Meet Melange member Liz-Anna of Liz-Anna's Lakeside Studio!

Imagine! Feel the breeze off the lake, the sun on your face and enjoy this wonderful interview of LizAnna by Brenda Lynn of Peace of Mind Studio Thank you Bren for a fun read!

*Where do you call home? Are you married? Do you have children?
I live in the north central interior of British Columbia, Canada on a beautiful lake that is clean enough to drink from. My home is shared with my husband and our schizophrenic rescue cat, Beauty and the Beast. I have three grown children and one grandchild.

*When did  your "artistic life" begin? (Was this an innate necessity for you, or did you happen upon the creative calling at some later point in life?) 
I have always had a desire to create. As a little girl I coveted my mom's precious writing pad and loved the last day of school each year when I could bring home any unused supplies to use as my heart desired. We didn't have a lot of money so nothing was ever wasted.

*Have you had formal art training? (When and where? Do you feel conventional schooling is necessary for one to be a "true artist"?)

I started my family very young and have always lived in small towns or very rural settings so my art education came about through occasional workshops,reading a lot of books and other publications and, of course, just making art.

True artists are born from within and then shaped by life.  A true artist isn't necessarily a good artist, though.   A formal art education is a valuable path to an artist's development but it isn't the only path. I believe it is important to keep learning and growing as an artist using whatever tools your circumstances allow.

*You create beautiful and very tactile natural handmade paper. When did you learn this very ancient art form? What drew you to this process?
 I learned to make paper through an Emily Carr College Outreach program with an instructor from Paper-Ya about 15 years ago.   We made a variety of papers but I especially fell in love with the texture of the paper we made using Japanese Kozo fibre. As soon as the workshop was over I started experimenting with plant fibres I could find locally. I also purchased some good books to expand on what I had learned in the weekend workshop.Now I enjoy sharing what I've learned in my own workshops.

*We have enjoyed following your Moose Pooh adventures on your new blog. Please share with our readers just exactly what we're referring to, and please do share with us just how you learned this technique of making paper.
It's not as 'icky' as it sounds.  Moose are herbivores and they eat a lot of willow. Almost all of their poo is willow, which is a fibre that I often use in papermaking.Through a process of boiling for several hours in an alkaline solution and thorough rinsing, the impurities are removed leaving just the willow fibre. I then soak the fibres in a bleach solution.

I first got the idea from a Tribal Arts feature on African Matuvi (elephant
dung) paper in Somerset Studio Magazine in 1997. I thought it would be interesting to try the same thing with a large Canadian herbivore and so my moose poo paper was born. Of course I couldn't find anything in my books about making moose poo paper!

*You enjoy working in a variety of mediums, including textile art, stained glass work and even natural soap-making. Share a bit on your other interests and how they help define you/or play a role in your life.
I sometimes wonder if I should be choosing one or two mediums and just work on developing those skills but I can't resist creative play. Usually when I learn a new craft it's for self-fulfillment and to add beauty to my own home or garden, but eventually I want to share what I've learned, so I teach workshops, too.  

I started making soap when my youngest was a baby, from lard and tallow that I rendered from our pigs and cows in my 'back to the land' days, almost 30 years ago. About 10 years ago I started making soap again but from vegetable oils rather than animal products and using only pure natural ingredients.

My textiles are another form of mixed media including a variety of
techniques in each piece.  I use assorted dye methods, batik and other
resists, block printing, silk screening, devore' (burn out on velvet),
marbling, hand painting, embroidery and beading. Sometimes I make dyes from plants to use in both my textiles and handmade papers.

*Do you work outside the home and if so, what do you do?
I have been an administrative assistant in a school for the past 21 years.

*When do you find personal art time? How do you balance both aspects of your life?
Since I have no young children at home, and a very supportive and undemanding husband, I can choose any time outside of my regular job as personal art time. I don't always use my time wisely, though. I also have all the regular school holidays, including the summer, to pursue my art so I really have the best of both worlds. Of course that doesn't stop me from whining and complaining when I have to leave my art project and head to work in the morning.

*You have just recently opened your Etsy shop. What brought you to Etsy/online selling? Do you also show your work in brick and mortar shops?

Etsy kept coming up in articles in some of my favourite art and craft
publications so I had been thinking about it for a while. It was such a bonus to discover an incredibly diverse and talented art community in the process.

I sell my work at regional craft fairs and markets, a local health food
store and occasionally, on consignment. I also participate in local and regional art shows. I teach workshops and sell from my home studio as well.

*What does a typical "art day" look like from the outside? Where do you create? What tools or supplies are always by your side? What, if any, music would we hear in the background. Do you have a view beyond your pallette?
My art day starts before I leave for work in the morning. I have recently started getting up at 5:00 am so I have 3 hours before I leave for work to play in my studio. I putter a bit in the evenings but that isn't my most creative time. Weekends are the best when I can take the momentum of the morning through the whole day. I have eclectic tastes in music so, depending on my mood and what I'm working on, I could be listening to anything from Celtic to Rock.

I am so lucky to have a studio dedicated to my creative pursuits. I like to have all my tools and supplies organized for easy access where they are used the most so my studio is laid out in zones. As much as I enjoy an aesthetically pleasing environment to work in, I do a good job of turning it into a colossal mess within 5 minutes of starting a project. In the spring and summer, I spend as much time outdoors as possible.

*What are your long term goals? (Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
I am looking forward to retirement, hopefully within the next 5 years, but I'm not waiting for that elusive 'someday' to do the things I enjoy. My circumstances may dictate whether or not I continue to sell and teach, but I plan to learn new skills and grow as an artist as long as I possibly can

*Tell us something we don't know about LizAnna. Do you sing in the shower or avoid cracks in pavement or hate brussel sprouts? What simple little thing makes you smile?
I have had four last names in my lifetime - my birth name, my adopted name, and two married names.  However, I have always been, and always will be, Liz-Anna. That is why I only use my first name to sign my art.


  1. Great interview Bren! Thanks for sharing! Liz I really like what you have to say about artists' needs to keep learning and expanding; and I so surprised to see the other types of work you do. I fixated on the handmade paper and look at the wonderful other mediums you work in!!

  2. Thank you for doing this interview, Bren! The questions were fun. Thanks, Pat and Maureen, for getting Bren's work onto the blog.

    Thanks, Pat!