UPDATE: Win the Los Angelista Necklace Exclusively Designed by Artist Leili Towfigh
Do you have a multi-hyphenate in your life? Someone who is so extraordinarily talented that you have a difficult time summing up just how amazing they are? That's how I feel about my dear friend Leili Towfigh.
I first met Leili when I was 19 and I liked her immediately because she's an includer--someone who takes the time to get to know everyone in the room. She's also incredibly principled and humble, and she's one of the smartest, most thoughtful and emotionally intelligent people I know. Heck, she was the Mistress of Ceremonies at my wedding! And, if that wasn't fab enough...Leili's a remarkable artist.
She's a painter, a photographer (get ready to be wowed by her Flickr stream) a jewelry designer, and she makes gorgeous ceramics. I'm not kidding about how talented she is. Whenever I go visit her Etsy shop, Leili Design, I start drooling over pretty mucheverything. She sent me this necklace as a gift, and every time I wear it, I get a zillion compliments.
SO, imagine my glee when she told me that in honor of the seventh anniversary of this blog, she was going to design an exclusive Los Angelista necklace! The result is the gorgeousness you see on the lovely model above...and one lucky Los Angelista reader gets to win it!
I thought it would be cool to ask Leili a few questions about what inspires her, what went into designing the Los Angelista and how she decided to go open her Etsy shop.
Los Angelista: What inspires you as an artist?
Los Angelista: What inspires you as an artist?
Leili Towfigh: I'm an educational technologist and artist (painting, photography, design, ceramics, writing, film). I've studied art for years, in academic settings, studios and apprenticeships, and I love to keep learning, experimenting and reflecting.
A primary force that has shaped my sense of purpose in life is attraction to beauty and thirst for knowledge. For me, this attraction manifests itself in love for the majesty and diversity of nature, the visual arts, music, handmade crafts from all cultures, and also in the pleasures of beholding the fruits of these creative endeavors.
So, every day of my life, I seek out beauty as my inspiration, and try to cycle what I absorb into my jewelry designs, paintings, photographs, and ceramic art. I like color, science, art, math, music, architecture, nature, design, patterns, diverse aesthestics and color palettes from around the world .... all make appearances in my work.
LA: How do you come up with the designs for your jewelry? Do you see the beads first or do you see the necklace in your head and then track down the perfect beads?
LT: In the realm of jewelry design, I particularly enjoy experimenting with colors and contrasting textures that I am not automatically drawn to, and learning to juxtapose and love unusual combinations. This starts with beads. To facilitate experimentation, I collect beads that look “weird” and “different”. I love the moment of pleasant surprise that comes when making something that feels novel and harmonious. This “seat-of-the-pants” approach to design is one of the ways I try to push my own boundaries and examine my prejudices.
LA: How did you design this particular necklace?
LT: I designed this particular necklace with the black lucite cones as a starting point. They are bold and geometric, and I felt that could almost stand alone. I also had the incredible golden discs on hand, and as they were the right diameter, I tried the combination and loved it. I decided that the beads were so striking that all I needed was the three as a centerpiece, on a naked gold wire. The necklace looks Los Angelestic to me, which works as it was designed expressly for Los Angelista!
LA: What made you finally decide to start your own business selling them?
LT: For me, making art and designing things is a communal endeavor. My studio is a shared space, and I thrive on interactions and collaborations with other artists. A teacher of mine has said for years that it is important for artists to move work out of their lives, in order to make room for new thoughts, designs and ideas. So at a certain point, I had stockpiled enough work, and I felt it wasn’t moving through my life at a healthy-enough pace. Etsy, where I have my online shop, is a wonderful arena in which to offer work and connect with others who are attracted to beauty, and things that are made with care, by hand.
Do you see why I love this woman? No kidding, she's seriously amazing and dangit, how come she can't live in Los Angeles so I can see her all the time?
- You must live in the United States.
- Leave a brief comment (no essays, please!) by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, September 4, 2011 telling me what inspires your creativity.
- Make sure comment has a name and your email. If you are anonymous and I can't tell who you are, your comment entries will be disqualified.
- I'll pick one winner from all qualifying entries using a randomizer, and post it on Monday, September 5, 2011. If the winner doesn't contact me by Wednesday, September 7, 2011, I'll choose another winner.
- For additional Los Angelista giveaway rules and legal disclaimers, please click here.
- Like the Leili Design Facebook Page and leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
- Follow Leili on Twitter and send her a tweet with the hashtag #LosAngelistaNecklace --and leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
- Like Los Angelista on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
- Follow Los Angelista on Twitter and send me a tweet with the hashtag #LosAngelistaNecklace and leave me a separate comment letting me know you did so.
- Already follow/like? Just let me know with a separate comment!