It's been a busy year, with not as much time for making art as I would have liked. However, I have managed to make some new pieces and am just getting around to getting them up in my Etsy shop. I've also been playing around more with watercolor and incorporating that into my pen & ink drawings. This drawing of a row of little succulents in pots is one of my first experiments in that direction. After a lot of playing around, I've settled on Daniel Smith watercolors as I love the texture I get with those. I'm hoping to add at least one additional color option of this one soon!
One of my big art goals this year was to start selling my work online. So I'm thrilled to announce that my work is now available in my Etsy shop! It features all of my art prints, including botanicals, maps, and digital collages. I'll be adding prints throughout the year as I continue to create new work.
I started the process of setting up my shop early this year, doing product photography and ordering supplies as time allowed. I was finally able to pull it all together last month and have had my first few sales already. 2016 has been a big year for getting my art out into the world - can't wait to see what 2017 brings!
A few weeks ago I participated in my first art show - the Arts North Studio Tour - as a guest at my friend John Irick's studio. John and I have know each other since college days in Austin. Little did we know when we met way back then that many years later we'd both be living in Seattle and making art. One of the best parts about doing the show was getting to see lots of John and talk to him almost every day leading up to it. This was the first official unveiling of the art prints I've been working on for some time. It was a lot of work to get ready for, but it was a great learning experience and totally worth it. I sold a fair amount of work, got great feedback, and met the talented artist Brian Kern who, with his wife Kachi, own Dandelion Botanicals in Ballard. I'll be exhibiting my work at their shop in June as part of the Ballard art walk. I'm looking forward to keeping up the momentum in 2016!
Happy 2016! I can't believe it's here already, but I've started out with a bang, working on new illustrations and a website revamp. In my last post, I promised to share my entry for the Spoonflower Fabric 8 competition. Here it is, on the left. I wasn't selected for the semi-finals and was disappointed at first, but decided to use it as a learning experience and played around with different pattern layouts using the same or similar motifs. I ended up with the pattern on the right, which I like much better. I doubt this one would have been selected either, as it doesn't really fit the vintage vibe they were looking for, but it's true to my style so I'm happy with it. I'll be sharing some of my new illustration work soon, so stay tuned!
This year I've been doing some drawing every day and have been focusing on sketching botanical elements, mainly weeds, seeds, pods, and leaves. These drawings are influenced mainly by my daily walks with my little dog, Belle. Once I started noticing pods, I was amazed by the variety I found and how they change with the seasons. I've now amassed quite a lot of botanical motifs and am working on incorporating them into a series of art prints and fabric designs. I start with black ink sketches as show below. I also often find it helpful to sketch in pencil first to get a feel for what I want to draw. Sometimes I trace over my pencil lines with ink. I've just completed a design for the Spoonflower Fabric 8 competition which I'll reveal soon!
When I looked back at my design accomplishments in 2014, I realized that I'd done a lot. I got my designs up on Kess In House in April, completed another series of designs for Kess in July, and started a range of art prints (to be revealed later this year). However, one thing I was missing was drawing on a regular basis. One of my New Year's goals was to draw one thing every day, even if just a little scribble. Momentum is the key word here. For some reinforcement and motivation, I signed up for Lilla Roger's MATS Bootcamp. Lilla sends out a mini assignment every month and then a "big" assignment one week later. This month the mini was to draw Edwardian brooches. And the big assignment was to use those drawings to create a journal/notebook cover. I was most drawn to the bug brooches, so here is what I ended up with. I have loved getting back into drawing again on a daily basis and look forward to seeing where that leads!
I'm happy to announce that my designs are now available on a variety of home decor items through Kess InHouse. So you can now purchase a Laurie Baars-designed throw pillow, duvet cover, shower curtain, dog bed, placemat, and more! Kess InHouse has a limited range of their products also available on Amazon.com, so my designs are now available on Amazon as well - just search under my name to see what's available. I've launched with 10 designs and am working on some new ones to add so keep checking back to see an expanded selection.
I'm very excited that my designs are now available on iPad and Kindle cases (and soon to be iPhone cases) with Keka Case. This is my first official licensing agreement and a significant milestone for me. It's been in the works since the beginning of the year and the cases have been available for while now so I'm a bit overdue in announcing it. I recently ordered two cases with my designs on them for Christmas gifts and was very pleased with the quality. I have other licensing opportunities in the works, so stay tuned!
After the busyness of summer, it's been nice to hibernate a little and do some designing. I've got so many ideas for patterns brewing that I've had to start a list to keep track of them all. Here's a glimpse of two of my new designs. These days I'm leaning toward more conversational/novelty motifs but have been working on some florals and geos too.
My birthday is coming up this week and I'm looking forward to a fun getaway in Portland next weekend, one of my favorite towns. I'm sure some great inspiration will come out of that!
My husband's family has a beach house on Vashon Island that has been in the family for 3 generations. It is shared by many family members and we are lucky enough to get it for a few weekends a year. Vashon Island is a beautiful, lush, fairly rural island just a 20 minute ferry ride from Seattle. Last weekend my husband and I snuck out there last minute for a couple of very relaxing days and decided to explore the island a bit. We did a hike in one park and were on our way to another, driving through the town of Burton, in a part of the island I'd never been to, when I saw a sign saying "vintage-inspired modern textile design." Of course I demanded we stop immediately.
I was so happy to discover Bergamot Studio, a lovely shop and working studio run by textile designer Kassana Holden. When I walked in she and another woman were cutting prints of Kassana's designs to make greeting cards. She has four wide-format ink jet printers in the back where she prints her designs on silk and paper to make scarves, pendant lamps, pillows, greeting cards, framed prints, and decorative papers, among other things. She also carries work by other local artists including wood, leather goods, ceramics, and jewelry.
Kassana has 25 years in textiles and product development and struck out on her own just a couple of years ago to start making and selling her own work. She is doing fantastic things combining vintage fabric with her own designs for a very unique effect. She also takes on custom projects using her printers. It was so much fun talking "shop" with Kassana and learning about her experiences in textile design. I highly recommend visiting her shop if you are ever on Vashon Island!