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Craft adventures with Le Petit Elefant

do you ever need to recharge yourself to inspire you, and how do you go about it? I think most people turn to retail therapy in times of high stress. I do the same but it’s a little more ridiculous and impulsive—I buy plane tickets. I’m a nomadic addict who can’t stay in one place for more than six weeks, and it’s taken me from San Francisco to Los Angeles, across the country to New York City, and over the Pacific Ocean to Southeast Asia where I lived for 7 months. These trips aren’t solely vacations however; I’m working too. As I meet people & travel, I collect materials for my plush, sketch the surrounding scenes, and write down my adventures to use for later projects. Then, when I come home, wherever that ends up being, I work furiously until I run out of steam and have to leave home again. It’s a wonderful cycle and how I work best.

what inspired you to go into the craft business & do you still have a day job? Hands down the best thing that’s ever happened to me was getting laid off from New Line Cinema, my first and only 9-5 job. The combination of unemployment checks, severance & money saved from the past two years provided me with a comfortable, financial cushion to launch my business. It was a very slow process, and I honestly didn’t envision it becoming a business until much later. All I knew is that I wanted to draw & sew.

Currently, I have no day job. I’ve been living solely on my creative income. I’ve never worked as hard in my life & for that reason I don’t think I can work for anyone else. I see where I can go as an artist and compromising my time and energy doesn’t seem worth it, even if that means living without a steady income and risking going broke.

what has been the major influence in your creative process ? In January 2010, I volunteered for a week at an elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai, Thailand. The experience itself—bathing & feeding the elephants, chopping sugar cane & corn with a machete, shoveling poo—was incredible but what I learned about pursuing passion is what stays with me to this day. I discovered the rare, pure satisfaction and bliss that comes from doing what you love and nothing else. I was isolated from the world, internet & phone service-less, and only existed to care for the elephants & draw them. I saw how powerful combining intent & passion can be, and how it can change & affect a community. It’s easy to feel discouraged when pursuing your craft as a profession, but then I remember the sanctuary & its example of simple intent blossoming into a project that moves beyond a single person. it gives me patience to continue with my craft.

what is your workshop/workspace like ? Now that I’m back in the states, I’ve converted my old bedroom into an office & use my car as a traveling studio. When I visit Los Angeles once a month, I load up my car with my laptop, printer, paper, wacom tablet, sewing materials and painting supplies. I have a handy-dandy power converter so I’ve been able to print my artwork to prepare for craft fairs from my car. I love working in my car, and painted most of the illustrations for the Le Petit Elefant & {paper & type} 2011 calendar while in my car listening to old school R&B or NPR. I also love working outside in playgrounds and parks because I’m surrounded by the energy I’m drawing. I’m just so grateful my work is portable.



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