Who are your favorite artists/illustrators? Who and where do you get most of your inspiration from? How do you generate your ideas and concepts for a piece?

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Some of my favorite artists and illustrators are Carson Ellis, Matthew Woodson, Andrew Wyeth, Landland, Michelle Morin, Anna Bond, Riikka Sormunen, Oana Befort, Meg Hunt, Jon Contino, Aiko Fukawa, Stephanie Graegin, Maryanna Hoggatt, Rebecca Green, Bill Rebholz, Micah Lidberg, Studio KXX, and a bunch more I’m forgetting right now. I am always most inspired by work with a folk art look to it, which largely fails to come through in my own work (I’m eternally fighting a losing battle against my natural tendency towards detail and realism and orderliness). I have an illustration pinboard here if you want to see more specifically what I dig.

My ideas and main inspiration come from nature. Whenever I can, I go exploring nature sites around Minnesota with my boyfriend or friends. We follow animal paths around in the woods, walk on frozen swamps, get covered in burrs while pushing through overgrown fields, discover factory ruins, try to make friends with seagulls along the north shore of lake superior, swim in mysteriously pink lake water, collect stray feathers and interesting-looking acorns, (are still learning to) canoe in the wilderness of the boundary waters where loons live, save caterpillars from certain death, find places with unlimited supplies of deer bones, get yelled at by woodpeckers, freak out over spotting deer beds, find out what tiny bits of ice sound like clinking together where they collected on the banks of the St Croix, bury found bird heads and come back for the skull a year later, find the first tiny green things growing under compressed layers of leaves in early spring, let teeny tiny fish nibble our toes, follow the far-off sounds of wild turkeys, admire all the beautiful lichens that grow on rocks and tree branches north of Duluth, and have many a heartbroken funeral for wild animals we never got to meet. I do not know how to both go outside and run out of ideas for things to draw, that does not make sense to me. Also, I try to take pictures of some of the places I go — I have not updated in a very long time, but you can find them here.

Teagan, I ordered you "tree fort" fabric from a website and they took my payment for 4 yds of your tree fort fabric. I found out 3 days later that they didn't have that amount. I can't find it anywhere else online or in stores! I a desperate. I have a baby cradle waiting for this fabric for a customer of mine who is due June 1st with a baby. I am going to be really upset because I can't complete this cradle without this 4 yds of fabric. Can you help me?

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I’m sorry to hear about that! In general the best place to buy my fabric by the yard is Fabricworm — that way you’re getting it directly from Birch Fabrics. Unfortunately it looks like they’re out of stock on the website. Here is a list of stockists who sell online that you can check — if none of these work out, you may have to wait to see if the collection is reprinted, or find a different fabric to use :(

The Fat Quarter Shop: www.fatquartershop.com
Jimmy Beans Wool: www.jimmybeanswool.com

Wren Day

gouache & watercolor on paper

(I couldn’t decide which colors I liked best — the blue is a photoshopped alternate version, and the gold is closer to the original painting.)

My piece for the Animystics show at Light Grey Art Lab, opening this Friday! The show is all about the spiritual and mystical ideas associated with different animals, and I chose to illustrate the Wren because of its place in druid lore and celtic mythology.

In one tale, the wren won the title of King of Birds when he hid unnoticed under the feathers of an eagle in a race, and flew ahead at the last second. Ancient druid rituals involved sacrificing a wren at midwinter, and the tradition was carried on into Christian times, with “wrenboys” catching a wren on St Stephen’s Day, tying it to a decorated pole, and marching from door to door in the village wearing costumes made of straw, asking for donations.

My piece was inspired by the St Stephen’s Day (or Wren Day) tradition, which I first learned about from a lovely little song called Wren in the Furze, which you can (and definitely should) listen to here.

you guys! i can finally answer asks on my art blog! tumblr used to be lame and all answers would post to my photo blog. i don’t know when they fixed that?

anyway! now that i can post answers, i will do my best to answer all questions publicly (unless it has already been answered). i am truly sorry if i miss your question, or if i have failed to respond to you in the past — i get a really really high volume of questions from students, and i want to answer them all, but i don’t always have the time. i’ve wanted to put together an FAQ page for ages but maybe this is a good alternative!? i’ll add a link to my blog sidebar where you can find all Q&As from now on. 

while i’m posting a dumb text post instead of art, i also want to tell people who don’t already know that i have a photo blog tumblr thing here, where i post pictures of adventures i go on and animals in my yard, and a brand new inspiration tumblr here, where i reblog stuff (illustration, pretty things, music, nice words) the way normal people use tumblr because i never had a place to do that before. follow if you want!

I really love your designs! I was wondering where you got that cute paint pallet from?

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thank you, i just bought it and am excited about it! part of my eternal quest to rid my life of everything shitty and plasticky. i got it at wet paint in st paul, but if you’re not local you can find them online — look for “paragon 10 well porcelain fan palette”.