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

Why I feel called to craft

It all became much more relevant when our writing intern, Rachel, found the book Craftfulness, which we then selected as our book club book for this month. It’s a perfect fit! In fact, it was the book I’ve been thinking about writing for the last couple of years, but didn’t know existed (it was published just one year ago, so I guess that’s fair!). I’ll be writing more about the importance of crafting and making things with your hands, but first, I wanted to write about my journey to the handmade and how I’ve felt called to do so.

Yes, I know “called” is such a hot word right now and with all this self-motivation, “go live your dreams” time we’re living in, I would prefer to call it something different, but now that I’ve had quite a few years of seeing things in hindsight, I can’t call it anything else.

I’ve addressed it a number of times at lectures I’ve given or conferences, but I realized I hadn’t discussed it outright here on the blog when I received this message:

Fair enough 🙂 I will try to do just that!

Here goes.

The history of Lars

I was pursuing a master’s degree in interior design and started The House That Lars Built on Blogspot.com for a residential design class. The project first started when I created a fictitious family for the house I was designing. I named the dad Lars and then the story just kind of spilled out from there pretty naturally (you can read more about that here). I didn’t overthink it because well, I never intended it to become anything other than a school project. Once the class was over, I kept it up as a receptacle for my school work, a visual portfolio if you will, and would offer it as a resources for potential internships and future employers.

Studying and living in Denmark

The following year I studied textile design in Copenhagen, Denmark where, yes, I met Paul, who is now my husband. We got married in 2010 and my mom, sister, and I created a craftacular wedding made up of oversized paper flowers. You can see some of the pictures here. Mind you, this was before Pinterest and Instagram and all that jazz, but people started to come to Lars and request tutorials from the wedding. At that point I was living in Copenhagen with Paul and I couldn’t get a job while awaiting my immigration status so I had plenty of time to oblige. It kept me busy at a time when I could have just remained with my back to the radiator all winter, which I also did.

Before moving abroad, my dream was to work for Martha Stewart and lead the city life. I had gotten a taste of the Big Apple during my internships and I LOVED IT. Everything about it (besides being so poor!). I had built a good network when I lived in both Washington, DC and NYC but I lost it all once I moved to Denmark (as well as friends and community, etc–It was a tough time!) But that’s a pity story for another day.

I hadn’t ever thought of pursuing DIY or crafts professionally because…well, I was now a trained interior designer and really, besides Martha, it didn’t really exist in the way that it does today with anyone being able to take their own stab at. Had I known what I know now, I would have dug in deep then so I could have spared a few years of standstill.

Being Fearless

While I was in Copenhagen I read all the great design magazines and noticed that they included the direct phone numbers to all the editors. Cha ching! I started calling them up and asking if they needed any help. No, of course they didn’t need a newly graduated American interior designer, they said! They have the best designers in the world, silly! But, I was pretty fearless and reached out cold to anyone whose contact I could find in any design capacity. I identified designers whose work I liked and emailed them. I met ONE friend this way but she was wonderful and took me to Formland, Denmark’s annual gift fair every year that I lived there so we can stake out the latest design trends. Through her I also assisted on a few photoshoots and she hired me to make props.

My work in Denmark eventually led me to working more on The House That Lars Built due to ummm, lack of things to do. And I knew that this time would probably never happen again in my life so I treated it as a special time to dig into Lars. Eventually, I got a studio (read more about it here and check out my pixie–ha!) in downtown Copenhagen with a few photographers who are wonderful and I love them so much. I started writing for a few other blogs and websites as a craft contributor and writer and learned a lot (you can read about some of it here). Yet, I still didn’t identify as a crafter or DIYer. It was just something to do in the mean time.

No one would take me – ha!

Paul and I decided to move back to the US, Provo, Utah in particular, where he would go to school and I would provide for our family. I suspected my time with Lars was probably going to come to an end soon. I started putting in applications EVERYWHERE and you know what?! I received a job offer within 2 days of arrival! At a company that I thought was going to be a great fit!

They sent me the salary and it was extremely low, but I was willing to work with it after a little negotiating. Instead, I never heard from them again.

Truly! To this day I don’t know what happened. I mean, I’m kind of left to think that they weren’t used to women negotiating for a higher salary, but I guess I’ll never know.

And you know what the weird thing is? This happened to me TWO more times. I would receive a job offer with a salary and then never hear from them again. Well, the second one I did 6 months later, but yeah, not a helpful road to employment.

But it was for a reason

ANYWAY, all throughout this job hunting I kept on working on Lars and started getting paid for this and that and then more of this and more of that. I was hustling to get jobs and people were responding positively to the projects I was putting out into the world. Again, I was pretty fearless about reaching out and not afraid to put in the overtime (Paul might say that’s all I did). After a couple of years it took my dad coming to me and saying “It looks like things are working out for you” to make me realize, “Oh, I think you’re right. Maybe I should stop looking for a full time job.” I mean, at one point I was applying for banking jobs. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Could you imagine? What a nightmare they would have been in for!

The ah-ha moment

Cut to a few years ago when I was sitting in a blogging conference for women of my faith (I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have been known as “Mormon”) and I came across this scripture:

For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.

I received a profound impression that day that this is what I am supposed to do and how I’m supposed to spend my time right now. And I take it quite literally, to increase the beauty around me through teaching people how to do that in their own lives. The way has been paved to make that happen for me, though I didn’t always understand why–from not getting jobs for who knows what reason to people coming into my life to help me accomplish this goal (I owe a lot of this to my business partner, Mary who came on board 5 years ago), and now a team who shares this vision with me.

This mission does not come without its share of struggles and challenges of course, but it does keep me focused when I question why I should keep on doing what I’m doing even when I…don’t get paid enough…or I could get paid so much more if I went and got a job somewhere else or…the list goes on and on (and it’s now always about money 😉

As you can see, my journey to making a life from crafting/making is a bit different than most because I was hustling to make ANY sort of living for our family. And then the making, the handmaking rather, became the avenue by which to accomplish it. It came naturally to me and people, you, responded well to it, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. And now that I’ve been in it professionally for about 11 years, (or about 5 if we could the time I came to terms with it!) I’ve learned a lot about it.

There’s more to this story and I will be sharing it next week in part 2. Stay tuned! 

Top photo by Chaunte Vaughn from Craft the Rainbow

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!

How to publish a book: Part 1

Establish your goals

Whenever I begin a project, no matter what it is, I like to think about the why behind what I want to do it. Why do I want start this project? What is the goal of this project? In this case the questions is this: why publish a book? It’s such an enormous project that will take up a lot of time and possibly money so it has to be worth it in some intentional way. A few suggested reasons (and there’s no right answer for everyone, just preference):

  • Passion project
  • Brand awareness
  • Credential/Validation
  • Sales
  • Audience alignment

What were my goals with writing a book?

In my case, it was all those things. Overall I wanted to make the most beautiful craft book I could possibly imagine so yes, it was most DEFINITELY a passion project! I love what I wanted to do and I wanted to share it! It was also a great way to share what The House That Lars Built is all about, thus establishing our brand.

Thirdly, as a blogger since 2008, I was in the habit of self-publishing blog posts left and right, but there came a time when having an outside voice was helpful in validating my work and showing others those credentials. Additionally, of course, I wanted sales to happen–hoping for the best (you can read more about that here). Lastly, I wanted to see if there were more people out there in the world who wanted to align with what we have to offer.Craft the Rainbow by Brittany Jepsen

Make your goals drive your process

Once you’ve established your goal, it’s important to make sure that your goals drive the process. That includes driving the following:

  • Subject / topic
  • Whom you select for you agent
  • Whom you work with as a publisher
  • Contract terms
  • Production input and timeline
  • Launch / promotion

Your goals may shift through the process, and that’s totally fine! As long as you identify what they are and how that affects your flow.

How to select an agent

These days there are various methods to publishing your work, from self-publishing to online publishing etc. This series only addresses traditional publishing, in which I found having an agent to be very helpful. She helped me navigate the foreign world of publishing.

My agent came recommended to me from a few people who were in a similar category. I had seen what she produced and knew she represented a talented crew so I felt comfortable working with her.

How to find an agent in your category

If you don’t have one that comes recommended, there are a few ways to find one.

  1. Look at the acknowledgements section of books that are similar to yours. Authors typically thank their agent in this section. It’s a great resource! You can also follow authors on Instagram–I’ve seen a number of them thank their agents there.
  2. Ask around to those who are in similar categories. Agents typically represent only 1 or 2 categories, for example, art and food.
  3. Online search. I didn’t find this to be the most helpful way, but, of course, it’s always there!

I’d recommend doing lots of interviewing and research to make sure that you find the one that’s a best fit for you. You will be working with your agent for a LONG time. I first met my agent in 2014, didn’t sign a contract until 2016 and the book wasn’t published until 2018 so it’s a long haul! And then there’s marketing afterward and additional books after that.

Here are some things to look for in an agent:

  • This person has a good track record in your genre
  • You get along with this person
  • This person will tell you the hard things (not just what you want to hear!)
  • This person has fair pricing
  • Your work processes align

Agent takes your book proposal to auction

I’ll get into the book proposal in the next post, but for now, I want to talk about one really awesome reason why I’m glad I had a book agent for Craft the Rainbow. The auction! Once you have a book proposal that’s solid, the agent will put your book up for auction, which means that he/she will shop it around and it could go into a bidding war. The agent has solid relationships with editors at all the major publishing houses so this step is crucial for finding the one that’s the best fit for you and your goals.

The publisher will respond if they are interested or not and then they make a proposal to you with a price, royalties, and terms. Each one that I received had a lot of pros and cons to it, but the agent walked me through each one thoroughly. I ended up going with the one with whom I thought understood my concept the most and would allow me the most freedom to create the book that I wanted to create, which turned out to be the best fit! My Life In Color prompted journal

Ok, there are many more pieces to add to this puzzle, but I’ll be talking more about them in the next post. That includes the following:

  • how to write your proposal
  • how to work with a team to write your book
  • contract negotiation/financial considerations
  • contracts
  • production scheduling and resources
  • launch/promotion

In the mean time, let me know if you have any questions so I can include it in the posts! My Life In Color prompted journal

You can find Craft the Rainbow here and it’s on sale for both the hardcover and Kindle (only $2.99!). You can find My Life In Color, the follow up journal here. 

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

A message from a former Lars intern: Do We Deserve?

Do We Deserve?

It took me too long to write this essay. Nearly an entire day passed that consisted of me typing, deleting and starting over. The pressure pounced on my shoulders every time I tried to write. How would I write a great essay that would somehow END centuries of racism? How would I be able to explain every single prejudice I’d ever faced in a way that’s easy to consume for others? What philosophical truth could I possibly have to share?

This is what it’s like to be Black in America.

To prove your life has value, you have to offer something spectacular. When given a platform, you have to make it quick but say something profound. “Black excellence,” they call it. To be Black in America, you have to do something extraordinary to be a life that matters. In a recent Instyle Instagram livestream, writer and activist Rachel Cargle made a point that I furiously typed into my phone. When discussing Chris Cooper, the Black bird watcher in Central Park who had a white woman sinisterly threaten to call the police on him, Rachel said, “People say things like ‘oh he went to Harvard, he watches birds, etc’ to justify why a Black person should be alive. You don’t have to be an exceptional black person to remain alive.”

When you say “Black Lives Matter,” you need to make sure you mean every single Black life. Not just your favorite actor, not just that professor you took a class from, and not just the few Black people you know. We are fighting for so many people we don’t know, and may never know personally.

In all honesty, we are currently fighting for the bare minimum. It boggles my mind that people are just now realizing that Black lives “matter.” It took too many Black people being killed for people to screw in the light bulb all the way. But then again, I shouldn’t be so surprised. This country wasn’t built for people like me. It was built by people like me, for people who would rather fight an entire war on their own soil than think about people like me. Things like plantations and segregated drinking fountains have been condemned, but since then, this country has relied on its sneakier forms of prejudice. It found new, cunning ways to make people like me feel othered for their entire lives.

This country made makeup products suitable for darker skin tones a rare find rather than the norm. It made media about crime or slavery the only places we could see ourselves on TV or on the big screen.  It made us quietly accept racist jokes, or even make them ourselves, because we felt like doing this was the only way to keep our “friends,” entertained. It made me ensure my phone case always faces outwards, so the black screen isn’t mistaken for a gun in my hand. This country quietly slipped drugs into Black communities to hinder them for generations. It made it risky to wear the hood on our jackets. It made people question a Black victim’s lifestyle rather than that of the police officer or white supremacist (or oftentimes, both) that killed them. “They’re Black, so they must have something in their past that proves they deserved to die. They weren’t a scholar, so they probably deserved to die. They weren’t ‘excellent,’ so they probably deserved to die.”

You don’t have to be excellent to keep your life. The non-Black majority of America is proof of this! I shouldn’t have to justify why my life and lives like mine, matter. You shouldn’t be seeking reasons why our lives matter, you should just know. The time has come to fight for, listen to, and protect Black people, whether you know them or not. You’re a little late, but nevertheless we’re glad to have you.

Thank you, Eliza, for taking the time to share your words with us. Yes, we’re a little late–thank you for helping us along.

Love the Land

We asked Eliza if she’d be interested in sharing a charity of her choice and she has chosen The Loveland Foundation, a non-profit that provides financial assistance to hundreds of Black women and girls to go to therapy. We are placing a donation today and encourage you to do the same.

You can find Eliza on Instagram @e_lizardd

Eliza Jackson is a marketing copywriter and freelance editorial writer based in Utah.

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!

Two art prints for coronavirus relief charities

Art for Coronavirus Charities

First off, we are thrilled to introduce a new artist to Lars Print Shop, Erin Jang. Remember when we interviewed her last year? Big fans! Erin Jang is the graphic designer and illustrator behind the creative studio, The Indigo Bunting. Her clients include The New York Times, Apple, Bon Appétit, Urban Outfitters, and Chronicle Books. Her books include You, Me, We! (A 2-in-1 activity book set for parents and kids to fill in together available here) and the craft book, Make & Give. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young boys.Art for coronavirus

I’ve loved following Erin as she shares a daily activity to do with your children during social distancing. She’s always so good at showing how to do things with your children. And guess what? This art print is no exception! Here’s what she had to say about the print:

I created a version of this print many years ago, part of an effort to raise money for charity. I was a new mother at the time, and I wanted to make something that would help give me encouragement and ground me.

Years later, I am revisiting these virtues, and this print, with the help of my now 8-year-old son (his handwriting is on the right side of the print). We are sheltering in place here in our small apartment in the middle of NYC, with our two boys, and I feel the heaviness of all that is happening in our city, in the world. Our city is turned upside down, and there is so much deep loss in every way. These virtues appear basic, but they are so hard to live out, especially in times like this. But I am seeing how much I need to return to these small, simple things — to hold on to them, to relearn them myself, to teach them to my boys, to try to practice them together in small measures (and fail, then start anew the next day). Now more than ever, these small, good things matter, and they help us rebuild.

If you’d like to help in a small way, the proceeds of every purchase of this print will be donated to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund which helps provide relief and support to health care workers, local small businesses, displaced hourly workers including immigrant workers, families, youth and other vulnerable New Yorkers.

Art for coronavirus

The print comes in white OR black. You can find them here.

You can follow more of Erin’s work at @theindigobunting. 

Amanda Jane Jones Art for Charity

You should be familiar with Amanda Jane Jones by now (we’ve been talking about her for months!) Her collection of prints is inspired by her children’s book, Yum, Yummy, Yuck. There’s the banana, apple, cherries, pear, ice cream, and booger (ha!). You can see the full collection here. They are AMAZING as oversized prints. I love what she did here:

Amanda is giving the profits from her collection all to No Kid Hungry. As the coronavirus crisis bars kids from the school meals they depend on, everyday people, celebrities, corporations and others are stepping up to ensure these kids can eat. They are using donations large and small, from individuals just like us, to support kids who are struggling.

Amanda is also providing wonderful resources for children this time. You can follow her at @amandajanejones

We are thrilled to share Amanda and Erin’s quest to support these charities by purchasing their art. You can shop the collections here

Becoming: Michelle Franzoni Thorley of Flora Familiar

Michelle is holding up a painting of a woman holding a young girl in a Mexican cemetery surrounded by marigolds, nopales, and mountains. She's against a green brick wall.I’ve been following Michelle Franzoni Thorley of Flora Familiar for a long time, and I’m so excited to share this interview with you all.

Michelle Franzoni Thorley is a Xicana artist with a mixed ancestry from Europe, Mexico, and Africa. Her work is deeply inspired by her own family history and her great desire to see herself and her mulitracial identity represented in the arts.  Franzoni Thorley is a family history enthusiast, visual artist and social media anti racism educator.  Her work and words can be found on instagram @florafamiliar.

Michelle is wearing a red dress and rebozo. She has red flowers in her hair and she's standing in front of a Dia de los Muertos ofrenda.

Becoming Michelle Franzoni Thorley

What do you consider yourself?

I am a Xicana visual artist, a family history enthusiast and a social media anti racism educator.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

When I was younger I wanted to work with animals and have a million cats! I really love animals.

Where did you grow up? Are there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I grew up in Utah in a very conservative city in Utah county. I was almost always the only person of color at school, church or in my neighborhood. That was very difficult and I had to face racism at a very young age. Those experiences have really driven me to speak out against racism in our schools today. I don’t want any other child to have to go through what I experienced. I also grew up as the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and the daughter of a single mother. Both of my parents taught me the importance of being kind and sharing resources even when they are few. They both taught me about problem solving. My mom especially influenced me to be creative.

Michelle stands in front of a saguaro painting as well as some other paintings and sketches.

What sparked your interest in family history? What attracted you to this field?

I have a lot of European ancestry and it was all very well documented with some great photographs. This was a stark contrast to my Mexican ancestry. There was almost no documentation. I began to question why that was and I began learning that doing family history for BIPOC is completely different. Most people of the European diaspora do not know this and I started using my instagram account and my art to bring more awareness to this subject.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I grew up with a few undiagnosed learning disabilities and the only thing that came natural to me was art class. It was the only time in school that I didn’t feel afraid or stupid. Art became a refuge for me but it was never something I imagined myself doing as an adult. I took an art class my senior year of high school and the teacher approached me at the end of the year and said how sorry she was that she didn’t know about me. It was too late in the year to find a scholarship for me. I knew I had the ability to be very creative and make art but I never really had access to the resources or education to do much with it. In my mid 20’s I was in a terrible car accident that damaged my spine. After that it was very painful to do many things including painting. I really thought that that was the end of any chance to become a professional artist. It was about 5 years ago that I decided to just try again. I sat with an ice pack to numb the pain and watched youtube videos in my basement at night after the kids were asleep. I only had a plate knife and 2 tubes of paint but I continued to keep trying and with the help of instagram, I am here today.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why?

I am proud of my Saguaro painting because it was my first time painting in many years and I started it in my basement with only a pallet knife and 2 tubes of paint.  I was shaky and afraid but I started somewhere and that painting means a lot to me.

Two tubes of paint and a palette knife on a cardboard box. The beginnings of a painting of saguaros. A finished painting of saguaro cactuses.

Family history is a huge part of your art. When did you make the connection between what you were doing as a family historian and your work as an artist?

A huge reason why I even started painting in the first place was because I love old photographs. And as I mentioned before, I didn’t have very many, I especially had very few photographs of my female ancestors.  I wanted to see their faces so badly that I decided to paint them.  Painting my ancestors and my family history also became a way for me to process difficult things in my childhood as well as difficult things I found in my family history.

An unfinished painting of a woman against a plant background.

What is one skill you wished you learned when you were younger?

I really wish I would have learned to trust myself more when I was younger. There were many negative stereotypes placed on my head as a child as to what I could or couldn’t do or who I could be. I heard people say “she is from a broken home” and didn’t want me playing with their kids. It is difficult to not internalize that. I wish I would have spent more time trusting myself that I had the power to do and be whatever I wanted. Luckily, I did trust my spirit and I’m grateful to where that trust in myself has gotten me.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a mantra?

I am a huge Brene Brown fan. Her work on authenticity and shame has helped me to continue on and not give up on myself.  In one of her books, she mentions the Theodore Roosevelt speech called “the man in the arena” and if I have a mantra it would be to “dare greatly.”

Paintings of cactuses against a white wall.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days?

Well you probably can guess that I am a sucker for family history themed anything! A books I love is “Me and white supremacy” by Layla Saad.  This book is about so many things that I’m passionate about such as combating Racism, changing the World, and becoming a Good Ancestor.  I just watched a really funny and thought provoking movie called “American pickle” by Seth Rogan. The show I am obsessed with right now is Rutherford Falls on Peacock TV.  This show is a game changer and is really helping to get the message across that there needs to be room for the family histories of all Americans.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career?

I am the first woman in my family to have the opportunity to go to college and receive a degree.  It was something never really discussed or thought about because it seemed so impossible. I know that education is a gift. An art education is a gift and the ability to make and sell art is a huge privilege and I never want to forget that.

A painting of a woman in white surrounded by blue and yellow light and with a golden halo.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path?

Like much of the world, I am greatly influenced by Frida Kahlo. I remember seeing a portrait of her in an art class. She had a unibrow like mine and she was surrounded by plants and animals. I really saw myself reflected in that painting. Later, after my car accident, I thought of her often when the pain was too much to take. She really understood pain and loss. She understood what it means to “Nepantla.” Nepantla is the Indigenous Nahuatl word that describes what it feels like to be a Mexican American. The feeling of being in between your whole life and searching for your authenticity.  When I found out that my ancestors lived only a few blocks from Casa Azul during the time Frida lived there, I was so excited and I really felt a connection to her work and herself as a person.

 A sketch of babies swaddled in cloth.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now?

I have been working since I was 15. I have had many jobs and I am very familiar with the concept of imposter syndrome and how it takes time to learn a new skill.  You have to literally start somewhere. I think that knowledge and ability has served me well in the career I’m building today.

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year?

I began working in my unfinished basement and then we moved into a townhome with no basement. My kids currently share one bedroom so I can have 1 of our 3 bedrooms for my studio. It’s not ideal and quite cramped. The pandemic made it necessary for my husband to work from home as well and my studio became even smaller. As of now this is one of my biggest problems and a big problem for mother artists in general, finding space to create. I’ve had many people reach out and want to tour my studio and in the beginning I was embarrassed that I don’t have a studio like most professional artists but you have to start somewhere and this is where I’m starting. I currently don’t hold studio tours of my corner of the master bedroom but I am hoping to get to a point in my career where I can rent studio space outside of the home. This is my goal for 2021 as my lack of studio space is preventing me from working at this point.

Michelle stands in a dim room painting at an easel.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations?

Much of my inspiration comes from my experiences in family history as well as a desire to see representation for people who look like me and families that look like mine.

What is the most challenging part of your work? How have you, or how do you, overcome those challenges?

As a mother of 3 young kids, finding time and mental energy to create is so difficult. And then you add in the pain from my spinal injury and it becomes very hard to get anything done.  I have to constantly be reminding myself that I can go slow and it’s important that I make sure that I am surrounding myself with people who do not put pressure on me to do more than I can.

What are some stereotypes of your job that you wish to break?

As a daughter of an immigrant, there are a lot of stereotypes of what kind of professions we can have. The pressure to do well and have a job that is going to make money to provide for our families. Because of this, the profession as an artist is not one that is commonly sought after by first generation Americans. This is something I would like to break.  We need the lens and the insights of immigrants, first generation Americans and BIPOC.  We need all of that goodness in the arts.  There is room for us here.

A clay sculpture featuring lots of flowers and plants.

How do you deal with negativity, stress, and/or anxiety?

I am a huge fan of therapy and in a way it is also a way of doing family history. We all come with generational trauma and unresolved toxic coping mechanisms. This generation is probably one of the first generations that have had access to mental health care without stigma.  We are the ones that are starting the healing process for generations of people who went through really difficult things.

What is your long-term goal? or What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

When you live with chronic pain, it’s sometimes difficult to look too far into the future.  I hope I can continue to manage my pain.  I hope I can sharpen my skills as an artist and share my lens and life experience with others.  I hope in the next ten year there are many BIPOC artists who are successful and changing the world with their art.

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

Oh, so much more!  I want to become kinder to myself and people around me.  I want to be a part of the shift in society that understands what racism and white supremacy costs everyone.  I have a million ideas for paintings in my head and I want to become a more accomplished artist and have the time and the health to be able to paint all I have to share with the world.
Michelle paints in a light filled room with plants around her.

You can find more Becoming interviews here, and you can see our Cinco de Mayo feature of Michelle Franzoni Thorley here

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!

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!

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: