Sunday, 23 August 2015

LEJASP

Photography: Christy Radford

Fall in love with these one-of-a-kind mandala styled wall charms, 
designed and created on plywood by Leah Spain

Tell us a bit about LeJasp?
LeJasp is derived from my full name Leah Jane Spain, yes it rhymes, haha! I paint laser cut plywood with mandala style patterns to create one-of-a-kind artworks that hang on the wall (or wherever you like really) . Quite a few people call them dreamcatchers, but strangely enough this wasn’t my intent and my inspiration was never taken from a dreamcatcher. I call them Wall Charms. I wanted to create a necklace/charm that hung on the wall from a rope. The beaded rope is an optional add on to hang the charm.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I grew up in the Aussie outback town of Broken Hill. I was always creative at school and loved to craft. I took textile design and art at school, but there wasn’t much choice of creative subjects at my school and I never found the support to take my creativity further, most design subjects were not offered above grade ten due to minimal class sizes. I settled for Legal and Finance jobs out of school, moved to Melbourne and continued in the corporate world.
I was a little fish in that world, while I enjoyed the customer service side, the paperwork was the dumps. So really I have no formal art qualifications, but art comes from the heart don’t you think? Do you really need a degree to call yourself an artist ? Well I actually find it hard to, so I call myself a craftist.

Photography: Christy Radford

What sparked you to create LeJasp?
After discovering I had a heart arrhythmia, my husband was very supportive for me to finish full time work and stay home to get better. I started a little hobby to keep occupied, I upcycled furniture for our new home and also to save some pennies on furnishing it.
I also liked the freedom of creating unique one off pieces. My hobby progressed and I started selling at markets and on ebay. Then a spanner was put in the works, I had to have hip surgery only then to discover I had arthritis. A second surgery followed six months later and then a third within another six months, so my three surgeries in one year put a holt on my upcycling.
All the bending required put strain on my hips and I decided to give it up to saviour them. Not doing anything creative was sending me a little nuts, so I decided to create a little business that I could work on without the physical aspect.
This is where LeJasp was born. Whilst searching for inspiration I spotted a simple beaded heart necklace hanging on a wall and it all developed from there. It took a year to come to fruition, mostly because I didn’t have the funds to start the business, so it had to be done in stages.

What processes are involved in creating your pieces?
I source the sustainable ply for the discs and have them cut in Melbourne and my little ply shapes are also cut in Australia. I hand sand the ply, draw up the design and then choose the colours. If it’s not a custom piece, I have a hard time deciding on the colour combos, I’m such an indecisive person. The pattern is then painted, holes are hand drilled and the bits are connected with jump rings. I then may add tassels or crystals depending on the piece, if a rope hanger is needed I also make that up.

What inspires you in your designs?
I am obsessed with the amazing carved and painted work of Indian Artisans. They always paint so colourful and vibrant and their culture is just one big happy colour fest. I also adore moroccan art. My home is full of Moroccan lanterns.

Photography: Christy Radford

What do you love the most about having your own label?
I just get to be me, no one controls my designs or my thoughts, I’m free to do whatever I like. I would love to inspire others just as I have been inspired by so many.

Who are some of your favourite designers?
I have so many, but the ones that spring to mind are Jai Vasicek, Jessica Leigh, Mahiya, Mara Hoffman, Mister Zimi, Shakiraaz Homewares and Bonnie and Neil.

What is your favourite item in your store right now and why?
My Collab with Jessica Leigh, it was so much fun to create.

What has been your biggest highlight?
It’s a secret as I’m working on it now!

What are your plans for the future?
Just keep cruising along with new designs. I would love to offer a ready made item that include my designs.

Photography: Christy Radford
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