Design + DIY

Creative Hobbies to Try

Creative hobbies can be such wonderful ways to unplug and find fulfillment and relaxation. Printfresh founder Amy, along with some talented professional artists, share their best tips for trying creative, artistic hobbies including painting, leatherwork, and even turning household items into art!
July 2021
Creative Hobbies to Try
Creative Hobbies to Try

Even though my business allows me to be creative, I enjoy making time for hobbies that revolve around art. I personally love painting seascapes that involve lots of layering and stitching. Since my family has been living mostly by the bay I’ve really embraced the area and love creating artworks inspired by my surroundings. Studying the sunlight on the water and the changes in the bay’s plantlife throughout the different seasons has given me such an appreciation for the subtle shifts in nature.

Finding a hobby that doesn’t require purchasing many things and is an opportunity to use up old supplies and scraps of paper is especially fun for me. I love to see it transformed into something new and beautiful while minimizing waste.  To inspire your creative pursuits, I  wanted to highlight a few women who have amazing creative work and businesses. I’ve asked them to share some of their best advice on how someone might be able to pick up a creative hobby in their respective fields.

Gina Triplett is a world-class illustrator and artist. What I love about the work that she has done during the pandemic is to use household objects rather than traditional canvases and art supplies.

Leanne Polidore transitioned from making the occasional handmade leather bag and baskets at home into running a thriving bag factory at Hemlock and Hyde.

Lee Ann Scotto Adams is an old college friend of mine and makes the most beautiful landscape paintings based on the streets and neighborhoods of Rhode Island. She is the executive director of an arts organization, SNAAP and she paints from her kitchen table.  Her work is so incredibly prolific - she’s such an inspiration.

Photo credit: <u><a href="http://www.hemlockandhyde.com" target="_blank">Leanne Polidore </a></u>
Photo credit: Leanne Polidore

Easy Creative Hobbies to Pick Up

Creative hobbies don’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming. Gina has some beautiful work on her website that is made from everyday objects, like empty cans that she has painted using rich colors and beautiful imagery. I asked Gina how she got started with this style of work and she said, “I’d been deeply immersed in my sketchbook practice for some time when quarantine started. I was ready to inject something new into it at the exact same time we were all hit with that early pandemic reaction of stockpiling shelf-stable supplies. In Philadelphia, where I live, our recycling pick-up was backed up, again due to the staffing concerns around the pandemic. With all of this together, I looked toward our piles of freshly accumulated cans and saw something that would let me continue the visual and narrative themes I was exploring in my sketchbook, but in a new way.”

Leanne Polidore got into leather working through a happy accident. She explains, “We got into leatherwork somewhat by happenstance. A good friend of ours was working for a local shoe store when one day the window display team came in to take down a display. The window was full of these beautiful, vintage leather hides. He got to talking with the team and asked what they planned to do with the display after taking it down. To his surprise, they told him they were going to dispose of the hides in a dumpster out back. Needless to say, he showed up at our small apartment, a few hours later, with a trunk full of vintage hides.

The hides sat in our art studio for some time, I would make items here and there, for myself and gifts for friends and family. Until one day, I showed Nick, my husband, some leather catch-all bowls I had made and he decided to try his hand at sewing some wallets. I had never seen him sew before, so I was a bit skeptical but what he made wasn't half bad. When he was done he looked at me and said, "I really think we could make a business out of this," and thus Hemlock and Hyde was born.”

Photo credit: <u><a href="https://www.instagram.com/leeannscottoadams/?hl=en" target="_blank">Lee Ann Scotto Adams</a></u>
Photo credit: Lee Ann Scotto Adams

How to Choose a Hobby

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider grabbing a sketchbook. Gina says, “My sketchbook has always been a place for me to work through my thoughts, and try things out without the weight of it being a finished artwork. For someone starting a sketchbook practice, I’d say the most critical thing is to not be critical. A sketchbook is a place for experiments that don’t always work out or things that don’t always get polished up.”

If you want to try painting, take a page out of Lee Ann’s book and use time blocking to create a boundary for yourself.  Of her process, she shared, “I like to start a piece and work on it compulsively until it's finished in one sitting. I very rarely work on a piece for an extended period of weeks or months, instead, I work on a painting for 12 hours straight. I'm trying to capture a sensation that's so fleeting, and I can't seem to get into the same headspace when I put something down and pick it back up later.” As a single mother, Lee Ann carves out time to paint when her children are spending time with her ex.

Photo credit: <u><a href="https://ginatriplett.studio/work" target="_blank">Gina Triplett</a></u> 
Photo credit: Gina Triplett 

Getting Started With Your New Hobby

While purchasing top-of-the-line art supplies can be energizing and inspiring, don’t let having all the “right” things hold you back. All of us work with found objects, scraps, and easy to procure supplies. 

Even just a pencil and some paper can get you started. Lee Ann says, “There's something about paper that takes away the perfectionism in me and allows me to freely play and let go of the outcome. If I love how something turns out I can mount it to wood or frame it and give it a sense of permanence. If I hate it or lose that sensation in the middle of working I can walk away without commitment. You can't be precious on paper; the surface won't support it.”

What creative hobby are you looking forward to trying? Let us know in the comments. Feel free to use our Printfresh pajama patterns as inspiration for your creative projects. Post them on Instagram and be sure to tag us! 

A special thanks to our contributors. You can keep up with them here:

Gina Triplett – get inspired on her website or Instagram.

Leanne Polidore – visit their website or see what they are up to on their Instagram.

Lee Ann Scotto Adams – follow her painting journey on her Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

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