We are so excited to introduce Spring Theory by designer Jennifer Orkin Lewis of August Wren!
Jennifer Orkin Lewis is an artist, illustrator and author who divides her time in a very colorful house right outside of New York City and a small studio in the city. Obsessed with painting from an early age, she was always making art and creating something new. She is known online for her daily sketchbook paintings, which she has been doing for over 5 years and sharing on social media. Every day – weekends and vacations included – she paints for up to 30 minutes for personal satisfaction, the things that inspire and surround her. It has become a visual diary of the moments that pass by, sometimes unnoticed. It may be high flying bird, a field of weeds, a broken teacup, or details in a large crowd of people, to the small moments of life, such as gardening, a bike ride, or a museum.
Her paintings are primarily gouache and watercolor but also include ink, pencil, and the occasional marker. She was a textile designer and stylist before becoming an illustrator. She has worked with clients such as Anthropologie, Abrams Books, Chronicle Books, Flow Magazine, Kate Spade, Eeboo, TeNeues and now Dear Stella, as well as many more.
Learn more about Jennifer and connect with her online!
The debut collection, Spring Theory, is available to order now and begins shipping in January 2019!
Read on to meet Jennifer and learn more about her design process. Check out the full collection at the end of this post, or on our website here!
DS: How did you discover your passion for illustration and design?
JOL: I’ve always loved to create. It was really the only thing I enjoyed and had any success at as a kid. Math and science just weren’t for me. I took classes at different after school programs and I drew and painted in my room all the time because I loved it. It came naturally. When I went to RISD I discovered more about the world of design.
DS: Does what you studied in school apply to your career today?
JOL: I studied textile design at RISD; we did both weaving and print design but by the time I was graduating I was a print designer all the way! Now my work involves designs for all sorts of surfaces including fabric so it turned out to be very relevant.
DS: Can you tell us a bit about your design process? What inspires your work?
JOL: I have 2 ways of working. When working with a client I need to work off a brief so I am researching more and thinking about the end product and how it will work for them. When I do my personal work I just sit down and paint, a bouquet of flowers I just got, a person I recently saw. I am very inspired by the daily scene and mood. If it’s raining and grey I might use colors that reflect the look of the day. I’m often inspired by seasons, birds, a word. I do have a staple of ideas I use when I’m stumped and am not in the mood to paint. I always love painting flowers, faces are an endless fascination, I might use only blues or use an old photo as reference. The supply of inspiration is endless. It just needs to be channeled, which is the hard part!
DS: What’s your favorite medium to work with?
JOL: My #1 favorite is gouache, an opaque watercolor, but while I’m working in another medium like pencil or ink, I will mix mediums. I’ll use watercolor, a little acrylic, lots of ink, pencils.
DS: How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
JOL: When I look back at my work over the years there is a definite similarity from the beginning until now. I have always had a very loose and intuitive way of working. I’d say when I started my daily sketchbook practice 5 years ago I was able to really hone my skills and master my style. By painting for 30 minutes everyday I gained the time to play and see what could happen when I tried new things. I’m still doing that; I want to continue to find new techniques, colors and ideas that excite me.
DS: What colors are you drawn to right now?
JOL: I like to experiment and change it up all the time. At the moment, I’m feeling shades of greens and turqs, from dark to light with a neutral and spots of purple.
DS: When you’re not designing, what are some of your favorite things to do?
JOL: I love to walk around NYC and watch people, see a show, art or theater, I love to travel and definitely relax on the beach.
DS: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
JOL: The basics, brush my teeth and have a good cup of tea. Get dressed and make my bed. All those are a given. Then I paint all day.
DS: What’s your favorite meal?
JOL: I don’t do this often but a big bowl of ice cream is really my favorite.
DS: We can’t wait for your fabric collection to debut! What sorts of projects do you hope to see made?
JOL: Anything people make, I want to see! If I had time to sew, I would make a simple shift dress. It will be exciting to see how people interpret the patterns into a quilt or clothing. I can’t wait!
Spring Theory full collection:
We are so thrilled to welcome Jennifer to the Dear Stella family! We hope you are as inspired by the fresh and bright colors of her Spring Theory collection as we are.
Remember to tag us in your projects using @dearstellafab and #dearstella.