2015 Year in Review

happynewyearHappy New Year! In the spirit of a brand spanking new year I'm taking some time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. Day to day it can feel like I'm going nowhere or not moving fast enough, doing enough, or working hard enough.  Anyone relate to that? Looking back allows me to really see what I've accomplished over a period of time. Sometimes it's nice to see how far I've come. (Hey! Not too shabby!) It's especially satisfying to look back on goals I made for 2015 and check off the ones I accomplished. And while I don't really make resolutions for the new year I do like to set some goals. There's something about writing things down that makes those goals real and attainable. For today I thought I'd share some of the highlights from 2015 for Katherine Lenius Design!


  • Licensing contracts! Back in April I signed my first licensing contract for a product that will come out later this year - I can't wait to share it with you! I'm starting to send my portfolio out to a number of companies I'd like to work with because I hope to get my art on a heap of new products this year. (psst... if you're an art director, call me!)
  • A few patterns of mine were selected to be in the new Print and Pattern Nature book, coming out later this year! This is honestly a dream come true, I'm a big fan of Marie Perkins and the Print & Pattern Blog, so I can't wait to see the book.
  • I was the first runner-up for the P&B Textiles and Pattern Observer Textile Design Competition which got me so so so close to a fabric line (hello, goal for 2016!) and it was a lot of fun.
  • My Etsy shop celebrated it's one year anniversary in August! I love having an Etsy shop and the shop is doing really well. It's also been a fantastic way to connect with different people, like shop owners, art directors, and local media. I hope to add many new art prints and products in the coming months.
  • I had my first gallery show! I never ever thought I would do a gallery show (I don't really expect to do more) but my show at the Chaska Community Center was a great way to share my work with my local community, family, and friends, and even though it was a terrifying prospect at first I'm really glad I did it!
  • I had two designs selected to Minted.com which has been a really great and supportive company to work with. I look forward to adding to my Minted store this year.
  • I was included in the student showcase of MOYO Issue 8 from the people at Make It In Design. Coincidentally, they've featured me TODAY in an "emerging designer" alumni interview.  Check it out!
  • My website got a facelift! I wanted to get a fresh clean site to show my portfolio and I've been really happy with it even though I'm always thinking of improvements I'd like to make.

I also thought it would be fun to share some of my biggest influences from the year. These are the things that have taught me the most, changed my viewpoint about something, and inspired me.


  • READING: Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon | Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert | How to Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone. | Uppercase Magazine, Janine Vangool, editor. Art, Inc. has such great information for working artists, everything from changing your mindset as an artist to practical tools for running your business. Elizabeth Gilbert continues to blow my mind and this book transformed the way I think about creativity and fear. Fiona Humberstone, the brand stylist, offers a beautiful and practical approach to styling your brand and I'm slowly making my way through the steps in her book. Uppercase Magazine is a constant source of inspiration and one day I hope to be on the pages of this beautiful magazine.
  • LEARNING: Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells courses. I took Part A and B this past year and the MATS courses are a wonderful way to learn about different art markets, get some valuable advice, and make new work. I also really enjoyed a few courses on Creative Live, which I love because you can view live classes and workshops for free and pay a fee when you'd like to access classes again and again. I also revisited Skillshare this year. I started on Skillshare a couple years ago when I was first learning how to make patterns and I find more and more great classes that are presented within a manageable chunk of time.
  • LISTENING: I'm a big fan of podcasts and this year I was especially addicted to Smart Creative Women with Monica Lee. I've listened to her for awhile now but I spent a lot of time with Monica in my ear this year and loved every minute.
  • CONNECTING: Although it wasn't new to me this year I really started using Instagram in earnest this year. It's been a great tool for my business and such a great way to connect with other artists and get my work out there. More recently I've been diving into Periscope and it's so fantastic! It's like having a little office of co-workers in the best way possible. I'm learning so much from other artists and it'll be a great way to connect with people. Now I just have to be brave enough to do my own scope.
  • MAKING: This could be a long list but I'm loving that I started regularly painting again this past year. Now I'm starting to incorporate a lot of mediums into my work and I love it. There's nothing better than spending a quiet morning painting.

So that was 2015! And with that I'm on to a new year! Check in again next January to see how it all turns out.

Spring Inspiration

One of my favorite shops in the Minneapolis area is Bachman's, a home and garden store with a great gift section. Bachman's is my go-to place when I'm spending my kids' college savings on plants for my garden and it's a fantastic place for eye candy, color and trend inspiration, and "market research" (I love calling it that). In the past couple weeks I got some great spring inspiration courtesy of Bachman's that I thought I would share - come along, it's field trip time! Every year the downtown Minneapolis Macy's partners with Bachman's for a spring flower show. Focused around a central theme, it includes elaborate horticultural displays and as both an artist and a gardener I just loved it. This year the display was called Art in Bloom and it used movements in fine art to influence the displays. There was a Cubist garden, a Modern garden, Abstract, Surrealist, and Impressionist garden among others. Sometimes the plants had been arranged in a grid formation, other times they were placed in a scattered, free-flowing way. Color themes went from mostly white to a kalediscope of bright colors and included a lot of my favorite spring flowers and shrubs: tulips, hyacinths, peonies, ranunculus, and azaleas. Unforunately since it's an indoor event my photos aren't the greatest but there were some fun color palettes.

About a week later I went to the Bachman's Spring Idea House. The original Bachman's store sits on a property adjacent to the old Bachman's family home and now they completely re-decorate the home every season and open it to visitors. They always have such great ideas and use unique materials - it always makes me want to come home and re-decorate my own house top to bottom. My impulse control is not so good. The color palette this season was mostly in pink, green, and cream in the main living area. There were a lot of botanical influences, geometric terrariums, moss, and aged wood. I love the rainboots filled with flowers (that's already inspired a new illustration I'm working on) and that awesome shower curtain. There was an upstairs bedroom with a bicycle theme that my 11 year-old daughter would drool over. The store itself was filled with even more colorful displays like the table setting on the lower right in shades of turquoise, coral, and yellow.

With the gardening season right around the corner I'm sure I'll be back at Bachman's soon and I always find inspiration there…and a plant…and another plant…and maybe one more plant...