Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Angie Lawlar. I live in Juneau, Alaska, with my husband Rusty and our three fantastic kids, soon to be four. We are currently in the process of adopting our little girl from Africa.
I create my work with the motto, “something old, bold, recycled and renewed.” I love creating a piece that already comes with a little bit of history and a good story. I want to pass on the idea that we can reuse old objects and make them new again to my children. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a hoarder. (Well, maybe when it comes to metal and gemstones; I might have a touch of hording tendencies.)
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love getting outdoors and making the most of our life in Alaska. Juneau is a fantastic place to raise kids outdoors. You learn quickly not to let a little rain dampen your day. On a normal evening (if we are not tied up with kids’ sports), you will find us out on a beach for dinner, watching whales and fishing. It is absolute bliss. In the summer months, my family and I are usually hiking, biking, camping and fishing. During the winter months we are sledding or snow shoeing during our time off. I have a blog called Steampunk Junk where I chronicle all of our Alaskan adventures and adoption process.
What would be the title of your memoir?
Risk The Ocean. I created a bracelet with this phrase to remind me of it. My children are my entire world. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them. I have drilled into their minds and hearts that their mom would walk through fire for them. For our fourth child, it’s not fire that separates me from her – it’s a massive body of water. Telling her “I would walk through fire for you” doesn’t pertain to our situation. I’m terrified of sharks and not a fan of flying, but I will do it over and over again if that is what it takes to get our girl home. I will risk the ocean.
Aside from adoption, I truly believe we all need to take risks in life. If you never take risks you will never know what you are made of. Take a risk on your talents and place a bet on yourself; you and your future are worth it.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from a lot of places, but the best inspiration is when we travel down south to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, to visit family. I head to my favorite antique store, Wiggett’s, and it’s amazing how the ideas flow after shopping around for a while. I love working with old, lost and found objects, and a flea market or antique store is just the place to find those types of things.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade means everything thing to me. 100 percent of the profits from Steampunk Funk are going towards our adoption costs, so handmade means the life of my child and the completion of my family. Each strike of the hammer, each blasted little rivet (because rivets are my least favorite thing to make) brings our family one step closer to being whole. Handmade is the love, care, time and patience poured into art.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
Rusty, my husband. He has been patient and kind and let me be myself without judgment or disdain. Me and my crazy off-the-wall ideas that come out of left field, me and my messy workspace after a creative binge. He has embraced and supported that side of me, and encouraged me to keep working at it and keep making my designs and ideas. My work wouldn’t be what it is today if I didn’t have him next to me.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I knew art was my thing when I walked into Ms. Knox’s class in sixth grade. She told me that coloring in someone else’s lines was overrated; she encouraged me to make my own lines and feel free to use mediums other than markers and crayons. She created a fantastic environment for free expression. In that moment, I knew I wanted to be an artist.
How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process has changed a lot throughout the years. I used to start tinkering and just come up with a new piece. But the older I get, the more organized and thought out my work has become. I have folders and sketchbooks that I keep designs and ideas in. If a design pans out well, then I photocopy it and place it in a folder as the master copy, just in case something happens to my sketchbook. I still tinker here and there, but mostly I get an idea in my head, sketch it out, make sure it still looks good or is something I want to pursue, then I start cutting the metal and forming it.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I have two. First and foremost, Ansel Adams. Pure genius. What that man could do with a large format was just flat out sick. My second pick is Edgar Degas. He was so talented and had an eye and gift for capturing movement in his paintings, which in my opinion wouldn’t be that easy.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My bench was handmade by my husband and kids. It is by far my very favorite thing. If there was a fire in the house and everyone was safe, I’d forget my camera and computer and do my best to get that out of there. I watched them piece it together, sand it, and put the castors on with their little hands. It is very special to me.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I don’t often have a problem with creative ruts. My work is predominantly made to order. I spend so much time making the pieces I have already designed that fitting in the time to create new ones is difficult. So I will sketch out my plans in the evening after my kids go to bed or in the early morning, and then wait until I have a non-busy weekend to work on it. Back when I was more fly by the seat of my pants, to get out of creative ruts I would knit. It’s so relaxing and methodical.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I am a firm believer in dreams, goals and plans; I think they are important to strive for. In ten years, I hope that my creative talents are still being put to good use, and that my designs and business are going strong. I hope Rusty and I will be working more closely with non-profit organizations in Africa and Asia, and get to go over more often than we do now. Ultimately, if I am sitting at my dinner table surrounded by my four kids and going on 22 years of marriage with my best friend, I will consider it a success.