Specializing in hand-lettering, design, and watercolour-based artwork, South Australian creative Lauren May Grieger incorporates her background in graphic design and art to produce unique pieces that are bound to brighten any space in your home.
With the upcoming Gathered Design Market in October, I had a Q&A with Lauren about her anticipations around participating in the market as a stall holder – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Lauren?
Lauren: I often refer to myself as a multi-passionate creative. I am super passionate about creativity and love to get my hands into new projects and new forms of art. I’m a homebody, who will quite happily let the day pass, as I daydream with a warm beverage and my paintbrushes nearby. I have an incredible husband, Liam (who is my biggest supporter) and we love to spend time adventuring Adelaide for great coffee and pastries. I’m a big nature enthusiast who loves going for a hike, a sustainability seeker who has way too many jars that will “come in handy one day”, and I’m totally an animal person, which is why I now have three rescue animals zooming around our tiny house! I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than being creative, and I know how very fortunate I am that the path I’m called to is just that!
Tema: How did you decide on the name of your business – Mayde Studio?
Lauren: I’m a big believer in that all people have been made creative, and that we are meant to work with our hands and minds in a way that brings us joy and life! We’re simply meant to create! I wanted to play on the word “Made”, but jazz it up a little. My middle name is May, so I joined the two together and ta-da……we have Mayde Studio! Through all parts of my business, I really want to encourage people to enjoy creativity, and to know that it’s not just for some people, but for everyone in some form or another!
Tema: What made you decide on starting up your own business?
Lauren: I have been working as a graphic designer and illustrator for different companies on and off for the last 10 years, all the while freelancing for small projects on the side. I have never felt called to work in a 9-5 job, so I decided to take the plunge and start my own business properly! This allows me the freedom of working in my family business when it’s needed, to be able to support my church with admin work, and to also spend time volunteering – something I really love to do! Working for myself definitely suits my personality. I’m able to spend time helping others, while also doing what I’m passionate about!
Tema: How did you decide on what to offer via Mayde Studio?
Lauren: Mayde Studio began with primarily offering graphic design services. But through that, I’ve built up a beautiful client base, who specifically seek out my watercolour artwork, hand lettering, and illustration. The more I’ve done of this, the more I’ve fallen in love with it and in turn, am now offering that as the major selling point of my business! I still work as a graphic designer, but for the most part, I’m painting and illustrating artworks that people cherish in their homes!
Tema: I read that you have a rabbit ‘Sunny’ – can you tell us about the important role that he plays (literally and metaphorically speaking) at Mayde Studio?
Lauren: I do have a beautiful bunny named Sunny! (and also an energetic cat named Louie and a joyful little bird named Minnie!) – I’m a big animal lover, for sure! These little joy bringers are what keeps me sane during the day! I’m 100% an introvert, but I still find that working from home (especially during the winter months) can take a big toll on my mental health. So having some company while I work has been a huge blessing and a big encouragement for me, as my husband works as a teacher and isn’t around during the day! They help me stay happy and focused, even when they run through my paint pallets! I honestly think most people follow me on social media for my pets. But I understand, they’re pretty darn cute!
Tema: What inspires you to create your beautiful prints? Where do you often go to get some inspiration if you’re going through a creative block?
Lauren: As I mentioned earlier, I believe we are all “Mayde” creative. As a Christian, I know that everything I’m surrounded by has been made by the most creative being! And as we are made in His image, that means we’re meant to create also! This helps me keep working, and keep being inspired. I love spending time outside, and as you will notice….a lot of my work is botanical-based. I’m a big plant lover, flower seeker and a bird watcher! I love being able to bring all that inspires me from nature, into the home and onto my walls. I pair that with encouragements and words that remind you of how much you are loved, and how worthy of love you are. It really all comes from who I am as a person. A garden enthusiast who loves to encourage and share special words with people!
Tema: I see that you do a bit of custom work as well – what are some examples of custom works that you’d like to share with us?
Lauren: My most requested artworks are hand-lettered pieces with watercolour florals. They’re my favourite work to do! I honestly feel totally honoured when people bring me words that they treasure and ask me to paint them, so that they can gift them to someone they treasure. I get to be a part of some beautiful moments! I also hand-letter a lot of wedding vows, which is an incredible thing to be a part of. The words that we speak to our loved ones at the beginning of marriage are such a beautiful declaration, and I think it’s really important to be reminded of them daily. The best place to put these reminders is on your walls!
Tema: On average, how long does it take you to fill up your website with your products? Or do you prefer to work on a pay-as-you-go basis?
Lauren: I’m only now starting to add items to my website, as previously, I’ve worked primarily through email orders that are paid as the orders come in. I’m really looking forward to seeing how having these items for purchase on my website will change my business and hopefully make my artwork more available to people. Prints are also a new part of my business and will be on offer for the very first time at Gathered in October! After that, I’ll have them regularly updated on my website, which is super exciting. I honestly can’t wait!
Tema: Let’s talk a bit about your love for lettering and watercolor paints – how did that passion grow and develop to what it is today?
Lauren: I think I have my family to thank for this one! My Grandma and Aunty are both incredible artists. Grandma & Grandpa’s house was always filled with their artworks and so I had some pretty incredible people to look up to. I’ve always had a fascination with painting since I was very little, and was lucky enough to have parents that kept the art supplies stocked up for me. I remember taking drawings and paintings to grandma’s and feeling so excited when she’d blu-tack one up in the kitchen! During high school, I found my love for creating artwork with letters and words. The old distraction of writing in the page margins never left! In the last ten years, I learnt how to work the two together, and have honed my skills in lettering and watercolour. I still have a long way to go though!
Tema: How long has Mayde Studio been in business for? How have you found the journey so far?
Lauren: I’ve had my own business officially for nearly 3.5 years, however, only in the last few months have I changed the name from Lauren May Creative to Mayde Studio! The journey has been fun, but also tough. I think the hardest part for me was and still is letting go of the expectation that I have to say “yes” to any and every graphic design job that comes through. It’s been a big learning point to be able to say “no” to jobs if they don’t align with my business, or if I don’t actually have time for them! I know a lot of new freelancers find it hard to make and keep boundaries that work with their business, and so I’m working hard to push into work that I love and to make sure that I’m marketing myself with my own style, rather than putting out work that I don’t love and that doesn’t reflect my business well. I know that if I keep working hard, keep creating work that aligns with my personality and keep sharing it, the harvest of that will come through – I just have to let go of that fear, and keep going!
Tema: Do you primarily run online or do you have a physical shopfront / stockists where people can access your products / services?
Lauren: Mayde Studio is currently just online, but my goal for the end of 2019 and into 2020 is to really hit the local scene and connect with people through markets and anything else that might pop up! My dream one day, however, is to have a creative space/studio to work out of that also doubles as a retail space for local creatives. Oh and it’ll be a creative workshop venue also! That’s something I’d really love to work towards! A place where I can encourage people that we’ve all been made creative and that creativity is good for the soul.
Tema: What do you think helps Mayde Studio unique and a stand-out?
Lauren: I think it’s part personality, and part colour! We’re in this weird place where there is so much work and inspiration out there that sometimes it feels like you have to put out work that fits in with the perfect Instagram grid. I’m trying hard not to let myself get sucked into that. I work with colour that makes my soul happy, and aim to infuse the joy and encouragement into it that I think we all need. We need joy, courage, love, and hope. That’s what I want my work to feel like!
Tema: What have you found rewarding about being a small scale business in Adelaide / South Australia?
Lauren: The most rewarding thing about my business is the happiness that people feel gifting my work to their loved ones. I’m a big advocate for supporting local makers, so to be able to gift an intentional gift that has been thought about and hand-crafted is pretty special!
Tema: What have you found challenging about being a small scale business in Adelaide / South Australia?
Lauren: Being confident in my own work is challenging. Sometimes, I look at what I’ve created and the doubt creeps in that asks “why would anyone pay for this”. That’s something I need to work on daily. Believing in myself and my work! Occasionally it feels like we’re all very disconnected from each other. There are lots of creatives working, but I want all of us to be friends! I’m a big believer on community over competition, so I’d love to know more about/start conversations, where we come together and meet regularly and make wonderful connections!
Tema: How did you get involved with Gathered SA?
Lauren: I’ve followed Gathered SA for a really long time! My husband and I often trawl markets, and he always tells me that it’s something I could do. I always agree, but never take the step of actually trying it out. He encouraged me to apply to Gathered, and then cheered with me when we were accepted and will be by my side at the end of October! I’m very thankful for his encouragement!
Tema: What are you anticipating from the upcoming Gathered SA market?
Lauren: Making friends! I’m most excited to meet people, and to share about what I do. The bonus will be my work heading into different people’s homes! I just can’t wait to meet and connect with everyone, both customers and other local makers!
Tema: What can people expect from visiting and/or supporting your business at the Market?
Lauren: Visitors to our stall can expect vibrancy, kind words, and a very excited me! Mayde Studio exists to encourage and to bring joy into spaces that need a bit more of it. I hope that’s what the entire Mayde Studio experience reflects – joy and encouragement! Whether that’s through our artwork, our online channels, or through an in-person interaction.
Tema: What would you like your customers to experience by buying something from you?
Lauren: I want my customers to feel inspired by my work, and excited about what it will bring to their spaces/relationships. It’s my dream that customers will feel butterflies when they get home and are able to find the perfect space for their new artwork. I’d love for them to be excited to show it to all their friends and family. I really want customers to have a great experience from the moment they encounter myself and my work, to the moment their purchase finds its new place. I hope that we can meet, say hi and chat; and that this interaction will be remembered fondly!
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like us to know about you and your business Mayde Studio?
Lauren: Just that I can’t wait to meet my future customers! I want all of my customers to know that they are valued and loved, and that it’s an incredible blessing to find joy in celebrating others and letting yourself and your creativity be celebrated also. I create so that people know how gosh darn special they are!
You can visit Mayde Studio at the Gathered Design Market onOctober 26 + 27 from 10am – 4pm at the Queen’s Theatre in the Adelaide CBD.
Entry to the market is $2 and there is $4 (flat rate) parking available on Saturdays and Sundays at K Park along Playhouse Lane.
With thanks to Jenna O’Dell from Gathered SA for the interview opportunity.
Interview conducted by Fatema “Tema” Sitabkhan
Answers + images supplied by Lauren Grieger // Mayde Studio