Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx with Leah from Uplifting Arts

Leah Jesse is the talented crafting lady behind Uplifting Arts. Leah sells her original handmade products for you & your home as well as lovely vintage items at Uplifting Arts. She believes that products made by hand and in small quantities are preferable to mass-produced factory-made items and her shop is an eclectic mix of complete loveliness.

I love Leah’s clean & classic, yet totally contemporary designs and I think you will too.

Here’s Leah in her own words.


1. What’s the name of your business and what do create and sell?

Uplifting Arts, I sell eclectic and unique items for the home and creative crafty life.

2. How did you get you start?

I started Uplifting Arts in 2001 and after a year of planning I opened its cyber doors in 2002. I had worked for a few artists in their studios and was drawn to the idea of working for myself. But with very little capitol I had to start very, very small. Selling online was perfect. I had very little overhead costs and did most everything myself, from printing my own promotional materials to building my own web shop. Back then, I did everything out of a walk in closet in our one bedroom apartment. I’ve since moved Uplifting Arts into its own studio space, but I still do all the website stuff myself.

3. What’s your design process like?

That’s a good question! I like to see all my options before I choose anything, so usually my design process includes auditioning lots and lots of fabric combinations. Depending on my mood, it’s either a very quick process or very messy process in which most of the fabrics come off the shelves.


4. What are you most proud of in your life?

I’m pretty proud of Uplifting Arts.

5. Tell us one funny/goofy/silly thing about yourself.

I can’t sew on a sewing machine with my shoes on. Well, technically I can but I don’t like to. I learned to use the presser foot on the machine without shoes on and it’s just sort of stuck. I feel like I have more control of the speed without shoes, so when I work in the studio most the time I only have one shoe on!


6. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?

The best thing is being able to create something everyday, the worst is all the paper work.

7. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at? List as many as you want.

Oh there is so many! Lately I’ve been reading Miss Doxie, anh-minh, and apartment therapy.

8. Were you an artsy craftsy kid? If so, what kinds of things did you do?

Yes, I was, and thankfully I had a mom who encouraged it. I’d spend hours cutting up magazines, drawing, gluing anything I could find and terrorizing our family pets with photo shoots. When I was in my pre-teens I’d stencil my clothes, cut up my t-shirts to make skirts (thank you Sassy mag.) and drew all over one wall in my room.


9. If you could have one wish from a genie, what would it be?

A balanced Life, ooo and chocolate cake that took away the pounds rather then add them.

10. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both. 😉

Indie is made by hand and heart. It’s never mass made, but rather is created for and by the individual.


11. What are you reading, watching and listening to?

I just picked up Amy Sedaris’s book “Hospitality Under the Influence” hilarious. I try not to watch too much TV but am addicted to Ugly Betty. I’ve been listening to Pandora’s Radio on the net; it’s a very lovely thing.

12. What are your inspirations?

For me, it’s the little things, the details. The lines on a leaf, the colors of a row of houses. Just the other day I noticed on a drive home from work these big cranes that are down by Seattle’s waterfront. It’s odd but they are the most beautiful colors! Rose, sky blue, chocolate, I have no idea who chose the colors for these gigantic machines ,but they are really great!

13. What future plans are you cooking up?

Well I just re-launched Uplifting Arts with lots of new items and lots more to come. I can’t really divulge too much of that right now but trust me it’s going to be fun! :]


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