Art just seems to liven up any space you place it, am I right? We will have some wonderful artists vending at Handmade this April, so be sure to come and see them all! Laura Sommer has a wonderful story of how she crossed the pond and began a life here in Salt Lake City creating art. Keep reading to learn more about this wonderful artist that will be a part of Handmade.
Laura, please introduce yourself!
My name is Laura Sommer and my business name is ‘Laura Sommer Creative’. I am originally from England. I came to the USA in 2009 to teach art in a British international school in Washington DC, after teaching art in England for many years.
I met my husband soon after, and we relocated to Salt Lake City in 2012. I taught art at a school in West Valley City for six years, but I am now a full-time artist after teaching for a total of twenty years.
Where did your creative spark begin and can you trace your path to where you are today?
I’ve always loved drawing, painting, and making, ever since I was a kid. This led me to take a degree in Fine Art at Leeds University in England. I have always hand made gifts for people, which has led to commissioned work. I have had solo and group art shows, and now I sell my artwork at local markets and events in the Salt Lake City area.
What inspires your creativity?
I am a lover of anything to do with nature! Landscapes, animals, flowers, trees, birds, insects etc. I usually get the most inspired if I take a trip somewhere and I am surrounded by beauty. Colors, texture, and patterns are often seen in my work and these are captured within my drawings and paintings. My creative friends also inspire me. I am always thinking of new ideas and projects that I want to sink my teeth into. My brain never really switches off from that!
What do you create and what makes it so special?
So I have two specific styles that run alongside one another. I draw nature using black micron pens. These include animals, sea life, flowers, insects, birds etc. I have added water-color paint into some of these drawings too. I sell these drawings as prints, greeting cards, and gel transfers. A cool thing that I recently developed is laser engravings of my illustrations into wood.
They take the form of coasters, wall hangings, book covers and ornaments at the moment. I am always looking for new ways to use my illustrations as a new art form. This style of work is what is popular at the markets I vend at.
I also create a unique style of work that I named ‘Quainting’. This is a technique where I paint and collage papers to create an image and then it is stitched using a sewing machine. The machine becomes my drawing tool. So ‘Quainting’, is a combination of the words painting and quilting.
This technique is usually done on a large scale and I have a couple of pieces in shows right now. One is a large painted and sewn flamingo which is part of the ‘World of the Wild’ Art show at Hogle Zoo. Another is on show at The Salt Lake Acting Company in support of the play ‘Cake’. It is a sewn, painted image of a cake.
What do your customers love most about your products?
Some of my customers have an immediate connection with nature and are drawn to their favorite animal, bird or flower etc. They like the attention to detail in the drawings that I have created using an expressive combination of lines, dots, and scribbles. People often tell me that I capture the personality of the animals in my drawings. My commissions usually come from people who want me to draw their pet or a pet of a friend as a gift.
What is the best way for people to connect with you?
I have my website where people can select items from the shop, or they can get an idea of the styles I do. They can send me messages via my website to ask questions or arrange commissions at www.laurasommerartist.com. I also regularly post on my Instagram page, so that people can see things I have worked on. My art Facebook page is Laura Sommer Creative. I invite anyone to message me on either of these.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone prefers to contact me directly.