Creativity – In the Studio with Heather Lancaster
In this series on The Southern C, I like to introduce our readers to some of the great Southern creative minds we run across on our social network and at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Go behind the scenes to get a glimpse into their studio, read what they are working on, discover the path that led them to this moment and find out what motivates and inspires their work and lives.
The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious” and this is one thing we are happy to spread.
This week we meet artist Heather Lancaster, an Atlanta native. Hailing from a family of artists, her mother is a painter, she grew up immersed in this world which fostered a profound appreciation for art, even as a child.
Heather began her own study of art and visual expression as an adolescent and continued it throughout her college years and beyond. Her awareness of and love for the beauty in nature and wildlife is evident in her sensitive, finely rendered drawings of animals and botanical elements. Her choice of graphite gives each piece a quiet, timeless feel and the exquisite detail draws the viewer into the piece.
Equally busy outside the studio and away from the drawing board, Heather can be found running on in-town paths or through the woods, reading, exploring new art, and enjoying her busy family and nature.
Describe your brand and how it got started:
Heather Lancaster Illustration-Stationery offers unique, timeless, and personal fine art focused products for children and adults. I started creating drawings for my own three children when they were very little, during naptimes and late at night. Each hand-drawn illustration, whether it be on stationery or a fine art print, features an animal or object inspired by a certain memory, association or individual, so it possesses a special presence of its very own.
After a while, people began asking me to create or reproduce my illustrations for their children or themselves, and here I am!
Describe a typical day in your studio:
I work completely by myself, in my studio at home, so I have my own quiet routine. It starts with coffee… lots of it! Every morning I take a few minutes to scan, edit and rearrange my bulletin board, which holds tattered, hard-copy photographs and articles I love and have saved over the years. Then a little bit of stretching, and after that, I park myself at the drawing table, where I work for several hours at a time, with very few breaks, pretty much all day long.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
In retrospect, I was always drawing and painting. But I don’t know if I knew what I wanted to be, I only knew exactly WHERE I wanted to be, and that was outside, around plants and animals, family, and old houses.
How has your background influenced your work?
I grew up with a mother who’s a painter, and a father who’s an attorney – very analytical, and also an avid sailor. Both love the outdoors. Neither is conventional. My three siblings and I were taught the value of independence, self-reliance, and an ardent appreciation of the natural world.
From a professional experience/training standpoint, fine art, historic preservation, and a love of gardening have all influenced my work. In the middle of this high-tech world, these are all things which, in my mind, remain true, and real, and beautiful.
Favorite biz tool, app or resource:
My pencils. If I have them, I am set.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration on long, quiet runs; in the miraculous intricacy of a spiderweb or beehive; in the tender, soulful faces of my children; in the silent and resolute way a plant grows from a simple seed. Inspiration surrounds us all the time – it’s there for the taking – every second of every day. It’s up to us to slow down and appreciate it.
The rare day off -what do you do to unwind?
I spend time with my family, and even on my days off, I draw.
Best business advice you ever received:
“Stay ahead of your clients.” Communication is key. Customers don’t want
to be kept in the dark about changes to production schedules, mishaps, availability of options, etc. Have the consideration to keep clients informed, whatever the scenario may be.
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below:
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors. This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!