july artist spotlight.

This past week, we had the pleasure of hosting a class with instructor, Jackie Ashley. It was so fun! This adorable and talented young woman is the mastermind behind, Shlii, a collection of freakishly cute, kawaii-style plushies and other original works.PicMonkey Collage Jackie's meticulous and lovingly hand-crafted yetis, ninjas, and other happy little critters grace the shelves of Kitsch, although they never seem to stick around too long. Recently, we had the pleasure of learning more about her. You, too, can gain some insight into the life of a dedicated craftswoman by reading this fun little interview.

Where do you find inspiration?

I’m a very visual person, so I find my inspiration from artwork, fabrics, and animation. I love browsing through deviantArt during sewing breaks. I also find that the cartoon “Adventure Time”, movies by Studio Ghibli, and anime shows greatly influence my work.65056_416816475054705_1454118833_n

What's your studio playlist?

Music is extremely important to me during my creative process; I usually draw new doll designs while listening to my favorite artists. My studio playlist consists of Andrew Bird, Camera Obscura, Architecture in Helsinki, DeVotchKa, Fleet Foxes, The Last Bison, and the list goes on.970739_497632500306435_1427780169_n

Where is your studio?

My studio is located in my home in Norfolk, VA. Early in our marriage, my husband surprised me on our anniversary with the studio space. He’d been working on the room for weeks but wouldn’t let me see what he was doing! When I opened the door and saw all the work he had done for me, there just aren’t enough words to describe my overwhelming appreciation of his support.1045251_505018062901212_1026777796_n

How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

I have yet to experience a creative rut. My problem is actually the opposite. I have so many ideas pouring out of my head, but there just isn’t enough time or I can’t afford the supplies. I make sure to write and sketch out every idea, though. So far I’ve filled three sketchbooks.sketchbooks

What artists influence your work - who are your creative idols?

My current creative heroes are Hayao Miyazaki, Pendleton Ward, and Chelsea Bloxsom. Hayao Miyazaki has an amazing imagination and co-founded Studio Ghibli, Pendleton Ward is the animator and screenwriter who created Adventure Time, and Chelsea Bloxsom is the creative genius behind Love & A Sandwich.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Quiet, Misunderstood, Short, Goofy, Dreamer

Describe your work in 5 words.

Cute, Quirky, Creepy, Soft, Playful

Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

My shop/brand is called “Shlii”, and I often get asked where the word came from or how it’s pronounced. My husband and I used to play ice hockey, and since our last name is Ashley, the team called him “Shlee” and I was “Little Shlee”.

My goal is to spread some sort of happiness, a smile, or a giggle, with everything I create. That is the true reason why I started sewing toys and why I keep sewing.PicMonkey Collage1

If you'd like to learn more about Jackie's work, check out her Etsy shop and become a Facebook fan!