Thursday, 28 April 2016

Etsy shop find...a chat with Leah Duncan!

This months etsy shop owner that I've been chatting to, is the super talented Leah Duncanan illustrator and surface pattern designer based in Austin, Texas. 
Opening her etsy shop back in 2008, Leah creates beautiful designs and applies them to products such as tea towels, posters, scarves, stationery, and jewellery, many of them produced by hand in her studio.
Very much inspired by nature and her cherokee roots, Leahs designs evoke just that, with beautifully hand drawn images, sophisticated soft colour palettes and organic themes.

Aside from her etsy shop, Leah has collaborated with companies such as Land of Nod, Urban Outfitters and O'Neill among others, and has her designs licensed for many product areas including clothing, bedding and gift wrap.

You can find links at the bottom of this post to follow Leah on an array of social media, but for now, get comfy and have a little nosey into her world...

1. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background... 

I graduated with a degree in commercial printing and was lucky to get a job as a graphic designer after school. 
When we moved to Austin in 2008 I wanted to give working for myself a try so I could follow a more creative path. 
I put my drawings on etsy and things took off from there. 
I’ve since moved into a lot of surface pattern and textile design as well as illustration. 
It took a lot of courage and tenacity but I’m happy to say I’m right where I want to be with my career.

2. Who are your design heroes and how do you stay inspired?

Vera Neumann, Frida Kahlo, and Ray Eames. 
I stay inspired mostly through nature and little stories and moments that pop up in my day to day life.

3. Can you give us an insight into your creative process?

It’s very messy and usually ends up in a totally different place than where I started. 
I always start with a lot of anxiety over whether I’ll be able to make my initial concepts work. 
It usually starts with some sort of shape, imagery, or story I’d like to tell and I try to translate that with a simple pen and ink drawing. 
I then scan everything into illustrator to color and repeat if needed.

4. Tell us about a typical day for you…

I have a 5 month old! 
So life has changed a lot this year and I want to focus on my time with her. 
She’ll only be a baby for a snippet of time and I don’t want to miss out on that so I’m working part time. 
These days it’s a balance of taking care of her while still completing projects and getting orders for my online shop shipped out on time.

5. Where do you work? Describe your studio/work area…

I’m working from home which I’ve found to be perfect with a small child. 
We carved out an office space downstairs which opens to 1/2 of my garage that we closed off where I can be really messy and make things.

6. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a designer/illustrator?

It’s really a very selfish career because I do it for the love of it.  
Having people tell me my work makes them smile when they see it or they love to sew with my fabric or I’ve brightened their home with my artwork… that makes it feel very rewarding.

7. What’s the most popular item for sale in your shop? 
And also your personal favourite? 

My desert flower print set is probably the most popular item. All of my work feels so personal and like a little piece of my life so it’s hard to choose one but I’ve always loved my “I’ll be your swan” print even though it’s not one of my best sellers.

8. What books/ magazines are you currently reading?

A lot of parenting and baby books! 

9. What art do you have on your wall?

A lot of fellow artist friends actually - Berkley Illustration, Small Adventure, Michelle Morin, Callen Thompson

10. What makes you laugh?
My husband usually. And my daughter’s laugh. 

11. What's your guilty pleasure?

Hot chocolate! 
I live in Texas and it doesn’t make sense at all but it’s my number one favourite.

12. In three words, describe your work…

Soft, organic, quirky

A big thank you to Leah for taking the time to give us an insight into her world, and what a beautiful world it is! 
How wonderful is her studio...

(all images used in this post are copyright of Leah Duncan)

You can follow Leah here...

x x x

1 comment:

  1. Love that you interviewed her! I have been a fan of her for years. Half of my sewing projects have been from her fabric :-)


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