maker: delilah snell of the road less traveled store, craftcation & patchwork


delilah snell-master food preserver, owner of the road less traveled store & backyard in a jar handcrafted preserves, co-producer of patchwork indie arts & crafts festival & craftcation: indie business and DIY conference details her busy creative life. and just in case you don’t know…i’m lucky enough to have this powerhouse of inspiration and hard work as my aunt!

please introduce yourself?

* my name is delilah snell. i was born just a few blocks from where i live now, in the heart of orange county-santana, ca. i grew up all over oc-as a child we moved every year or so. i will have to say my most formative years were in big bad irvine-graduated from university high school home of zach de la rocha, will farrel and some really great brains and friends…but irvine during this time was the stuff of “get me out fuck out of here!!” -it kind of still is!

now i live in santana with my man (gustavo arellano-yes of ask a mexican!) on top of the 5-fwy in a 1907 farmhouse that has been turned into apartments…aka “the apartment homestead”

delilah snell teaching a jam making and pickling class at the road less traveled store

what do you make or do?

* i think being an only child-constantly moving and having little money-made me just want to make whatever to pass time and be active. in my early 20’s i sued my community college on first amendment rights violations and won…since then i got the bug to make things happen in what is know as the “orange curtain”. really what i realized was that if you want to make change, you need to start where you live. since then i have been a part of starting a non-profit, starting/running farmers’ markets, starting my own retail shop, working with my niece nicole on patchwork, developing my own food business and now a conference with nicole on encouraging others to do the same and change the world. i also consult on events and sm. business/non-prof development.

*the short: i have a small retail shop for over 5 years and have a small food business called backyard in a jar where i create unique, strange preserved items (think jam/pickles) from farmers’ markets, backyards and the wild of southern ca. and co-running events to showcase and support fellow small business people.

the road less traveled store

where can we find your creations?

* i sell my preserves at my shop and for the most part (right now) in restaurants like memphis at the santora and bars/wine shops and small-boutique retailers. i always sell at patchwork and when i get enough gas-farmers’ market in la and oc.

how long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?

*no i have a full plate, this is 1/3 of what i do. my “creating” is separated into (all varying in degrees depending on the time of year):

-running my shop

-working on patchwork/crafcation

-making backyard in a jar products

when you’re not making things, what do you do?

*honestly?? i am working on what i need to do from the above. but when i relax, i love tv, gardening, cooking and blogging… oh, and reading gossip blogs.

is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?

*creation is a necessity, my bills depend on it…all of my projects feed into each other and create new avenues of revenue/inspiration. working on these projects create new and exciting things that feed into what i am already working on.

what obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?

*the biggest thing: i need my personal time. i don’t like to go out and socialize as much b/c i am doing it for work so much…this is hard for people in my life to understand (like my mom!) but i am go-go-go all the time that i cherish my time at home where i can cook and relax and brainstorm. the other thing is that i have learned to say no when taking on new things…i literally cannot do anymore. this was a hard step.

did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?

* my niece nicole, author of this blog as been the main inspiration for me in any creative work- she has taught me about putting my balls out there…i never thought that i had anything creative to give or do. she is the match to the flame (and the flame too!). very fucking lucky that i know her and that she is my family…more like a sister really 🙂

backyard in a jar logo

where do you find inspiration?

*inspiration is in everything:

-a color of a pepper in the market leads to a display for my shop window

-an talented artist/crafter inspires me to see beauty in something i overlooked

-a drive gives me images and time to create

-a garden leads to a recipe

-a heartfelt conversation leads to action

…i don’t know where it can end…

what’s on the horizon for you and what you do?

*specifically: i am so deeply inspired by craftcation….i feel it being a truly great thing. this conference is everything i have done in the past 10+ years rolled into one.

generally: f*#@, i have no idea technically…i have been simply riding on the notion that if my life were to end next week what would i leave that made a difference to those who were left when i am gone. i just want to live with meaning and to contribute in the one life i have-whatever that may be or lead to.

if money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?

*i would not change a thing-except hire a few interns/assistants!

what would be your perfect day off?

*turn my living room into a big bed and have champagne and breakfast goodies, listen to good music, good tv, good magazines and blankets-and no obligations and hibernate…i actually do this twice a year, that is why you don’t hear from me!

what inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?

*-you never fail-the only failure is not trying

-use your network, they are there for you and will help

-be a sponge: absorb and expose yourself to everything, make every experience work for you!

-work your nalgas off- but think smarter not harder!

*note from editor: thanks to auntie d for being so inspiring! and for the shout out!

 -nicole s.

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