Happy Feature Friday!
Today we’re excited to feature Lizz Klaras of LK Custom Creations! We love how she took her love of painting and turned it into a career — making her work stand out by using glass as her canvas! Her pieces are not only unique works of art, but are also completely usable! She’s truly inspired by her surroundings, creating glassware that has amazing depictions of nature and animals — they’re sure to make a statement in your own collection! Her brand’s story will definitely inspire you in your own creative pursuits, so keep reading to hear more about how she got her start, and to see the gorgeous transformations she gives these glasses and plates!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: I am a freelance artist from a very small town in Illinois. My husband is in the military so we are currently stationed in Chesapeake, VA and we love it! I have a five year old daughter who is very interested in art and is often found in my studio acting as my assistant.
: How did you get started with LK Custom Creations and hand painting glassware?
: For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a freelance artist but it took a while to figure out exactly what I could create that would be unique. LKCC originally started out as a custom invitation business. I thought that combining my illustration skills with custom invitations would be a great fit. I loved the design process but assembling them became a very daunting task for me. I missed painting so much and I wasn’t about to hand paint hundreds of invitations! I began to look for anything I could produce that could still be custom, yet outside the world of traditional 2D artwork. Once I learned to paint on glass I was hooked! It was usable art and that is what I loved most about it. I started adding glassware designs to my Etsy site and instantly the glass art began to attract customers.
: You attended Savannah College of Art and Design. How did your experience there impact your design career?
: The Savannah College of Art Design was an amazing experience for me. I learned that if you have an eye for design and artistic talent you still need to understand the method behind creating great art. The professors at SCAD were inspiring, talented, knowledgeable and credible artists. They had all made art a profession outside of teaching it, which gave me the confidence that I could do it too.
: The pathway to a career in the design industry isn’t always an easy one, but you have always been determined to make your creative dreams happen! How have you navigated the ups and downs to pursuing your dreams?
: This has been a long road for me. I graduated with A BFA in Illustration in 2004. After graduation, I did every kind of freelance art job imaginable. Often times, I would create for little or no money just to get my work out into the world. To make ends meet, I had a very demanding full time job as an Internal Sales Rep for a logistics company. It was brutal! I would work 60 hours a week doing something I had no interest in. Whenever I could, I would create more art and brainstorm about how to get my business off the ground. I did this for 7 years. In 2011, my husband joined the Navy and we moved so I said goodbye to the cut throat world of logistic sales. Shortly after our move, my husband deployed for 9 months while I was alone in a new place with a toddler. I knew this was my opportunity to start what I had only dreamt about. I created an Etsy site with a few items while started to work full time marketing and researching my craft. By the time he was home I had established my shop and considered it as a full time job.
: The details in your work are beautiful! How do you go about making one of your glassware creations?
: My designs always start with good photo references so I heavily research all my subjects before I paint. Unlike many other glass artists, my style is more realistic. I like to play with composition and find ways to make the viewer forget the actual glass is acting as a canvas. My creations require a lot of layering with the paint but the more layers, the more the art seems to pop off the glass.
: What caused you to pick glass as your primary canvas?
: I had been painting on canvas since I was very young. When I discovered painting on glass it pulled out so much more creativity from me. I loved how I could paint all over each surface and there are so many unique techniques that can be applied that couldn’t be achieved on canvas.
: What do you love about running your own Etsy shop?
: Customer Service is my “thing”. Custom Orders are also my specialty. Etsy allows me to interact with my customers directly all over the world and create whatever they want. I have formed so many relationships with buyers and it really gives me a sense of total ownership. I love it and without Etsy I don’t know where I’d be!
: A lot of your work is nature based. How do you get inspiration for all of your unique designs?
: I have always been in love with nature inspired art. Funny enough, I learned how to paint from watching Bob Ross when I was little kid. Living in Savannah, I was constantly surrounded by beautiful Southern landscapes and now living in Coastal Virginia, my house is right on the water where blue crabs, herons, egrets, you name it, are living right in my backyard! Being in this environment constantly sparks new ideas.
: What can we expect next from LK Custom Creations?
: My dreams for this business are endless and I am constantly testing new ideas. This year I am focusing on inventory, which will allow me to get items to my customers even quicker. I am also dabbling a bit more into a “collector’s” market. I will be adding more glass plates to my collection, which allows me to introduce some new techniques to the world.
: Any advice?
: Don’t quit. Don’t compare yourself to other artists. Be you, be unique and continue to do what you love to do. If you truly love what you are doing you need to believe in it and make it happen. Never depend on anyone to get you where you want to be. Simply, give your best every time.
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