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 😉 .

A tiger rug by Justina Blakeney Where you can find Justina:

Justina’s new collection with Target Opal House just came out and we’re all heart eyes for it. Here are some of our favorites. You can see the rest of our favorites over here!
Jungalow for Target Opal House
Thanks for your thoughts about “becoming”, Justina! We’re so pleased to have you. Stay tuned for more interviews soon!

Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle now in the Lars Print shop!

Julie Marabelle for Lars Print Shop

The delicate nature of the flowers in each illustration is a perfect addition to our print shop and your own home gallery. Like the rest of our shop, you can choose to buy the download (the cheapest option!) and print it yourself or you can get the print. You can get it matted and framed too! I sprinkled her prints throughout my house and they fit so well! 

Remember my guest room reveal? It was lacking some art and so I framed hers and put it up. I love how it fits in with the rest of the room.

Affordable art prints from Lars Print Shop

Here you can see the Polkadot Potted Flowers and Field of Blue Flowers prints.

Floral Papercut Prints in my living room

To my living room I added the blue potted duos:Affordable floral art prints from Lars Print Shop

The Blue potted flower and the Blue vase

Affordable artwork for the bedroom

And lastly, I have her blue colored flowers in my bedroom. It all works so so well!

affordable art prints

Floral Paper Cut Prints

To create the collection, she painted paper and then used her famous process of paper cutting to create the exquisite cuts. What’s so cool about the prints is that she created them in a way that you can see the shadows so you know that they are paper cuts and not just 2D floral images. They have much depth!

We couldn’t be more excited about the Famille Summerbelle Collection. If you would like to check out more of Famille Summerbelle, stroll on over to their site (good news, they ship worldwide!). Who needs to wait for May flowers when you can put these beauties up in your own home right away! There’s no better time than this period of social distancing to brighten up your walls with pretty new floral prints. You could separate these pieces into different rooms, or create a sweet gallery wall near a sunny window to pull the outside in. Check each bouquet out in the shop!

To welcome Julie to the shop, please take 15% off her collection until next Sunday, the 19th with code WELCOMEJULIE.

Stay tuned for our interview with Julie herself!

In the mean time, you can check out the full collection over at Lars Print Shop.

How are you doing and ways to help

First, the pros. Being with my little 2 year old boo, Jasper hands down. Both Paul and I work full time so in the past he’s had some great babysitters during the day. I can tell that he’s gotten so used to us being with him full time that he cries when one of us leaves the house, which he didn’t really used to do. And if you follow me on my personal Instagram account, you’d know that his sleeping patterns have been going through a switcharoo (we figured it out!

And life has been SO much better since–it’s called a crib tent and it’s changed our lives!). Anywhoo, I know we’ll look back on this and realize what a treasure it’s been to be with him, especially at this adorably active stage. Actually, I’m trying not to have a look back moment and enjoy but live it all now.

That said…Paul and I both work full time and with no childcare it’s been SO TRICKY. (See photo above from a live Instagram I did with founder of Eighteen B. I tried to keep Jasper occupied with treats but then he found a box of chocolate cookies and I just had to go with it.) On Paul’s end, he started a new job a couple weeks into stay at home so he’s been working more and more. On my end, I’m trying to keep Lars alive….

Which brings me to my next point:

I’ve had a lot of people ask what they can do to support Lars. It’s a very thoughtful and supportive question to ask so thank you so much. Like many other small businesses, we’ve certainly been affected by the economic change. Many of our clients have either canceled or postponed our scheduled projects and the influx of new business has dwindled. As you might have noticed, sponsored campaigns is something we’ve been doing for the past many years–it’s how we’ve grown our business and team. We value our clients.

The Lars Shop

THANKFULLY, we started a shop almost two years ago now. Up until the last six months it was a small focus of ours, but we’ve been putting more and more energy into it adding in templates, patterns, printable pages, art prints in our Print Shop, and items from our collaborations. Once the pandemic hit, we realized the need to provide people with items that they could do from home and you guys picked it up pretty quickly. We offered all of our printables and templates at 40% off for the first month, as well as a daily coloring page every day for 30 days.

Then we put out the Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book, a printable coloring book for now, knowing that we needed to spread HOPE and contribute to the cause by donating all the profits to charity. And a few of our print shop artists have been donating their profits to charity. It’s nice to feel like we can contribute. We’re also in the process of developing some new resources for you and your children, which will be available soon!

While the shop has done remarkably well considering the circumstances (exceeding our expectations!), it was such a small portion of our revenue that we still have a ways to go before it fills the gap of where we were before all this.

Ways to Support

I feel funny answering the question, “how can we support you right now” because there are so many things and people vying for our deserved attention right now. Health, lives, serious stuff. How many of us feel like we want to help everyone out but are limited by finances and time?! But, I’ll do my best to answer it.

As a reader, supporting our shop in any way you can is the best way to show us your support. There are products at every price point (from $1.50!) and for many purposes. Our mission is to encourage people to make things with their hands because when you do you get in touch with your soul and your quality of life improves. Everything in our shop is intended to fulfill this purpose. You could call it the perfect “stay at home” resources long before we were required to do so. Our print shop is also a wonderful place to spruce up your Work From Home spaces.

Number two, supporting our book, Craft the Rainbow and/or journals, My Life In Color (and notebook, and journal) wherever books are sold.

For those limited by budget right now, we get it. Buying is not a real thing for so many people right now. In that case, if you have bought our book(s) in the past, consider leaving us a review or sharing it with someone who you think might be interested.

Some other, non monetary ways to support right now is to follow us and engage more on social media channels like Instagram (we’re almost to 200k!) Pinterest, and Facebook. Engaging means liking our posts or leaving comments. The more you engage, the more visibility we receive from other people as a whole.

If you’ve found any value in our site, shop or tutorials in the past, please share it with those who you think might be interested. I’m certain that people will benefit from the resources that we share–it’s just knowing about them!

And lastly, if you are a business and have considered working with us, now’s a time to get in touch and figure out a way to work together and partner up.

Ok, NOW, the question is…how can we support YOU! What do you need? What types of resources would you like to see from us? Products, classes, tutorials, tips? Come on, what are they?! We want to serve you in the best way we know how so feel free to speak up!

When art became real for me

Art Course for Kids

We had an art course in elementary school that would introduce some of history’s great artists. I vividly recall sitting criss crossed in the multi purpose room with an overhead projector as the instructor taught us about Seurat and Picasso. She always wore fancy floral dresses and her hair was up in tight curls. The room was dark and our legs would fall asleep.

The lecture portion was followed up with a project in class where she would teach us how to create a project inspired by each of the artists. The pointilism assignment was great fun because we created figures and landscapes dots. DOTS! Art came ALIVE because we were doing it ourselves!

At the beginning of COVID as we shifted gears and started focusing even more on stay at home crafts and projects for both you and your kids, I was reminded of my grade school days and thought that we needed to create something that brought alive to kids in the same way that it did it for me.

Tomorrow, we are introducing this course and I cannot contain my excitement (pssst: the course is out now here!) . I truly am thrilled to share this course with you and your children. It’s one of the best things that we as a team have ever produced. I believe that a passion for the arts can be instilled when your children are young and there is NO BETTER TIME than NOW to do so. Through clever craft and art projects, exercises, and beautiful printables, you’ll learn about some of the greatest artists, perhaps new to you artists who never received their proper recognition, that ever lived.

Are you homeschooling this school year?

Of course, I couldn’t have imagined that this upcoming school year would be such a mix of decisions and emotions and safety concerns. Homeschooling has become a reality for so many more families than ever before, whether desired or reluctant, and we’re hoping that this can be a great resource for you. We hope that whether you are a true home schooling family, this can be a great supplement for your curriculum. Likewise, if you are staying at home with your kids as they learn online, they can use our curriculum to fill their artistic void.

A bit about the course

There are videos and photos, prompts, journaling, and so much more. I really hope you like it. Stay tuned tomorrow for our early bird pricing for newsletter subscribers only through the weekend.

Great Artists! art course is out now! 

Becoming: Lynne Millar from the Lars Print Shop

Our Interview with Lynne Millar

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger versus what you do now?

When I was little I wanted to be a CIA agent. I really liked the idea of wearing sunglasses all the time and taking on different names. (The one I really hoped I’d get assigned was “Samantha”) Now that I’ve watched several seasons of Homeland I’m realizing that career would have been a terrible fit for me.

What sparked your interest in painting? How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a painter?

When I wasn’t forcing my little sisters to call me Samantha, I spent a lot of time drawing, painting and writing stories. My family lived right outside of Washington DC and my parents were so great about taking us to museums all the time, so art has always felt like an important part of the world to me. In college I was intimidated by the idea of being graded on my art – it felt too personal and scary to me – so I majored in Art History instead. It was a great choice. I loved every one of my classes, and having those years to marinate the stories of artists has given me so much to draw from and mainly, aspire to.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? Did you ever feel pressured to pursue a certain profession?

When I graduated from college I really thought I was going to pursue a graduate degree in Art History and hoped to eventually work in a museum. I ended up getting married and while my husband was in medical school I had a variety of random jobs – I worked at the medical school in a couple of different labs, I worked as a Montessori preschool teacher, and I took a lot of night classes at San Francisco’s Academy of Art.

I wanted to paint, more than anything, but lacked the confidence to take my dreams seriously, and also lacked an understanding of how I could build a sustainable career in art. When my husband started his residency we started our family, which kept me very busy. Years later, our youngest started preschool and I finally had reliable blocks of uninterrupted time that I committed to spend painting. I studied and practiced and threw myself into whatever classes I could take, and through instagram I met and became close with a group of artists who are a constant source of inspiration and mentorship.

Social media has really made it an option to be an artist on one’s own terms – you can define if you want to sell directly over instagram, work with print shops, develop gallery relationships, focus on shows… there is so much blessed flexibility in how you can shape and focus a painting career. And it’s been so invaluable to have good friends who are doing all of those things in different ways.

Now that you live in Central California, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work?

Having grown up on the east coast, settling in the Central Valley of California was a big aesthetic change for me. It took me some time to open my eyes to the beauty in the flatter, arid landscape. But now I’m happy to report that I love the big skies, the clusters of trees, and the beautiful gentle roll of the golden hills. Our town happens to have lots of fields where ranchers graze their sheep and cows, which I love seeing as we drive around doing our errands.

What is your favorite part of painting (i.e. conceptualizing, actually putting the brush to canvas, finalizing, etc.)?

Did you ever read Emily of New Moon, by LM Montgomery? The heroine Emily is a writer and when she’s hit by inspiration, she experiences something she calls “the flash,” where she is overcome by a wild desire to capture the essence of whatever powerful thing she’s just experienced. I think this is my favorite part of painting and I’ve learned that it’s something that you can cultivate in yourself: developing a sensitivity to the things in the world that you want to consume and express – or even just notice. My “flash” moments are never as dramatic as Emily’s but they make my life richer and happier, and it’s something that I’m actively working on all the time – cultivating a keen sense of notice and delight. This is the first and favorite part of being an artist for me.

What is a typical day like for you?

Since March, like many of you, 3 of my 4 kids have been home with me every day. Every Single Day. ALL THE TIME. I feel really lucky that they are a bit older (10, 13, 17 – my oldest is 19 and he’s flown the coop) so they have been able to be fairly independent in managing their distance learning and I’m theoretically able to work in my studio. (Bless you who are doing distance learning with younger kids!!) That being said, it’s a challenge to get into creative flow with the stopping and starting that’s part of living in a pandemic household – I find that I need to do many a surprise-check on my 10 year old to make sure she’s doing her school and not just playing minecraft. Before the pandemic, I had a pretty consistent routine of sending the kids off to school in the morning then painting from at least 10-2, but now it’s definitely a lot more loosey-goosey. I feel that I should be honest and acknowledge that some days, my studio has been a bit of a refuge. I’m so grateful that I have a space where I can go hide!

What is your workspace like? Has it changed since the pandemic?

We have a loft upstairs that I use for my studio. It has good light and room for me to store my unwieldy collection of art supplies and books and my easels and still life set-ups but to my point in the previous question, there is also a half-wall that divides the studio from the rest of the upstairs hallway. On the other side of the wall (the one inside my studio), we have tucked a sofa and I’ve discovered that if I lie down completely flat on the sofa, NO ONE CAN SEE ME!

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you?

I think the best art advice I’ve ever gotten was from my friend Vince: he’s a lot older than me and when I first started painting seriously, he told me that you learn way more from your crappy paintings than from the ones that work out. That’s been a lodestone for me for sure, because I make a lot of crappy paintings! And I think the advice has broader application as well – recognizing and fixing mistakes of all kinds is the work of a life.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of pursuing a career in a creative field?

My advice is to be flexible and proactive. And to not be shy about reaching out to other creatives to ask questions and create networks. Also, be prepared to work really really hard! When you are your own boss, nothing happens unless you just put your head down and do it/figure it out. Think of setbacks as opportunities to learn new skills and evaluate what skill you might need to learn to avoid that same setback in the future.

I have found that having a career in a creative field requires a very random collection of skills outside the actual skill of creating the art/product: navigating social media, building websites, understanding taxes, learning photo editing software, packaging & shipping, marketing, etc. Try and approach it all with glee, appreciating the many surprising things you find yourself capable of doing!

What artists and creatives do you look up to? Both historical and present.

Oh so many! Helene Schjerfbeck, Kathleen Speranza, Louise Balaam, Brian Kershisnik, Leslie Duke, Julia Hawkins, Maria Oakey Dewing, Cecilia Beaux, John Singer Sargent, Manet. Casically I admire all artists who strive to find their voice.

What has been inspiring you lately?

This summer and early fall was so hot and a bit miserable with the persistent smoke from the terribly tragic wildfires. With the cooler weather, the roses in our valley have begun to take off again. I must say that I find it to be incredibly poignant to see what nature offers up to us even as we are all in the midst of so much turmoil. It’s such a lesson in patience and hope.

How has COVID 19 affected your work and aspirations? Are there additional personal or professional interests you’d like to explore?

I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit like some tape has been ripped off of my soul in 2020. This year has been a time of profound re-orientation for me. I’ve realized how much suffering there is in the world that I’d had the dubious privilege of generally not paying attention to. I’ve been training to teach art classes at the correctional center in our county. During that training, I’ve plunging into the topic of restorative justice and the positive role that the arts can play in the healing of individuals. Doing that has opened a whole new realm of thinking for me. I have so much to learn and I’m really looking forward to this new experience.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?

I hope to come out of this year having become softer, more empathetic, more perceptive.

Where to find Lynne Millar

Shop her art collection in our Print Shop here.

Follow her on instagram!

 

This post is a part of our Becoming Series, where we interview creative women we admire. Click here to explore more interviews from this series!

In the Mood For: Alma Thomas

Who Was Alma Thomas?

Alma Thomas didn’t start out as a full-time painter. First, she was a schoolteacher in Washington D.C., where her career spanned 38 years. After her retirement, she began to paint seriously, quickly establishing herself as a member of the Washington Color Field School. This art movement, taking place in the 1950s-1970s, was often compared to the abstract expressionist movement.

Image source here

The Washington Color Field School was marked by monochromatic strokes, colorful stripes, and broad washes of color on canvas. Other unconventional methods artists used at this time included “soak staining,” a technique where the painter would pour thinned-out paint onto canvas and let it sit without using any brushstrokes.

Alma Thomas considered retirement after her years of teaching, mostly due to arthritis. However, when Howard University offered to produce an exhibition of her work, she decided to produce something unlike her previous paintings. She was inspired by the light coming through her window and filtering through the flowers in her yard. If that’s not poetic, I don’t know what is.

Alma Thomas reached acclaim in her 80s with her Earth paintings, characterized by concentric circles painted in bright watercolor strokes. The beautiful colors bursting from a white background produced a dreamy, mosaic-like effect.

Image source here.

Home Decor Inspired by Alma Thomas

Alma employed abstract, geometric shapes in her work, and one of her favorite shapes were circles. And circles are very on-trend right now! You’ll also notice the use of colorful stripes, color-blocked polygons, and gem-like shapes that will add personality to any space. Though Alma Thomas’ color palette leaned towards bright hues, her work isn’t just for children’s spaces. Don’t be afraid to use pops of color (or colors!) to make any room more inviting.

In fact, the Obama family even had one of Alma Thomas’ paintings hanging in the white house during their time there (you can see it here)! I love the cobalt blue painting they chose below. You don’t have to choose decor or art filled with the full rainbow, sometimes one bold shade is the perfect way to anchor the room’s feel and color scheme.

 

Besides bold color, do not forget to consider shape when designing your space. Both the negative space between furniture, and the shape of the pieces themselves. They are nuanced, but round edges versus square ones can be the difference between a country chic couch and a mid-century modern. Train your eye to pay attention to the details. Pair a boxy couch with a round coffee table. An oval mirror above a squared off console. Or for a look with an even bigger Alma-Stamp-of-approval, look for statement pieces with more organic edges.

Fashion Inspired by Alma Thomas

Alma’s love of bold shapes and color didn’t end with her art, she wore them wherever she went! Every artist in our Great Artists! kid’s course comes with paper dolls, and Alma’s outfits are some of the most fun to mix and match.

Neutrals are all the rage right now. However, color is making a much-needed comeback to lift us out of the gloom of 2020! The great thing about Alma Thomas inspired style is that you can still wear your beloved neutrals while taking advantage of the beautiful colors Alma was inspired by. If you’re scared of color, start with accent pieces, like hair clips or masks (who would have thought masks would become an accessory?!)

 

Image source here.

Learn About More Great Artists!

Alma Thomas is a part of our Great Artists! Course, which we are offering now for just $99. It’s a six-week long course, but once you purchase it, it’s yours forever (a big plus for those of us who recently became homeschoolers overnight!) Now is the perfect time to introduce your children to some wonderful artists whose work still influences the world around us today.

And for artists inspiration more on your level, check out our posts about home decor inspired by Monet and Frida Kahlo, who are part of our kid’s course as well!

 

 

This post is a part of our In the mood for series. In this series we show you how to recreate interior design styles and fashion inspired by people we admire! Click any of the links below to check out the past posts in this series!

Anne of Green GablesEmma WoodhouseIris ApfelWes Andersonthe Royal FamilyLittle WomenMonet, Frida Kahlo, and Alexander Girard

New artwork from Artist Chaunté Vaughn

New work in the Lars Print Shop from Chaunté Vaughn 

Click here to see the full collection!

Chaunté has the unique ability to capture beauty in the mundane. She focuses on the everyday, even decayed or traditionally non-beautiful subjects, but through her use of lighting and composition transforms them into stunning works of art.

Her color series in the collection highlights items from the grocery store and stuff that should be in the trash, but with the magical touch of stylist Kate Stein, they take on a new life where color is celebrated and lighting transforms them into an elegant still life.

Yellow Mustard” is our featured art print for our book club, Yellow by Michael Pastoureau. It’s a celebration of all things yellow–the color of happiness and optimism made even more so through the comical smiley face.

“This collection of photos is an oddball selection of exercises I’ve done thru the last few years. It’s one of my favorite things to be able to uplift someones home with art I’ve made. I’m so happy these might make it to you someday!”
– Chaunté Vaughn

Interview with Chaunté Vaughn

What do you consider yourself?

I consider myself a photographer. I like to do other creative things, but photography is how I earn a living.

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

I started by taking pictures of my sisters when we were kids. I loved styling them and playing “photoshoot”. It feels like I’m still doing the same thing all these years later.

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

I originally studied painting and graphic design. I moved into photography because it was a faster medium.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My ability to repeatedly carry 50 lbs of photo gear up and down multiple flights of stairs.

What’s your work space like?

I shoot in different kinds of places all the time. Anywhere from big beautiful studios, to cramped offices, to muddy stormy beaches. It’s different every time.

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

Have fun and be nice. Draw or write what you think about, no matter what your medium is.

What’s coming up for you this year?

2020 has been really hard for everyone. Hopefully we can come out of it with a new and better perspective. 

How has the current situation affected your work flow. Any pivots?

I’ve started shooting more from home. The crew is much smaller:)

 

Where do you live? How does that influence your work?

I live in Brooklyn NY. Luckily, being here provides me with tons of inspiration. The creatives here are excellent, and there is no shortage of galleries to visit and see it all.

What does your dream retirement look like?

A beach, a lime drink, and a cabana boy:)

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

Not many- because I’m 5 foot 10:)

How has social media influenced your work?

It’s made me hate squares.

What’s inspiring you lately?

I recently watched documentaries on Andrew Wyeth, Franca Sozzani, and Slim Aarons. I love hearing their stories and looking at what makes their work special. Also, I saw a retrospective for Agnes Denes a few months ago, her work resonated with me and reminded me that all artists touch the divine when they create.

 

Where else you can find Chaunté’s work

At chauntevaughn.com and on Instagram here

And click here to find the perfect print to brighten your walls.

Why I feel called to craft: Part 2

Why I feel called to craft

The stories my mom would tell me about my grandparents and great grandparents, etc, shaped my narrative and formed my identity. My great-grandmother, Marilla Zatelle, painted porcelain, sewed her own clothes, and was truly a force of nature–it probably helped that she was 6′ tall. I remember visiting her in the hospital before she passed away at age 97 and knowing that I was Danish stock like she was.

From left to right: Dorothy, me, Carl, Zatelle, my mom Kim

Her daughter, Dorothy, my grandmother, even though she has passed on continues to be my artistic muse and great human being icon. She was pretty much an angel on earth with a wicked sewing room in Los Angeles, California. I dedicated my book, Craft the Rainbow, to her and even wrote an entire article about her and Carl, my grandfather, in volume 3 of Kinfolk Magazine about their wellness routine. They are legendary for their subdued natures, gentle kindness, endless generosity, and health regimen (no sugar! though I remember Grape Nuts in all natural apple juice as a real treat).

Dorothy at her piano. This was definitely in the 90s.

This is Dorothy and my sister, Caitlin. 

Going back to the beginning

But let’s get back to that sewing room. Dorothy and Carl built their house in 1951 in Bel-Air. That’s Bel-Air before Fresh Prince, so the houses weren’t Kardashian proportioned or bedazzled. Dorothy was infamous for protecting her newly done hair with a grocery bag when it rained and other such resourceful tricks that come when you’re a product of the Depression. She taught me to sew and whenever we’d come up to visit from Orange County, sometimes for days at a time, I’d churn out all sorts of doll clothes for her Shirley Temple dolls. For one Christmas I sewed her a green drawstring bag with lace tied at the ends and filled it with all sorts of nuts…because that’s what I could get my hands on. She said she loved it, but I still cringe at the thought of nuts from who knows where.

Her sewing room consisted of fabrics that she had collected from all around the world piled in a beautiful yet simple armoire. I remember feeling in awe of her collection. And her ribbons! Gah! And buttons?! They were extraordinary. Thinking about her sewing room now, I can see how it’s MUCH easier to make thing when you have a designated place to create. I’m working on that concept for my own house.

Dorothy sitting on the first platform.

My mother

Now, let’s talk about Dorothy’s daughter, my mom, Kim. She and her two sisters and brother grew up in LA, but the way she describes it seems much more of a quaint village than a major city that happened to make movie magic. For example, Dorothy played the violin for Hollywood music scores, my aunt and uncle were in TV shows and films, and their friends were in this show and that. My mom attended the Academy Awards with a friend. You know, stories like that that I only find out as an adult.

But their real talent was dancing. My mom and her sisters all left home when they were 16 to go dance at the School for American Ballet and the subsequently, in the New York City Ballet. The long story short is that my mom got injured after about a year and moved back to LA where she started a modeling. She says she walked into Seventeen Magazine and walked out on the cover of the January 1969 issue. Again, quaint neighborhood vibe? I don’t know. It’s hard for us to understand that mentality now that everyone and literally their dog aspires for fame.

Fast forward to her career in interior design, calligraphy, music and more to when she becomes a mother of four in five years. I’ve mentioned it before, but this magnet on our fridge growing up really does describe my mom the best: “A creative mess is better than tidy idleness”. And thus, we grew up in constant messes. My mom let us try all the things and would encourage us to think differently. How is everyone else doing something? Then do something else.

My childhood

Our school reports were pretty epic. There wasn’t a three ring binder in sight. We figured out clever ways of binding the books according to what the subject was. For example, for my report on Claude Monet (another artistic hero to this day), I made a cover out of cardboard and cut it out to make it look like a painter’s palette and secured it together with a paintbrush. I mean, it did get to the point where I was jealous of those three ring binders, but I see the magic of it all now.

When I was in kindergarten or first grade, Mom opened a beautiful shop called En Provence on Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar and it was one of my first experiences off all encompassing magic. A true wonderland. Like old houses in Provence, she plastered straw into the walls and hand painted everything! It was a gift and furnishings shop and I think it must have been the most well-curated experience. The furniture was made and painted by my uncle, Dean Bradshaw. You can see a glimpse of it in the picture above of my grandmother. That bed was created by him as well as the paintings. But life became a bit much with four kids and so she closed up shop after 4 years.

My first Craft Club

When I was about 10 or 11 and I started a club called Crafts for Holidays. I’m not so much proud of the name, but what can you do. The club was modeled after my mom’s church group where they would get together monthly and make or do something. So, for Halloween we made can tin pumpkins. We sponged on paint in a variety of oranges and painted on faces. Then for Thanksgiving we appliquéd  turkeys onto corduroy pillows. For Christmas we turned a string of pinecones into reindeer complete with a red pom for Rudolph. I don’t know if my friends were into crafting, well I know they weren’t because the club didn’t last too much longer.

ANYWHO, I tell all this because it makes more sense how I arrived at what I do now knowing who I come from. I mean, I wasn’t aching to start a craft-based business at first. In fact, I never would have entered my brain. I was much more involved in music (I played the cello growing up) and tennis (I was on my high school tennis team) than I was in the arts. I wouldn’t even say that I did it as a hobby at that point because I was really into getting good grades. But because my childhood foundation was laid out in making, just like that industrious lot who came before me, I can see NOW how it happened.

This is my grandfather Harvey Sessions, who I didn’t mention at all here, but the photo is so good I had to include it. 

And because of that I’m very interested in continuing my grandmother’s legacy and carrying out the mission that I’ve identified along the way. I’m compelled to do it and I find a great need to do so, especially since we are more addicted to screens than ever. There is power in handmaking. It connects us to our bodies and souls and for me, my family.

Stay tuned for part 3 next week! 

Becoming: Rachel Kiser Smith from the Lars Print Shop

About Rachel Kiser Smith

Rachel Kiser Smith is a visual artist residing in Florida. The layered textures and simple lines of her artwork are a playful pursuit of beauty and joy.

You can find Rachel’s work in our print shop here and on her instagram @rachelkisersmith. Without any more delay, meet Rachel!

 

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I remember a home video of my dad asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was, “a mommy!” I honestly still don’t have many ambitions beyond being a great mother but I’ve leaned into making art more and more over the years. It’s the slow process of discovering and honoring what brings me joy.

A styled shot of Rachel Smith's Daffodil I print in progress with paint pots and papers around it.

What sparked your interest in painting?

When I got accepted into the art education program in college, I figured out that I could sign up for junior and senior level art classes. So early on I was shirking my education courses and taking figure drawing and oil painting. I took a materials class where we made our own paint by slowly mixing oil into ground up minerals. We made gesso and boards to paint on. I loved the process of getting into the materials and trying new things.

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

I didn’t stick with the art education program. But I didn’t ever commit to fine art either. After learning Spanish as a missionary in Argentina, I took a Hispanic American literature class and it felt like the perfect match. I ended up graduating with a degree in Spanish and visual arts. People always asked jokingly if I was going to teach art lessons in Spanish. I haven’t done that yet, but both skills are coming into play in unexpected ways in my life now.

Coneflower I print by Rachel Smith

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the pandemic? 

We have a room off of our living area that the whole family can use for creative mess making. We brought in a big table and painted it white. Whenever it gets too stained, we just slap on another coat of paint. 

Since the pandemic, it’s become the homeschooling room as well. I’ve actually loved having the kids home, working on their own pursuits alongside me. But I needed somewhere I could leave my projects out, so we squeezed in another table. It just got its inaugural coat of white paint. 

Where do you find inspiration for your paintings? 

I rarely get ideas for a new painting unless I’m in the process of working on one. So I’ve learned to just start making stuff—sketching, painting color swatches, moving paper scraps around. It creates visual cues that I can follow, and ideas start to come. The work creates the inspiration.

Rachel paints at a table. In the background, some open shelves line the wall.

Now that you live in Florida, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work? 

Jacksonville is on the coast, but it doesn’t have the same vacation or retirement vibe of cities further south. It’s a pretty hardworking port city with immigrants from all over the world, as well as all the cultural complexities of the South. And it has a different kind of beauty than the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. Living here is teaching me to see differently, which is always helpful in art.

What is your favorite part of painting (i.e. conceptualizing, actually putting the brush to canvas, finalizing, etc.)?

Mid-process, most of my paintings feel like they’re not going to work out. But after some struggle, there’s often a moment when everything comes together. It’s a feeling of finding something I didn’t know I was looking for, and it keeps the process endlessly interesting.

How would you describe your artistic style? What makes it distinctive? 

Layered, textured, a lot of attention to color and negative space. I hope it comes across as being a bit playful and still a bit sophisticated.

Rachel Smith works on a project. In the background, her daughter draws at a table.

What is a typical day like for you? 

I’ve found that anything important but not urgent has to happen before 11:30 a.m. or it doesn’t happen at all. For me right now that’s a morning routine that fills me up emotionally, physically, and spiritually; reading great books aloud to my kids; doing some math with them; and spending at least 10 minutes on a personal creative project (it adds up, I swear!).  Afternoons are more flexible—errands, appointments, caring for my home, and making art.

Coneflower ii print by Rachel Smith

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you? 

“Use more paint.” A professor once told me that during a critique. It reminds me to not be afraid—of the materials, of waste, of messing up something I’ve already made. And it’s a bit of a metaphor for living an abundant life.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of pursuing a career in a creative field?

Take opportunities that light a spark within you, even if you don’t know where they’ll lead. Ignore all others. 

Rachel shows an open view of her sketchbook with painted and collaged shapes, as well as pencil-drawn marks.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historically and present? 

I’m drawn to artists whose work has shifted over time and has a bit of playfulness to it. Alexander Calder’s scrappy circus and his giant mobiles. Matisse’s early cubist paintings and his simple line drawings and cutouts. The conceptual art of Mary Blair and the creation of the Small World ride fascinate me. Kaya Doi is my current contemporary artist obsession.

What has been inspiring you lately? 

Flowers! I’ve been foraging, arranging, and trying to grow my own flowers. So fun to dabble in something new. I’ve also been looking at floral motifs in folk art and vintage appliqué quilts lately.

Poppy I print by Rachel Smith

How has COVID 19 affected your work and aspirations? Are there additional personal or professional interests you’d like to explore?

At the start of the pandemic, a children’s book publishing house that I love (Enchanted Lion) ran a kickstarter campaign to keep their lights on. It hit me hard that it might not always be as easy as it’s been to make and share art. That motivated me to get working consistently on a project I’ve had on my mind for a long time, a bilingual picture book in Spanish and English. It’s a full circle moment with my college majors.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

I’d like to finish my book and become a published author/illustrator! And I hope to be someone who accepts others as they are while helping them see and reach their potential, and to be that same advocate for myself. 

Daffodil II print by Rachel Smith

Find More:

For more inspiration check out more Becoming interviews on the blog.

 

Featured Artist: Abby Clawson Low

Get to know Abby Clawson Low

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, art director, designer, illustrator, maker, business person etc.?
So, I went to school for and worked in the art direction / graphic design world, but over the years I have done illustration work, artwork, product design, run a business, and made a whole lot of stuff. I wear many hats!

Who helped you “become” who you are?
Definitely my parents and grandparents get credit for planting the creative seed. They all had a hand in some sort of creative pursuit, so it was just a matter of time before some of it rubbed off on me. Especially my mom—she is a type of creative super-hero / MacGyver character—she can make/do anything with any available materials. She helped my siblings and I paint our own rooms bright colors on a whim when I was a kid, she refinished and reupholstered furniture, sewed clothes and costumes, did watercolor painting, took stained glass classes, floral arranging, worked in interior design, etc. So I was always watching her and learning from her.

And when I was in grade school, my dad bought an Apple Macintosh computer (the first retail model). Each Saturday, I would sit at his desk at the computer and draw and paint using those early computer programs (MacDraw and MacPaint). I loved that you could create anything on screen and then print it onto a piece of paper. It was incredible and completely addicting. My dad noticed that I loved drawing and creating on the computer and told me I should be a graphic designer. I was eight years old. I thought that sounded cool, but didn’t really do anything with that until much later.

Do you feel like you’ve arrived at what you set out to do?
I feel like my career and experience in design is in a constant state of evolution, so no, not really! I’ve seen big and little changes in the 20+ years I’ve been working in the creative industry—with each job change, each child we’ve added to our family, each move, and each big project and life experience I’ve had to modify how I design and make art, and approach my work. And this is good for me. I like change. I want to keep learning and seeing things in a new light.

Where did you study, and what did you study?
I attended Brigham Young University’s Visual Arts Department where I received a BFA in Graphic Design. I think my education really helped in producing work from a broad array of assignments similar to those that one might find in an advertising agency or a small design studio. The BYU design program also has a field trip to New York City that every junior class takes in the winter. It was during this field trip that I was able to meet with some of the nation’s most notable designers and art directors, tour their studios, and most important, set up an internship for the following summer. This was where my career in New York City began.

What’s your dream job? What’s your goal with your work?
I think I’m doing it! With the way things have worked out so far, I have been able to be selective about the projects I work on—I am also a mother of three young sons—so my free time is valuable to me—I only take on work that I really want to do and feel is a good challenge. Lately, I have been doing a good mix of pro bono work in the community and at large along with some paid projects that come in organically. I like that. And I love working with organizations that are doing good in the world and making a positive and meaningful difference in peoples’ lives. I feel good about the charitable work and am happy to be involved in it. I also loved working on my book This is Mexico City while we were living abroad in Mexico. It was such an intense project that really pushed me out of my comfort zone as a designer—since my role was threefold: author, photographer, and designer. I’d definitely love to do another book project in the future. We’ll see! I do thrive with a flow of varied and interesting work!

What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m proud of the talented and generous people I’ve been able to connect with through my work. That has been the biggest gift of what I do.

[Brittany’s note: I had the immense honor to attend Abby’s book signing in Mexico City in October of 2018 and she brought together a wonderful group of creatives. It was such a treat for me!]

How did your childhood influence what you have become? 
I had a lot of freedom and independence as a kid. Back then, kids would walk to and from school at a young age, on weekends play outside from morning until night with no one hovering over them. I could explore the neighborhood, build forts, start clubs, make and sell stuff, and figure the world out. And my mom was very resourceful and made everything. Watching her make and create through my childhood it was evident that I could make or do anything, too with some practice and creativity. So, I think I learned to approach life with that same creative confidence.

Did you have anyone along the way that was instrumental in the trajectory of your life? What’s a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?
Design MW, where I got my start, was a fantastic learning environment. I often refer to the time at my first job as a type of grad school because JP and Allison Williams were great teachers as well as being amazing designers and art directors. They travelled quite a bit. And when they returned from a trip they would bestow us with amazing finds (unusual office supplies, beautiful papers, and obscure examples of design from distant places: books, magazines, ephemera). Needless to say, they were very generous and loved sharing what they saw and found.

One thing my first boss, JP Williams, always said was, “You’re only as good as the obscurity of your sources.” I think this is some of the best advice. Almost everything has been done already, yet, there are resources out there that aren’t known, that haven’t been used, that inspire, that are fresh and new – it is important to be constantly looking at new, old, and different things. and not necessarily items that fall within a designer’s world. Visit an office supply store, go to a hardware store, peruse flea markets, travel, look for different ways of using everyday objects and apply that knowledge into your design solutions – this is where great design can happen.

As far as advice for designers starting out, I would recommend being very wise about how you choose your first job. As I found, sometimes the better paying jobs aren’t the ones with the best experiences or work. The best choice will be one where you will walk away with a great book of work you did which will allow you to work almost anywhere.

Having grown up in a large family, there was nothing I wanted more than independence. However, when I started working at Design MW, I quickly learned that collaboration was the best way to creatively solve design problems. Whether it was through shared pieces of inspiration (a book, a vintage magazine, a piece of art) or through a a brainstorming meeting, the best solutions always came through some kind of collaboration. We all have our strengths, but one of the greatest strengths is the ability to recognize that others have strengths and viewpoints that we can also benefit and learn from.

I think it is important to surround yourself with people who challenge and inspire you; people who can teach you how to approach your work and solve problems in new and different ways. It is vital to always be open to learning from others. Everyone has something to teach and share that can make you a better designer. There is always something new to learn, see, do, hear, etc. Many of my favorite projects were ones that evolved over time, that came together as I was designing them. I also recommend not being afraid to step away from the computer. And enjoy the process.

What’s your work space like?
I work from home in a home office. I’ve had the same desk chair since I went out on my own in 2007 — a vintage Herman Miller desk chair with an emerald green upholstered seat. I think it came from the IBM offices. My desk is one that I had custom made by a local metal worker while we were living in Mexico City. I use the same model desk lamp I had at my first design job at Design MW — a Tolomeo Mini Table Lamp. I keep my desk pretty tidy or else I get distracted and cannot focus. I am proud of my office supplies: stapler, tape dispenser, etc.—all are sturdy workhorses! I definitely nerd out on office supplies. I like working in this particular space because it has three tall windows and gets great natural light with a street view. I can always see what’s going on in the neighborhood while listening to tunes or a podcast and jamming away on a project.

What does your dream retirement look like?
I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop designing or making things. As long as my hands still work I want to be involved in great projects that keep me challenged and engaged in the creative world.

 

What artists/designers/creatives do you look up to? Both historical or present.
I love the work of Mexican architect Luis Barragán — his use of color, light, texture is sublime and incredibly inspiring. Seeing and experiencing spaces he designed for the first time changed how I see everything. I also really look up to the body of work Fredun Shapur designed for Creative Playthings. I’m a big fan of Canadian designer Don Watt and the branding work he did for Loblaw’s generic product line “NoName” or “SansNom.” Some present design icons I look to for inspiration are friends and designers: Alex Lin Blair Richardson, Erin Jang, Fabien Cappello, Mary Matson.

How has social media influenced your work?
I know a lot of people are down on social media—I mean there are some pretty compelling reasons to dislike it. But, for me, it has been a lifeline during a time in my life where I have been in the trenches as a mom with young kids—with nap times and schedules that don’t permit a ton of cross-pollinating with other creatives. Especially through Instagram, I have been able to connect with people whom I would have never met otherwise and have made good good friends through those online connections. Once I started my blog and studio (Hi + Low), almost all of my press and work opportunities came exclusively through people finding me through some kind of internet portal. So, I am grateful for these technologies. I do wonder where I would be in my career or what work I would be doing if I didn’t have this instant access to so many creative and like-minded individuals and work through the internet world.

What’s inspiring you lately?
It’s ever-changing, but now that we live in Texas I have become completely fascinated by this part of the United States since I have spent the majority of my life on the two coasts and in or near big cities. As a family, we’ve done some long weekend road trips visiting the surrounding states like Oklahoma and Arkansas and New Mexico. There’s so much to learn about and see. I also am a sucker for 1950s and 1960s brutalist buildings, churches, and homes. I think living in Mexico City really gave me a taste for the unconventional and interesting architecture that is so abundant there and now I’m hooked. I also get really excited about books and have a good number of them! A few recent favorites: “Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men” by Rosey Grier, “A Final Compilation of Books from the Simpsons” by Yellow Pages, “What Do You Mean, I Still Don’t Have Equal Rights??!” By Cathy Guisewite, and “Playgrounds del México Moderno” by Aldo Solano Rojas.

You can find Abby

Instagram @abbyclawsonlow

Website of Abby

Thank you, Abby, for this wonderful interview! And stay tuned for her collection in our Print Shop soon! 

The House That Lars Bought: Interview with Paul and Brittany

Working with Meta

Meta and I met when I first moved here almost 8 years ago. We were basically wearing the same type of dress and crown braids and it was like looking at a mirror. Over the years, we’ve bonded over our shared love of design. Somehow our styles are super similar. But whereas I focus on Lars with all the crafts and such (even though I studied and practiced interior design in the past), she is OBSESSED with interiors and spends every waking hour thinking about it. I’ve never seen anyone so passionate about it.

Here we are in the Bahamas where we were teaching some styling classes on a cruise ship. Ha! Just typing that makes me LOLZ.

Why are we working with a designer?

This is precisely why we’re working with her. She knows the current designers, processes, local artisans and contractors, trends, classics, lingo, vocabulary, history. It really is the perfect marriage.

Before we get started designing, like her other clients, she sent us her questionnaire and here’s how it went:

I can’t wait to share more with you this week. We’ve already got our eyes on the first room. Stay tuned!

You can learn more about Meta Coleman:

@MetaColeman_ on Instagram
Meta Coleman Portfolio

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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: