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The Art of Motherhood with Audrey Smit

The Art of Motherhood with Audrey Smit

three sisters reading a book together wearing matching floral dresses

My love for textiles began in college where, as a textiles major at the University of Texas, I learned how to discern high quality fabrics and appreciate artisan patterns. Many moons and two children later, one of the main reasons I founded La Paloma was the lack of luxe fabrics and artful prints, particularly in childrenswear. As I like to say, there is more to La Paloma than meets the eye. For instance, did you know that each of our prints holds a unique story and inspiration?  

In today’s blog, we share the story of “Lily” for which I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Audrey Smit, co-author and illustrator of Lily Huckleberry. Lily Huckleberry is a unique book series that encourages children to be brave and adventurous. We think the La Paloma Lily print is just that – spirited and fun, and the perfect attire for any adventure.  

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Audrey and learn a little more about her personal story and, of course, Lily. 

girl hugging  stuffed doll. her dress matches her doll's dress.

What's your name, where do you live and who lives in your home? 

Hi! I am Audrey Smit, the co-author and illustrator of the Lily Huckleberry series for brave + curious kids and founder of This Little Street. Born and raised in a small village of northern France, I currently live in Berkeley, California with my four adventurous + spirited girls.  

Tell us about your career journey? 

Before having my girls I worked for big corporations in marketing and online advertising - but that never felt completely right. I took a break while my girls were little and took the opportunity to get back in touch with my most creative side. I'd explore and create during their nap time or whenever I had a few minutes to myself. Eventually I started to take a leap of faith and started designing prints and patterns for kids brands after my fourth daughter was born. I loved bringing my colorful designs to life on clothes and bedding and accessories.   

Soon after that the idea for the Lily Huckleberry series came about and I dived head first into the world of illustrations, which was pretty scary but also super exciting for me at first - my illustration feels so much more meaningful to me as they are tied to a story and jokes and real things we are teaching children. It's been such a fun process of exploring my creativity and developing new skills along the way! 

big sister reading to little sister. all wearing matching floral cotton dresses.

What do you remember about art as a child? Do you remember being particularly excited by creative projects when you were young? 

I loved anything and everything that was art related when I was kids. I was always the kid with ink stains and glue on her fingers. In high school I really embraced my creative side and I became an "art major" - In France you start choosing a "major" (area of focus) in high school. My high school art teacher was fantastic, one of those teachers you never forget. He really challenged his students to think outside of the box and encouraged us to let our creativity take us as far as we could/would let it, regardless of our technical skills.   

How is art a part of your kids' lives now that you are a mom? 

There is never a day when the girls and I don't doodle, really. I am constantly buying new sketchbooks and pens for them - cheap and effective! I will only do a guided project with them every now and then, mostly I just love seeing them get lost in the process and see what they come up with. Sometimes we will play this game where we create an illustration together - I draw something and they add something, and then we take turns adding something until we are happy with it! It's a fun way to combine our creativity and spend time together.   

girl hugging stuffed doll

Tell us about Lily Huckleberry! How did she come to be? Why is she important? 

I am from France and have now worked and lived in several countries. I have always loved meeting new cultures and people, and so does my co-author Jackie. One late evening we were sipping tea at my kitchen table and laughing too hard about an endless string of silly jokes, and I blurted out how great it would be to create some fun, silly stories that would make kids be curious about the world, about other places and other people...the conversation that followed was magical, we knew right there we had to make this book series book to life. From the beginning our hope was that Lily would become a little adventure friend, a role model that would encourage kids to be brave and always ready for adventures.  

What's something you learned  recently about motherhood? 

Oh, when is there a day when I am NOT learning something about being a mother? Haha! It seems like each day brings its fair share of challenges - and along that, the beautiful reward of figuring out life + love together with my girls. But mostly lately I am embracing the concept of seasons, as a woman, an artist and as a mother. My children need me differently on any given day, week or month - some days they might need that extra love and cuddles and attention, and others they will act like they are ready to get their own apartment and just move out ;) And That's ok, their needs and feelings are ever changing - and my current goal is just to be here, in the moment, fully present in whatever season the girls and I are in. 

cover of children's book being held by child. books is covering child's face

Interested in matching? While we don’t have a women’s house dress in our Lily Floral print, it pairs well with the Golden Gingham house dress and the the Sienna house dress in cotton gauze! 

 

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