Irina Blount, La La Land Crafts
We are so excited for you to meet Irina! Sandy met her at each CHA and said she always has a smile on her face and a heart willing to help our heroes through OWH! Irina was born in Vitebsk, Belarus and moved to the U.S. with her family in 1997 and now livesin San Jose, CA.
How long have you been drawing? Did you study art in school?
I’ve been into arts for as long as I can remember. I remember that growing up my colored pencils were my biggest and most important possession! In my teenage years I attended an Art school. I graduated college with a degree in a Fashion Design.
When I met Eric Berry in April 2010, I had no idea that my life was going to change. In July 2010 we started a collaborative work and created our Marci and Luka line of stamps. Our first release went live just two years ago, in August of 2010. We got such a great response to our images, it was unbelievable!
In April of this year we introduced a new product – our own Steel Dies. With addition of dies to our product line, the possibilities for designs are endless.
All of our products are made here in America. We are proud of that.
Where do you get your ideas for new stamp themes – trends? or just what you love?
Between Eric and me, we will never run out of ideas! Sometimes we have brainstorming sessions to make a list and sometimes we just work on what inspires us at a moment. It can be anything from a certain theme to a movie, a book, or a show that we’ve seen.
How many tries does it take to get a stamp design “just” the way you want it?
Some stamps are done within a few days, some take much longer. Eric and I go back and forth until it’s just right and we both are satisfied with the design. We design our stamps specifically to be colored and that is always a priority, and to make our images as sweet as possible, of course.
What medium do you use to draw stamp designs?
We use a tablet to sketch images and then Eric cleans up the sketches on the computer and turns them into what you see as a stamp image.
How does it feel to see your drawings on people’s projects all over the internet?
It still seems unreal, even after 2 years of the release of our very first Marci stamps. Not even in our wildest dreams we could ever imagine that our designs will be loved by the crafters from all over the world. It’s the most amazing feeling and we are very grateful for our fans and customers.
Do you have time to stamp/create, or do you just design stamps?
I don’t get to stamp and create as much as I used to a few years ago before we started a company. There is are just so much that goes into running your own business. But I still do! I design some samples for our trade shows and I teach classes and workshops with our products about once a month.
We also have a very talented Design Team. You can see all of their gorgeous makes with our stamps on our company blog, there is a lot of inspiration there!
About a year ago we started a Kids Blog where children 16 and under can play in our bi-weekly contests. It’s a blog for children and it’s being hosted by children, three sweet girls ages 10 through 14.
Do Saluting Marci and Luka have a story? I know everyone would love to know if you have a military connection.
Yes. Eric grew up an “Air Force Brat” in a military family, his father was a Staff-Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era. So, he’s very pro-military and lived on the bases, shopped at the Post Exchanges, and Saluting Marci and Luka actually grew from that experience. He has vivid memories of saluting the flag at air shows and parades. And his uncle was KIA by a land mine so he remembers that, as well.
In addition to giving away some of their brand new holiday stamps on OWHtv (click here to see the show from last night!) – Irina would like to offer OWHers a 20% off coupon code valid through Monday, September 16th! (Coupon Code OWH20 good on all in-stock rubber stamps and digis; dies and new releases excluded.) But our OWH fundraisers, Saluting Marci and Saluting Luka are included! You are hereby enabled 🙂
Leave comments here for Irina – and go visit her at the LaLa Land Crafts website, LaLaLand Crafts Blog, or her own blog, Everything Papercrafts! And don’t forget to get your little ones involved on the Kids Blog!