Maker Profile: Leela Hoehn of Native Bear


Each month, our Maker Profile blogposts will introduce you to an artist that we carry at Shop Asterluxe. We are deeply inspired by the makers we carry, their process, how they stay inspired and the rituals they incorporate into their day.  We hope that these interviews help spark your fire and bring a little inspiration into your creative process as well.  Read on to learn about Leela Hoehn, the creative brain behind Native Bear. 

Asterluxe: Do you have any daily rituals or habits that help you feel grounded?

Native Bear: I love making a pot of french press coffee and writing for about 15 minutes in the morning. It hasn’t quite become a daily routine (the coffee def has) but I try and make free writing a regular thing. It gives me an opportunity to get some of the chatter and to do lists out of my head, and also gives me a chance to slow down and really think about every word I’m writing. We don’t physically write with pen and paper enough anymore and I feel it’s an important thing for me to get back into during these days where the ability to publicize your opinion is merely a click away.

AL: What is your favorite thing about your studio/workspace?
NB: 3 out of the 4 walls are windows!

I love making a pot of french press coffee and writing for about 15 minutes in the morning.

AL: What is your biggest challenge in being an artist/maker?

NB: Pushing through moments of creative block. I like to try and stay ahead of schedule when it comes time to release new designs, but sometimes you come up short. Some of my best designs took the least amount of time to create so I really try not to force myself to design when I’m needing a break. Otherwise, I just end up wasting time on a design that ends up getting pitched.

AL: What is your favorite part of your creative process? Least favorite?

NB: After I’ve finalized a sketch for a new card or print I go over it with black ink. I love the bare bones feel of a line drawing that’s just been inked.

AL: What motivates and inspires you to be an artist/maker?

NB: It’s more of a reflex, really. I don’t know how to live life without creating art! I was inspired to start Native Bear because I love to draw and design, but also I love the realness of creating a physical product that someone can hold in their hand and use in their daily life. I enjoy painting as well, but it’s for other reasons. Painting for me is more of a personal exploration of the world around me, whereas Native Bear is all about creating something pretty with the customer in mind.

I don’t know how to live life without creating art!

AL: What do you do when you hit the inevitable creative rut?
NB: First, I try and not beat myself up about it… but it can be challenging. People think when you work for yourself that you have all this freedom (which you do!) but you are actually your own harshest boss. If I can I take a quick trip out of town, or at the very least just try and focus on other things. I clean my studio, walk my dogs, start a new book, etc. Eventually something will click and I can get back to putting the pencil to paper.

AL: What are you doing to recharge and energize when not in the studio working?

NB: My husband and I like to explore new places to hike with our dogs. I love to cook and don’t always have time to, so some days I try and leave the studio early so I come home and be domestic. I love to nest!

AL: If you weren’t an artist/maker, what would would you be doing?

NB: I love getting people pumped about their own potential. I think I would either be a life coach of some sort, or branding expert.

As long as you keep focused on your own truth, you will be rewarded.

AL: Where do you get inspired: people, books, blogs, etc?

NB: I’m greatly inspired by music, nature, and other people’s stories. I’m particularly inspired by anyone who makes a life for themselves pursuing their art. It’s easy to get derailed by society’s expectations, but as long as you keep focused on your own truth, you will be rewarded.

Does any part of Leela's story resonate with you?  Do you have some of your own rituals and creative processes you'd like to share?  Join the conversation in the comments below!

xoxo,  Erin & Nicole