Lia Griffith – Because everyone can be creative

7th March 2018

Lia Griffith is an internationally known designer, crafter, photographer, stylist and big dreamer. Lia lives in Portland, Oregon, with her dog Enzo. She has a love of music, home-cooked gluten-free food and of course, crafting!

She grew up in a family of artists where everything they did was DIY, so it felt natural for her to create a company that focuses on living a hand-crafted lifestyle. Her career path is rooted in design, but she’s a teacher at heart. Her passion is designing projects that are accessible for crafters at any level.

After starting her hand-crafted lifestyle blog, offering stunning DIY projects, printables and inspiration in 2013, its become clear to Lia that this is where she’s supposed to be!

We know your family were artists, how did that influence you?

LG: Yes, both my parents were makers and they made DIY part of our everyday lives; we canned food, made our own clothes, recycled old furniture, you name it, we made it! I didn’t value it at the time, but as I grew up I began to recognise the beauty in making things by hand. It brings people together, it’s very nurturing and it makes the world so much brighter!

On your website it says that papercrafts are your original love. How did you discover papercraft?

LG: I am the youngest of four sisters and so, when they were all off at school, I used to play by myself at home. That’s when I discovered my love of paper. I would sit and made dolls from card tubes and scrunched-up paper! I remember learning how to use scissors for the first time. I still cut with my right hand even though I am left handed because we didn’t have left-handed scissors at the time!

What is it that you love about papercraft?

LG: What do I NOT love about papercraft?! I love that I can turn a flat piece of inexpensive paper into a 3D piece of art with little more than a pair of scissors and some glue. I love the versatility of paper; we make floral wreaths, pop-up cards, crêpe flowers, wedding decorations, lanterns, wall art and more from paper. There is no end to the wealth of creativity that can be explored with this simple material.

Can you remember what was your first-ever project – or the first item that you made that you went onto sell?

LG: My first paper flower was for a wedding stationery company that I worked for. I was managing its blog and wanted to create a pattern for a flower that our readers could make at home with ease.
My aim was to create a pattern so simple that anyone, even someone with no crafting experience, could make it for their special day. That flower was so popular that it gave me the confidence to go it alone and start creating and sharing DIY patterns for a living.

What aspect of papercraft is your favourite?

LG: My first love is definitely paper flowers and more recently, crêpe paper flowers. This long-forgotten paper is having a real resurgence at the moment. When we launched our first line of extra-fine papers in a modern colour palette last year, papercrafters around the world were desperate to get their hands on it. No longer is this material saved for primary school craft projects! With lighter papers in exquisite colours we can now make paper projects worthy of a place on anyone’s mantle! Learning how to make crepe paper flowers has been such a lot of fun. I love how you can twist and stretch the paper to form amazing petals and leaves. It’s like working with clay sometimes – very malleable, which you don’t always get with paper. I made a couple of paper dresses with crêpe paper and that has been a blast!

What one papercraft item is your favourite thing to use and make with – and that you couldn’t live without?

LG: I cannot live without a low-temperature glue gun! And I’m so proud to announce that, as of 1st January this year, we have our own line of craft tools, including a cordless hot-glue gun, that we developed with our favourite tool brand ever, Fiskars! I’ve had to hold that secret in for over a year so it’s a relief to actually be able to say it now! Hot glue just works so well with most materials and because it dries so quickly, you can move on through the craft more easily. I definitely couldn’t do what I do without it!

What are your favourite colours to craft with
and why?

LG: I’m drawn to rich jewel tones like plums and teals. I also love an iridescent paper when I’m not using crêpe. The way that the light bounces of frosted papers is just captivating and makes for a very realistic paper flower!

How did you make the transition from being a one-person lifestyle blog to a go-to resource for all things DIY?

LG: I worked really hard! In the first year I made a pact with myself that I would share one project every day for a year. My daughter had not long moved out of the home so I was fortunate enough to have the time and the energy to devote to my little start-up. After that first year, I accepted a small amount of funding from a friend who believed in my vision. That allowed me to hire a second designer and it grew from there. We are a subscription business now, so we are able to design and share two projects every day because of our loyal membership base. We couldn’t do what we do without our incredible community of craft lovers.

What’s your favourite thing about what you do?

LG: Having the freedom to be creative every single day is blissful. Of course I am now running a company, with 10 employees and a membership base of over 10,000, so there are some days that aren’t all about the craft.

I love working with my team to explore new designs, I love seeing the work that goes into the DIY projects and then seeing how that design helps our members to reignite their own creativity at home. It’s very rewarding.

We know you’ve joined forces with Cricut and Hero Arts – is there anyone else you’d like to work with? 

LG: My dream has come true with our partnership with Fiskars. I used to use my mum’s orange-handled scissors to papercraft as a child so to have my own branded scissors and tools now is an incredible.

We read your mantra of ‘everyone can be creative’ and that you ensure you create accessible projects for all-level of crafters. How do you ensure you stay true to this promise?

LG: I believe that creativity nurtures the soul and is empowering. For that reason, it will always be my mission to help our community to fully explore its creative side. We do have a few projects that cater for the more advanced, but even for the advanced crafter, sometimes its lovely just to create without a struggle! We want our community to succeed and that will always be the aim of the designs we share!

What advice would you give to a crafter who wants to start a blog, or selling their makes, who doesn’t quite have the confidence to do so? 

LG: Believe in yourself! And be willing to give it your all. I don’t think that I would have had the growth I had in that first year if I hadn’t been consistent with posting every day.

I would also recommend reading books and watching YouTube tutorials to help you learn how to run a successful blog – there are plenty of resources out there.

Secondly, photography is key. I taught myself how to take great photos before I launched my blog because I knew that those would be key to success on top of sharing high-quality content.

What is your favourite-ever project you’ve made?

LG: It’s hard to pick a top, top favorite, but one of my all time faves is the paper ivy topiary. It takes a little time to make but it’s such a rewarding project and lasts a lifetime! I just take the blow dryer to mine when it gets dusty and it looks like new.

Who inspires you?

LG: Brene Brown always inspires me to follow my heart. Alexander McQueen inspired me to think outside the box. My parents inspired me to make DIY part of my everyday life.

Why do you think it’s important to make videos something you offer to your customers?

LG: I think it goes back to my mission to make craft accessible and achievable. I personally like to have a video tutorial to watch, pause and rewind if I’m cooking or trying to achieve something new. It also gives me another way to connect with our community. It’s a great way for them to ask questions about a specific part of a project and we can respond to comments almost instantly.

What brand is your favourite for craft supplies? 

LG: I love Cricut. Its cutting machines and vinyls are great for handcrafting!

Aside from papercraft, what other crafts do
you enjoy?

LG: I love to paint. I’m a fan of watercolor and have been trying to do more recently.

If you were not a crafter, what job would you
be doing?

LG: I was a ballroom dancer for a while! Maybe I’d be doing that. In a handmade gown of course.

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