Turkey Towel by Lisa Price
By Arwen O’Reilly
Lisa Price’s Etsy shop is exactly like it’s name: art goodies. Filled with gorgeous hand-printed linocut dish towels, prints, and handmade books covered in vintage fabric, everything is drool-worthy. The bright red turkey is funny and elegant at the same time (perfect for that most contradictory of holidays, Thanksgiving, where everyone stuffs themselves silly using their finest china), but her other prints are equally wonderful. Check out the jolly santa, the inquisitive deer, and the sweet little quail as well. All of them leap of the fabric with character.
Arwen: How did you get involved with crafting?
Lisa: I have been an artsy crafty girl for as long as I can remember. As soon as I could hold a crayon I never stopped drawing. I think the creative gene runs in our family. There is a long line of creative ingenuity, sometimes out of necessity and sometimes just for fun. My mom was our troop leader in Brownies and she always had great projects for us to do, from small needlepoint items to recycling paper milk cartons into Easter baskets. I can remember hand-sewing evening gowns with lace and sequins for my Barbies and sending my dad to work to sell my things. I have been making things and trying to sell them my whole life. I went on to get a B.F.A. in printmaking and have been trying to figure out how to incorporate it into a sustainable living ever since.
Arwen: How do you feel about Thanksgiving?
Lisa: I wish it didn’t get overshadowed by Christmas so much. I try to extend it by having an annual Thanksgiving dinner with my friends a couple of weeks before the actual holiday. They are all extended family to me and it is such a nice time to get together and celebrate all the season has to offer. Here in Michigan the colors are so beautiful and it is so fun to go to the local farmers harvest markets and get apples, cider, pumpkins and gourds. I enjoy having a nice meal with my family. We just hang out, play scrabble and canasta all weekend and go get our tree from a local tree farm. Can you tell I like to support the locals?
Arwen: What’s your favorite crafting story?
Lisa: I think I am going to have to go with a story from kindergarten here. It was play time, and there was a section for girls with dolls and a little fake kitchen and so on, and there was a tool workshop section for the boys. I distinctly remember walking towards the girl section and thinking “ooh dollies…but I have dollies at home…what’s that over there?” I went over and went through a pile of wood, finding one that was just right. In my mind’s eye, I saw a tugboat in the pattern of the ripped-up wood and transformed it into a drawing of one. I also made a wood cross (by myself) for my grandma that year. I also learned how to finger weave from my little friend named Josh. I retained it all these years and started making finger-woven scarves a few years ago. That was a good year.
Arwen: So what inspires you?
Lisa: I am definitely inspired by nature. It is so beautiful and powerful in so many ways. The colors are unexplainable. I love old biology books and plant books. Cross sections of plants and the body pantomime each other in the most amazing ways. I also love items from the fifties. The designs and colors are so fresh. I go to estate sales as often as I can to look at old stuff. I love that the items already have a story. I pick up books and fabric mostly from the 50s and before. The fabric colors and designs are so much more interesting than those of today.
Arwen: What’s one tip you’d give to other crafters?
Lisa: Believe in yourself and your product. If you don’t, no one else will either. Don’t give up. Keep on making and you are bound to just stumble upon your most successful product.
Arwen: What are your favorite crafting books/magazines/websites?
Lisa: I like to hang out at the bookstore and look at Make, Readymade, and the new Craft. Home decor books are always fun to scope out and see what they do. I am really into having a comfy cozy home that is a true reflection of me.
I also like to keep my eye on the cottage industry column in Cottage Living. As far as websites, there are too many to mention. I absolutely love Etsy! It is amazing and is changing my life. I like to go to sites like renegadecraft.com and artvscraft.com to check out their vendor links. Basically, any website that has to do with independent designers/artists/crafters I like. I just want to see what other people like me are up too. And it helps reassure me that you can live this dream and be happy with your life. Down with going to jobs that make you miserable.
Arwen: What are some of your most important influences?
Lisa: I would have to say my grandmother and my parents.
My grandma was always coming up with creative solutions. She was brilliant. She taught me all about being thrifty and creative with the things around you. I learned all about growing and preserving my own food, a bit of sewing, fixing up the house, and some great problem solving skills.
My parents raised us kids (I have 2 older brothers) to be independent and creative thinkers. We are all hands on hard workers and I am thankful for the way we were brought up. They are so supportive in all my ventures and I thank them for believing in me.