How to make Pysanky Eggs with Betsy Croft

How to do Psyanky

What isa Pysanky Egg? Simply put, it is an Easter egg decorated using a wax resist method. It literally means “to write” as you’ll soon learn in the video.

But, it is so much more than that. Ukrainians have been decorating eggs, creating these miniature jewels, for countless generations. The design motifs on pysanky date back to pre-Christian times and many date to early Slavic cultures making these eggs incredibly meaningful and full of rich history!

Pysanky Eggs

You can find the Pysanky instructions in our e-book here.

You may feel daunted looking at these but Betsy breaks it down easy as can be so that you and I can get started making them. Download the E-book now so you can get started!

And in case you need something special to display those beautiful Pysanky eggs in that you are about to make, checkout these incredible Ceramic Totem Egg Cups that we collaborated on found in The House Lars Built Shop plus so many other projects to keep yo occupied during these hard times.

Be sure to tag us with #Larsmakes so we can see how your eggs turn out!

In The Mood For: Iris Apfel

We are such big fans of Iris we have this print of her by Rosie Harbottle in our shop! Rosie is a UK based illustrator with a passion for travel and culture, has a knack for prints and textiles, which made her the perfect person to illustrate Iris Apfel. Last June, we read Accidental Icon, a collection of Iris’ musings, for our book club! If you are new to the eclectic and patterned-filled world that is Iris Apfel’s, we recommend starting with this post about her here, and grabbing your own copy of Accidental Icon! It’s a very entertaining read, packed full of photos that will make you want to avoid anything that is a bore and live like Iris does!

Decorate like Iris

“I am inspired by everything around me…I’m just inspired by being alive and breathing and meeting people and talking to people and doing things and absorbing what’s happening. I think if more people did that, there would be better fashion. “

Iris Apfel is iconic for her fashion sense, but her taste spills over to her interior design in abundance. With references to 18th century France and Italy, vintage monkey sculptures everywhere you look, hand-painted chinoiserie patterns, and bold prints that somehow just work, Iris Apfel’s homes are strong evidence that self-expression is the way to go!

 

Dress like Iris

“You have to look in the mirror and see yourself. If it feels good, then I know it’s for me. I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself.”

Below you will find chunky acetate chain necklaces (an absolute Iris staple) paired with patterned blazers, hot pink head wraps, and thrifted finds but with a wink in Gucci’s direction. If anything we just said feels overwhelming, don’t worry, take a note from Iris’ playbook and start wherever feels right. But trust us, you’ll be surprised how good an eyebrow-raising day of fashion can feel.

 

“There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and, above all, attitude.”

Photo Sources 1 | 2 | 3

Introducing…the interior designer for our new house!

Finding our dream designer

It’s rare that your friend is ALSO your dream designer–it’s a serious dream come true. And Meta has always been on board to do it, even when we discussed my theoretical house one day years ago while we were living in a basement apartment. Knowing that she was just as excited about our new house as I was, was such a relief. Meta lives and breaths interior design. It’s truly her passion and calling.

Meta has been designing the home of Hannah Carpenter and I’m all about it! See more here. Photo by Hannah Carpenter.

FAQ

You may be asking WHY I’m working with another interior designer when I studied and practiced it. Simple! And other designers might be able to speak to this too–when you do something for yourself, it TAKES AGES. It’s so hard to design for yourself because I definitely suffer from decision fatigue. PLUS, I haven’t truly practiced it in many many years. I know what I like, but here’s the thing: Meta knows how to push you into new territory and she’s not afraid of risks. I’m not either, so I cannot wait for this ride!

Meta’s philosophy

And here’s the thing–I’m not talking just coping a picture you see on Pinterest and putting it into your house. That’s easy. The magic of Meta is that she takes you and whoever else lives in the house, and uses some sort of design alchemy to produce something new. It all of a sudden becomes an art. She has a number of projects that she’s working on behind the scenes and it’s been so interesting to see her process and her drive to do something new and refreshing. I couldn’t imagine doing this without her.

This is Meta’s beautiful home, which is a beautiful refuge for her and her family. Photo by Meta Coleman.

We haven’t begun the process yet. In fact, she has a thorough questionnaire that she’s having us fill out, and I think we’re going to turn it into a video, so stay tuned! So, we are truly in the beginning stages, but I have a few things in mind already and I know she does too so we’ll see how they align.

Progess of our house

Admittedly, we moved into our house prematurely, but we thought we’d get in with the basics and then move on up from there. So, as soon as the faucet and bathrooms were in, we were too! And now it’s little things like doors…door knobs…things that you don’t realize make a difference but truly do. We’re still a ways away from comfort levels, but all in good time I suppose.

I love this sweet bathroom she designed. Photo by Meta Coleman.

Finally designing the house!

As we continue to wait upon the small things, I’ve found myself sneaking in some “dream” moments, aka moments that get my excited for the next stage because heavens knows I haven’t entered back into that head space since the moment I laid eyes on this house years ago. We got a vanity for our main bedroom that I’m VERY excited about. It’s even better in person (and the quality is superb!) but I’ll be talking more about that later and with such a statement piece as that, it’s lead me down the rabbit hole of…you guessed it, WALLPAPERS! So, yes, you’ll be seeing a lot more soon.

I’ve spent much time in her home office here. Photo by Meta Coleman.

Another thing to note is that her style of designing a home is one that is more organic where we can find out how we live in the space and then enhance its use and function all combined with aesthetics. It’s not FAST fashion, errr: design, but a style that is intentional and thoughtful, which aligns perfectly with my beliefs too.

She worked on the home of our other dear friend, Eva Jorgensen and her husband Kirk. I LOVE this moody room! 

I can’t wait to share the full process with you. Like I mentioned, I don’t promise speed, but I don’t promise beautiful results and I know that will be the case because I have Meta on board. Stay tuned for more! And let me know if you have any questions along the way!

You can find Meta here:

Meta Coleman Portfolio
Meta Coleman Instagram
You can read more about Meta Coleman here in this interview

Becoming: Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow

I’ve been a big Justina Blakeney fan for years. I admire her focus and drive in creating the beautiful home furnishings and interiors brand, Jungalow, which brought the re-advent and modernization of the bohemian style. She’s smart, talented, and on a mission to bring good design to the world! I’m constantly learning from her as a person, business person and artist, shop owner, and author.

One of the things I admire most about Justina Blakeney is how she has figured out what she wants and works her rear off to make it happen. For example, she sets time aside every day to work on becoming a better illustrator and artist showing me how you just have to make time to improve. Without further ado, meet Justina!

Becoming: Interview with Justina Blakeney

What did you want to be when you were young versus when it was time to decide what to actually do?

I knew I wanted to work in a creative field. I went through various phases of wanting to be a trapeze artist, a teacher, a newscaster, and a singer.

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, maker, business person etc.

Yes. All of those things. (except maybe maker haha)

How did your childhood influence what you have become?

My parents gave me a ton of creative freedom and did a good job of balancing and creating boundaries for me and letting me feel free. I think this gave me both confidence and a feeling of security which has served me very well in my career.

Did you feel pressured in any way to pursue a certain career path?

Yes, but the pressure was internal. I did not feel it so much from outside sources. For me, the pressure was about trying to make money vs. following my heart. I’ve found a good balance in what I do now.

How did you get started in your field doing what you do?

I’ve had about 25 different types of jobs and all of them (from working retail, to working in restaurants, to owning my own store, to consulting with small business owners, to being a freelance graphic designer and interior designer) all somehow have taught me skills that I use every single day today. I will, however, say that it was my blog (which I started in 2009) that a major catalyst in getting me where I am today.

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I studied World Arts and Cultures and Italian at UCLA and then went to fashion school in Italy where I studied design for one year. So, I guess the answer to the second part of the question is “kind of.”

Did you have anyone along the way that was instrumental in the trajectory of your life?

EVERYONE. But especially my big sister Faith, who is an interior designer but has always been super chic and stylish and creative. My parents are a really obvious one, but they’ve ALWAYS supported me in everything.

What’s your workspace like?

Messy, fun, colorful, layered, inspiring, always changing, maximal, crowded.

You were one of the first people to produce original content for your blog. What lead you to think that it would be a viable career, especially in the early days when you weren’t getting paid for it?

I didn’t think it was necessarily a viable career, but I loved doing it and so I just did it for fun and because it was helping me to find new clients for my freelance business at the time. Honestly, I never thought in a million years I could make it big off of blogging.

You started out doing craft books. How did that come to be? Did that change your trajectory?

After fashion school in Italy, my sister and I opened a small shop. We were selling vintage T-shirts and so many of them were HUGE (and Italians are often petite) so we started cutting them up and making new styles out of them. People loved the designs and they were hugely popular, so we thought to self-publish a manual to show people how many designs you could make from a simple T-shirt! We thought of the book as more of a conceptual tool than a craft book, but the book was picked up by a craft book publisher in the U.S. and then the publisher commissioned us to create several books after that. I was in my early 20’s at the time and I was STOKED.

Did you always have an ultimate plan?

My plan has always been to figure out how to be my own boss, be creative, get rich, do good in the world. The details have always been a bit fuzzier.
A colorful bohemian room with a pink, cyan, and blue rug, yellow curtains, and warm wooden furniture.

Jungalow has morphed into a full-fledged brand. Did you always have that in mind? Where do you see it going?

Yes and no. I can’t say I’ve always had exactly in mind what Jungalow has now become, but I always allow myself to dream BIG and see where it takes me.

What sets your brand apart from other brands?

Me! I inject as much of myself as I can into my brand so that it can be true to who I am, and stand out in the crowd.

Do you like being the face of your own company? Does it have any drawbacks?

Yes, I’ll admit that I like being the face of my own company. I enjoy public appearances, I’m pretty outgoing and I love people and so I like that aspect of the gig. For me, the benefits outweigh any drawbacks, but I’d say the main drawback is that I sometimes spread myself thin wearing too many hats.
A brightly-lit room with a modern rug by Jungalow. The room has shelves, plants, a wicker rocker, a big window, and a sunbed.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Every day is different and I like it that way! I live one block from my office and after I get my daughter ready for school I walk to our local coffee shop, grab a latte and go on a walk for 30 minutes, listen to the news or a podcast and head into work. I work with my team on all kinds of projects from working on our online shop, to designing new products or creating concepts for new collections, shooting new styles or posts for our blog and social channels, answering press and media inquiries and interviews (like this one 😉 ) and  having meetings with partners or folks we work with.

What’s a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?

My dad always said “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” and I couldn’t do all that I do if I was always fixated on fixing every tiny thing. I’m very big picture, and every day I knock down a ton of pins. It keeps me productive, and most of all, it keeps my learning. 

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in a creative field?

I would say to keep on creating. Don’t get stuck inside your head. Do do do do. Make make make. Share share share. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Then once you do, make sure you have an awesome accountant and a great lawyer who can help make sure your biz situation is on lock.

What’s coming up for you in 2019? And your company?

We have some fun new product launches happening this year, I can’t say too much about them yet, but one of them rhymes with “Shmall Shmaper” 😛 . A very large focus for us this year is growing our online shop, it grew about 200% in one year so that’s been so exciting to see. I also am hoping to purchase a building for Jungalow soon and open our first in-person location. L.A. is so expensive, so it’s gonna take some time for that to happen, but when I put my mind to something…I make that sh*t happen 😀 .
Blush wallpaper with botanical accents by Justina Blakeney. The space is decorated with a green desk, books, and a sun-shaped wall decoration.
*Edit from 2021: You can find Justina Blakeney’s wallpaper collection here!

What does your dream retirement look like?

Rich and beachy with lots of mojitos, grandkids and pottery classes.

What do you do when someone copies your work?

Depends on the circumstance. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry, sometimes I lawyer up 😀 .

A Jungalow hypnotic quilt set on a light wood bed. The space has windows and plants and is airy and funky at the same time.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Hells yes and simultaneously NEVER!! haha.

Anything more/additional you’d like to “become”?

I’d like to become an agent for good in the world. Also maybe a podcaster, but we’ll get to that another time 😉 .

Where you can find Justina:

Thanks for your thoughts about “becoming”, Justina! We’re so pleased to have you. Stay tuned for more interviews soon!
A tiger rug by Justina Blakeney

Free Phone and Desktop Wallpaper Downloads from Craft the Rainbow

free rainbow phone and desktop wallpaper downloads

Free phone wallpaper downloads

We loved creating these free downloadable wallpapers just as much as creating Craft the Rainbow. If you haven’t read it before, you’ll want to! As I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s the ultimate stay-at-home companion, which is something we all might need right now. And now, for the first time ever, it is available for your Kindle for super cheap too I might add.

Quarantine boredom is no joke, but what better solution is there than crafting? We created these downloadable wallpapers as we were inspired by Craft the Rainbow, so who knows what you could be inspired to? Let that simmer in your thoughts as you look through each colorful wallpaper, and choose what speaks to you the most. Inspiration can be found in the darndest places, and here at Lars, sometimes it’s a sweet background photo.

These were one of my favorite parts of creating the book with my friend, photographer Chaunte Vaughn. We spent A LOT of time making them. Ha! I wanted each chapter to show the love I have of it through finding all the beautiful craft supplies in that color. Some of the beautiful objects were provided by friends and crafters from around the world including Ruth Ribeaucourt of The French Muse, who sent me a huge supply of beautiful objects from Provence. To me, they made the book!

Chaunte was so patient making these with me. We shot it in January when we had shorter light to work with so we had to RACE to get them done.

free phone wallpaper downloads

Free desktop wallpaper downloads

Check out these new wallpapers as soon as you can, and let us know which one was your fav! Unless all of them were, in which case you’ll want to download them all! Look through the shop today for the free downloads, and let Craft the Rainbow keep inspiring you for the rest of the month (or maybe the rest of your life!)

free rainbow desktop wallpaper downloadsfree rainbow desktop wallpaper downloads

The artist behind these rainbow wallpapers

These beautiful background canvases in each the images were created for Craft the Rainbow by artist Rachel Kiser Smith. She added so much texture and vibrancy that we’ve been using the backgrounds for shoots ever since.

We love her work so much and wanted to introduce her to you! Here amazing use of color and texture fills the pages of Craft the Rainbow and we couldn’t be happier about it. Read through her interview below to get to know Rachel, and to see more of her process while creating for our book!

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person etc.?

Artist, creative, dabbler

Who helped you “become” who you are?

My Mom always had a creative project going and supplies to share. As an adult, friends who are also making art have been important to me. And can I say authors? I love reading anything on the creative process.

Do you feel like you’ve arrived at what you set out to do?

Yes and no. Perhaps the heart has secret dreams that will always keep me from feeling like I’ve arrived. But just starting to make work and share it on Instagram (after years of hiding) was an arrival of sorts. I remember the thrilling feeling when I realized that I was working with people I’d admired for a long time.

What more would you like to “become”?

Speaking of secret dreams . . . ha! I want to be a children’s book author and illustrator!

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I took a bit of a meandering path in college and ended up with a double major in Spanish and Visual Arts. Spanish may seem inapplicable, but I think reading, analyzing, and writing about beautiful works of literature has had as much influence of my creativity as the art classes I took.

What’s your work space like?

When we moved into our house, we turned the formal living room into a creative space. It has a wall filled with art supplies and another with books. Usually the whole family shares a big table in the middle, but since having the kids home full time for distance learning, we’ve brought in another table just for me. That’s been a game changer.

Did you always have an ultimate plan?

No, and I still don’t! When I begin on a project or painting, I just have to start making stuff. The ideas come as I begin. I think careers can be like that too.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in a creative field?

Protect your creative time from yourself. Part of you will come up with any excuse to not create. Commit to editing and researching later.

What’s inspiring you lately?

Amy Merrick’s book On Flowers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels, reading The Wind in the Willows to my kids, and watching the caterpillars in our yard.

Where you can find Rachel’s other work

@rachelkisersmith on Instagram

Her work for sale on Minted

Shop the Rainbow

Many of our Craft the Rainbow items, like journals, our guided journal My Life in Color, and more are still on sale! Shop the entire rainbow here and gear up for your quarantine creativity!

My Life in Color guided journal for creatives

Women Who Work: Beth Moresi

When did you know that woodworking/making things with your hands was your jam?

I knew that woodworking and building was for me after my first week on site- I was hooked right from the start. The feeling you get when you stand back and can see all your hard work right in front of you is unbeatable.

Why is it important to you to create?

It is important to me to create because life is more than just work. Getting your paycheck can’t be the thing that gets you our of bed in the morning – you need passion!  Being creative with my work is where I find that passion and pride in my job.

Was there anyone along the way who helped shape you?

I had and still do have so many strong people in my support network who helped me along the way. My dad, who is also a builder (and self-confessed feminist) has always been my number one fan and supporter. He loves to support strong women and has always had my back and pushed me out of my comfort zone.

What’s your advice to women wanting to pursue the same thing?

My advice for women who might want to get into building is to just be yourself. I spent so long trying to be tough, trying to be as strong as the boys, trying not to have emotions, trying to fit in. Embrace yourself and all the amazing things YOU have to offer. Let your personality and the your points of difference shine through your work. Since starting my own business I have never felt more myself – all the way down to my pink business cards.

You can find Beth here:

@bethbuilds

Carpenter Art Print

For all of you carpenters and woodworkers out there, Libby’s Carpenter art print is 20% off for the next three days, ending Thursday, March 26th with code Carpenter. You can find it in our Print Shop here.

Or you can find all of the Women Who Work here!

If you are building be sure to hang up the Carpenter Print in your home to remind you of just how incredible you are at your work!

You can see our previous interviews:

 

Jen Hewett – printmaker, surface designer, textile artist and teacher
Erin Benzakein of Floret Flowers – Garden, flower maker 

Interview with Sofia Vusir Jansson

Interview with Sofia Jansson of Mokkasin

What do you consider yourself? 

I used to say that I’m a creator and a photographer mainly.  I’m not sure if creator is a commonly used word in English, but I am a person who does a lot of creative projects. My focus is often on prop/set design and DIY. And my job as a photographer, which I am almost exclusively doing these days, includes building the scene for the photos and hand making all of the props. Absolutely not a business person, that is the last I would call myself.

Who helped you “become” who you are?

I would say that my four kids have made me into the person I am. Their free way of seeing the world and their never ending fantasies have influenced me so much. In their minds they’re not so anxious about their worlds, it’s true and imperfect which, for me, is a very perfect way of being. 

Do you feel like you’ve arrived at what you set out to do? 

Yes I think so. Nowadays I do so many different things. No two days are alike, and I love it that way. It’s very easy for me to say YES even if I didn’t know if I could manage the project load. Maybe it is for this reason that I love my job so much, it is never boring and makes me stretch and develop every minute to meet the needs of each project. 

What more would you like to “become”? 

I would like to work more with set design. If I could do it all again I would probably go receive my education in art directing, that’s a dream of mine. Nowadays I work on projects within this spectrum, but I dream about the big traditional theaters and doing set design and art direction. It would also be very fun to be really good at building things, like a carpenter. Or a glass artist! Ohh there are so many things I would love to learn.

Where did you study, and what did you study? 

I haven’t studied more than high school, and after high school I studied to be a hairdresser. I worked in this field for 10 years and loved every day. But, one day I decided to quit, and I have never looked back. I think, if you do something creative you must have some fire inside you, you must love your work.  If you don’t, as it was for me that day, it’s better to find another path. 

How did you get started doing what you do? 

Actually, everything began when I started to run a little shop. I built all the marketing with my own pictures. The same day I started the shop I also started a blog, and THAT is where everything started. The blog transformed from a business blog that connected to the shop, to a lifestyle blog featuring almost exclusively my own pictures. People found me that way and the blog continued to live as a sort of portfolio. In that way, beside running the shop I got more and more assignments with focus at photography, styling and DIY. One lead to the other. 

When did you discover your love for your work? 

I think I have the blog to thank for that, I love the format. I love to tell stories with words and pictures. The blog has let me create my own universe that only my way of seeing things exists.

Were you scared when you first started looking for jobs? How did you overcome this? 

This sounds like some kind of humble brag, but I’m so lucky that the question of “will I have work?” crossed my mind but was never an issue, I have not had to ask or go looking for work. However, I’m not a nervous person in general and I say “yes” without thinking if I can really manage the job people are asking for. After I have said yes, I sometimes can doubt myself. But I’m lucky to have a husband that always gives me encouragement time and time again. 

What’s your goal with your work? 

To always do jobs that follow my gut feeling and heart. And to always have the work have as much of my personal touch on touch in it as possible, not to follow some others. To constantly be true to myself even in the work I do. 

What are you most proud of in your career? 

I am proud of many things! That Numero 74 chose me as their photographer many years ago and that I still get to work with them, they are always passionate their work and their way of seeing the world. This has helped me to develop myself and my vision.

I am always proud when people ask for props/set design and use them in theater and books. These occasions make everything seem so real. That someone would choose the things you have made by your own hands to achieve their dreams.

And, of course, I’m proud of the book Hidden Places. I’m so proud that that book is exactly as I want it to be. I wished to create a kind of book that hadn’t been done before. Something new and more than just a DIY-guide. During the whole process I wanted the book not to be anxious and stacked in norms and structures. I wanted the photographs to have big spaces and to let the text take space and be grounded in the amazing fantasies of my children. I wanted the illustrations and format to be skewed in a good way. When viewing the book you shouldn’t have the feeling that everything is perfect, things are not always but rather creative and full of fantasy and life. Every time someone gives me feedback about the book I’m so very proud and it makes me really happy!

What is it like working with your family? 

So many projects during the year have involved my family. My husband and my four kids. I really love this and for me it is a huge gift, that everything is like a family affair. My kids have helped me relax and let go of control in a very good way. Before, when I was younger, I was a person that wanted control of everything and everyone. When they were born, 4 kids in 4 years I couldn’t live up to this perfect surface anymore and I think that was my rescue. My husband always saves me, both in life but also with jobs and projects. When I am lost he always has a good idea. He is hugely creative and I trust him one hundred percent. I think many people perceive us as quite a messy family with a thousand projects that go on. And, maybe our house is a little bit different but I think it is only in a good way. 

How did your childhood influence what you have become? 

I played a lot and fantasy was always intense, close and felt very real. I remember when I and one of my sisters ventured into imaginary lands years after our friends had stopped. We built our own worlds and a with games we loved we could continue for weeks, nobody was allowed to clean it away. Every summer we stayed at my parents little cottage in the woods, there was no electricity and the TV was from a car battery which meant that we just had TV for a short moment in the morning. We played from sunrise to sunset during those endless summers, our stick horses took us around in the woods. We had our own fun fair, where the old stroller doubled as the roller-coaster. 

Did you feel pressured in any way to pursue a certain career path? 

Not at all, my mom and dad have always encouraged me and my two sisters to go our own way and told us that the future is ours, exactly equal as it is for everyone else. 

What’s your work space like? 

We live in a big house built in 1913, the whole house is my work space. It’s my photo studio and it’s a space that makes it possible (for everyone) to be creative all over the house. Every part of the house, from cellar to attic, is filled with things and ongoing projects. 

What’s a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?

 I think it comes from when I was little – to always believe in myself. Always go with your gut feeling and to follow your heart. And as I have grown up my husband has always supported me in this. It is so important to have someone by your side, that believes in you. I think one should “collect” people that follow their own paths in life, people that are beyond over thinking and that are not afraid to be themself.

What artists/designers/creatives do you look up to?

Both historical and present, my list holds so many but it’s always women and especially those that have always followed their own path and weren’t afraid to be different. One historical figure that inspires me a lot is Karin Larsson, the wife of Carl Larsson, who is Sweden’s most famous artist. Her way of looking at life and things is very inspiring, things don’t have to be so finicky “the hand should be seen” was one of her saying – that means that you should see that the craft is made by hand. She designed a lot of her own furniture that the carpenter thought was so ugly so he delivered in the night. Another inspiration is the illustrator of the book Hidden Places, her name is Maja Sten and I love her way of painting and her way of seeing artistry and creativity. She always makes everything by hand instead of using a digital program and you can really feel the life in her art. My Feldt – she’s a writer (and running a café, and a ecologic apple farming, and a TV personality ) soon releasing her second cooking book. I love her way of being herself , she is one of the most transparent people I know.

How has social media influenced your work? 

I think I can thank my blog for almost everything, and of course also Instagram in the latest years. I have used it like a portfolio and in that way it has been so important. And of course also the people who have I have crossed paths with on social media.

Who is your work intended for? 

I hope I can inspire people and give them another way to look at the world. Everything doesn’t have to be so perfect and correct. I hope people feel that and also are inspired to be creative. I think people have so much to win in being creative in different ways, everyone should be creative in the way that suits them. I think the future will require us people to be more creative, dare to think outside the box in so many ways. To use the creative part of the brain more often. Nowadays, when so many things are served in front of you is it so easy to forget that you have so much creativity inside yourself. 

What’s inspiring you lately?

Actually, Swedish glass. We have had a long tradition of glassmaking, with lots of glassworkers in a particular part of Sweden.  Unfortunately, this is a craft that is disappearing, more and more every year. That is really sad, so I am reading everything that comes around. I am also planning to visit one of the glassworkers that still practices the craft. 

You can find Sofia:

Instagram @sofiaatmokkasin
Website of Sofia

Photos of Sofia by Kristen Krickelin

Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book

Picture Hope: The Social Distance Coloring Book

It’s a project that I’ve compiled from 64 artists from around the world who have each made a coloring page inspired by hope. The idea is that they provide the blank canvas and YOU add the hope through color. And you know what? It works! I can’t even tell you the goose bumps I got while I was working on it! COVID-19 has indeed changed so much of our routine, yet in the confusion and uncertainty we’ve also witnessed countless moments of compassion and the strength of the human spirit.

Picture Hope: The social distancing coloring book

64 Artists from Around the World

I’m going to list all the artists here because they all deserve recognition for dropping everything to make this happen:

Abbey Lossing, Alli Stocco, Ane Kirstine Bilde, Angie Stalker, Ashley Isenhour, Audrey Smit of This Little Street, Ayang Cempaka, Beci Orpin, Brooke Smart, Caitlin Connolly, Cat Seto, Corrie Beth Hogg, Danielle Kroll, Darcy Miller, Dylan Mierzwinksi, Elizabeth Graeber, Ellie A. Osborne, Emily Isabella, Emma Block, Eva Jorgensen, Flora Waycott, Hannah Gumbo, Helen Dealtry, Hilary Onyon, Jackie Diedam, Jacqueline Colley, Janna Morton, Jen Hewett, Jess Whittaker, Jessie Kanelos, Weiner, Jéssyka Gomes, Jordan Sondler, Josefina Schargorodsky, Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle, Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow, Katie Kortman, Kelsey Garrity Riley, Kendra Dandy, Libby VanderPloeg, Lisa Congdon, Loris Lora, Madison Blake, Maria Trolle, Meenal Patal, Merrilee Liddiard, Meta Coleman, Mia Saine, Michéle Brummer Everett, Michelle Christensen, Miranda Sofroniou, Monica Dorazewski, Natalie Apuzzo for Winter Water Factory, Normandie Luscher, Phoebe Wahl, Roxy Marj, Samantha Hahn, Sarah Jane Wright, Sebastian Curi, Suzy Ultman, Tara Nearents of Rad and Happy, Tonya and Steve Vistaunet of A Happy Vista, Victoria Riza, Yelena Bryksenkova

Creativity is Important Now More Than Ever

I’ve spent my career developing The House That Lars Built, whose mission is to encourage people to make things with their hands. We believe that the act of making has the power to heal and improve your well-being. The goal of this book is the same and it’s needed now more than ever. Coloring is a simple yet profound act that allows for meditation and mindfulness and this coloring book is even more profound because of the many voices of support behind it.

Donate for Coronavirus Relief

You can purchase Picture Hope in our shop and donate for larger amounts if you wish.

You can find the printable book over in our Shop!

And if you do some of the coloring pages, we’d love to see them! Tag us with #PictureHopeColoringBook

Women Who Work: Lulie Wallace

Painter and textile artist Lulie Wallace

When did you know that art was your jam? 

As early as I can remember, I have always loved arts and crafts.  I wanted to be drawing, sewing, pasting, creating a lot more than I wanted to do homework. I loved the piano as a child and feel like I have always been somewhat of a creative problem solver.

Why is it important to you to create? 

This answer has really changed since becoming a mother. I consider painting and the ability to paint a giant gift. I used to just paint because I enjoy it and because it was my job and way to make money, now it really is an outlet for me as a mom to go to my studio and make art. There is still so much for me to explore in painting and I love that.

Painter and textile artist Lulie Wallace

Was there anyone along the way who helped shape you and your work?

A lot of people! The first people to come to mind are my boss, Beth, in college and my favorite professor at College of Charleston, Professor Peacock. I worked in a gift store that carried paper products, bags, jewelry from so many neat artists and graphic designers and I know that was pretty influential in what my eyes were taking in. My professor in college was also hugely encouraging, not just to me, but I feel to all of his students. He pushed you, but also could find something positive to say about anything you created. It is wild how gigantic just encouraging someone in their field of interest can be. I heard of different colleges where art students were criticized by professors and that hurt to hear because with a little encouragement, people can make/do some amazing things!

Although I currently paint in my studio alone, for about 10 years I worked right next to other artists. I think this was incredibly influential on my work ethic and style of painting. It is so much fun and motivating to paint right next to other artists. They were also amazing people to live life with on a daily basis…win/win!!

What’s your advice to women wanting to pursue the same thing?

One of my greatest pieces of advice (that is almost the hardest to achieve) is to hone in on your style…work, work, work, work, and work on it some more! People say, “I could never be a painter” but my mentality really is if you wanted to do it so bad that you worked your butt off at it, then you could do it!! My other piece of advice is to find a mentor/apprenticeship/job of someone who is already successful in their craft. I think that is huge!

bright and happy home design

You can find Lulie here:

@luliewallace on Instagram

luliewallace.com 

(All photos were found on her site)

Women Who Work Interview Series

This interview series was inspired by our Women Who Work print by Libby VanderPloeg, found in the Lars Print Shop!Artist art print Women Who Work

Women who Work art print by Libby Vanderploeg

You can see our previous interviews:

Featured Illustrator: Becca Stadtlander

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Interview with Becca Stadtlander

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person etc.?

All of the above!  I usually tell people that I am an Illustrator when they ask what I do, but I think all of those titles apply to what I do on the daily.  I think the term artist is the most important and I don’t see any difference between illustration and fine art. I also enjoy making lots of things that have nothing to do with my job.  As a business person, I run my online shop and perform all of the boring bits of freelance work like invoicing, contracts, etc.

Who helped you “become” who you are?

Sometimes I can’t believe where I am in my own life and I think about all the decisions I made and things that had to happen to get me here. I’m not done with becoming who I want to be, but for now, I think  my family, my husband, myself and a little bit of luck helped me become who I am.

Do you feel like you’ve arrived at what you set out to do?

Yes and no.  I feel completely at peace with the career I’ve chosen, but there are still a lot of things I want to achieve within this career. I’m always looking toward that next thing, and working on getting better and better for the next project. Of course it’s all in my head, but I prefer feeling like there is always more to do. 

What more would you like to “become”? 

I want to write and illustrate my own books, be the best version of an artist and person I can be, and I want to become completely comfortable in my own skin. 

Where did you study, and what did you study? 

I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore where I got my degree in Illustration. 

How did you get started doing illustration?

After I graduated college, I did a lot of work for free.  I also posted my work online everywhere I could. I submitted work to every blog, website, magazine, and art director I could think of. Work trickled in very slowly.  I took a long time before I could be comfortable working as an Illustrator full time. 

When did you discover your love for illustration? 

I was very into art and the idea of becoming an artist since I can remember. I always loved children’s books, which I looked at primarily for the art. My first real love affair  was with Lisa Frank! The crazy colors and patterns really appealed to me. I was very art focused all though my childhood and teenage years but I didn’t think of Illustration as a career until I graduated high school. 

Were you scared when you first started looking for jobs? How did you overcome this? 

Yes of course!  I wanted to be a working illustrator so bad, it was all I thought about. I was terrified that no one would ever hire me and that I had made a big mistake going to art school. I just kept my focus and tried not to think about the “what if’s”. I just told myself that it would happen and I made up assignments as if I already had my dream job.  I think it helped that I got excited and stayed motivated about everything that came my way even things that were so small. I didn’t want to put anything out there that I wasn’t proud of.

What’s your dream job?

I would love to write and illustrate my own book that is crazy and wonderful.

What’s your goal with your work?

I want everything I do to be successful on its own. If you were to take it away from the text it’s next, it still communicates what it needs to.  I try to think of that, especially for children’s books where it can get tricky. I want everything to be beautiful all the time which is probably not the best thing. I’m trying to introduce more room for looseness.  I want there always to be a good balance between detailed and painterly.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m most proud of the children’s books I’ve illustrated.  I get nervous for every project and with every manuscript I think, “how an I going to come up with all these paintings?”. But ideas come and time passes and before I know it all the work turns into a bound book in the bookshop.  It still shocks me to see it in print. 

How did your childhood influence what you have become? 

I think that my parents and my grandmother (who was my nanny for the most part) were supportive and they let me do my own thing.  I was always one to entertain myself and I was usually drawing or painting or making something. I was encouraged to be different and made to believe that I could do whatever I wanted when I grew up.  My family also has a love of art and interiors and I think that had a huge influence on my aesthetic. 

Did you feel pressured in any way to pursue a certain career path? 

I feel very lucky that I always knew I wanted to be an artist and everybody was okay with that. 

Did you have anyone along the way that was instrumental in the trajectory of your life? 

My grandmother was very special to me and probably the biggest influence on my life. She died when I was in my twenties and living away from home. She helped raise me so I spent a lot of time with her. Her house was beautiful and filled with old things that I was fascinated with. She was fiercely independent, graceful, stylish and very warm. Everyone always commented on how elegant she was and how much they loved her.  I try to be more like her every day.  

What’s your work space like?

My studio is at the top of the stairs on the second floor of my house.  It’s situated right at the peak of the roof so it has an angled ceiling.  I have a double window over my desk that looks out over the entire city. I use an old farm table from the flea market as a desk and I love that it’s covered in my paint marks from the past 10 years. I read somewhere that purple is supposed to promote creativity so I painted the room a pale lavender pink.

What’s a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?

“Fake it till you make it”  I don’t remember where it came from but I bet everyone has heard it. It’s great advice! It’s gotten me through a lot. 

What does your dream retirement look like?

Doing huge abstract paintings with a cup of coffee in some crazy over the top pajama robe. 

What artists/designers/creatives do you look up to? Both historical or present

Edward Gorey, Grandma Moses, Daid Hockney, and Van Gogh are some of my all time favorites. 

How has social media influenced your work? 

I have seen a lot of things that inspire me on social media and I also use it as a tool for my own work to be seen. I think there are ways to make it work for you, but at the same time I hate feeling obligated to post things, and I don’t like the nagging feeling I get to check my Instagram.  It’s a fine line for me between enjoying it and feeling like a slave to it. It can also be intimidating and discouraging to see other people doing what you do and doing it better. It has done good things for my career but I don’t always like what it does to my mentally. 

Who is your work intended for? 

I want my work to be for everyone all the time.  I want people to get something out of it whatever that may be. 

What’s inspiring you lately? 

Lately I have been very into portrait paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, also this book “The Shortest Day” illustrated by Carson Ellis and written by Susan Cooper.  It’s gorgeous and perfect.

What did you want to be when you were young versus when it was time to decide what to actually do?

I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I didn’t even consider anything else!

You can find Becca:

Instagram @beccastadtlander

Website of Becca

Women Who Work: Amanda Jane Jones

When and how did you know that graphic design was your jam? 

I loved art and knew I wanted to do something commercial with it (because I was determined to support myself and not get married! (Ah… the things you say at 19!)  So I tried being a photographer first and shot weddings for a summer and realized you had be SOCIAL and TALK to people on a regular basis which didn’t / doesn’t  come naturally to me, and being a graphic designer seemed to fit my hermit tendencies much better…best of both worlds I guess? My mom was so sweet and set up a meeting with a designer in our area so I could get a feel for what she did and it just felt right! and I’ve never regretted or looked back. I seriously ADORE my job. I have so much fun at work.

Why is it important to you to create?

It’s just a part of me! I’ve always been a maker. My mom had a big closet full of supplies growing up. We were always allowed to use whatever as along as I didn’t use her FABRIC scissors on PAPER! that was her one rule and I’m embarrassed to say I broke it all the time. They just cut so well! I couldn’t help myself. 😉 Anyway, I’ve just always loved to be creative – in life, in my surroundings, in the way I dress…I read once somewhere that when creative people stop creating, it creates a cloud in their brain that can stifle creativity and I’ve seen that many times in my life.

Was there anyone along the way who helped shape you?

Yes! my grandma had me come to her home every summer and she let me pick out patterns and fabric and we’d sew whatever my heart desired. My mom and dad were so good and cultivating creativity for me with supplies and experiences and then actually, Since marrying Cree, he’s always been a huge supporter of my work and my creativity. He sees how important it is to me and always makes it one of his priorities as much as it is mine which has provided me the space to grow as a designer and try projects I otherwise wouldn’t be able to with three little kids at home.

What’s your advice to women wanting to pursue the same thing?

A couple things!

1) Be an intern or apprentice. I interned FOUR times – once even while I was freelancing full-time and starting Kinfolk! I’m a huge fan of real life experience and learning from artists you admire. Be a sponge! (Click here to find out more about internship opportunities here at Lars!)

2) Put in the time. no one is holding you back but you! If it’s something you really want, go for it. I worked at a small design firm for three years while freelancing nights and weekends before I could freelance full-time. It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience, but I’ll be forever grateful my 20 something self put in all those hours.

3) Fake it till you make it. Honestly, the first time I was hired to design a book, I didn’t know how! everything is online now – take a class, google it, or just ask! I’m always surprised how you can learn things as you go.

4) Be true to yourself and your style. So many times, I’ll be asked to do a logo or brand that just isn’t me. In the beginning I didn’t have the luxury of turning those projects down. But now I know, that if you try to be something you’re not, it’s a waste of your time and the clients money.

You can find Amanda here:

Find Amanda in the House Lars Built Print Shop!

Right now Amanda is donating ALL of her proceeds from her food prints in our shop to No Kid Hungry. Due to COVID-19 many kids are left without meals they normally receive at school every day. No Kid Hungry donates meals directly to those children during this break from school. Your purchase of one of Amanda’s prints found here will help those kids receive meals and will hang in your home as a reminder that there is always hope!

And get these adorable 3D fruit ornaments to match your Amanda Jane Jones pieces!

Author Art Print

Or you can find all of the Women Who Work here!

Make sure to hang up the Author Print in your home to remind you of just how incredible you are at your work!

You can see our previous interviews:

Black Creatives to Follow and Support

black creatives to follow and support

Each name on this list is a person that excites my creativity, and by intentionally including black voices into your library, you support the beauty of black lives.

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend – showcases handmade quilts made by African-American women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Women in this area have been making quilts together from the 19th century until present day. What certainly began as a means to create warmth became an innovative form of abstract creative expression. If you’re looking for quilting inspiration, look no further! 

Ron Finley – is a self proclaimed gangsta gardener. The short film about his efforts was a festival favorite in 2015! He teaches that a garden can change a person’s life, and then, can change a community. If you’re wondering how to grow food in a limited, urban space, Ron’s your guy. Dig in.

Jen Hewett – is one of our collaborators on the Picture Hope coloring book and we can’t get enough of her prints!! Her block-making patterns on fabric are perfect on everything from clothing to bags to tea towels. 

Sebastian Curi – is also featured in our coloring book, Picture Hope! His graphic designs and illustrations are bright, playful, and full of movement! We’re proud to be included in his list of collaborators, which includes names like Warby Parker and Apple.  

Janna Morton – is another one of our illustrators in Picture Hope. I LOVE her colorful, vibrant style.

Jade Purple Brown – her work is everything my technicolor dreams are made of!! The brilliant colors, the chic yet joyful designs, I just can’t get enough of it! Give her a follow instagram for an infusion of fun into your feed. For instance, check out this rug she designed below 

Asiyami Gold – curates the most beautiful stories. She is the founder and designer of shop.au and truly has impeccable taste. If you enjoy airy interiors and tropical locales, visit her shop online! Did I mention that she is stunning? 

Christina Moreland – has a vintage-inspired style that is laid-back and serious at the same time. She has the cutest posters with messages on how to be a better, healthier person. If you ever wonder how art and activism go together, then check this artist out!

Freya Bramble-Carter – is an incredible ceramicist who incorporates natural themes with contemporary design. Her pieces showcase skill and beautiful color choices.

Justina Blakeney – is a fellow blogging friend (you can read more about her here) and has been so supportive of us over the years. She has nailed the bohemian vibe under The Jungalow label with her shop and blog.

Andrea Pippins – wrote and illustrated the book “I Love My Hair,” she created an interactive artistic journal for young women, and more! Her work covers topics like empowerment, grief, self-love, and parenthood.

Frédérique Harrel – can be summed up in one word: powerhouse. Freya has a long history in fashion, is a parent to some cute kids. She was named Cosmopolitan’s 2018 “Influencer of the Year,” and is an inspirational speaker. In addition to following her on Instagram, listen to her TedTalks and learn something!

If you just can’t get enough and love learning about creative people, check out our expanded list that includes more than sixty artists! This list is in no way exhaustive, but it if full of amazing and inspiring people! Many of this artists also have stunning work for purchase, and we encourage you to buy their work if possible. That is an important way both to support that person and fill your home with diverse artwork. 

Over 60 Black Creatives to Support

Artists

Christa David, Freya Bramble-Carter, Ronni Nicole, Malene Barnett, Lorna Simpson, Lina Iris Viktor, Kehinde Wiley, Kerry James Marshall, Kenesha Sneed, Mark Bradford, Arcmanoro Niles, Kenturah Davis, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Derek Fordjou, Derrick Adams

Work for purchase by these artists

black creatives to follow and supportblack creatives to follow and supportblack creatives to follow and supportblack creatives to follow and supportblack creatives to follow and support

Authors

Luvvia Ajayi Jones, James Baldwin, La Tonya Yvette, Gene Roberts, Cleo Wade, Angie Thomas, Ibram X. Kendi, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison

Books by these authors

Designers

Dionna Dorsey, Sugar Taylor, Annika Izora, Morgan Harper Nichols, Laci Jordan, Hello Yowie

Work for purchase by these designers

black creatives to follow and support

Fashion

Kerby Jean-Raymond, Courtney Quinn, Freddie Harrell, Musemo Handahu, Owen Cain, Micaéla Verrelien, Cynthia Andrew

Illustrators

Andrea Pippins, Bianca Xunise, Jen Hewett, Justina Blakeney, Mia Saine, Sebastian Curi, Nicole Miles, Reyna Noriega, Lo Harris, Jade Purple Brown, Christina Moreland

Work for purchase by these illustrators

black creatives to follow and supportblack creatives to follow and support

Business owners and Shops

Asiyami Gold, Brother Vellies, Femme Fatale DC, Check Alma, Jungalow, Tactile Matter, Oma the Label, HarperIman Dolls, Tree Fairfax, Linoto, Aliya Wanek, Oui the People, Actually Curious, UNWRP, Oat Cinnamon

Products for purchase from these shops

black creatives to follow and support

Black Owned Bookstores

Brave and Kind Books, Semicolon, Brian Lair Books, Afriware, Detroit Book City, Mahogany Books, Uncle Bobbie’s, Ashay by the Bay, Frugal Bookstore, Sister’s Uptown

Books to teach children about anti-racism

 

Other resources

In addition to exploring the work of the creatives above, here are some more resources. All Black Creatives, Podcast by Alexandra Elle. This blog post also contains additional resources and thoughts.

This list is just the beginning of some of our favorite black creatives and their inspiring work. Please help us continue to support by commenting any other people whose work you love! We would love to support them as well.