Interview with Lisa of Ila & Alice!

emilykitschgirlreporter

Today I’m very honored and excited to be interviewing the lovely Lisa of ila & alice. Lisa is a wonderful artist, spreading uplifting messages of female empowerment, self-acceptance and positivity through her gorgeous work. She’s truly an incredible woman and it has been such a joy getting to know her!

I hope you all enjoy this interview with Lisa, and make sure to check out ila & alice!

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Tell us about your business, Ila and Alice!

Hiya Emily! ila and alice is a place where women can find empowerment, encouragement and connection. It is a place where women can share and be connected through the art that I create. I am a maker of paper art to help deliver messages of support, encouragement, thank yous and “I care about you.s” I am a big believer in the power of snail mail & authentic connections.

When did you start your business? What inspired you to start it and what excites you about your work?

I started being self-employed in 1989 after I graduated from fashion school. Between that time and 2013 my business was called Weezi and I designed streetwear and vintage inspired clothing. I had a brick and mortars shoppe here in London, Ontario where I sewed and designed everything in it. I closed that shoppe in 2013 for various reasons but mostly because we bought a house and I was moving from the location where the shoppe was. Once I had relocated I thought I would continue on with Weezi from home but it was clear early on after the move that I wasn’t truly into clothing anymore and I needed a change.

I renamed my business ila and alice in 2016 because I wanted a fresh start and to start over from scratch. I was inspired to create the kind of art that I do because I used similar techniques during my own journey of healing and recovering after the closure of my original business. I thought that after I moved that it would be easy to pick up where I left off and just simply move forward but it turned out to be much difficult then I anticipated. I struggled greatly with my own perceived failures in my business and who I was without it, my identity.

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As I moved through what turned out to be a complete personal and a complete creative transformation I realized how enormous the issue of self worth and validation was for so many women. I mean to say, that of course logically I knew that everyone had issues with these things but when I dug deep trying to heal my wounds, the wounds of others were also overwhelming. I was struck by the notion that I wanted to help encourage, inspire and uplift women because I knew I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling. The idea of being able to connect with women from all over the world and help to remind them that they are not alone is extremely powerful, transformative and a kind of calling for me now. The idea of being able to help, connect and reassure was (is) very exciting for me. I was inspired by my journey and what I had learned AND! I knew that one of the best things women do is support and take care of their friendships. I wanted to create something that women could easily give to their friends and loved ones to say… “I’m here for you and you can do this.” I wanted to offer something that connects friends and women in a way that was authentic and honest.

Also, I LOVE snail mail and getting cards in the mail. It truly is a thrill when you see that special pretty envelope and you think to yourself, “What?? For MEEEEEEE?” yes, for you πŸ™‚ I wanted to combine my love of snail mail and the magic that can create with authentic sentiments of hope and empowerment.

I also designed my logo to also reflect these changes, the new me “sorta-speak” and my love of snail mail. The little fairy in the yellow dress represents the new me emerging from the lotus. You know that saying “No mud, no lotus”?? Well, that is me rising up from my lotus and my transformation but with my feet still in the lotus/ mud because I have a lot to learn πŸ˜‰ The grasshopper also at my feet represents taking that leap of faith and going for it. Jumping in and making my dreams come true. Don’t look back but leap forward. The tiny kitty by the fairy’s feet is for my Granny who LOVED kitties and passed on that love to me. I love everything about cats and I especially love their sense of independence. The tiny kitty reminds us to not fear our independence and authenticity but to embrace it and show it off proudly just as a cat does πŸ˜‰

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I picked a fairy in a yellow dress because yellow is the colour of joy and happiness. It is also the colour of communication, imagination, confidence, knowledge, wisdom and warmth. It is the colour of the solar plexus chakra ( vitality and will) and I know I need to work every day on balancing this chakra of mine. The dragonfly above my head represents transformation, new beginnings and not being burdened or weighed down by my past and the mistakes I think I made.

The moon is about cycles, changes and how we constantly are going through these cycles of evolvement. Each cycle of the moon brings its own rewards and challenges and if we are in tune with these cycles we can gain much insight and be more self-aware. The bluebird brings messages of hope, joy and inspiration just as I hope to. The scissors are about the actual cutting and making of the cards but they also speak to the need to regularly “cut away” from our lives the things that no longer serve us. To cut from our lives the things that bind us or hold us back from living an authentic life. The wee Matryoshka doll represents my Baba and my Ukrainian heritage. It also tells of the many layers we all have within us and that we are all complex creatures full of mystery and many emotions. To honour all of our layers, even the ones we don’t like, understand or appreciate yet.

What is your process? What tools do you like using? Where do you do your work? Can you walk us through a day in your life with your business?

The process is actually quite simple. When I sit down and get ready to make a card I simply ask myself what did I need or want to hear. All the cards on my website are the direct result of conversations I have had, conversations I WISH I had the courage to have or lastly, conversations I wish could have with people who are no longer in my life. When there is something going on with me and I feel anxious or scared or alone, I write things down I wish someone would say to me. If I am feeling scared or not good enough I think what should I tell myself? One day after a disagreement with my partner I thought to myself, I don’t feel heard, like REALLY heard. He was listening but he didn’t HEAR me. So, I made a card that says thank you to a friend for really sitting and hearing you. Those are some of the things that go into cards. Conversations of encouragement, support, brave choices and joy between myself and my friends are in the cards I make. Every card or button or printable journal card I create is the direct result of a personal experience of mine.

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During my process of trying to heal and come to a better understanding of myself I really understood that if I need to hear these things, there are loads of other women who do too. It is universal. It is a human imperative to be connected and to be supported. My fears and issues and hang-ups are the same as everyone else’s. When I was trying to sort out my deepest fears and insecurities I found so much comfort in knowing that it wasn’t just me who felt this way. Knowing that others struggle as I did helped take away some of the shame I was feeling. And! most importantly knowing that I wasn’t alone helped me to understand why I just couldn’t “get over it.” That I needed to take the time to understand what was going on and that I could learn from the voices of other women like myself.

What tools?? I like to use a mix of things. Different kinds of paper, rubber stamps, washi tape and I love my old fashion label maker from the 1970s. I am pretty much a super fan of things found in the stationary department or in a craft store. I LOVE rubber stamps and I like making stickers using my sticker maker. I am really a big kid because anything crafty lights me up light a Christmas tree πŸ™‚

I work from home in my lovely little studio where I am surrounded by things that I love and inspire me. It is my sacred space and my oasis of all things crafty and artsy-fartsy πŸ™‚ It is full of vintage inspiration in the way of images, statues, containers, glassware, knik-knacks (I LOVE kitsch!) and of course art supplies. This is my happy place where I get to create and develop my ideas into tangible items. This is where I sort out what is going through my head and decide what sentiments of hope, joy and friendship I can offer. I think about what I need to share and I think about what my tribe needs to hear, feel and be connected by.

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A day in the life with me starts late LOL! I am a night owl and work late often past 1:00am. So, needless to say, I wake up at the crack of 10:30 and it still takes me time to get moving. Because I am lucky enough to work from home and I set my own hours and thank goodness because I don’t hit my stride until about 4:00pm. I start my day sort of backwards from most people. I get up, do my chores, cleaning cooking etc. I do a workout of some sort depending on how I feel that day and then most days I am ready and super excited to start work by 4:00-ish. I have never been a morning person and I don’t trust myself to make any major decisions before 3:00pm LOL! So that is why the cleaning and cooking happen at the beginning of the day. I don’t like to be interrupted once I get going so I need a solid chunk of time to get things done and be productive. I won’t say I am a “temperamental” artist but I am set in my ways and like to have firm boundaries set in place so that the work can flow. This is a bit of a hangover from my sewing days when I needed to make more than 200 pieces of clothing in a month. I work best alone, no distractions and being interrupted breaks my flow and my stride so on days there may be other things going on, I do what I call “chopping wood.” I cut out images, do research, tidy up etc. I find it difficult to really get into the creative head space I need to be in if I know in an hour there will be a knock at the door. Maybe I am a temperamental artist after all LOL!

I will have a list at the beginning of the week of what needs to be done and hopefully accomplished. I decide at the beginning of each day what task or project I will work on depending on how I feel that day. Some days I love the idea of sitting at the desk immersed in Photoshop, graphics and fonts all and some days I know I can’t handle it. I do suffer from regular headaches so on the days a headache looms, I limit the computer stuff. I have learned the hard way to listen to my body and my mind and to be more fluid with how I get things done. I pushed too hard for too long for many years and when I burned out, it wasn’t pretty. I am very lucky to be able to work from home and run my day on an intuitive level. I worked as a waitress for a long time and that was a difficult experience so I am very grateful that may day can be very flexible πŸ™‚

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What do you love the most about your business?

What I love most is being able to meet the women I do through my art and being able to be connected to them. THAT is the number one for reason me. I love that I have access to women all over the world who share the same values, ideas and philosophies as I do. I love the magic of those connections and they help not only heal me but inspire me. I hear the stories of other like minded gals and I think YES! That was exactly the reaction or sentiment I was hoping for. Or, YES!! we feel exactly the same and we are not alone in our struggles. I love that I can use my art as art therapy for myself and for all the women who feel connected to my message. Having someone write to me and tell about why they bought the card that they did and who they are sending it to is amazing. When a woman says “I am sending your card to a friend because she needs to hear that she is full of possibility and I want her to succeed”, I, Lisa, am filled with joy. Knowing that my art can help strengthen their connection and also help someone feel stronger, inspired to take action and feel loved and supported. Yahoo!! That is the stuff of goosebumps for me. Knowing that I can help bring about positivity, hope, joy and strength is epic in my mind. I love THAT.

I love that I can be super creative and come up with all kinds of ideas about what kinds of cards and other things that I would love to make. Making things is what I do best and I am so grateful that I get to be creative and create things everyday πŸ™‚

What is the most difficult aspect of your business?

Hmmmmmm, I would say getting my art seen and driving people to my website and promoting myself. It is amazing to have access to the world but it is also a bit mind blowing. Some days I sit and think I am just one little itty bitty tiny business in a mammoth pool of other small businesses. It can be overwhelming. I am like HOW do I get myself out there?? So yes, I struggle with the “business-ey “side of business. I am an artsy-fartsy girl through and through so I find it difficult to deal with things like analytics and numbers and anything basically that is not about creating. I loved putting my website together and creating it etc. But when it was done I was like ….now what??! The “fun” part for me was over. I was like “OMG! I have to promote myself???!” Noooooooooooooo!!Β  I make stuff all day everyday. I make stuff in my sleep but the moment someone says ” tell me about yourself and your work”, I freeze up. I am like “no, no…that’s Ok. We don’t need to do that. Magical fairies will come with pixie dust and moonbeams and make my website appear on the first page of millions of google searches. I’m good with that, thanx. No need to talk more.” LOL!

My palms get sweaty, the inner critic starts with the negative talk and I am a mess. I could talk about anyone else’s art all day and promote them like crazy but promote myself ??? Ummm, no. The moment I have to promote myself I am looking for a giant snowsuit that I can zip up way over my head with an invisibility cloak to go with it. A time machine where I am jetted away from the conversation would be good too…..I’m just sayin’ πŸ˜‰

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I struggle not because I am shy but because I find it difficult to toot my own horn when it comes to speaking about my art as a product to sell. Like many artists, I sell my art because I need to pay the bills. I have difficulty putting a price on what I make. There is an ick factor there for me and I have always had trouble dealing with this part of being in business. Asking for what I think I might be worth is a struggle. It is hard for me to put a price on my imagination and something that comes from the core of my heart centre. I think this is true for a lot of people who create and especially true for those who create to help heal and connect. I want to be of service to people so when you ask what is that worth…it is a challenge for me.

You named your business Ila and Alice after your grandmothers, can you tell us about them and their influence on you and your life?

Yes, I proudly say that ila and alice were my Grannies.

They were two extremely important role models in my life. They were instrumental in helping me become the crafty and independent gal I am today. ila and alice were both crafty women who taught me a great deal about being creative in all things in life and about being tenacious. I was very lucky growing up to be exposed to two different cultures, ways of life and personal philosophies. I have dedicated the name of my business to these women because their influences as Grandmothers were paramount in my developing the values that I hold dear today. They are why I believe in hard work, integrity and being your true authentic self. I am very grateful for everything they taught me and showed me thru their own journeys. I luved them and miss them both very much.

ila was my Mum’s mum.
alice was my Dad’s mum.
ila and alice were very different women who came from very different backgrounds.

ila was of Scottish descent.
alice was of Ukrainian descent.

I called ila Granny and I called alice Baba.

my Granny ila: ila was a woman who was very good at many different things and believed fully in expressing yourself thru art, song, poetry and just about anything you could glue together. She saw the beauty in everything around her. Granny surrounded me with lovely examples of beauty in nature and taught me to not only to enjoy it but to respect and appreciate it as well. She taught me the value of generosity and kindness towards both people and animals. She loved being outside and was always showing me the importance nature plays in our lives. I really feel that my love and need for an “in-depth use of colour” is because she was always showing me fabulous examples of what mother nature was capable of. My Granny was very wise and she loved books. She loved great stories and she loved history. My Granny helped show me how smart I could be when I thought maybe I wasn’t. She took care of me in ways I didn’t fully understand until long after she as gone.

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my Baba alice: Alice was a woman who believed in hard work, speaking your mind
and the importance of doing the right thing. Baba taught me the value of a dollar and how to be thrifty. Baba helped me to understand the value of a hard-earned dollar and how to make it go far. This would be one of the greatest gifts of all. She showed me by example of how to pull my weight and do what needs to be done when things needed to be done. She was instrumental in teaching me how to be fearless and strong but also kind and gentle. She showed me it was OK to speak up for myself and not to be afraid of making waves. Baba embodied a pillar of strength and endurance to me. She knew what needed to be done and she did it. No complaining, no excuses you do what needs to be done. Elbow grease, re-using/recycling and common sense were traits that were essential for getting you thru life. Baba was my biggest fan and always encouraged me to strive for my dreams. My Baba didn’t get to go for her dreams so she knew the importance of supporting me.

ila and alice were from a generation that knew all too well what adversity meant on a scale much bigger than themselves. They lived thru wartime austerity and both knew very well that life was a luxury not to be taken for granted. Make do and mend was their daily reality and I am proud to have been a student of those principles that still apply to me today. These were women of great strength and determination in their own ways. I am not sure if they knew what great role models they were for me and how much of an impact they made on me, but I will be forever in their debt.
I am a very lucky gal indeed.

When did you start making paper art? What was it that drew you to this business?

I started making paper art in 2014. I was working through the distress and confusion that arose from closing my former business as I mentioned before. I was lost and confused without my old trusted routine, customers and workspace. I wasn’t expecting to have such a messy and confusing response to closing my store. I thought I could easily start fresh and new in a different location. But, one day I woke up and thought, I don’t ever want to sew a single thing again. I was dumbfounded. I had been sewing since I was 6. Granny taught me to sew and I still remember the day she did because my little heart lit up like a light bulb factory. I was in love with sewing. AND! it turned out I was really good at it. I went to fashion school and excelled there. I worked for a dressmaker for years and then I opened up my own biz. I literally sewed 12 plus hours a day and loved every minute of it. My whole identity was based on sewing.

But, that day when I said “no more sewing”, my little 6 year old inner child limped out of my heart and fell onto the floor. I was crushed and scared and very confused. Who was I if I didn’t sew?? It was ALL I had done my entire life and I never ever questioned my need and desire to sew and create. It was terrifying but I was emotionally exhausted and just plain done. I had no idea where to turn or what to think. I was like, what IS going on?? Well, here is the kick in the pants. It turns out that when you are a workaholic sewing and over-doing AND! did I mention over working for 20 plus years you eventually hit a wall? Who knew??? I mean, really…what exactly did you (Lisa) think would happen?? You can’t be a healthy productive workaholic and ignore your emotional well being on every level forever. You can’t??? Ummm, that would be a solid unequivocal, no. Nope. No dice. Nattda. And as they say in Russia, nyet.

No, you cannot work 12 plus hours a day and ignore your emotional and mental well being at the cost of trying to be an excellent entrepreneur. Who knew?? Me, that’s who. I worked and I worked and I worked thinking that I loved it all. I said no to friends, I said no to fun things because I had to prove myself to the world. Why?? because in the simplest way I can sum it up for you…I was terrified of failure. TERRIFIED. Failure was forever looming.

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Sooo, you ask where does paper fit into all of this?? Well, once I understood that I had basically spent most of my creative life living in some state of self-induced fear, I knew I had to sort it out and heal but I didn’t know how. I had never had to heal like this before. The greatest healing journey of my life was in motion and I made an almost instinctual decision to heal with paper and imagery. Being a very visual person, I started to pinpoint my pain and fears and issues with images of how I was feeling. I made collages and many healing imagery boards (think a manifestation board but for healing) by simply cutting and pasting. I cut and glued my heart out trying to find a sense and understanding into the transformation I was under going. As I worked with this medium it helped me make sense of what was going on. I read up about many things that were coming into play with the images I picked to help heal myself.

Shazam! I had a lightbulb moment of epic proportions! I read about the healing work of colour therapy and what a huge impact colour has on us. I read about how understanding where we come from and how knowing about our ancestors can also help to heal. I read about all kinds of ancient imagery, symbols and sigils that ancient cultures used. I read about Goddess worship and the maternal societies of ancient times. I learned about how people understood their world through the movement of the stars and the moon cycles. I read about how people practiced alchemy and used storytelling to teach and inspire. I read about how all these things were used not only by ancient people but how they still influence us today. A whole new world opened up for me once I connected everything together. Learning about how all these things were interwoven and how they are just as important today as in the past, helped me feel connected in a way I never had before. I realized that what I NEEDED to do was convey messages of hope, healing and empowerment with the use of colour and images. I realized that I could contribute with paper, colour and imagery and to help be of service in a way I had never considered before. I was understanding the healing effects first hand and I knew that given the chance, I could help others.

Knowing that paper and imagery with healing and helpful messages was now my game. I was excited πŸ™‚

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How do you decide on the imagery and text for your cards and pins? Where do you get your inspiration?

The number one thing for people to know about the messages in my cards is that they are the direct result of my own personal experiences. I knew that my feelings and thoughts were to be used as inspiration and fuel for what I wanted to say because I believed others could also relate to what I was feeling. The past fours years were tough and whenever something came up for me I wrote it down in a notebook and I asked myself, “what do you need to hear to help make you feel better?”.

I have a couple cards about being there for friends and always being available to help when needed. Those came from some very dark nights when I wondered if I would ever feel whole again. I wasn’t sure who I could call for help and that was scary. It wasn’t that I didn’t have friends but I didn’t know who I could call that would really sit with me and not be freaked out by my rawness and pain. It was those kinds of moments that compelled me to make cards about encouragement, friendship and empowerment. I really needed to hear those things and I was 100% sure that other women needed to hear them too. I felt so alone and unworthy and THAT made me feel shame and that was the worst. It is important to me that women know they are not alone with their fears and all of the icky, gross stuff that comes with fear, shame and insecurity. We women are very good at sharing a lot of stuff but when it comes to fear and vulnerability….not so much. Thankfully we are great at saying “I miss you and thank you and you rock” so I balanced out the scary stuff with supportive stuff too because it isn’t all doom and gloom πŸ™‚

First off, the imagery I pick is to show women of all ages and shapes and sizes in positions of empowerment, authenticity and in their own unique beauty. It is important to me that the images I use are of real women and that women of all walks are represented because we need more of that. Unfortunately, we are still bombarded with unobtainable and very damaging images of women every day. It is crazy making how women are still presented with so many fake and false images that none of us can relate it. Seriously, it is maddening. There is a whole litany of body types out there that are not reflected back to women. So, the images I pick is just my way of trying to balance things out and fight back for all of us out there who are real women with real bodies πŸ™‚

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I LOVE using the healing power of different colours in my cards. I also really enjoy ancient symbols and sigils and finding out what they meant a long time ago. I love using Goddesses and female archetypes to help convey a message because I love the history and lore that comes with it. I love the stories of different Goddesses from different pantheons and how they helped to empower, protect and bring ancient peoples together. I love using the moon too because there is so much mystery in the moon and all of its power. It amazes me every day that it controls our oceans and seas and has such a profound effect on our own state of being. Ask anyone who works in the ER on a full moon πŸ˜‰ I sit sometimes and look at the moon and think, this is the exact same moon that guided travelers in the dark over thousands of years ago. What I am seeing is exactly what ancient people saw as well. The moon connects us today and also our origins to our past. I so love that our DNA is made of up of thousands of generations and they all looked at the exact same moon as we do. It gives me goosebumps πŸ™‚

You’re incredibly passionate about spreading positive messages to other women, can you tell us why this has been so important to you and such an important part of your business?

Like I mentioned above, too many women suffer with their insecurities in silence. Logically I think we all know that we feel the same things but it can be very difficult to admit somethings because we feel a sense of shame about them. We think: “Sure, it is Ok for Nancy to feel unworthy and have no self-confidence but certainly, I will never let anyone know that I struggle too.” No one wants to be judged or made to feel small for not feeling whole. There is a huge fear of being isolated and then, in turn, left feeling very raw and vulnerable if we “overshare.”

I know I was incredibly scared to raise my hand and say ” I am totally flawed, I am not perfect and I am seriously confused.” Thankfully, I found some online groups who could help me see that it was Ok to share and say “I am a mess and I have no idea how to fix it.” It was a huge relief. Now, I am not a professional therapist by any means. I am just a gal who speaks from her own experience. But, in the groups that I belong to, I read post, after post, after post, from women who were just as fearful and confused as I was. The are bookstores full of books trying to address these issues. I know we need connection. I know we need to tell each other it is OK. In this time of instant this and text that…we are feeling as disconnected as we ever have. It is important to me that I can put the message out there to remind women they do not have to suffer in silence. It is important to me that I offer a way for women to say to each other, “hey! I am here for you. I see you. I miss you. I can help you. I got your back.”

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You’ve also started a really fantastic newsletter where you share your story and messages of empowerment, self-acceptance and positivity, can you tell us some more about it?

The newsletter is a sort of extension of what is going on with me and how I think it also relates to my readers. The important thing for me is that I share some of what I am going through or thinking about so that my readers can see themselves reflected back in my words and my struggles. Again, by sharing what is happening in my life or what I am being drawn to witness around me, I create a connection that is healing and hopefully bonding. Life is tricky right?? Some days you just think “Am I the only one feeling like this??” I think logically we know we are not but emotionally it can feel like we are isolated. The key is that there are good days and bad days and that we navigate them both with courage and connection. My newsletter talks a little bit too about what I’ve created and why. I talk about the symbolism I’ve used and what the images mean. The idea is to uplift, connect and inspire.

I want to encourage women to rekindle the excitement of snail mail and send messages of hope, love and gratitude. I want to help broaden the idea of what mailing a card means. I would like women to think about how much power is in a card that they mail and how much the intent IN the card means. I know whenever someone sends me a card I am so excited when I see it. Nothing bad comes from a pretty envelope or a handmade card. Those little hallmarks in our lives mean so much not to mention the feelings and memories that go along with that.

In this day and age of texting and instant “everything” we can be in-touch anywhere in the world and that is wonderful. BUT! holding a card in your hand that a friend has mailed, with her thoughts and words in that card is a bond. It is a physical bond and it is also a kind of magical bond. Her energy, kindness and maybe even love is in that card. The whole process from picking the card to popping it in the mailbox was all about you, the recipient or visa versa, you the sender. You send your vibes and energy to your friend. THAT is what I want to convey in the newsletter. I want to talk about connections and bonds and what they mean in a digital world. I want to talk about feeling lonely and isolated in a world where we are supposed to be super connected. I want to talk about the power we have to help and heal each other. I think in a world where we are expected to be “on” all the time, we should talk about making authentic connections where you don’t HAVE to be “on” all the time.

In the newsletter, I would like to talk about self love and self acceptance. I think we should discuss showing up and being authentic but not feeling pressured into being “perfect.” There is room to be extremely self loving and vulnerable in our lives and to share those things with others, stand in out truths and be proud. AND! to be completely imperfect as well. To be perfectly imperfect. πŸ™‚ Again, our world is full of perfect images, perfect people with perfect lives and perfect bodies, perfect hair and makeup…even perfect relationships and perfect homes. We need to know that if we do not subscribe to a so-called perfect life, then that is super fantastic too. I have spent the majority of my life living in fear of not being perfect in the way that I thought I should be. I thought I had to be perfect to be loved and accepted. It was a major epiphany when I finally understood that I did not and could not EVER live up to my unrealistic expectations of myself. My ego had me so twisted up and messed up it took a long time to undo all that self-imposed conditioning. It is a terrible burden to carry and SOOOO many women carry that “perfect” image with them every day. I want the stuff I write about in my newsletter to have some sense of relief from these sorts of things. That hopefully my stories and experiences can be a kind of learning curve for others. I really just want to connect, inspire, share and get some people mailing love and energy through the mail πŸ™‚

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What is your personal favourite of all of your cards and pins, and which would you recommend to others?

I would have to say my favourites are the positive body image cards because I love the images I found for those cards. The women in those cards are all so lovely in their own way. They look beautiful and authentic to me. I would love to know their stories and who these women were. So many stories and secrets and experiences in these women and I would like to know what was going on in their lives when those photos were taken. Such fun! I also like the body image cards because as we all know, women struggle every day on an epic level with body image. Ugh. The way the media makes women feel about their bodies is criminal. It breaks my heart when I listen to women talk about how they hate their bodies. Even worse how we dissect ourselves into what is acceptable and what is not. Things like, “My hair is nice but my legs are disgusting”…..that sort of things makes me angry and sad at the same time.

I think that sending a friend a card to remind her that she is perfect the way she is can have a lot of healing in it. It might not change her view entirely about herself but it might offer some relief and it is a great reminder that how she sees herself isn’t how her friends and the world sees her. Being reminded that you matter and are accepted as you are is so restorative, healing and affirming on so many levels.

We live in a crazy world where we are constantly being told we are not “something” enough. I remember seeing an ad on TV for a deodorant that had extra moisturizer in it for rough underarms. I was like “WTH. WHO???? Who has rough skin on their underarms??? WHO!!? Show me!”…no one, that’s who. It was just another thing to make women feel inadequate.

I thought this is insane….now women have to moisturize there too?? Grrrr. It is out of control and it is beyond demeaning. I loathe the beauty industry and what it does to the collective self-esteem of women. It makes me very angry that billions of dollars are made simply by making us hate our bodies and the way we look. I understand that I can’t take on the beauty industry but I can make cards that we can send to each that say “Hey! You are amazing and do not get talked into or bamboozled by some magazine into thinking any other way.”

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I have a card that says “In a world where loving your self is seen an act of rebellion, accepting yourself as you are is a grand revolution.” YES!! Love yourself and rebel! I think we need to help each other and support each through this journey of self acceptance and give a HUGE middle finger to the companies that make billions of dollars by making us think there is nothing right with us. That we are all super flawed and need whatever it is they are selling to make us acceptable. These kinds of cards can be so powerful and very much needed. And you know, even though we might be able to think and feel it, it is extra nice when a friend says that she sees it too πŸ™‚

You also have a great love of vintage and even used to own a vintage inspired clothing store, can you tell us some more about what started your love of vintage?

My love for vintage started very young as I was introduced to second hand stores and rummage sales. I was immediately hooked on the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the find!! I can’t explain it exactly but once I was about 10-ish I just knew I loved older things. I couldn’t get enough of knick knacks, kitschy stuff and anything from the 50s and 60s. I LOVED 50s fashion and so I was totally enthralled with shoes, purses and jewellery from then. It used to be you could find that stuff everywhere at the GoodWill etc. and I bought anything I could. I loved the sophistication of the 50s. I loved how well clothes were made then and how they fit properly. I loved the big hair and the big skirts. Cats eye glasses and leopard print totally rocked my world. I was a pretty funky teenager I have to admit. My goal was to turn heads with my vintage outfits and I succeeded LOL! I can only imagine what my mother was thinking as I left the house in some crazy thrift store outfit! I felt free and creative dressed like that. I felt grown up and worldly. I loved being different from everyone else and vintage fashion allowed me to express that very nicely.

Tell us about yourself!

Hmmmmm, well you know alot about me already πŸ™‚

I am an artsy fartsy Canadian gal who enjoys making many things. I am a HUGE fan of kitties, gardening, thrift stores, vintage florals, Doc Martens, the Moon, vintage hats, music from the 80s, postcards, pretty vintage paper, history and the fascinating role women play in it and lastly…..Halloween πŸ™‚ Once we moved to this house (from an apartment building) and I had a front lawn, I rekindled my love of Halloween. I go all out and put up a full-size casket on the front lawn with witches and all kind of spooky stuff. I have four fog machines and every year gets bigger and better. Sooooo much fun to watch the kids when they come to the house. I am a huge fan of everything British. I grew up in love with British fashion esp. in the 1960s. London in the 60s must have been epic πŸ™‚ I am a huge Tank Girl fan….the movie and the comics πŸ™‚

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What do you do in your free time?

This is an interesting question because I love to work so much that I don’t have a lot of down time. When I am not in my studio I might be searching online for inspiration on Pinterest or Etsy. I love looking for new art supplies, rubber stamps and paper. Of course I like to peruse through second hand shops, flea markets etc. I still get super excited going to Value Village because you just never know what you might find πŸ˜‰ I like to read books about historical stuff. I am an amateur gardener so I like to plants things and try not to kill them LOL! I am trying to be a better cook because there is nothing artistic about the way I cook LOL!! It is getting better and things actually taste good sometimes but there is still a long way to go. Oh, I am currently also trying to master our bread machine πŸ™‚

Do you have any words of advice for someone who might be thinking of starting their own creative business?

The best piece of advice I can give is, do what you love, be true to yourself and be authentic. Do what lights you up. Be open to change and go with the flow. Make sure you have a good support system in place with people who will be there for you. Being a creative means also being sensitive (you can’t be one without the other) so it good to have people around you trust to help you bounce ideas off of, to help you make tough decisions and to stand behind you when you need support. Don’t get caught up in whatever others are doing or making. Stick to what separates you from everyone else. Like I said earlier, Hallmark makes cards but I know that when I speak from my heart, it sounds a lot different than a generic drugstore card. You have to believe that what you offer has a value and uniqueness all unto its own. Most importantly, listen to your gut and your intuition. If it “feels” wrong, listen to that. There is a lot of wisdom in your instincts and always listen to those hunches.

Don’t forget to play. I didn’t play for years because I thought it was a waste of time and that was a HUGE mistake. I burned out, crashed hard and lost perspective. It was a nightmare. If you only work and never look up around you and smell the roses, you will pay a price later. Creatives need to play to replenish and rejuvenate. Never feel bad about taking some downtime.

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Do you have anything special you would like to promote to my readers?

I have a coupon code for both shops that offer 15% off (which gets the Candian dollar at par) and it is: IMOPEN15. I have a link here for a free digital download of 8 self loving journal cards. Download and then print them off on card stock. Cut up and use in your journal, daytimer or send to a friend πŸ™‚

Where can we find you online?

You can find me online at www.ilaandalice.com or on Etsy.

Thank you so much, Lisa, for allowing me to interview you! It’s been so wonderful getting to know you and share your amazing message with my readers! I wish you all the best in everything you do! ❀

I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Lisa! She really is such a great lady, isn’t she? I love this gal!

If there is anyone you would like to see interviewed here, let me know and I’ll do my best! You never know who you will find featured here! πŸ™‚

All images featured in this post used with kind permission from Lisa of ila & alice.

7 thoughts on “Interview with Lisa of Ila & Alice!

  1. Emily, you and Lisa made my day. πŸ˜€ I laughed so hard when I read the part about the moisturizing deodorant, (I’m still laughing over it), you’re so right. Lisa your cards are just marvelous and real. Thank you for sharing your journey and for all you are. Stay real. Bless you both.~cheers ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Ila & Alice Mega Review! | The Pretty and The Kitsch

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