FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane of Lucky 2 b U

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow
I am so excited to have Kara Rane talking with us today about her art and creative life. I first discovered Kara’s work years ago and fell in love with the vibrant colors and positive energy that ooze from her work. The patterns and textures she is able to create with markers is amazing! See more of her work on her website, lucky2bu.com.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

I grew up at 6,000 feet in the mountains of Southern California, in a very small town. Nature was a huge part of my childhood, and I found my favorite places to be were among the trees, streams, lakes & wilderness. I also love the ocean and later lived in Santa Barbara attending UCSB and studying Environmental Science and Art Studio. Although I am deeply connected to the natural world, my curiosity compelled me to explore urban life and I lived in San Francisco and New York City. Having a passion for travel, I also lived for a time in the Caribbean on a tiny remote island, trekked the Himalayas of Nepal, returned to my native Nordic countries, explored Thailand and Vietnam and have road tripped throughout parts of the United States. Now, I live on a happy five-acre ‘homestead’ in the Sierra foothills of Northern California.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Art for Kara’s eco-art card line, Lucky 2 b U

What do you make and sell?

My art is made by hand, created with ink, fluorescence, marker on paper and all the colors of the rainbow. The original drawings glow neon under a black light, so this is a sure way to verify authenticity! Greenerprinter in Berkeley Ca. makes the reproductions with vegetable inks, 100% post consumer recycled paper, and renewable energy. ‘Lucky 2 b U’ greeting cards are sold at select Whole Foods Markets in Northern California and many lovely boutiques.

How did you get started and when did you launch your business?

It seems I have always had a creative business; it has just changed and transformed, as all things in life do. While I lived in Brooklyn, I had a small storefront where I held ‘donation only’ yoga classes and hosted community gallery events. Then when in the Caribbean, I had a kiosko on the beach selling food and making art by the sea. During my time in San Francisco, I focused on figurative portraiture in oil paint. Currently, my art is sold online and through retail shops, and I work on projects for individual clients. I follow my dreams and hopefully the business will continue to follow too.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Zodiac art series by Kara Rane


Do you have any philosophies or ideals you try to represent with your work?

Art heals you. It infuses the body with positive energy, reduces stress, stimulates cognitive brain function and promotes a sense of unity. Our world is in desperate need of healing. We have lost the ability to live in harmony, balance, and good health- with nature, with Earth.

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from the great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”
-Chief Seattle

The art I create is devoted entirely to this healing, it is my medicine, for you, and for the planet.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Kara finds inspiration in travel and nature.

Where do you look for inspiration?

A definition of ‘inspire’ is to breathe or to infuse life by breathing. In the same way we cannot live without air, we cannot live without being inspired. It is an essential component to our being alive.

What does your workspace/studio look like?

A work studio is wherever I happen to be. Sometimes all I need is pencil and paper, nothing else. Other times, it may be more elaborate and might require that I can work on the project for a long length of time with a variety of materials. I am almost always accompanied by at least one spirit animal, as the tranquil peace of time flows by.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Kara’s art studio in Northern California.

What are some of your favorite tools or techniques?

Working with my hands, in all things! I am very dedicated to living a sustainable lifestyle, to supporting and growing organic food and to understanding how to best care for the land and creatures we depend on. One of my newest skills (a continual work in progress) is attending to our 26 fruit tree orchard. In this way, I have come to know each and every tree. I touch each one and especially in our recent harvest, have hand picked each apple, peach, and plum.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Fruit orchards on Kara’s five-acre homestead in the Sierra foothills.

Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome in your business? Or something you tried but didn’t work the way you planned?

One of the challenges as an artist is to stay true to your own vision. Often times progressive work will not be popular at first because it is new and most people will be afraid to like it unless other people do. This can be really challenging in our current ‘social media’ culture. But it is important to offer a unique perspective, to present reality not as we already see it but as it can be seen, this is the only way art can truly be transformative.

Visit Kara’s Etsy shop and follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Thank you so much Kara for sharing your story with us! Do you want to be our next Featured Maker?
Visit our Contribute Page for more info!

INSPIRATION: 6 Dreamy Work Spaces

Do you ever daydream about what you’re perfect work space would look like? Where would it be? What would it look like? My dream would be to have a spacious studio with big windows, hanging plants, multiple work tables, ample storage for all my art and craft supplies, a record player and comfy overstuffed chair (instead of the 10’x10′ room in my tiny apartment that I can never actually work in because it’s filled to the brim with supplies and projects).

I’ve collected some of the most inspiring creative studios from around the web to share with you today. Enjoy!

INSPIRATION: Work Spaces #artist #studio

Studio of Mae Chevrette

Studio of APAK

Studio of APAK

Studio of Miranda Skoczek

Studio of Miranda Skoczek

Studio of Lisa Congdon

Studio of Lisa Congdon

Studio of Mati Rose

Studio of Mati Rose

TODAY: It’s Okay to try it Your Way.

IMG_2720_OKAYAs creative folks, we know that our work will change over time. We’ll have struggles, and we’ll have breakthroughs.

I feel like I’ve been going through a lot of that lately. I’ve had to make changes to the way I do things to accommodate for my schedule at the shop, and the limited time it’s allowed me for more creative endeavors. All in all it’s been a great experience, and has caused me to grow in directions I wouldn’t have expected. Since we’re focussed on building a creative community here at A-i-M, I thought I would share some of my experiences and encourage you to share your own.

Today I am thinking about…

Trusting Your Instincts

A friend keeps reminding me that “you have to know the rules to break them”, but I’ve always been the kind of person who knows the rules- then sticks to them. My rebellious side would let me break a few,secretly, but the other side would never be happy unless my lines were straight and my skill immaculate. It was tedious, and I was never happy with what I was making.

Because of limiting factors, I started working in a new way. I moved away from the computer and started working extensively in pencil. I would sketch, erase, sketch, erase, until I built up a design I was happy with. It all happened on one pieces of loose-leaf card stock; with a lot of lead, and a lot of erasing.

But I kept questioning myself. What if I was doing it the “Wrong Way”?

At some point I just decided to forget about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong way if I am happy with the result. Our satisfaction with our work is the most important outcome. If I was happier breaking a few rules and following my own instincts, then that’s the way it should be.

We have to have the confidence that our way is the right way, for us at least. That means trying new things, and feeling it all out…

but that’s what growing up is all about.

What do you think? Have you had any breakthroughs this summer? Any projects that surprised you?
Are you trying things your way?


TODAY: Heal a Creative Soul

The illustration above is from a college class assignment, and was one of the ways I dealt with some of the more negative critiques of art school. It was also my very first letterpress project, so even though it’s not the cheeriest subject, it lead to my biggest creative passion!

A few weeks ago I was talking to someone I knew from junior high, and they said something fairly innocuous that has been plaguing me since. It was mild, probably a joke, and definitely something my adult self would have laughed off– but somehow it struck right through to the insecurities of my inner ‘tween.

I think there are very few of us who would say that they had a childhood completely free of bullying (and if we’re honest with ourselves, we probably didn’t treat everyone perfectly). It’s been a long time since that was me; and even though I am a worrier, I try not to worry too much about what people say about me. I’m a “grown-up” now.

But here’s the thing- I am just now getting to the point where I can make things without constantly worrying what people will say about them.

The trouble with subjective work

I think that bullying has a special impact on our creative souls. If you make a drawing that one sour person says “looks stupid” you will forever question your talent. Your work is subjective, so there’s no standardized test for creativity. What’s worse is that art programs encourage this kind of snarky commentary in class critiques. Very few programs make an issue of allowing only productive criticism, so you end up with people saying “I just don’t like it” “It’s not successful” “The perspective is off.”

Basically, there’s never going to be proof you’re talented, so it takes a long time for those kind of negative experiences to wear off.

I’d love to turn the whole world around (and bring world peace) but I’ll settle for getting everyone to embrace their creativity and appreciate their own style.

Below are a couple of ways that people have, over time, helped me overcome some of my hang-ups about my work– and things that I try to do to reinforce positive feelings about what I’m doing. It’s all personal, but I feel like they would be great ways to encourage creative exploration in your own life, and to help the people around you have confidence in the things they make.


Make Someone Happy

Show interest in their work.

Even if people who are quiet and secretive about their creative endeavors, they usually enjoy when people show interest in them. Don’t be pushy about it, if they don’t want to show you their work, let it go… this time. Ask questions about what they are interested in, their point of view, and places they like to look at for inspiration. Show interest in them as whole (creative) people.

Compliment, Compliment, Compliment.

If someone shows you their work, say something nice and say something true. Don’t just make up something to say, really take a moment to appreciate what you’re looking at. There’s bound to be something to admire– tell them!

Ask smart questions.

Again, showing interest in the work is key. Ask why they made decisions that they did, what they are trying to say with their work, what problems they are trying to solve.

Ask them to look at your work, sometime.

Even if you do totally different types of creating, asking for someone’s opinion shows that you appreciate their point-of-view.

Basically, be encouraging and interested.

We all need a little more creativity in our lives, and that’s much easier without nagging doubt. So lets nip those mean little voices in the bud, and while you’re at it…


Heal your creative soul

Interact, frequently, with people who “get you”.

You know, like the community here at A-i-M! There are also free meet-ups and craft events in most areas that are a great place to interact with other people who are making creativity a part of their lives. (We’d love to know about creative groups in your area- let us know in the comments section!)

Be honest with the people who make you feel less than awesome.

Sometimes people don’t think about how their comments make you feel about your work. If you take a (calm) moment to give them a little insight, you might find out they have a lot of great things to say.

Take compliments when they come.

Sometimes it takes a little work to let those compliments sink in. Take a minute to consider who they are coming from, and let it go to your head.

Keep making things the way that feels right.

For me there’s always a fight between the way I want to do things, and the way I feel like I should do them. Lately I’ve started following my own flow, and I feel happier with the things I’m making. It also gives me more energy to try new techniques, whether or not they end up working for me.

Do all that other positive stuff.

Make affirmation cards, do wacky projects, cook something crazy, and just get your creative life going. The more you do to bring joy to your life (and the lives of others) the better the world gets.



What soothes your creative soul?


FEATURED MAKER: Jill Bliss #artist #interview
I’m super excited to have Jill Bliss as our Featured Maker today! I first met Jill when I moved home to Portland in 2009 and signed up for one of her drawing classes. Her work is amazingly detailed and I love her lush nature-inspired works. I’ve been in awe of her off-the-grid lifestyle and love following her on all her adventures on Instagram. Be sure to check out her website too!

FEATURED MAKER: Jill Bliss #artist #interview

Jill Bliss – west coast migrant

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

I’ve been a professional nature-based artist and designer since 2000, and a teacher of the same for almost half that time. I spent my seminal childhood years on a farm in northern California, while my adult life took place in the big cities of New York, San Francisco & Portland OR, until two years ago when I sold most everything to travel and reconnect with the slower natural pace and living things I knew & adored as a child. I’ve been living, working, traveling & exploring amongst the Salish Sea islands of Canada & Washington State ever since.

What do you make and sell?

Mostly notecards and posters featuring my artwork, but I’m working towards creating storybooks again. I self-published two books back when I graduated from college, but then geeked out on stationery goods for the past decade or so.

What made you decide to take the leap and start your own creative business?

I didn’t make a specific decision to begin a business, my life-long hobby of making things just evolved into what I do to pay the bills. Some years it pays the bills more than others.

Jill’s tent studio.

What does your workspace/studio look like?

In the past two years I’ve moved among various short-term rentals and house sitting jobs. As long as I have a table next to a large window for lots of natural light I’m happy!

Jill's cabin studio overlooking the forest.

Jill’s cabin studio overlooking the forest.

Is your business your full time job? Or do you have a day job?

I have assorted part-time jobs also! Living in a small island community there’s always varied work available. In the past year I’ve helped organize the island historical files, cleaned & organized cabins, housesitting, care taking, etc. Lately I’ve become the island signage making person. I’ve also recently become a certified Salish Sea naturalist, so next summer I’ll be working on tourist boats and/or in the parks on one of the larger islands out here, which is perfect complimentary work to my artwork made in the off-season.

Jill's water studio! Sooo jealous...

Jill’s water studio! Sooo jealous…

How long have you been making art? Where did you first learn about it?

I’ve been making and drawing things since I can remember. Drawing is my primary way of experiencing the world, it helps me understand how things are put together and how they interrelate.

Where do you find inspiration?

As cliched as it sounds – everywhere! When I was working on my Marmot Anima piece, there was a blank-feeling little spot and I was sitting at my art desk looking out the window, wondering what I could put there. An eagle flew by. Bingo!

Wild fox

Visit’s Jill’s website and follow her on Instagram!

Thank you so much Jill for sharing your story with us! Want to be our next Featured Maker?
Visit our Contribute Page for more info!

FEATURED MAKER: Katie Smith of Punk Projects

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview
We are excited to have Katie Smith of Punk Projects talking with us today in our new series, Featured Maker! Katie is a talented artist and crafter. In addition to running her blog, Punk Projects, she also makes and sells awesome hand-painted shoes, mixed-media bookmarks, and custom painted tote bags. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop too!

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

I’m Katie, I’m from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas. I’m an artist, a DIYer, and canvas shoe designer. I’m also a cyclist, gardener, nerd, and tea lover.

I started my blog, Punk Projects, in 2009 to share my art but now it’s become so much more. It is where I write about all of my projects. Every Monday, I post “Make it Monday” on my blog, where I share tutorials written by other DIY bloggers. The rest of the week I post anything from a DIY tutorial to photos of my most recent scrapbook layout or journal page.

What do you make and sell?

I create custom canvas shoes and sell them in my etsy shop. My most popular shoe design is definitely my Minion shoes. I made a pair for myself and everyone asks me if I sell them, so now I do! I’ve also started selling both custom canvas tote bags and mixed media bookmarks in my shop as well.

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview

Hand-Painted Shoes by Katie

Where do you look for inspiration?

Everywhere! Pinterest, blogs, stores, magazines, etc. Some of my favorite blogs to read for inspiration are:
A Beautiful Mess, Balzer Designs, and The Crafted Life.

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview

DIY Card Table & Chair Set made by Katie

What does your workspace/studio look like?

Currently I don’t have a separate room for my studio. We have a pretty big living room so we have a bookcase splitting it up almost into 2 rooms and half of that is our studio.

What are some of your favorite tools or techniques?

My favorite tool is probably my Crop-A-Dile punch. It comes in so handy!

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview

Mixed Media Bookmarks made by Katie.

Is your business your full time job? Or do you have a day job?

My business is my day job. It’s a dream come true. I’m lucky to have amazing parents who let me live at home while I work on building my blog and my business.

What does a day in the life of Katie look like?

I get up about 6 am every morning and the first thing I do is make a cup of tea! I check my email and facebook then I usually go for a bike ride and then come back and do some computer work/blogging. After lunch I get to crafting, working on design team projects and blog projects. While I eat dinner I usually put on a Star Trek episode and play facebook games.

Do you have any favorite books or resources you’d be willing to share with someone interested in learning how to sell their work?

I have recently gotten a copy of Mollie Makes: Making It! book, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in selling their handmade goods.

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview

Fantastic DIY Flamingo Decor made by Katie

Visit Katie’s blog and Etsy shop.

Thank you so much Katie for sharing your story with us! Want to be our next Featured Maker?
Visit our Contribute Page for more info!

FEATURED MAKER: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview
We are excited to announce a new series on Adventures In Making called Featured Maker! We ask an artist/crafter/maker some questions so that we can get to know them better. I’m so happy to have Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy (formerly Peace Owl Forest) talking with us today. I’ve been a huge fan of her work for years. Her art is oozing with hippie flowers, free spirited surfers, and happy thoughts.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

My name is Rachel from sunny south Florida, a big lover of the sea and flower power. I have been painting and doing art shows since 2009. I formerly was called Peace Owl Forest but recently have changed to Surfy Birdy. My art represents a love for the sea and the freedom it makes you feel.

What do you make and sell?

Paintings done on scrap wood or cardboard, prints, tote bags, baby tees, adult tanks, ceramic things, and more. Lately I have been painting a lot of surf art, longboard surfers, lady sliding, hanging 10, and dream homes like a treehouse, A-frame home, VW van, or tent with some fun waves out back. I also do inspirational quote art and other art that hopes to brighten your day.

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview

How did you get started and when did you launch your business?

I started back in 2009 when I saw a chance to paint live at a local music festival. I had been painting and decorating my walls and for friends and family and decided to try painting at this festival with my Peace Owl character and from there I was hooked. I started my etsy shop right after and have done many different craft shows, art shows and little music festivals in Florida.

Do you have any philosophies or ideals you try to represent with your work?

I just want to make people smile to feel warm and to inspire adventure.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I get my inspiration from the sea and road trips and adventures and daydreams.

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview

What does your workspace/studio look like?

I live in a little cottage that feels like a treehouse. It is small with a wood ceiling and marble floor. It has the feeling of living in a camper and it is just perfect for me and my pup Shelly dingo. I craft next to where I sleep and I eat next to where I craft. I like to live simply and have the option the pack up and go if adventure calls.

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview

Is your business your full time job? Or do you have a day job?

Right now I just do my art on the side. I work at an office with my family. I dream about one day creating full time or even part time but for now it is a balance of work, sea time, and craft time.

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview

Visit her Etsy Shop and follow her on Facebook and Instagram!

Photos by: Ryan Pinder Photography

Thank you so much Rachel for sharing your story with us! Want to be our next Featured Maker?
Visit our Contribute Page for more info!