Makers + Shakers: Meet Lia Griffith

Makers + Shakers 8 Creatives You Should Know Design Eat Repeat

Last year, over on Seattle Mama, I started a series interviewing local powerhouses who started with an idea and turned it into a crazy reality. It was so popular, I thought to myself, 'hey self, you should do the same thing, except this time, you should stalk some more of  your favorite bloggers from all over'.

So, for the next 8 Wednesdays, I bring you the Makers + Shakers Series: 8 Creatives You Should Follow.  If you know who they are, woo hoo, you are so hot and trendy.  If not, then look at that, you learned something new today.

Today we are meeting the face of Lia Griffith. Whether you are looking for decorating ideas, a DIY paper flower, or a gift wrap idea, she is the first place to start.  I live for her crafty tutorials, printables and creative inspirations.  When I first spied her fantastical paper couture gowns in a magazine, many moons ago, I was hooked.

Read on as I pick her amazingly creative brain and share a few of my favorite projects of hers...

Please tell our readers a little bit about who Lia is.
LG - My creative background is graphic design which has been the base of my career most of my life. I grew up in a very creative family so making art and creatively problem solving was our lifestyle. My theme of "handcraft your life" which is my blog tagline, is exactly what I do.

On a more personal note, I am a mom of a lovely 20 year old who you will often see modeling in my photos. I am also the adopted "mom" of my 3 year old Italian Doxi, Enzo who you will also see in some of my home tour photos. I am the last of 4 girls in my creative family and my sisters are my best friends which makes me feel oh so lucky!

You were the creative director for,  and left to start your own media company. That takes serious guts...what inspired you take this leap of faith? 
LG - With the success of the Elli blog I knew I had finally found my niche. Sadly I was laid off from Elli, which at that time was devastating, but in the end gave me the push I needed to start my own blog and media company where I could be even more authentic and share beyond just paper crafting. When one door closes...

Your paper crafting skills are amazing! I first discovered you when I came across your gorgeous paper couture gowns in an article. When did your love of paper crafting begin? 
LG - My love for paper crafting started when I was just a little girl. When I could use scissors at age 5 I started to draw and cut my own paper dolls and made costume pieces for myself from paper. Isn't it just fun that so many years later I find myself making life size paper dolls and full costumes made from paper?

Speaking of crafting, I know you have so many to choose from, but which of your projects is your favorite and why? 
LG - My paper birds might be my favorite project. I do design and make a lot of paper flowers, but this one was a little different, less lifelike and more of a piece of sculpture made from paper. I thought about the structure for a while before I made my first prototype.

My first few prototypes were made from many individual pieces that I had to position just right and attach just so. Once I created my final shape I realized it was too complicated to replicate, so I then joined the pieces into sets making it easy for anyone to make. It worked! Along with the video tutorial showing my steps, these birds are easy to make. Many readers have shared photos of their finished birds with me. I love this project because though it was a complicated process from start to finish for me I was able to make it accessible for everyone.

Readers see beautiful, styled photos but we rarely see what is going on behind the scenes or how things didn't turn out quite the way you planned. How do you handle having to kick into Plan B or Plan C? 
LG - This is a fun question! I should have someone film a behind the scenes clip sometime. Because I am often "twirling multiple plates" at the same time it is really important for me to be able to design and create projects quickly. In some ways this is good, because I focus on project that anyone can make so it keeps most of mine less complicated. Even thought I may have yet to make some projects, I have a few percolating in my brain at all times, so if one project needs tossed I can jump onto another.

I feel it is my lifetime of learning to creatively problem solve and think on my feet that really comes into play when it is time to toss A and jump into plan B. Every project is a creative process and it is really fun when one takes on a direction that in the end turns out even better than planned.

My what doesn't kill you makes you stronger experience might be the Farm Party posts that I created and photographed last summer. I worked with another blogger to put together an extremely detailed pretend party that we shot at her parents farm. With weeks of planning, designing and making behind us we set aside two days to set up and shoot with 6 kids, two which were hers and four of their friends. Talk about pressure!

As a fairly new photographer, I had not shot live people much and especially 6 kids at once! I just jumped in and we pretended this was a real party starting with the games, then food and treats and finishing with a fun craft projects. The photos are very authentic, the light was perfect and the kids could not have been more adorable. I look back at those photos now and still feel my heart race but of course I have to smile.

I am inspired by things around me...a pretty pattern may spark an entire party theme. What kind of things inspire your creativity?
LG - I am with you in that everything I see in my daily life may be the spark that inspires a project, a party theme or decorating a whole room. Since I work with different companies in design licensing and am on several monthly design challenge groups (12 Months of Martha and Michaels Makers), often the projects I make for the challenge will inspire a larger post or even a series.

I love to travel and feel that getting out of my element helps me see inspiration in a different way. Since I now work most of my waking hours, I plan a yearly trip abroad and have been checking off all of the countries and cities I would like to visit. I feel ready for a new year of creative projects once I return.

Do you have favorite blogs and/or websites you like to visit when you have a moment? 
LG - This is a tricky one to answer. I do have a lot of blogs or bloggers for whom I love their work and find delight in looking at their posts, however...since my time is so limited, I usually find myself getting their short version on Instagram.

For my blog content I do really try to not be too influenced by what the other creative bloggers are doing and instead offer unique projects. When I need to be inspired by current trends that might include patterns, colors and seasonal themes, I love to look at Terrain, Anthropologie, BHLDN and West Elm. (Me too!!)

I love to ask everyone I interview: if you are stranded on a desert island and can take one item and one meal, what would they be?
LG - If I was stranded on a dessert island I would take my Kai scissors.  Imagine how many fun projects you could make from the leaves and plants! ;-)

You probably would make an amazing dress to be rescued in! Thanks for joining us today, Lia.

Follow Lia Griffith on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

Tune in next time for a dude who makes amazeballs cookies...

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