Past Life

So, I was visiting How About Orange  the other day, and was inspired to share some of my artwork from what seems like a lifetime ago.  Believe it or not, I used to be a painter/illustrator.  It’s what I went to school for, although I don’t think my talent ever reached anywhere near her’s… but if you check out her blog, you’ll see she’s in a whole other league as far as talent/success goes.  So jealous!  But so inspiring 🙂 

Anyway, I couldn’t find anything from my high school days or earlier– must’ve shipped that stuff off to MOBA some time ago… so I guess I’ll have to start with the college years, which isn’t quite as pathetic humorous as the earlier stuff, but hey, it’s whats I gots…

Up in the Sky

This is still one of my favorite projects from college– it was for a hypothetical coffee table book entitled, “Up in the Sky”.  There were size & layout restrictions, but other than that, the content was completely wide open for interpretation.  Yeah, “WTF” was the general consensus, but I still like it…


East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Sorry, poor photo quality here… I think this was supposed to be a poster for a book/story/play? entitled, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”…. I can’t remember anything about it, other than it somehow involved a melancholy polar bear and the wind.  I really wanted a pale, simple background with foreground features that stuck out… I also wanted the shape of the polar bear to mimic the shape of the mountains– I guess I thought that was somehow clever…


Umm… “g” is for tomato?  What?!?  No, I didn’t smoke pot in college.  I used to love to get caught up in all that fussy rendering…  reflective of some deep-rooted control issues, no doubt…


After college, I farted around with a couple of different jobs, waitressing, one at a gallery, one at PAFA (oh, they just LOVED all my fussy realism…. snobs.  Seriously, though, I still loved working there… ) before I decided to form The Painted Tree, where I, well… painted on trees:

These are all 2″- 3″ square tiles- tiny-  that are mounted in a frame behind glass, hence, the bad pics again– I was too lazy to remove them from their frames before photographing.  I used recycled wood from my karate school.  I gave up this biz in 2001 due to lack of money and the sawdust was making me sick…

How did I end up sewing, you might ask?  Good question– it’s amazing how a life can change so much in a relatively short amount of time.  I used to make little painted & woodburned decorative boxes for The Painted Tree as well.  They actually sold a lot more than the tiles did, and they were all lined with pretty fabric.  I found that I really enjoyed picking out the fabrics for the interiors.  I still had a stash left over when, in 2003, while preggers with Max, the desire just sort of came to me to start sewing with it.  My mom had given me a sewing machine one year, thinking I could use it for The Painted Tree, and it had sat, since then, untouched (well, there was that one disaster hemming Bill’s pants, but we won’t go there).    Slowly I started making curtains for the house, and small gifts for people (and a quilt!) and I just became hooked.

As fate would have it, when we lived in Florida, my neighbor, who worked for an interior decorator, fed my fabric obsession by bringing over countless discontinued and duplicate samples of decorator fabric, and so I ended up with an incredibly giganto fabric collection (not that that has ever stopped me from buying more). 

So here I am, married, two kids, a bedroom-sized fabric collection, and a small little label called gigglepotamus.  I got my invitation to join Spoonflower the other day, which is running a beta program for artists/crafters to design & print your own fabric. I totally thought I’d be on the list for at least a month or so before I got my invite… I’m so excited at the prospects, but I’m completely stalled out because my circa 1996 Adobe Illustrator skills aren’t exactly going to help me with the design process nowadays… if anyone has any suggestions for any cheap/free & user-friendly software programs, where I can create graphics in a tile/repeat, please! I am open to any suggestions/help you might offer!!  I am totally shamed by this, as *technically* my degree says Graphic Design on it…. shame, shame, shame….


14 Responses

  1. Wow, you got some talent. I especially like the Polar bear.
    A suggestion for the software. There is an open sourced (FREE!!!!) program you can download called ‘Gimp.’ It’s similar to Adobe. Since it doesn’t cost anything you might want to check it out. Here’s the website. . or Google it if you don’t trust me :-).

    Tell Bill to keep up with P&B – Bye

  2. I like your stuff. I think we always try to compare ourselves to others and their abilities but in the end we just have to realize our stuff is “different” than theirs, not bad, just different. Different minds produce different stuff.

    I need to take my own advice when it comes to my own creativeness.

  3. I also know who to obtain “free” software. I have photoshop and illustrator cause I used them for school but they are still on my computer. I still have the zip files with the install programs on my computer if you’re interested…..

  4. Hey Lauren,

    I’d agree with Dorion, go with the Gimp. I use it all the time to make photo collages & I have NO formal creative training. The program is really easy to use & a lot of fun to fool around with (it has a TON of features that I haven’t even gotten into yet & it’s been 7 years since I’ve been using it). Hope it works for you!

    That polar bear picture was great!

  5. Great art! I have no idea what Gimp is..I use Photoshop. Although, even with a book, it’s still sorta overwhelming at times. I am getting a lot better with it and I am thrilled to learn new stuff all the time with it. But from a designers prospective..I am gonna check out GIMP as well! So happy your readers suggested it!! : )

  6. “Bring out the Gimp Maynard”

    “But the Gimp is sleeping”

  7. Bill,
    Pulp Fiction
    You are good !

  8. You are so talented. I can’t draw or paint. And I have no confidence in my ability to sew things, but I still do it. But I can cook. Hence the large ass. 🙂

  9. I love your artwork! So creative! I’m envious of your talent.

    I have Illustrator CS3, but almost no knowledge of how to use it. It’s different enough from Photoshop and Fireworks that I can’t quite get the hang of it on my own.

    Have you ever done logo design? I know a photographer who could use a logo . . . 🙂

  10. I spend an inordinate amount of time using Fireworks and Illustrator . . . usually for silly stuff like making your husband look like Moe Howard (3 Stooges) for fantasy football smack talk.

  11. I really like “Up in the Sky.” It both disturbing and peaceful. All of it is beautiful, but that is my favorite.

    Congrats on the invite.

  12. I just heard about Gimp yesterday myself!

    Lauren, you’re very talented! I feel like I need to go DO something now other than sit on my butt and read about how creative everyone else is! 🙂

  13. Love the painted wood – especially the dandelions. 🙂

    Check out Inkscape. It seems to be very similar to Corel Draw and Illustrator, rather than what Pagemaker was like and InDesign is now.

  14. Lauren – It’s your long lost cousin (by marriage – Bob’s wife)! I found your page via Bill’s Poop & Boogies. I came across some pictures of your wedding that I had stored in my work PC. I thought you might like to have them. But I don’t have your current e-mail…

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’ll have to catch up on your Blog.

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