Monday, June 1, 2009

A Creative Life: Tyler Stallings

Designing Mom Lotta is coming in as a "mini" guest blogger for this week with two posts and you'll delight in her inspirational interview with children's clothing designer Tyler Stallings as well as her favorite picks for little ones.

by Designing Mom Lotta

I first discovered Tyler Stallings through her blog and was immediately attracted to her thoughtful writing, beautiful images, and the talented artists she featured. When she launched her children’s clothing line Periwinklebloom, I was equally smitten, even though my boys are way to old for her beautiful garments.

Tyler’s clothes are made with care and consideration, both for the child who will wear it and the environment we live in. She exclusively uses natural, organic, or reclaimed materials. The sizes are generous and adjustable to ensure long ware, and the impeccable quality and craftsmanship means that these garments will be ready to be handed down long after your child has outgrown them.

How did Periwinkle bloom come to be and what is your background?

Periwinklebloom was born about a year after my daughter. I had worked as a graphic designer, an educator and art history-lover for many years. I studied 'visual communications' at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and art history in graduate school in St. Louis. I have always had a passion for textiles but my understanding of form, texture and palette is really rooted in graphic design. My small labor of love seemed to develop out of the need/wish to merge these roles with motherhood. I wanted to continue designing with parenting in mind and a new appreciation of how design might contribute to something worth handing down.

How do you balance motherhood, family life, creativity, and running a business?

Ha! Not always so gracefully I'm afraid. I'm one of those people who are most productive when things feel close to panic. That said, I have tried to listen to my own mother's advice of tackling only one thing at a time and keeping things in perspective. I do try to carve out time for each part of my life rather than multitask. I'm a list-maker. The days I'm home with my daughter I really try to be fully present. This sounds good, right?! I tend to work most evenings and maintain my mantra of 'small and slow business'. I also teach in the art department at a local university. I am constantly learning from my students (and daughter). The reciprocity really feeds the balance. And I covet our weekends, very dedicated to play. When all else fails, I laugh...or lose it.

Did having your daughter make you more aware of environmental issues and how is that affecting the way you work and create?

Absolutely. I considered myself fairly aware before, coming from a family who recycled before we realized it had a name and ate so healthily nobody wanted to have slumber parties at my house. I grew up on hand-me-downs and often buy my daughter's clothes at resale shops. I became most aware of environmental issues as they relate to what we put on and in our bodies when I became pregnant. My inquiries then grew as my family has. And my professional life has become an extension of that. I began my business paying careful attention to all my practices; where and how organic cotton is grown and certified, who I collaborate with for creating and sewing, confirming fair wages, reclaiming vintage fabric when possible, designing a generous fit and timeless form for the longevity of my garments, and using eco-minded solvents and inks for my letterpress correspondence (still getting off the ground). Generally I became more aware of our family footprint both in terms of environment and the ideals we leave behind.

Do you have any advice to other artistic mom's, who are trying to launch a creative business?

I suppose everyone should dig deep and recognize how they are wired, question what they'd like their business to do for themselves and others. Be resourceful, do your homework, ask questions, practice patience and flexibility, set small goals. I belong to a women's business group, five of us in various creative fields who provide invaluable support to each other. The exchange is perfectly nurturing and professionally fruitful. I consider them dear friends and I highly recommend connecting with other women. Oh, and if you're like most creatives I know, hire an accountant.

For more information about the clothes featured here visit Periwinklebloom and for more about Tyler Stallings visit her blog.

Photography © Greg Rannells


jackie said...


Carrie's mom said...

She's so inspirational!

Alison said...

What an inspiring posts! Your blog is a good mixture of creativity and inspiration, keep this up Mum and thank you!

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