I can definitely say that I'm obsessed with Leah Duncan's print designs and work. I mean, who wouldn't be? I love her color palettes, geometric and organic prints, and nature-inspired designs. I'm sure you're all familiar with her gorgeous prints - go check out her shop for any last minute gifts (or rather, New Years gifts)! Speaking of, I can't wait to see what she has in store for the new year! It was such a pleasure getting to know Leah! She's such an inspirational person (not to mention, the sweetest!!) and although I always love learning everyone's tips to their own work/life balance, I gotta say, I seriously need to take some pointers from Leah (it's so right on!). Continue below to read our Talk/Shop!
Tell me a little bit about yourself and where you’re from: I’m originally from South Carolina and currently live in Brooklyn, but we’ll likely be moving back to Austin in the New Year, which is where I started my career. I miss the Topo Chico and sunshine!
Let’s start at the beginning - How did you get into graphic design/print making? I was always artistic growing up but for some reason or another I ended up getting a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Printing in college. It was more focused on the technicalities of commercial printing like welding, viscosity of inks, and paper weight, etc. I was terrible at it! But it was a challenge for that reason and the best part was we got to design our own projects to print at the end of each semester. That’s when I fell in love with design. After school I was lucky to get a job as a graphic designer and worked for a few years for an advertising firm and then a screen-printer. When I moved to Austin I decided to take the opportunity to work for myself. I put my drawings on etsy and things grew from there.
What’s your favorite project type and/or project that you’ve worked on? There’s so much thought and energy put into each one that I feel like they’re all a small piece of me. Recently it’s been great to see my bedding for Schoolhouse Electric come out as well as my two most recent fabric collections. I love seeing my work in textile form.
The best thing about owning your own small business? With my own textile and stationery line I have full control of my work from start to finish. I get to put things out into the world that I truly love and believe in and if people want to buy it that makes it even better.
Your prints are absolutely gorgeous – what inspires your work? Nature, color, shapes, relationships, and the small moments in life.
What are your future goals? I’d love to start a family. I’m also looking to move to a studio with enough space for a small retail shop in the near future. When we move back to Austin we’ll be weighing the possibilities of that. I’m at a bit of a crossroads at the moment as to where I want to take my business, where we’ll live, etc., but it’s all positive and exciting.
How do you juggle work/life balance? It’s always a struggle! For the first few years of my business I said yes to everything and found myself spread too thin. I’ve learned that making time for family and friends is just as important and that saying no to a project here and there means I’m saying yes to other aspects of my life. It makes me a better person when I give myself space to be a normal human. Recently I’ve tried to do something for myself every day no matter how busy I am – whether it’s going for a run, doing yoga, painting my nails, or putting on lipstick – these are things that add up to making my week more positive.
Current obsession? Pepperoncini peppers. I realize this is strange, but I eat them like potato chips. I think it’s because most food in Texas has some sort of pepper or jalapeno in it, so moving to NYC two years ago put me off balance. They’re my love.
Other designers you’re inspired by? Vera Neumann Michelle Morin Betsy Walton Orla Kiely Frida Kahlo Ana Raimundo Heather Moore Just to name a few! I’m a huge fan of creative women in general, although I must admit I could be biased to their kind. :)
Shop Leah Duncan
1 // Angles Furoshiki and Mountain Blossom Furoshiki 2 // Circles, Lines, and Shapes Print Set 5x7 3 // "Landscape" Screen Printed Throw Pillow 4 // Succulent Poster 5 // "Horizon" Tea Towel 6 // "Harvest" Floral Wall Calendar
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All photos via Leah Duncan
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