interdisciplinary artist


2010- the year of the collections

i am completely engrossed by these collections.

but before i go there, let's go back...

i was in high school when i really decided, i'm going to be an artist.  i was always painting and drawing, even on my bedroom walls. but it wasn't until i was faced with the prospect of going to a normal college that i realized, i wouldn't be happy unless art was in my life.

after much parental debate, and me giving speeches about art, i was given permission to attend my first choice school called Maryland Institute College of Art in baltimore, md. they wrote me a hand-written note after viewing my portfolio, when the rest of the college mail i received was very [insert name here], if you know what i mean... so i was smitten when i got some personalized attention.

mica was heaven. in a world where you are the freak outsider, drawing on your hands and knees.  singing rhymes to yourself and just letting your imagination run wild, mica was the welcoming family you simply never realized you had. i loved my intro courses. the first year was mind-blowing. literally, mind blowing. i grew up in the midwest where there were actually two rival high schools and yes, the train tracks literally delineated whom went to which school. so to leave all that and by myself travel to the east coast, to be an artist from a family of engineers, was the most perfect thing to have ever happened. i adored mica, i thought there was absolutely nothing better in the entire world than to reside in a community of artists.

but then, let's fast forward. and it's my senior year, and after picking a very conceptual major under the belief that it was very freeing to accept "anything as art" and anyone as an artist. but i tried struggling with that concept for four years. and realizing the only difference between myself and outsider art is that i went to an institution and they made me aware of the other institutions. Other. with a capital o. and i became jaded against the art canon, and the idea that in the end, it still is a juried system. and entirely based on opinion. and not everything is art. because some say it isn't. and when they own the galleries, they get to decide.

so for my senior thesis, i picked something entirely UN-ART, as a rebellion, i suppose now. i decided i wanted to make hats, and upcycle clothing, and run a business on etsy. that running a business and studying stores, that this was the art.  it totally baffled my major.  let's just say, my teacher and i didn't get along. and i can be pretty stubborn when i want to be. i even made them hold a critique during an art market, where my things were for sale, you know, to drive the point home.   before i graduated in 2008, i had weekly critiques where i felt like i was constantly banging my head against the wall, while my peers put out charlie brown pillowcases as artwork, while i tried to display what the internet was making possible, how anyone can be an entrepreneur, and explain that the business was about the connections, and they told me 100 other ways i could make those connections, but in the end, they just didn't get it. and maybe i didn't get it either. but i was doing something different, something controversial. and isn't that what art is? when it comes down to it?

once i graduated, i felt i must continue on, in part to show them, in part because i found something exciting in fiber arts and i wasn't ready to let go... i stumbled, and had to re-brand and reconsider what i was doing multiple times a year...when i graduated, i had maybe 50 sales? many of them from family & friends. but now, i've made more than 330 sales. connected with hundreds of other human beings and artists and shared together. but most importantly, i came into my own with yarn.

i've come a LONG way with rawfish at my back. and without the support of this wonderful community of fiber artist, i don't know if i would have ever been able to be at this point again. the point where i finally feel comfortable making ART again! declaring it art, as opposed to supply. to say, i'm really designing something here. and i think it's special enough to have a grouping. a way for me to be able to focus all the techniques i've spent the last two years harnessing.

anyway, now that you know the backstory...

here are some sketches of the developing collections for 2010. (click to zoom)


ply away home & boum (party) collections


"harrumph" watercolor from the "ply away home" collection


"mutetations" collection layout & things to decide...


hat shown sketched above in the "mutetations" collection

if you want to see more of the collections please check out my





love you guys to the moon!

xo, laila