We promised another supplier interview from our wonderful May box, and here it is! The first item we sourced for the Magical Lands box was a beautiful print featuring the quote 'Books are a uniquely portable magic' produced especially for us by the lovely Lilee of Always Bookish. This box has been particularly fun because we've been working with suppliers who are also part of the bookish community online more than has been the case with previous boxes, which has been a really nice experience.
We asked Lilee to answer some questions for us and she was kind enough to oblige. I highly recommend that you check out her Instagram and Etsy shop, although I'm not responsible for the effect it will have on your bank account and/or wall space!
When did you start lettering and what prompted you to turn it into a business?
I first started lettering about a year and immediately loved it. I could sit down all day and work on projects and not get bored and that’s really when I realised I could do this as my job. I just loved the idea of sharing my work, and working with others to create special one off pieces just for them. So making an Etsy shop seemed like the perfect way to go!
Your beautiful work is primarily inspired by books. What's the first book you remember loving?
I always loved reading and stories as a child, but the first book I remember truly loving was Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson. It was a free book given to us at school for World Book Day and I chose it for very profound reason that I thought the cover was pretty. However, once I actually started reading what was inside, I was completely hooked and continued to read my way through all of Eva Ibbotson books I could get my hands on from then on.
Can you tell us a little more about the process behind what you do?
Most of my ideas for the wall art I create originates from a book, or a quote that I really love. From there, I will get to designing on my iPad where I’ll sketch out (usually very messily!) different variations that could work. I then decide which I like the best and begin cleaning up my design until I’m completely happy with how it looks. Sometimes I’ll have to wrestle with a design over and over until it resembles something I like, but other times, it will just turn out the way I want it straight away, which is always very satisfying. But no matter if the process turns out to be either easy or difficult, I find the finished product is always worth all the hard work!
I know you're part of the bookstagram community - what made you decide to start a bookish Instagram account? And is that how you discovered the online book community?
To start with, my instagram wasn’t bookish at all, but I soon found out that I felt quite shy posting about myself and what I was up to, and much preferred sharing different books I was reading and enjoying. And that’s when I decided to transition my instagram into Always Bookish! I really think instagram is a wonderful place for the book community and a great way to discover new books, start discussions and also admire all the beautiful books and photography!
What's your favourite thing about running your business?
One of my favourite things is definitely working with others to create something special and meaningful to them. I love collaborating, bouncing off ideas and learning from others. Often, the most rewarding projects are the ones where I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged to work in a different style or medium than I usually would. With all these projects, they've improved me at my craft, and for that I’m very grateful. Also another favourite thing is of course getting to be creative every single day. As long as I’m doing something creative I’m happy!
We love to hear people's book recommendations. What are some of your favourites?
There are so many! Of course, I have to start with Harry Potter, though I’m sure everybody’s already read that one! Any Donna Tartt book, but especially The Secret History and The Goldfinch. The Night Circus, because it’s so magical and the writing is lush. Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life After Life’ and ‘A God in Ruins’, just because I love Kate Atkinson books so much. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, because it will warm your heart and break it in equal measures. The Kite Runner, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Jane Eyre, Animal Farm, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the list goes on and on!
What have you done with your print from May's box?