On this second Tuesday in September, we meet with an artist who has combined her passion for design, gardening and sewing to create a breathtaking range of items. Lotta, the talent behind the Inleaf brand, makes hand-printed, hand-crafted art quilts, bags, towels, table linens, pillows, and sachets. Each piece is made using natural linen, organic cotton, hemp or reclaimed fabrics, and a unique medium called Leaf Printing.
Lotta explains Leaf Printing to me, as it’s a technique I’ve not experimented with before. “Textile paint is applied to the back of a fresh leaf or other plant materials, and then pressed onto the fabric surface,” she clarifies. “The fabrics are then steamed to make the paint colorfast, and then the items are constructed in my studio.”

The inspiration that nature brings to Lotta’s work extends further than just the pattern on her prints, however. “I take care to produce my work with minimal environmental impact,” she nods. “All inks and dyes are water based and non-toxic, and I use organic and domestically produced supplies whenever possible.”


As is the case for many artists and crafters, Lotta’s creative journey began in her childhood. “My mother was (and still is) an expert seamstress,” Lotta explains. “She sewed our clothes and wove rag rugs, blankets, and linen towels for our house. She made tapestries and knitted sweaters. She is a true artist and she taught me many of her skills along the way.”

Although the business idea for Inleaf came much later, Lotta’s mother was still a driving force behind it. “She was visiting from Sweden, and during an intense discussion about art, design, and life directions she suggested that I launch a creative business based on my big passions: design, gardening, and sewing.” Lota reflects. “We had both recently read about leaf printing, and the next day I started exploring the technique using leaves from my own garden and hobby inks from the local craft store.”


Through trial and error, Lotta learned which leaves will work for printing, which fabrics are most suitable, and which inks to use. It’s an ongoing process and she is still exploring how to quilt, embroider, and master other printing methods. “That’s the most intriguing part of being an artist,” Lotta smiles, “everything is possible and there is always room for new discoveries.”

Each of the Inleaf pieces start out as a sketch on paper. Lotta then cuts the fabric, collects the leaves, mixes the fabric ink, and does a few test prints. “I am a perfectionist,” Lotta admits, “and therefore I often spend way too much time on each object I create.” She smiles. “I have tried to be more efficient and streamline my work, but I still rather redo a seam or make an extra print if I am not absolutely satisfied!”


It is not surprising that the inspiration behind her gorgeous range comes from a myriad of places. The beauty in the world that surrounds her, the intricacy of nature, the simple pleasure of gardening, and the love and joy that her family bring are the first things that come to her mind. “Every day I marvel over the world we live in. It is so intricate, beautiful, and complex.” She says. “My two teenage sons are the joys of my life and my husband is my best friend and biggest supporter.”

She is further inspired by the historical importance of textiles, from the dowry of embroidered linens and sheets a bride brought with her into marriage, to the simple but beautiful patchwork quilts that were carefully created out of necessity and for warmth. “Beauty can be found everywhere.” She states. “It can be a smooth rock, a simple painting, an old piece of cloth, a pattern on a frozen pond, an iron gate, or a seed pod.” She smiles as she reveals, “I like to ‘collect’ beautiful images and ideas that can later be used for inspiration.”


The idea of ‘collecting’ inspiring ideas is just one of many clever pieces of advice Lotta has for budding artists. “Never undervalue your work.” She states firmly. “Pricing things low doesn’t always translate into more sales, and as your orders increase you will burn yourself out if you are not adequately compensated.” Lotta also recommends networking with other artists via blogs, social networking sites, and local crafts organizations and guilds. “It can be lonely working with, by, and for yourself,” she explains, “and I have found many wonderful friends via various art and craft communities.”

Finally, she suggests paying attention to presentation. “Make sure your website and Etsy shop are attractive and functional; spend time on your photography and invest in a high quality digital camera.” Lotta believes that beautiful photos will definitely get the attention of buyers, bloggers, and media representatives. “Little things like labels, business cards, and packaging are also important when you want to make a positive impression.”


Lotta has many artistic directions she is still eager to explore. “I will focus more on art pieces, like wall hangings and quilts in the upcoming year,” she says. “I also have a few exhibits planned for this fall and next spring, and I am looking forward to exploring, learning, and developing my work as I go along.” Although hand towels, sachets, and small purses will always be part of Lotta’s collection, she admits that she can see her bags and pillows become one-of-a-kind items in the future.

To keep in touch with what’s happening in the world of Inleaf, you can find Lotta at her blog, Etsy shop, website and Facebook Fan Page.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW CLOSED.
THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR MARVELOUS ENTRIES!

And, if you've been busy drooling over Lotta's creations, then don't miss the chance to be the proud owner of this magnificent Queen Anne's Lace Leaf printed Tea Towel from the Inleaf Range! To be eligible to enter, simply become a Follower of the Pepperberry & Co. blog (or tell me if you already are) and leave a comment telling me what most inspires you about nature. Tweet, Blog or Facebook about the Pepperberry & Co./Inleaf giveaway and leave the link as a comment to receive an extra entry for each.

---



Share/Save/Bookmark

Comments (62)

On September 8, 2009 at 6:07 PM , Eva said...

Good God, its Tuesday again!
Thank you for this wonderful interview, I find Lotta's work so inspiring and beautiful!
What inspires me, is the utter simplicity and elegance in nature. Take a twig or a flower stem and you see the curves and lines which are like drawn by the artist! It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful most simple things can be.
I think I already follow you, yes?
So I'm off to tweet about this great interview and giveaway :)
Thank you, Sandra and Lotta!!

 
On September 8, 2009 at 6:09 PM , ambette said...

Oh wow, Lotta's handcrafts are absolutely gorgeous! The texture and earthy colours of the fabric combined with the leaf printing are superb!

 
On September 8, 2009 at 6:19 PM , Bec Clarke said...

Oh that is such lovely fabric, I am a follower already.
Nature inspires me with its colour, nothing ever clashes when it is done by nature it just matches perfectly every time.

 
On September 8, 2009 at 6:56 PM , A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

What an inspiring artist! I can see I will have to add leaf printing to my list of techniques to try!

 
On September 8, 2009 at 7:05 PM , Siya said...

Gosh! I absolutely love that adorable clutch!!! I'm a nature lover, so cottons and linens are my favorite fabrics. Keep it up Lotta!!

P.S:- please tell me where I can get that clutch?

 
On September 8, 2009 at 7:36 PM , Tracy said...

Lotta's designs are so beautiful! Thanks for this great feature on a bright creative talent! :o)

 
On September 8, 2009 at 7:37 PM , Tam said...

I'm already a stalker...what inspires me about nature...the colours and the smells.

 
On September 8, 2009 at 7:53 PM , Tania said...

Goodness. Those prints are perfection. I'm lost for words over this one (for a change).

 
On September 8, 2009 at 8:18 PM , Tania - Jet Designs said...

Hi again Sandra - yes I am a follower and I will link this giveaway on my blog - love the simplicity of the designs that Lotta has used on her fabrics. I am inspired lately by lovely gemstones - I sell a lot in my store and some of the paintbrush jasper stones are absolutely amazing, earthy, strong but understated.

 
On September 8, 2009 at 8:24 PM , Happybee said...

Hi Sandra!!!!
those items are gorgeous!!!!!!
I absolutely love them all!!!!!
and...I'm already a follower! ;O)

 
On September 8, 2009 at 8:46 PM , tooznie said...

Lovely delicate work, you can see the effort she puts in making it perfect!

My inspiration is nearly always ocean centred, I love the water.

 
On September 8, 2009 at 8:47 PM , tooznie said...

oh, and I forgot to say, I follow in google reader

 
On September 8, 2009 at 11:00 PM , Bowlby said...

Thanks for this! Lotta's work is just gorgeous. What inspires me most about nature: The colors! I'm really looking forward to fall.

P.S. I'm a follower!

 
On September 9, 2009 at 2:07 AM , Psyche Knits said...

I'm already a follower... and can I just take a minute to say how ingenious that idea is? I remember painting leaves when I was a little kid but i never thought it would work. I definetly get inspiration from colors in nature. Especially greens my favorite!

 
On September 9, 2009 at 3:54 AM , Valerie said...

I love the leaf prints. I've done some (on paper) with my kids but they're never as crisp and lovely as those :)

Nature - colour, texture, light, there are so many sources of inspiration right outside my back door :)

 
On September 9, 2009 at 3:57 AM , laterg8r said...

i'm a follower, what inspires me about nature is the color combinations. my fave is fall - glorious leaves and fabu sunsets :D

 
On September 9, 2009 at 6:00 AM , Anonymous said...

These are lovely designs--reminds me to keep my eyes and ears (and all my senses) open each time I step outside my door.
Dottie

 
On September 9, 2009 at 7:24 AM , Cherry Blossoms said...

I love the smell of the dew. I love the rolling waves crashing upon the shore. I love the flowers draped across the trellis. Nature is simplicity, beauty, and the closest to God I feel you can ever get.

I am a follower.

CherryBlossomsDesign at hotmail

 
On September 9, 2009 at 8:15 AM , Ammie said...

This work is so beautiful, Lotta. And the details on these prints are just right. Your mother sounds fantastic, and I am sure you've inherited more than a little of her talent and vision. Thanks for sharing! (Thanks to you, too, Sandra, for hosting this giveaway.)

Now, to enter it, I am most inspired by soft sunlight, tiny petaled flowers, acorns, and unmown lawns. And I've been a follower for a few months now. I love it!

 
On September 9, 2009 at 8:27 AM , Merry said...

Another wonderful interview Sandra. Lotta's work is stunning. Amazing how a simple fern can look so beautiful when printed onto material. Yep, I am already a follower, wouldn't want to miss these talented people on a Tuesday. I think the colours in nature inspire me...

 
On September 9, 2009 at 9:36 AM , ange_moore said...

Pick me, pick me - I'm a follower! Mt Wellington (above Hobart) is always an inspiration, especially when there is snow on it! I also love to watch clouds and just wish I were talented enough to create something from this inspiration!!

 
On September 9, 2009 at 6:38 PM , Aik said...

I'm a follower. I think the rain is the one thing that inspires me most about nature.

aikychien at yahoo dot com

 
On September 9, 2009 at 6:39 PM , Aik said...

I tweeted.
http://twitter.com/aikchien/status/3859650469

aikychien at yahoo dot com

 
On September 9, 2009 at 9:07 PM , laia said...

I've just been a follower
laiafortuny(at)gmail(dot)com
I love colour changes!

 
On September 9, 2009 at 9:47 PM , Peta @ Pippiwillow said...

My inspiration - nature itself offers up amazing mediums to play with. Couple that with the ever changing environment/ "nature" and its ability to flirt with all of your senses... how can you not be inspired?
Beautiful prints on fabric there - lovely interview. Thank you. Peta

 
On September 9, 2009 at 10:52 PM , Julie said...

I follow your blog.I love nature. There is something serene and beautiful about it-

aunteegem@yahoo.com

 
On September 9, 2009 at 11:56 PM , Egater said...

I follow your blog
I think that everything in the nature can be inspirational. Ilove animals, who walks around my home, bugs and birds, flowers and trees - everything is beautiful

 
On September 10, 2009 at 1:09 AM , erininkent said...

I'm following...what inspires me most about nature is all the colors. Isn't it funny how if we wear certain colors together they clash, but when you see them combined in a sunset or among wild flowers they're perfect?
erin_melissa at juno dot com

 
On September 10, 2009 at 2:22 AM , felicit12 said...

Love the designs, especially the clutches. Wow.
I'd love to win the towel. I'm a new follower, too.

 
On September 10, 2009 at 2:23 AM , felicit12 said...

Oops! I forgot to say what inspires me about nature. I think the gorgeous colors, especially during autumn. All of those reds, and oranges. Lovely!

 
On September 10, 2009 at 2:53 AM , malfie said...

What a lovely giveaway my fingers are crossed. I am following your blog. Nature inspires me to paint and go walking by a nearby river.Nature inspires me to bird watch and squirrel watch I love to watch the eagles near my home.Nature also inspires me to grow my garden.Helen

helenmillicent@yahoo.com

 
On September 10, 2009 at 6:06 AM , Tickleworm said...

I am a new follower! And who doesn't love everything about nature, the colors, shapes, changes! (A lot of my inspiration comes from nature!)

www.tickleworm.com
rachelherzog@bellsouth.net

 
On September 10, 2009 at 7:15 AM , ZaftigDelights ~ KnitzyBlonde said...

I am a follower of your blog. Nature inspires me in it's brightness, boldness, and brilliance of colors. There's nothing like it. :o)

Sandie
zaftig2k at yahoo dot com

 
On September 10, 2009 at 7:17 AM , ZaftigDelights ~ KnitzyBlonde said...

I twittered your giveaway.

http://twitter.com/ZaftigDelights/status/3871811234

Sandie
zaftig2k at yahoo dot com

 
On September 10, 2009 at 8:44 AM , malibu.bunny.xo said...

I follow! What inspires me most about nature? A walk or jog along the beach in the early morning, when no one else is up, it's just you, the cool fresh air, and the rolling waves :)
Thanks for this giveaway!
malibu.bunny.xo@live.ca

 
On September 10, 2009 at 9:15 AM , Swaddle Babies said...

I'm following your blog :)

The organic shapes and colors found in nature inspire me.

Priscilla at MySwaddleBabies . com

 
On September 10, 2009 at 11:36 AM , Wanda said...

I just became a follower of your blog. What inspires me most about nature is all the beautiful colours.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

 
On September 10, 2009 at 1:40 PM , blackdahliadesigns said...

gosh everything is so lovely I cant pick a favorite!

 
On September 10, 2009 at 11:52 PM , Shrimp Salad Circus said...

I'm already a follower! :)

What inspires me most about nature?
I love that life can creep up in the unlikliest of places and change the scenery overnight. I was just marveling yesterday about the weeds in my apartment's parking lot because they were cut down a week ago and are already chest-high again. Granted, the place looks a bit like a slum, but those weeds just go to show that perseverance conquers all!!

 
On September 10, 2009 at 11:59 PM , Kirrily said...

Ohhhhh wow! That is such beautiful work - I'm in awe!

Nature - I think the sky wins for me. The colours and the way it changes are just amazing.

 
On September 11, 2009 at 1:11 AM , Loopy said...

These are gorgeous! I'm such a sucker for Queen Ann’s lace...
And I'm always inspired by patterns in nature, like the fibonacci sequence! It's hard not to love nature when it makes beautiful spirals!

 
On September 11, 2009 at 3:03 AM , VeganCraftastic said...

Wow, so much pretty! The colors of nature inspire me the most, especially the rich colors of fall. Thanks for hosting this giveaway, I just became a follower and posted about this on my twitter:

http://twitter.com/vegancraftastic

 
On September 11, 2009 at 6:01 AM , Melanie S said...

I'm following you now (as M.Sands).

What I'm inspired by most today (and yep, this changes constantly!) is, believe it or not, woodbugs!! You know those little roll-up pill bugs? My son is, erm, collecting them, and I'm quite amazed with the little fellers. Did you know they are land-dwelling crustaceans? As in related to lobsters? How cool is that! :)

melaniesands[at]yahoo[dot]ca

 
On September 11, 2009 at 6:26 AM , Melanie S said...

I tweeted:
http://twitter.com/SaywardBC/status/3895235351

melaniesands[at]yahoo[dot]ca

 
On September 11, 2009 at 6:28 AM , Melanie S said...

I also posted on Facebook:
http://bit.ly/1QJ6p5

melaniesands[at]yahoo[dot]ca

 
On September 11, 2009 at 12:14 PM , Lizzie said...

The colors of nature are what inspire me most. I love living in the midwest and watching the colors change with the seasons.

smrtmouse at yahoo dot com

 
On September 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM , Your Cheeky Monkey said...

I am a follower of your blog already! I am loving nature at the moment because I am now seeing it through my 2 young sons eyes, they see the most beautiful and fascinating things that I take for granted and its so nice to stop with them to admire leaves and bugs and clouds and flowers! Lotta is making the most beautiful products - simple yet so effective. beautiful! Monique x

 
On September 11, 2009 at 12:33 PM , Your Cheeky Monkey said...

Just tweeted!

@Y_C_Monkey Beautiful giveaway at Pepperberry & Co http://bit.ly/PaM18

 
On September 11, 2009 at 4:05 PM , Le_Vintage said...

hi! glad i found you're blog those are so beautiful! im a follower now too if that gets me an extra entry. my favorite thing that inspires me about nature is tea leaves. sometimes i drink so much tea i feel like im sprouting little tea leaves, and no matter how stressed out i am i love sitting outside with the smell of tea and pine trees. after wards, i'm always at peace.

xoxo
Le Vintage

 
On September 11, 2009 at 6:08 PM , marelle said...

i'm a new follower!

...i'm most inspired by all the lovely birds!

thanks!

sophia

 
On September 11, 2009 at 6:12 PM , marelle said...

i tweeted!

http://twitter.com/_marelle

 
On September 11, 2009 at 9:10 PM , Elena (Tickled Pink Knits) said...

This is one of my top 10 favorite shops on Etsy, and I return to it at least once a week - how awesome to have this giveaway! Hope to win :))
One of the many thingstthat inspired me about nature is light, and the way the natural world changes as the light changes.
I just followed /subscribed to your blog.
Thank you!

 
On September 11, 2009 at 10:02 PM , Ľubaša said...

I am new follower. I love trees and plant--- all those wonderful green creations. I have my flat full of flowers.:-)
lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

 
On September 11, 2009 at 10:08 PM , Ľubaša said...

I tweeted about
http://twitter.com/Lubaska/status/3909707518

 
On September 11, 2009 at 11:50 PM , Ginny said...

I'm following! The changing colors of the leaves inspires me & the gorgeous flower petals during the summer!

 
On September 12, 2009 at 12:21 AM , mylist said...

Following you...
The most inspiring thing about nature to me is how simple and effortless it is.

 
On September 12, 2009 at 4:13 AM , Elena (Tickled Pink Knits) said...

Just tweeted about this sweet giveaway :)
http://twitter.com/TickledPinkKnit

 
On September 12, 2009 at 11:02 AM , Soy Pea said...

I'm a follower

soypea@gmail.com

 
On September 12, 2009 at 11:03 AM , Soy Pea said...

Bird inspire me in nature. I love anything relating to them too: feathers, eggs, nests. :)

soypea@gmail.com

 
On September 12, 2009 at 12:49 PM , Alice said...

I follow. My favorite thing in nature is the changing fall leaves.

 
On September 13, 2009 at 6:18 AM , Darcy said...

I follow.
What inspires me most in nature are all the beautiful trees when they sway in the breeze.

 
On September 13, 2009 at 11:10 PM , janil said...

Follower!

i love nature itself, and free animals, birds flying and singing is one of the most inspirings things!

cal_rubies at yahoo dot es