Meet the Crafters: La-La Land Handmade

November 28, 2017 | Halifax Crafters Society

One of the reasons that Halifax Crafters is such a great show (if we may toot our own horns) is because so many of our incredible organizers are crafters themselves! One of these talented organizing members is Leigh-Anne Hiltz, who works on the poster committee for HCS, and sells her handprinted apparel and accessories under the business name La-La Land Handmade. Her textiles feature her own illustrations which often portray themes of friendship, love and mischief. Leigh-Anne first taught herself how to screen print as a hobby in high school and worked on band t-shirts and gifts for friends at the kitchen table. These days she’s working out of her studio space in her new home in Dartmouth and will have all kinds of amazing pouches, wallets, prints and more to share with you this December! Be sure to stop by and check out her work.

What is your process?

I always start off with lots of sketching. When I get an idea that I think will work well for a print, I’ll do some tests to see if it feels right on a bag, t-shirt, pouch or something else. After I make up my screen and work out the pattern, I hand print my pieces and do all the sewing in my home studio. Some designs incorporate embroidered or applique elements to add colour or texture. I have a collection of recycled wool, vintage fabrics & so much thrifted embroidery floss that I don’t think I’ve ever bought it new.

How long have you been a crafter?

Pretty much forever! When I was little, my mom and her friends had a craft club. They would meet one evening a month for tea, and each person would work on a personal craft project. Knitting, crochet, jewelry, rug hooking, everyone just pulled out their work and continued where they left off. When it was my mother’s turn to host, she would let me stay up late to join the group. I remember sitting on the carpet in my nightgown, digging in my own little sewing box and thinking this must be what all adults did for fun.

Tell us a bit about your background. 

I had always been encouraged to explore my artistic side. Being a fashion designer was my dream, but it seemed too unattainable. After trying a year at Ryerson in Toronto, I transferred to NSCAD where I chose to pursue textiles and with access to the studio, and time to explore different media, I really began to see craft as more than a hobby.

How did your business grow from there?

In 1998, I graduated NSCAD, rented a small studio space and began my first solo business making bags and t-shirts from my screen printed drawings. I was a regular vendor at the Brewery Market for a couple of years. In 2001, I moved to Montreal where I spent time growing my family and gaining professional experience. I worked with several production businesses as a screen printer and seamstress and learned a lot. When I returned to Dartmouth in 2012, after a long break from making my own work, it felt like the right time to start up a new creative venture. I’ve been growing La-La Land Handmade ever since.  

What makes Halifax Crafter’s different from other shows? 

Halifax Crafters Markets manage to showcase the best in handmade across all categories. There is always a mix of new makers and favourites bringing their most recent offerings to each show. It’s a bright, fun atmosphere, and it gives makers and shoppers a valuable opportunity to connect in person.

When you’re not selling at Crafter’s markets, where can we find your work?

I sell my work at Made in the Maritimes, P’lovers and the White Point Beach Resort gift shop. You can also find my work online through Etsy.

Favourite time of the year?

I would be happy if it was always fall.

A film or book you love?

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg, made me want to become an artist. Heathers has always been my favourite movie and sparked my interest in dark humour.

What’s your favourite way to procrastinate?

Going out for coffee with my guys:)