Calligraphy art on watercolor paper with pen
Artist Interviews

The Creative Push: Laurie Soileau

Laurie Soileau feels the happiest in life when she is living artfully. For her, life balance is accompanied by her love of gardening, baking, art, and calligraphy. Using a nib, ink, and paint on paper, her childlike wonder is playfully communicated through her art. Working as a life coach and helping others is where all of these things creatively intersect in her life. 

Woman in purple shirt, in garden with gloves and boots
Laurie Soileau

“I believe that we are all designed to thrive so I try to foster sustainable thriving in all of my work, whether in my garden, on canvas, in the kitchen, or with people.” -Laurie Soileau 

The fine art of calligraphy has been used for centuries as a way of language communication. From the Shang dynasty in China to the Etruscans and the Romans to the Middle East and East Asia the art of calligraphy has been a vital part of the culture. This early form of alphabetic writing allowed scholars to voice their philosophy and businesses to communicate contractually.

child with star wand and red bike with basket
Laurie as a child.

Laurie’s ability to generate beautiful scripted words onto paper allows her to share her craft with others through commissioned work. Her love of penmanship started as a child while attending church. She doodled on note cards her mother gave her to keep her occupied during the sermon. At the age of 10, her letters started to take form when her dad gave her a set of calligraphy markers. As a shy child, she found that writing and being out in nature fueled her creatively.

“I think we are all born to be creators so my job as a human being is to create.” -Laurie Soileau

Growing up with a rocket scientist Dad and brainiac sisters, Laurie says she always felt the pressure to produce things and ”get them right”, which was very hard for her as a sensitive and creative person. Her interest in food and health led her to study nutrition in college. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science from the University of Montevallo in Alabama.

Laurie loves the intrigue of language and communication, both verbal and written. She sees the challenges those things offer and the beauty when they are working. Her love of calligraphy inspired her to join local and international calligraphy groups to perfect her craft. Her greatest inspiration was studying under master penman Travis Jones. She finds that experimenting with different tools and materials allows her to communicate her vision using words. She particularly loves the progressive works of Thomas Ingmire, Denis Brown, and others adept at multi-media calligraphic art.

“My heart beats fastest when I see Trajan Roman capital letters!” -Laurie Soileau

Laurie is intrigued with the science of growing things, when she needs to recharge her therapy comes from getting her hands in the soil. She designed her backyard as a beautiful, sustainable cultivated area where she grows herbs, vegetables, fruit, and flowers. She enjoys the labor required and often gets lost in the beauty of her private creative space.

sustainable cultivated backyard garden with fruit, vegetables, plants, and herbs
A view of Laurie’s beautifully designed sustainable cultivated backyard.
Freshly picked tomatoes, okra, and peppers from garden.
Freshly picked tomatoes, okra, and peppers from Laurie’s garden.
front yard of beautiful flowers, plants, and herbs.
Laurie’s front yard showcases beautiful flowers, plants, and herbs.

When Laurie was in her thirties she worked as a test kitchen tech and food stylist at Oxmoor House in Birmingham. They are a cookbook and magazine publisher that produces Cooking Light, Southern Living, and Country Living. With no culinary school experience, she feels lucky to have had that as part of her journey as an artist. 

“Baking is the intersection of art & science for me. It is artistry, hospitality, and creating joy through variety- the spice of life!” -Laurie Soileau

The art of cooking has always intrigued Laurie but baking is her true forte. She finds personal joy, inspiration, and catharsis in the kitchen, especially when baking for others. She is best known for her amazing scones among her friends and neighbors.

homemade fruit scones
Laurie is known for her amazing scones.

“Baking pies is my personal favorite. I aim for outstanding flavor and good looks. Boozy desserts-even better. Lemon meringue, Bourbon chocolate pecan, butterscotch with a cloud of whipped cream…..there’s no end to the creative possibilities!” -Laurie Soileau

With the desire to help others, Laurie’s love of creativity carries over into her work as a life coach. She teaches her clients to discover and manifest meaning in their lives through artful living. She helps them tackle the big questions, “Why am I here?” and “Do I matter? She believes that the balance of life is rooted in the exploration and development of joy.

calligraphy art with paper and fabric, textiles
Laurie’s art of textiles and calligraphy.

Laurie is currently working with a publishing agent on a book called, Your Life Creed. In it, she walks readers through the simple steps of discovering, experiencing, and sustaining their unique way of thriving- for good. She embraces the growth and beauty inherent in life and cherishes having multiple creative outlets for expressing her experiences. Her struggle with ADHD has strengthened her ability to leverage her limitations and navigate life’s difficulties. That knowledge allows her to help others thrive despite their struggles. 

“My job as an artist is to speak order into chaos because while chaos can be beautiful, it is often painful.” -Laurie Soileau

hand-crafted wooden flower vase with yellow flower
A hand-crafted wooden flower vase designed by Laurie Soileau.

Laurie’s most recent creative project is crafting wooden stem vases with her husband Grant. Her love of flowers and the desire to elegantly showcase them simply inspired these new creations. The woodwork is done at a neighbor’s woodshop, where each design is driven by the beauty of the wood. 

In my interview with Laurie for The Creative Push, she shares how she finds creative inspiration and what she does when she gets stuck. She offers some advice to other creatives and gives some tips on calligraphy.

You can learn more about Laurie’s life coaching through her website. Her art can be found at her Etsy store.

Thank you for reading and please share with other creatives. I hope that you’ll sign up for the Learn and Create newsletter to stay a part of this creative tribe!

More is on the way!!

Do you know someone who would make for an interesting interview? Please feel free to reach out via email and social media! I’m always looking to connect.

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Photographer, artist, writer and educator, Sheri Oneal views life as a blank canvas, a story waiting to be told. Her desire is to help others find motivation and purpose through creativity.

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