Multidisciplinary artist, entrepreneur and creative activist Ali Nelson didn’t always think of herself as an artist. But in 2008, everything changed with a series of tragic events — a divorce before the age of 23, a death of a close friend, a car crash with a drunk driver that led to a brain injury — that would change her life forever. Losing up to 60% of her verbal and cognitive abilities, Ali started making things, creating piece after piece in an attempt to process it all. This began the unfolding of finding her voice and discovery of making things for a passionate living.
Today, Ali Nelson is the woman who letters behind the well-known social media handle — Ali Makes Things. Her life has been a magical, messy and unexpected journey that has led her to work with notable companies such as American Greetings, Shutterfly, Madewell, Kula Project, Warner Brothers Kohler and even the pope. Her various creative projects (including the creation of her monthly Fun Mail subscription), global explorations and social engagement have led her to believe that carefully crafted work can open new doors, spark conversations, evoke emotion and ignite us toward meaningful action.
In this conversation, Branden and Ali talk about how making things is a kind of magical portal, powered by the the belief that art has power when matched with our true voice when it has been found — often our life’s greatest work and greatest accomplishment.
Author and speaker Allison Fallon is someone who has lived into this idea that telling the truth about yourself is the hardest thing we can do, but the beginning of something really beautiful. Like many of us, she’s realized that something amazing happens when we realize we don’t have total control and are forced to surrender to a force that is bigger than ourselves.
Ally has written and published more than 10 books, coached hundreds of writers, developed multiple writing curriculums, worked as a managing editor at Donald Miller’s Storyline and recently finished writing her latest book, Indestructible. Indestructible tells the shocking story of a marriage that didn’t go as planned, the truth that shattered everything, and the beautiful unfolding around the realization that saving her marriage wasn’t worth losing herself. Through her hopeful journey, she’s learned to heal and grow stronger — because when chaos is present, change is often imminent.
In this conversation, Branden and Ally talk about seeing tragedy as an opportunity to shatter the barrier that’s between us and all the love we’ve ever wanted.
Do you believe that the catalyst for most things we create and move toward in our lives — is perhaps a broken heart? Do you think that tragedy is the underlying spark of our most important work?
For photographer and world-traveler Theron Humphrey, this statement has been one of the truest statements for the trajectory of his life. And it’s been a wild one. Theron is well-known on social media for his adventures with his coonhound Maddie. They’ve travelled the world together and started documenting their travels on Instagram when most of us didn’t know what that was. He’s a photographer who has also published two delightful books — “Maddie on Things” and “Maddie Lounging on Things” — capturing the hearts and imaginations of dog and adventure lovers all around the world.
In this conversation, Branden and Theron unpack the necessary component of doing one’s internal work. They dive deep into how the inward process and journey can bring us to a place where we realize our worth — with or without our accomplishments.