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dream.create.inspire: textile designer + artist lourdes sanchez

January 9, 2013
i am beyond pleased to introduce you to wonderous textile designer + amazing artist lourdes (lilu) sanchez! and you may recognize her name as a collaboration designer for west elm. i met lourdes as a result of a post i did a while back featuring my favorite west elm products, + most ended up being her designs. she somehow found me and wrote a very sweet comment on my blog. from that point on, i knew i would like her, and i am sure after reading her interview below, not only will you be astonished with her work, you will like her sweet, inspiring demeanor as well.

 There were many, but one of my childhood dreams was that I would live and do artwork all day in a long one story house with a nice painting studio in it, with a partner who was also an artist, and some dogs. This really was one of my dreams, and it actually came true.

what is your favorite thing about your job?

 I need to start this interview by saying that I really don’t have one favorite thing about most things, but for the sake of the interview format, my answers are more what comes to mind at the moment.

So about the job, its painting up ideas that come to me, and having them find a place in the outer world.

favorite quote(s)

Everything works out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out yet, it’s not the end.

favorite flower

Of course way too many to choose one! Some that come to mind: Anemones, Poppies, Queen Anne’s lace, Gladiolus, flowers when they are really dark almost

black /purple, like certain Iris, Dahlias, Tulips, also Bougainvillea in deep shades, Delphiniums, Hydrangeas, Banana tree flowers…

how do you stay motivated daily?

 For me, I’ve been wise to let go of the idea I actually will be motivated daily. Some days start with not feeling that motivated, and I end up doing really good work anyway, and some days, nothing seems to work out, paint spills, colors come out weird, etc., and it’s probably best to do some tidying or take a long walk with the dog, and start again tomorrow. At times simply having deadlines provide structure, and that can be a really grounding thing. After a while there is a natural ebb and flow of projects to complete, new work to start, organizing, meetings, and it just moves you along.  Other times I have images I just really want to create, and then no motivation is required, I just can’t wait to do it-

It helps me a lot to have a big mood board that I put things up as I am thinking about them, and then images are percolating in my mind until I get to sit down to do them. My mood boards sometimes tend to take over the whole room. That way, there is always something I am looking forward to working on.

toughest challenge(s) upon working towards your dream?

 *Needing to make a living and support myself, while not knowing if anyone would actually buy enough of my work for me to do that.

*Needing a big block time to create a new body of work to sell, and having to trust it will work out, and not freak because I chose to leave my job in order to do that and having no regular income coming in at first-

*Ignoring the naysayers who said textile design and painting are impossible fields to make a living/succeed in.

how did you work through that challenge?

 Mainly showing up in the studio and painting day after day. Deciding that this was the path I set out on, and then putting one foot in front of the other.

As for the nay-saying, I have come to look at it when people poo-poo something, it’s usually a sign that it will, in fact, work out beautifully.  Also I listen to Ella Fitzgerald singing “They All Laughed”.

how many times have you heard no?

 That’s hard to answer- I think of things that sometimes I didn’t get, and now I think I wouldn’t even want those things now… And sometimes I didn’t get it at the time, but it came back around and I got it later, in a way that was better timing for me.


often times hearing “no” can be very demotivating how have you turned “no’s” into “yes’s” or find the silver lining?

When there is something I want and don’t get, I can take it hard for a while.

Eventually, I kind of forget about it.  Almost always, with time, I find that I get something way better for me  than that thing I didn’t get that I thought I wanted. Usually, I am actually relieved I didn’t get it, and way happier with what I did get. I find it very important to recognize your accomplishments, while you set new goals to have a sense of achievement.

list your favorite accomplishment this year?

I have started keeping the rights to my work.
balancing free services vs. paid while building your business

I’ll be honest I don’t have a lot of love for people asking me to do things for free- and usually don’t.  I still live and work in NYC and 100% support myself from my artwork-get real!   The free things I have done I have offered to do it, and so in those cases, I felt good about doing it.

what is the one thing that has given your company a big boost?

 I don’t think there is one thing that has given me a big boost. More just regular steady things. For instance, a few years back, I think a lot more people in the general population became aware of my work because of West Elm collaboration and the advertising that came with that, but by that time, West Elm had already been using my prints for several years.  So really, for me it’s been more a stream of regular everyday things that can add up to what appears to be a big boost.

as we grow + learn more about ourselves, evolution may be necessary. how do your dreams evolve as you do?

At first, I was just happy to sell enough designs to make a living by working by myself. That was absolutely delicious after 18 years of navigating fashion industry jobs!

Then I wanted to do home furnishings prints, and I evolved into doing that, and now I have moved into owning the rights to my design work, as well as doing “fine art” painting.

I find one thing just naturally evolves from what came before it, either in reaction to it or else the next level of it.

when do you know when it’s time to let go of a goal and move on to another?

I start feel restless and frustrated- at first I try to push it down, because I would

prefer to not have to change things up, and venture into the unknown yet again. If the feeling doesn’t pass, I eventually need to acknowledge life is trying to get me to move forward, and I start to set things in motion.

For me, it has often been more about segueing into another area of what I am already doing than a big abrupt change.

creatives tend to have numerous passions, how did you hone in your focus to keep your creative self-satisfied?

I have not been someone that can be all over the place and get things done.

That may work for some, but for me, I like to work at something and keep refining it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been designing prints as I have done for so many years, it’s always evolving and changing.  I am constantly researching new imagery, scales and techniques; I don’t ever feel bored with that part of it. In fact, I feel I will barely even scratch the surface of what can be done in this lifetime.

your favorite go–to books/magazines/brands that you adore?

 I like some of World Of Interiors, as well some of the interior design magazines editions from Spain, as I like the high /low, new/ really old mixes they often have-

I am more and more less looking to brands, even though there are so many truly fab new ones around.

My favorite thing these days is going to the old city market in Merida, Yucatan where I live half the year now- that place is inspiration overload, with everything from giant stacks of multicolored household plastic products, gorgeous

candies and sweets that change with the feast days, traditional embroidered dresses, shoes made from tires, stacks of hardware, toys, on and on-

persons you have looked up to for drive + inspiration?

 I look up to people like Harriet Tubman, people who did outrageously bold and gutsy things, listening to her own inner guidance. If she could walk out of slavery, and then go back and forth bringing other people through like she did, the least I could do is have the courage to do my own work and navigate the art and design world.

as a new mom myself, balancing a corporate career + a creative life; do you have any advice on how you balance it all?

 Hell no!  I am often asking people for tips on balancing it all. And I don’t even have kids!   In my particular case, with my particular temperament , I am making peace with the fact that sometimes I will be painting to the exclusion of everything else, and sometimes I will be getting organized, or catching up a bit socially, or building a new studio and not painting. Some people are great at multi-tasking, but it’s not really my thing.

what do you recommend for creative, budding entrepreneurs working to create their dreams?

 If being someone who is wired to follow a creative life is really and truly who you are, you will find a way to do it. Don’t look for formulas or a clear cut path in this, because you won’t find them, and your path will be unique to you.

Have a regular practice for your work, and don’t worry if you have to say no to things that would be distracting. Choose something you are passionate enough about that you will stick with it even on the hard days, as the hard days will definitely turn in to great days.

thank you SO very much for helping to dream. create + inspire others.

© christina loucks.


images via 1.2.
interview images provided by lourdes

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2013 11:45 pm

    I so love this article. I have a similar dream. Designing textiles for products & fashion with my name on them. I really appreciated her being so upfront. I work in a very similar way & found this reassuring in a way.


  2. January 11, 2013 6:28 pm

    This is so inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing! It really helps me realize that nobody’s life is perfectly smooth and organized all the time, even those who’ve experienced success and recognition. It’s nice to think that it’s okay to have days where I drop everything in order to create, as well as those days where I don’t get to creating because I’m catching up with my housekeeping and such. So wonderful to hear that others work that way too. I have friends who draw something every day and I just don’t know how they do that. I have to have days to process and mull things over. I’m glad to think this doesn’t mean I’m failing! Yay!


  3. Joan Hermione Steele permalink
    January 21, 2013 12:06 pm

    Lourdes Sanchez and her work are heavenly and if you are blessed to know her you will uderstand what I mean.
    Joan Hermione Steele



  1. Luli Sánchez | Lisbon, Paris, Madrid

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