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?

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?
To Enter the Los Angelista Necklace Giveaway:
  • 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.
Extra Ways to Enter:
Do you really, really want to win? In addition to your comment about what inspires your creativity, you can also win by

  • 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!
Also, if you want to know more about our Leili, you can also keep up with her blog and her Tumblr. Good luck! 

UPDATE: Thanks everyone for entering. Congratulations to our winner, 1969


anjeee said…
i'm inspired by many things, first and foremost, my son (14) and daughter (15). they are my primary inspiration in my photography, and everything else artistic (and otherwise) that i do. we narrowly survived a terrible car accident 3 years ago where we were rear ended while at a stoplight by a man driving 65mph who fell asleep at the wheel. my back was broken in 3 places, among other injuries. so actually being able to walk everyday (although with pain) is a great inspiration.

i love to go camping in the high sierras at my favorite lake and sleep under the stars. the night sky, when one is away from the city, is utterly awe-inspiring. listening to music while laying under towering redwoods inspires my photography and writing, and renews my soul.

meeting new people and seeing new places is also an inspiration, as is browsing creative people's tumblrs and flickr streams(thanks for the link to leili's tumblr, very cool).

oh, and i also follow you on twitter!

anjeee [at] gmail [dot] com
Sally Big Woods said…
Leili IS truly awesome.

I am inspired by lots of things: being outside in nature, music, the artworks of other, snippets of literature that create images in my mind.

Great idea for a post & keep up the good work.
Anne said…
Such a beautiful necklace!

What inspires my creativity is spending time enjoying the beauty of nature in all the seasons...
Anne said…
Just "liked" Leili Design on Facebook!
Leili said…
I could not be more thrilled and honored to be featured by my sister Los Angelista. And thanks to the commenters for their likes and follows. I love reading your beautiful thoughts about what inspires you.

Los Angelista has been keeping it real in the blogosphere for seven years - which is like 1000 years in internet terms. There is truth-telling, clear thinking, and deep concern about justice on these pages.

Thank you, dearest L., for your generosity of spirit and your keen mind.
Call Family said…
I am inspired by music and other dancers when I hoopdance. On another note--I am 'inspired' to clean my house when I know I am going to have company-lol.
Call Family said…
I "like" LosAngelista on FB.
Call Family said…
Just "liked" Leili Design on Facebook.
1969 said…
Back from my summer hiatus. I am inspired by all of the wonderful women I know that make motherhood look so good. You are one of them.
No fuzzy stories, just life and lots of love.

I am now following all of you on Twitter and Facebook.

Paige White said…
I am inspired by my grandmother who is 94 years old.She is extremely supportive and regardless of the choices I make or what they may lead to, she continues to be there for me. Day in and day out she always inspires me to go further in my life, whether its in my education, my career or my friendships.Even though I am only 21, my grandmother has bestowed enough wisdom in me to last me beyond my years.I am so blessed to have some one such as her in my life today.Love you, Nana!
Paige White said…
I have liked both of you on Twitter and FB by the way! Cheers!
Anonymous said…
Joanna: What inspires my creativity is nature, color, fashion, my family, my friends, the way that I'm feeling at that point in time, positive vibes, and definitely love.

Bronwyn said…
I am inspired by my students . they are really wonderful!
Bronwyn said…
I liked your facebook page!
Bronwyn said…
I also liked her facebook page! I think you can tell who I am through the google account but my email address is bronwyn [dot] ann [at] gmail [dot] com

I forgot to put that on the other entries, but I think you can tell...
razi said…
I'm inspired by other artists and different mediums also by my spiritual practice, i get true inspiration when I look inward. I love Leili Design soooo much!!
1969 said…
Thank you so much Leili and Los Angelista. I will wear it with PRIDE!!
Liz Dwyer said…
I'm sure it's going to be gorgeous on you! :)

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