discovering my own family’s tale of survival and perseverance gave me insight into not only where I had come from, but it also began to shed light on where I wanted to go in the years ahead.


Telling Our Story

In 2006 I launched Family Heirloom Arts, and now in 2016 I feel blessed to have much to celebrate. This year in honor of one decade of service, I decided to give myself (and my business) a gift. I felt it was time to tell my story, the story of how this idea has grown into a community rich with stories, creativity and innovation. I want to send out a big thank you to 7/Apps here in Portland, who helped me merge artistry with technology to create this website. Through our collaboration we were able to create a rich synergy of images and inspiration, to celebrate the power of personal storytelling. I also want to thank Lucy Forsten at LCForsten Fotograf for taking many of the beautiful photographs featured on the site. I am really excited to share with you our new virtual heirloom book portfolio, comprehensive collection of services, Art of Motherhood program and much, much more. I invite you to take some time to explore all of our new programs and offerings…

Passionate Patience

I realize one of the guiding principles that has helped Family Heirloom Arts to sustain, grow and thrive is “passionate patience.” To always allow my passion to drive my work, believe in new ideas and be courageous about forging new connections, but also to be patient, allowing that which is stirring beneath the surface to take root, to sprout, to grow, and to bloom. I look forward to seeing what the next ten years will bring. Thank you as always for all of your support and most importantly, for sharing your stories!