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« word for the year | Main | Taking a break for the holidays »

Allison Lee - Artist of the month


Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Artist of the month post of 2013! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I enjoyed spending time with my friends and family. It was nice to unplug for a bit, but I'm happy to be back to the blogging world.

This month's artist is one of my closest friends, Allison Lee. Allison was the very first Artist that I featured in my blog back in 2010. You can read the post here. That post was written when I was featuring a different artist each week and Allison was working with papercrafts. Well times have changed...I now write a more detailed Artist post once a month and Allison is working with fibercrafts.

Allison lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband and two beautiful girls. She used to live just a few houses down the road from me :( I miss her! 

Allison creates colorful one of a kind pouches. As I said earlier, this form of artwork is new to Allison. I asked her how she came up with the idea of creating her pouches.

"I have always loved pouches and bags of all kinds. I love making them with unusual (and cute) fabrics.  Whenever I am in a shop I am magically drawn to the zippered pouches especially the handmade ones or Kawaii style ones.  I don’t think you can have too many!

When I moved to Massachusetts I wanted to change my product from papercrafts to fibercrafts, so I thought this was a perfect match for me.  In addition to just sewing together pouches, I wanted to incorporate my original art. Collage, painting and mixed media seemed like a good direction."



I was curious about the artistic process that Allison uses to create her pouches.

"The pouches take several steps from start to finish. The cotton bottom weight canvas is first cut into panel pieces in the sizes of pouches I want to make. They are then gessoed and painted with acrylic paints and collaged onto. I use vintage book pages, inks, stamps, pitt markers and more to shade, collage and distress the panels.

The words are thought out inspirational ideas that are printed and collaged on as well.

Once the panels are finished I seal them with a generous amount of gel medium for durability and water resistance.  The end result is a leathery or oilcloth feel.

The entire process can take up to one week."

I love how all of Allison's pouches are different and have such vibrant color combinations. I asked her where she gets her creative motivation.

"I get my motivation from my life. What I am going through at the time of creating has a tendency to shine through. When I need healing in my life I tend to use colors and phrases that are encouraging and supporting. When I am feeling fulfilled, my art tends to move in a giving and sharing direction. 

My children are a big motivation for me as well. I want to show them that you own your art. You create art from your needs. You can make something with your own hands and you can bring happiness to people through those creations."

You wouldn't guess it by looking at Allison's artwork, but she has had no formal art training. She has taken several technique classes online as well as having several years experience in papercrafts and stamping. One class that she said really helped her to open up and express herself more through her artwork is the She Art Girls course by Christy Tomlinson.


I asked Allison what her favorite materials are to work with.

"Right now I love acrylic paints. There are so many color choices (and you can combine to create an endless amount more) and an easy medium to work with. I also love inks and stamps. I always have ink and paint on my hands.

Other materials are vintage papers and pitt markers of any kind and color.

I am currently discovering the joys of Neocolor water soluble crayons."

I love the Neocolor water soluble crayons too. I was introduced to them in Life Book 2012. Allison has signed up for Life Book 2013 with me this year. I'm excited to see how the Life Book experience influences her design process and artwork.

Here are Allison's favorite teachers:

"Christy Tomlinson and Kelly Rae Roberts are ones I turn to constantly for inspiration and technique.  I also enjoy Julliette Crane and Alissa Burke.

I am signed up for Life Book 2013 where I am excited to meet more artists and explore their worlds!"

So, what will 2013 bring for Allison and her work?  

"This winter I want to try to get a few pieces up on canvas. My goal is to further unearth my signature style.  So far I have taken several techniques from several artists and splashed in pieces of myself. However I’d like my art to mirror my individuality more.  In addition I am going to continue to make my pouches and hopefully expand to a few retail stores in this area."

With all of her creative talent and beautiful designs, I asked Allison if she ever finds herself in a creative slump and if so what she does to get out of it. 

"Yes, Of course! When I find myself in a slump I don’t push myself to create. Those are the times I do some general housekeeping things, like paperwork and actual cleaning and organizing of my studio. Sometimes while doing these chores I come across something that shakes my creative mind up and the juices start flowing again. Other times the process of just cleaning out helps clear the canvas for a surprise jolt of energy.

Either way it isn’t too long until my hands and heart start working together again."




Allison also creates tote bags with her designs. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of one for Christmas this year! Allison has always been an artistic inspiration to me. When I asked her if there was anything else that she would like to share, here is what she had to say:

"I am inspired by so much around me.  People, places and feelings are constant sources of light in my life. I want to be an inspiration to those around me too. I am grateful to be given a life where I can use my hands to create."

I would say she's on the right track! If you would like to see more of Allison's artwork and learn more about her design process, check out her Etsy shop Open Hand Creations and her blog Thoughtful Creations. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Allison and her art. Happy New Year to you and yours!!!

"A new year is a new life." by Madi


Reader Comments (5)

Love ,love the pouches I would so love one thanks Stacie for sharing Allison's work....

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterViv

Happy New Year Stacie!!! It was so nice to see you last week, even though the time was too short.
Thanks for the feature this month.. I'm already motivated to get back to work.

I can't wait to start on Life book 2013! I predict this will be the most creative year yet!

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

Oh wow! These creations are just beautiful... headed to her retail shop now. But first, let me tell you both how excited I am to be starting Life Book as well and I'm so glad you are in there too!

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

Great interview with Allison! I love her pouches! Everything she creates has a dream like happy feeling to it!

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwhitney

Nice article on one of my very best friends !!! Allison always inspires me!

January 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

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