Artist Feature: Life I Design
Nicki Traikos is the creative genius behind Life I Design, which offers beginner calligraphy classes, gorgeous prints, and modern accessories for your home. After taking one of her calligraphy classes, I was in awe at her control of the ink and how much personality and flair can be put into lettering - and also drawn to her upbeat personality. I talked with Niki to find out a bit more of what was going on behind the scenes of Life I Design and where she draws her inspiration from.
Nicki, let's start with your name of your business, Life I Design. It's beautiful and so inspiring; I absolutely love it! How did you decide on it?
I was at a moment in my life where I didn’t enjoy my business and what I was building at the time. It didn’t suit me and didn’t feel authentic. After much discussion with my husband, I decided to take a short sabbatical and start a business that was art based, built online mostly and had a blog component. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would translate. I had a loose plan and started learning how to build a website, how to create graphics and took a mixed-media art class at my local gallery. I wanted to spend time doing something that I was passionate about, that spoke to me and that was me. I decided to live a life that I designed!! I felt empowered to try. I also wanted to share that journey with anyone who needed inspiration via my blog. So today, I truly feel like I’ve been living a life that I designed vs. a life that I fell into living. Whether it was how I decorated my home or what I was spending time on. I became more mindful and decided if what I was doing truly reflected who I was. I also hoped to inspire others to do the same. Whether it was from my art, or through my words, I hoped my message was communicated!
What a great message for everyone! You're so talented with your lettering, your watercolors, and prints! They all have a fun and inspiring energy to them. What do you draw your inspiration from?
I love words. Through my first few years of building life I design, I used affirmations and gratitude journals every day. Writing and reading positive words, statements etc changes your energy. Sounds woo-woo?! Try it. I challenge you. Try it for a week. Try it for a few weeks. Slowly, your mindset will shift. It’s so empowering. I also love to be in nature. Not only to be among the trees and fresh air, but I love silhouettes. I love shapes. I feel like I can hone in on a simple leaf vs. the entire forest. Then, when I am working on a watercolor or a simple design, I am able to break down the shape even further to create a clean, minimalistic design. Everything has feeling.
We love your prints! We have the moon phase one in our studio. We've also given your cards and mugs out as gifts. Do you have a favorite product?
I think my greeting cards have to be my favourite. I tend to have a bit of a sense of humor with my messages because I think laughter is something that we need to do more of. I love that my customers pick up a greeting card that they choose for another person. I feel like it’s a small way of brightening someone’s day. I would also have to say that these cards were inspired by the first product line when I began designing 5 years ago. My inspirational wall art quotes. They are what propelled me into this artistic business leap of mine. So I created greeting cards that are inspiring and can be shared and are an inexpensive way of passing on the positive vibes!!
They don't even teach cursive writing in schools here in Canada anymore. What has been the reaction to your calligraphy workshops and why do you think they have been so popular?
This is a bit of a hot topic for me. I feel like we are so driven by technology and typing and texting and have lost the very important act of handwriting and connecting to the brain, emotions, critical thinking. I’m not a scientist or a specialist of any sort, but I have read studies that show when we write something down, we connect with a part of the brain that helps with cognitive development. Cursive specifically is connected to emotion, movement and thinking. In my calligraphy classes I often talk about slowing down the strokes so that the brain and hand can communicate what you are writing next. I feel disconnected myself if I don’t write on a daily basis. I’m worried that our kids have missed out greatly since they write less and less. Soooo, I feel these in-person calligraphy classes have been doing so incredibly well for a few reasons. The act of calligraphy is very meditative. There’s something so raw and inspiring about picking up that pen and hearing the sound the nib makes as you begin your first strokes. The black ink against the white paper is striking and then as my students learn how to create letters as they control the flow and movement, it’s empowering. After two hours in my class, everyone is able to take their kit home and continue to practice and grow their new craft, hobby, skill. It’s a personal achievement in a short amount of time. It’s something that isn’t expensive to continue with and is easy to do anywhere.
We've seen from Facebook that you have teamed up with 'Scrapbook & Cards Today Magazine. What can your fans expect to see next from you?
I am very excited to be working with such an amazing magazine and entrepreneur. In the very near future, there will be classes that I’ll teach, designs I’ve created to help with Project Life layouts and digital downloads!! I suggest you follow their Instagram feed or Facebook for lots of paper craft inspiration!!
You have an Aura bracelet in white Howlite and black Basalt. How have you found wearing it?
I absolutely love my bracelet!!! I feel like it is so me as the Howlite is white and the Basalt is black, it represents how I design. I have two very strong sides of me that I look to balance in my work, in my life and in my thoughts. This bracelet is on my wrist daily since the day I got it. I’ve also added lavender essential oil drops to the Basalt which for me is my favorite oil to use daily so to be able to wear it on my wrist is a bonus. I feel protected and grounded wearing this bracelet. It’s beautiful and I feel very lucky to have it. Thank you!