Leanne lives in beautiful Melbourne Australia, overlooking the beach, where she has lived all her life and loves it. She has a daughter at university, a husband who dotes on her and a cat whom she trips over constantly. Leanne describes herself as a ‘do it right now’ person who is busy creating. You can see all her creations at her shop, StudioLeanne. Her secret is that she has been 38 years old for some years now.
How long have you been creating? Why did you start?
My more meaningful creative life began during school years where I discovered a passion for pottery. In keeping with my secret age, I have been potting for some 20 years now, creating ceramic pieces in stoneware and porcelain. During this time I discovered the magic of glass and have incorporated this medium into much of my work.
Where do you get your materials?
Living on the beach allows me to find the most fascinating driftwood pieces which I often incorporate into my ceramic wall art. Recycled paper and card go into my decoupage.
Can you tell us a little of your process?
I mix many of my own glazes and still enjoy throwing a pot on the wheel. Each ceramic piece is allowed to dry then it is high temperature kiln fired. The next process is glazing. The pieces are then fired again, and sometimes a third firing depending on the effect I want to achieve.
How long does it take?
The complete process can take up to two weeks.
Do you have a dedicated work area/room?
With 2 kilns in my studio, one for ceramics and the other for glass, I am kept constantly warm in winter and perfectly poached all summer long.
Is this your full-time job? Hobby? Fun?
I’m passionate about my work, it is fun and a wonderful outlet for my creativity. Some years ago my daughter wanted a specific piece of ceramic jewelry which I made for her. From that, a range of unique, oversize and outrageous jewelry pieces developed.
Where do you get your ideas?
Inspiration comes with the seasons. The beautiful sunsets, the stormy skies, the surf and the evening calm provide the individual colors and designs of each piece.
Do you have a best seller?
“I HEART U” – an oversize, outrageous 2.5 inch red ceramic cocktail ring, is by far my most requested item.
What is your favorite?
My daughter’s favorite is “RockStar” a 6 centimeter ceramic cocktail ring in black and my favorite is “Caribbean Fling” a beautiful blue glass ring which covers three fingers of my hand.
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
In five years time I hope to be a little more outrageous in design and still only 38 years old.
Have any advice for people trying to start their own handcrafted business?
Believe in yourself. If you love your product then why wouldn’t everyone else love it too? Never give up, just persevere.
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different” – Coco Chanel.
“Summer Picnic” fine art print by Photo Atelier.
It never fails – as soon as we hit the open highway, I’m hungry. It could have something (or everything) to do with the countless convenience stores, drive-ins, and diners at every exit; not to mention the billboards that line the roadside, enticing people to take the next exit for a meal or a quick snack. These little fast-food diversions don’t come without a cost, however. They are both expensive AND usually rather environmentally un-friendly. A little pre-planning is all that it takes to stay green and healthy away from home.
Bulk up! – stop at your favourite bulk foods store for dried fruits, nuts, and organic snacks, and then repackage them at home in reusable containers and bags, like the lined ones pictured above, by Bells and Unicorns. (Tip: set out several bowls of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, candy and pretzels and let everyone create their own trail mix. Colour-code or label bags for easy identification on the road.)
It’s a wrap! – we are all sandwich artists at heart. Wraps, sandwiches, and subs can be made at home for a fraction of what you’ll pay on the road. Get creative with fillings and condiments, and be sure to pack high-moisture ingredients (like cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce) in separate containers to keep them from sogging up your bread. When choosing reusable sandwich bags, be sure to pick ones that are generously sized, like these (above) by http://www.etsy.com/shop/bellsandunicorns, to allow for healthy, hearty breads and fillings.
Keep your cool! – perishables, drinks, and fruit can be kept fresh in a cooler even on the hottest of days. Make your own ice packs by freezing recyclable tetra-packs of juice or by filling zipper-bags with crushed ice, which you can refill with fresh ice at stops along the way. And don’t let me catch you buying bottled water! Steel bottles, like the ones above by Pretty n Preppy, can be refilled over and over and keep your water fresh and cool. Eco-savvy coffee drinkers never leave home without their trusty travel mugs. Not only do they cut down on litter, they’ll usually save you a few cents per refill, too. Caffeine-heads and fabric-holics alike will love these colourful travel mugs (above), also by Pretty n Preppy.
…and if you do have to stop for snacks, instead of loading up on sketchy pre-wrapped sandwiches, chips and candy at the gas station, seek out roadside fruit/vegetable stands, local grocery stores, bakeries, and farmer’s markets (if you are lucky to be traveling on market days). Some of the best meals I have had on the road have consisted of fresh-off-the-vine fruit, local artisan cheeses, and freshly baked breads purchased right from the people who picked/made them. Be prepared by making sure you have cutlery included with your picnic essentials*. The handy Urban Picnic Roll-up, pictured above, by Nstar Studio includes two three-piece utensil sets & two napkins. The utensils are made from durable, sustainable bamboo and can be simply hand washed and air dried after use.
Lastly, take the time to stop and enjoy your meals and snacks. Pre-plan your stops or keep an eye out for picnic spots and parks along the way. Not only is it a chance to stretch your legs and let the kids run off some energy, it’s often the little stops along the way that make for the best memories. Pack an oversized vintage quilt for the whole family, or give everyone their own place to cop a squat. These organic travel blankets by Crzy Bag Lady can function as mini-picnic pads, change mats, stroller blankets and sleep-mats. Compact in size, but super-comfy, they’re ideal travel companions for the green family-on-the-go.
*Packable picnic essentials: blanket and/or tablecloth, reusable plates/bowls/cups, reusable cutlery, salt & pepper, bottle opener, can opener, cloth napkins, sharp knife, cutting board, bags for collecting garbage/recyclables (when containers are not available on-site), small container of dish-soap for clean-ups.
I would love to hear about your summer road trip adventures. Comment below and share your stories and advice!
I’m head over heels for this week’s artwork by Paola Zakimi. You know watercolors are my favorite painting medium but have I ever told you that when sketch lines show through in the work I simply melt into a puddle of happiness? I’m being a bit silly but seriously, isn’t the above piece fantastic? The yellow lifts my spirit and the humble use of fleshy pink on the girls face excites me to no end. For me, it’s all in the details.
I’m fond of this piece for several reasons. The entire painting is understated and free. The floating illustrations evoke a peaceful, dream-like emotion. Also, the little fox befriending the tree on the right is so sweet.
This bird must be the way to travel. Grab some friends and jump onto this feathered friend! Again, the details draw me in. The birds beak, string thin feet, spotted back and the girls hats with twigs and leaves all leave my eyes scurrying over each inch of this illustration. The textured background…don’t even get me started…there is so much to appreciate!
You will find not only the featured artwork in Paola’s shop but also some amazing art dolls. Prints and originals are available!