Shop #2 in my series of Etsy artists using upcycled and/or recycled items. Meet LeAnn from LeMaisonBelle. She has graciously offered a coupon to my readers for 10% off, use the code QUILTYTHERAPY. Below is an item that may be coming to my home.
Tell me a bit about you and your Etsy shop…
My name is LeAnn Cooper, and I was born and raised in Mississippi. I started out 6 years ago selling large-scale painted furniture pieces, and just recently opened Le Maison Belle at Etsy. I focus mainly on small home decor pieces using vintage and upcycled elements. I also offer limited series black and white photographs, alphabet photography, and signs made from reclaimed wood with original artwork.
To most the name Le Maison Belle means “The House Beautiful”, but the shop is actually named after our Great Dane, Belle, who basically owns our house…so to us the names means “The House of Belle”.
How did you get started using upcycled/recycled products?
My grandmother was an avid sewer – and she never threw even the tiniest scrap of fabric away. When her pile got too large to handle, she’d begin making quilts. I think you’d probably call them crazy quilts today. I was always amazed at the beautiful quilts she made from sometimes the ugliest, tiniest strips of fabric. I think that’s where my “I know I can use this for something” mentality comes from.
We live in a house that was built in 1856, so we have lots of scrap wood from years of remodel projects. That’s how the painted signs venture got started. I also owned an antiques shop, so I have lots of small decorative items just waiting to be loved!
What do you like the most about using those products?
A lot of old items can have so much character – even an old piece of wood. You just don’t seem to find that in a lot of the items manufactured today. I love taking castoff items and imagining them as something completely new and different, and then seeing them take on a new life.
What do you like the least? Challenges?
When incorporating antique pieces into my designs, I take great pains to maintain the integrity of the antique pieces themselves. Even if a piece is rusted beyond having any monetary value, I find myself wincing as I paint it. I usually end up glad that I did though.
How do you find inspiration?
I am inspired by so many things…it’s hard to pick just one. I usually let things tell me what they want to be. I’ve found that if I try to force it, I don’t always end up pleased with the final product.
I find tremendous inspiration in other artists. The idea for the “Love is all You Need” sign that I painted came from graffiti that I saw painted on a building. “Love is all you need” was painted on the front; then, when I rounded the corner, “yes it is” was painted on the side.
What feedback do you have from others about using these products?
I spend a lot of time making freebies for friends and family. They’ll see something I’ve made and say, “Oh, can you make this for me in that color?” And I always do. I have so much fun making all of the items that I sell at Le Maison Belle, and I hope that everyone loves the products as much as I love creating them. I get a thrill when someone actually appreciates an item enough to purchase it.
Favorite upcycled/recycled item. Please include picture or link.
Oh, that’s a hard one! I love how the Ships in a Bottle turned out, and I really enjoy making the painted signs; but I’d have to say my favorite item would be the red magnetic bulletin board – red is my favorite color. This is also one of the items most requested by friends and family.