Heather Hanson has an impressive past. She worked as an anti-submarine warfare helicopter mechanic and a Russian linguist for the US Navy. She is a former vice president for a Fortune 500 company. She has 25 years of marketing and IT consulting experience. But Hanson isn’t interested in the past. Right now she is a mother to triplets, a cancer survivor, a dream catalyst who wants to help other women stop worrying about the past and the future and live in the moment.
“I have quite literally put everything I own, my life, my retirement, my family’s future, into this quest: which is to be the light in the darkness for women on their journey, to light the way when they are traveling on a shadowed path that keeps them in fear, to hold their hand until they realize that they, too, have the power to light the way,” says Hanson.
Leaving the corporate world behind in 2020, Hanson eventually decided to open Embrace the Space Between, where, as she puts it, “women can feel safe and know that they are worthy.” The studio and shop, located in Asheville’s River Arts District, offers a curated collection of products geared toward wellness, as well as a variety of workshops.
“Walking around and poking my head into this curious shop, I came upon one of the most interesting and safe hobbit holes I have ever seen,” says Jim Vaive, professional certified coach and regional network director of Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network. “Embrace the Space Between blew my mind because it was like I walked into a place of rest, comfort and being known.”
Visitors can engage in open studio time to enjoy community during a just-for-fun making session, or enroll in guided workshops focused on self-discovery. In Reclaiming Time and Peace In Decision-Making, participants complete a values exercise and a personal journey map and examine the societal constructs that tell us how to spend our time. During Creative Journaling as Meditative Practice, participants meditate on a personal question using oracle cards, collage materials and ephemera. Honoring Self Promises is an opportunity to create tokens as reminders of our promises to ourselves.
“I know that play, freedom to create without rules in a judgment-free zone, will allow people to explore who they are,” says Hanson. “It must be safe, a place where you are seen, heard and never judged. I hold space for people, specifically women, to explore who they are away from the rules.”
Hanson also offers the expressive art practice SoulCollage® in 90-minute, 3-hour or full-day sessions. A four-course Breaking Free series guides participants on a journey to self-discovery one phase at a time, using methods including painting and mixed media to develop a creative practice, break unproductive habits and meet their potential.
“The freedom women yearn for is not unnatural,” says Hanson. “It is within their reach, to be found inside. And it is beautiful when they realize that they have always been the light that they were seeking.”
Embrace the Space Between is located at 20 Artful Way, Suite 105, in Asheville. Learn more at EmbracetheSpaceBetween.com.