Laurie, Made By SwirlyGirl
Laurie makes very cool cards, digitally enhanced photos and prints. I love them because they are very colorful and abstract. I asked Laurie how she came up with the name of her business. She told me “Made by SwirlyGirl is the name of the business I started about 4 years ago after much prodding from my husband and friends to sell my cards instead of just giving them away. The name was created after my husband made a remark about the doodling I would do while I was on the telephone. I added the “made by” because there was an existing business with the name of Swirly Girl.”
Laurie hard at work!
In addition to creating beautiful cards, Laurie keeps herself quite busy with her family life. “I am a wife and the mother of two daughters, ages 13 and 8. The four of us live with our 7 year old German Shepherd/Australian Shepherd dog in the Los Angeles area, where my husband works as an actor, writer, and acting teacher. I was a professional ballet dancer in my “former” life, as well as a choreographer and ballet teacher, and I currently teach ballet part time at a dance school in the San Fernando Valley. When I am not working on Made by SwirlyGirl in some way or teaching ballet, I am taking care of our home, driving the kids to their school and activities, volunteering at their school, and all the things that most moms I know do. I have many hobbies, but have not had time for many of them since I began this business venture! Some of the things I really enjoy doing are hiking, traveling, camping, cooking, reading, going to museums, galleries, the theatre, the ballet, and anywhere that I can witness either nature or the creative imaginings of others.”
My personal favorite….
Creature Comfort Matted Photo Print
Laurie creates “note cards and matted photo art that I sell in my Etsy shop. I have several lines of cards: Made-U-Look, Kaleidoscope, Whirly Girl, En Pointe, and Plein Air, and will probably be creating another before long.”
Garden Party Blank Note Cards
I asked Laurie how she discovered her talent. “I don’t think of it as a talent as much as an interest that I took the time to explore and develop.” Hhhhmmm, I am going to have to argue that fact with you, Laurie LOL – I have been taking pictures of my jewelry for several years now and still struggle to get everything just right!
Unbeleafable Matted Photo Print
She further told me, “I’ve always had the need to create as far back as I can remember. As a small child, I painted sea shells and made pot holders and sold them door-to-door. At least I TRIED to sell them. (In all honesty, I think I sold 2 shells and one of them was to my father! The pot holders sold a bit better.) I’ve crocheted, knit, embroidered, sewed, needlepointed and cross stitched, learned some Native American beadwork, learned basket weaving, floral design, wreath making, faux finishes, covered photo albums and frames, made boxes and books, tried scrapbooking, jewelry making, quilting, and a few other arts and crafts. This is the first one that has kept my attention. What I love about making cards and photo art is that I can change it anytime I want to. I can create a new line, drop one, change the direction of it…I can’t run out of things to photograph and there are so many things I can do with each photo that I feel I can keep this up indefinitely! Plus, it satifies my need for immediate gratification, being a quick process from photographing to packaging the finished card!
Food for Thought Made-U-Look Note Cards
The first cards that I designed were about 9 years ago, I think, when there wasn’t much disposable income and I refused to spend $4 or $5 on a card to send someone that they were just going to throw out after a few days, most likely. I thought:”For $5, I can buy the supplies to make many cards and those that receive them will actually want to keep them, too!” They were made from torn and cut handmade papers on cardstock with some beads, buttons, or ephemera added for texture. I then began working with gorgeous fabric remnants that a close friend would give me. When I got my first digital camera and began to experiment with a couple of photo programs, another door opened for me and the world was suddenly a new and exciting place to discover! My first cards came out of a happy mistake that became the direction I have continued to expand, my Made-U-Look line.
Grande Jete Blank Note Cards
I’ve taught myself how to use my photo programs and camera and how to use my computer and the internet. I’m moved to create; I create; I like it or I don’t like it; I do it again and take what I learned with me into the next attempt;…it’s just about trusting myself and believing that if I like the way something has come out, there will probably be others who like it, too. But, even if there aren’t, the process is not motivated by pleasing anyone besides myself when I create, anyway. The process is worthwhile just because I’m moved to begin it.”
Enlightened Matted Photo Print
Materials that Laurie uses include “cardstock from office supply or arts and crafts supply stores and any handmade papers that I use I purchase at various paper stores or online. The ink for the computer, the photo paper, and the double sided tape are the costly items and I haven’t found a wholesale source for those, as yet, but I purchase my packaging supplies through an online wholesale source. The two items I look forward to being able to afford are a commercial printer and a commercial paper cutter. It’s quite tedious to hand cut each photo and much of the cardstock, and I would love to have more options with my printer (although I am very happy with the quality of my current printer).”
Ballet Kaleidoscope Blank Note Cards
Laurie told me she would “love to see my images on household and personal accessories and would be thrilled if any licensing opportunities presented themselves! Also, my husband has been collecting wooden window frames for some time–(we have quite a collecion in our garage)–that he enjoys refinishing for use as frames for my photo art. We would like to have a number of these finished to offer my customers. I am also considering participation in some of the arts and crafts shows in our area.”
Spanish Dancer Blank Note Cards
There are several other aspects of art that Laurie would like to explore. “I have basic skills in many different mediums, and jewelrey making and metal work are areas I’d like to explore further, along with sculpting, pottery, weaving, and stained glass. There aren’t many creative forms of expression that I’m not interested in trying! When I am creating, I am being the most “me” I can be. My world has unlimited potential and I am transported to a place within myself that is light, joyous, open, and free. The vehicle is not nearly as important as the journey itself, so I want to try it all!”
Kitty-Corner Matted Photo Print
Lastly, my favorite question of all artisans, what and/or who inspires you? “There are all different kinds of things and of people that inspire me in many different ways, but we are talking about creativity here and not the other innumerable ways humanity can inspire. Color, texture, movement, shape, music, lighting, nature, art in any form inspires me…I’m a very visual person and nearly all of my inspiration comes from something I see, but if it is coupled with music, there is nothing better than that! I don’t know WHY something inspires me. Sometimes something doesn’t appeal to me on an esthetic level at all, but the sheer imagination that cooked it up just knocks me out! Other times, something will inspire me because it makes me want to dance or to write or to paint…as if it has just triggered a direct physical or emotional response and bypassed my analytic mind entirely. Or it might be taking something very simple and changing my perception of its potential that will send me on a quest to try out an idea. There are many people whose art and craftmanship I have been inspired by–from every branch of the arts–but I’d rather be inspired by the results of their muse rather than try to analyze them, which takes some of the magic out of it. For example, Andy Goldsworthy is an artist I’ve recently discovered and his art—using natural materials and the environment as his tools and his canvas–moves me deeply. But, he is just a man. It is the result that is the expression of his spirit which holds so much fascination for me rather than the path he has taken to get there. Maybe because I know my own process and attempting to put it into words somehow diminishes the experience.
To me, there is nothing in this world more inspiring than being surrounded by people who go inside themselves to explore and come out with piece of their own divine beauty and uniqueness to share with the world.”
Sun Daze Note Cards
Laurie’s beautiful photography and cards can be found on the internet at the following sites:
Made By SwirlyGirl
Made By SwirlyGirl Etsy
Made By SwirlyGirl Blog
Made By SwirlyGirl Facebook
Made By SwirlyGirl Twitter
Made By SwirlyGirl Flickr
Made By SwirlyGirl Soopsee
Flower Galore Plein Air Blank Note Cards