When you are good friends with an artisan such as Gretchen Leachman, there's always sunshine in your life. She is the type of person who makes you feel JOY just being around her and wearing her creations. Gretchen is passionate, creative, humorous and so much fun. Her talents seem limitless as she creates beautiful pieces of jewelry, original one-of-a-kind pieces, leather crafts and more. She's only stopped by the number of hours in a day. We can't wait to see all of the gorgeous treasures that we will offer in our boxes.
Gretchen has been surrounded by artists since birth. She is obsessed with minerals, rocks, and gemstones – and the stories that accompany them. Her jewelry making has evolved over the years to creating meaningful pieces that inspire, empower and remind us that we are - in fact - enough. She wants her pieces to bring joy to its owner - and inspire them to embrace their inner badass.
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask her a few personal interview questions to learn more about her creative process and what drives her.
What gives you the most joy?
Honestly I don't have one answer for that. Every New Year, friends of mine have a tradition to claim a word to be their mantra for that upcoming year. A few years ago I chose the word Joy ... and it's still my word to this day. So much so that those three little letters frequently find their way into my designs, my studio, my home...and my attitude. Over the years I've made a strong effort to find joy in every situation (sometimes simply for the mental challenge of seeing if I can do it. Hello 2020!) But if I had to give a solid answer, I'll give you two.
- Relationships. Because it's connecting with people that ultimately inspires me and makes my heart full. And
- Gifting. Finding things that remind me of people brings me joy. And wrapping and packaging gifts is the best...I'm actually sad when I am finished shopping & wrapping this time of year!
Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist?
The short answer is yes. Art has always been a part of my life and the best way I know to express myself. I think when people think of art they think of museums, galleries or art classes from school...and it's so much more than that. It's a way of taking your surroundings and bringing joy to them...whether it's visual, musical, culinary, or the way you like to arrange your living room. Everyone has creativity inside them. However your talents allow you to express that creativity is as individual and as personal as you are!
What's the hardest part of creating your designs?
The hardest part of creating is getting out of my own way. Art is very personal - it oftentimes feels as if you are handing someone your heart and self esteem and saying "here - judge this." And it's very easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others. However, with time and age comes wisdom...and with practice and repetition comes self confidence. Once I learned not to take myself so seriously, I found that it's easier to try new things, because I'm not afraid of messing up or making a mistake. Style develops over time. That's what I love about art. If you gave a room full of people the exact same assignment, no two finished pieces would look exactly the same. In fact, I find that items that I have made consistently still change over time. (Which works for me, as I'm really not a fan of doing the same thing over and over anyway.)
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere! Sometimes it's a conversation with someone that sparks an idea. Sometimes it's what I see in a movie, or hear in a song. When I'm really stuck, I'll scroll through Pinterest or visit a favorite shop. When I truly feel a lack of inspiration and just can't find any, I find that I'm usually neglecting something in my personal life (like sleep, eating properly, or time to myself.) Once I remember to take care of myself - we've all been there, right? - I find that inspiration is plentiful again!
Which artists are you most inspired by?
I love Van Gogh and Matisse because of their use of color. I love Erin Smith Art for her use of wit and sarcasm. Anna Bond (from Rifle Paper Co.) is one of my absolute favorites...you'll find those designs all over my house! I also love retro images from the 20s-60s...cookbooks, advertising, typography...each era has a distinct style and character that I find appealing.
What advice would I give my younger self?
LIGHTEN UP! No one really knows what they are doing - we are all making our own way as best we can, so don't be so worried about things going to plan. Even if you have the best possible plan in place, something will inevitably NOT fall in line. It's okay. There is no time that you will ever feel as if you "have arrived" because there will always be new things to learn and new perspectives. And stop worrying. Worrying is about as useful as a rocking chair. It keeps you busy...but you don't get anywhere!
Shop Gretchen Leachman's designs in our curated gift boxes.