Linden Leaf Designs
Why did you decide to start Linden Leaf Designs?
A sense of place has always been important to me as an artist and as a person, and Linden Leaf Designs started as a way of celebrating the landmarks, quirks, and identities of the places I call home. During a period of my life - studying art in college - where other people were telling me what to create and how to create it, starting Linden Leaf was an opportunity to be creative in a way that was loose, satisfying, and on my own terms.
What Boston-area maker(s) do you admire?
It's been amazing to watch the maker scene in Boston blossom since I first moved here ten years ago. I love the work of Cambridge-based artist and friend Catherine Aiello, whose sweet linocut cards can be found amongst my work at the SoWa open market. Other local artists I'm inspired by include Mae Chevrette, amazing collage artist Ekua Holmes, Chelsea Revelle, Ali of 9000 Things, and pretty much everything you can find at Magpie and Olives & Grace, two rad local shops where I'm lucky enough to sell my work.
What drives your motivation in the grind of the day to day?
Well, the kiddos that I teach in my day job are pretty incredible, and I'm always inspired by their art making and thinking, and seeing the city through their eyes. The amazingly illustrated children's books I get to read with them don't hurt, either. I also love connecting with customers face to face through the weekly SoWa and Greenway markets where I sell my work. Connecting with others through our shared love of this city we call home is a huge driver that inspires me in my work.
Any advice for someone looking to start their own business?
Don't be afraid to start small while you work out kinks. For me, Etsy was a perfect testing ground as I figured out my overall aesthetic and style along with logistical things like printing and packaging. Once I felt comfortable on that platform, I expanded to consignment, wholesale and shows. Also, if you see things others are doing or materials are using that you like, don't be afraid to ask! I love pointing others toward my go-tos for printing services and shipping supplies - it's great to save people time and money by steering them toward things that took me a while get right.
What is something most people don't know about Linden Leaf Designs?
Linden Leaf is named for the neighborhood I grew up in, Linden Hills, in the great city of Minneapolis. I also had a huge linden tree in my front yard growing up that I climbed constantly and loved fiercely.
A lot of people also ask the basic question of "how were these made?" when looking at my work. The majority of my work is made by cutting, layering, and collaging paper.
What is your dream project?
Illustrating a Boston-themed children's book. I feel passionately about children being treated and supported as full citizens in a democratic society, and would love to illustrate a book full of their ideas on how to make Boston a better place for children and families to live.
Photo credit: Linden Leaf Designs