madeline trait makes the sweetest cake toppers + pieces to help celebrations feel truly special. all of her designs are so cute and perfect (you'll see below) and to top it off, she paints them all by hand individually! madeline took some time to give us some insight into her practice and how she makes her magic below.
what is your background?
i studied architecture in college but knew by the time i graduated that i wanted to do design on a smaller, more tangible scale. i then moved into the interior design field where i have learned a ton about textiles, furniture and art. i also dabbled in event design for about four years, this is where i was able to use my design skills for things like flowers, and smaller design elements. event design is also where i was able to use more of my illustration skills to make design elements rather than just using it to present ideas. this has all led to the present day where i am focusing my energy on illustration and making small batch products from those illustrations. i am still working part time as an interior designer but have been able to merge aspects of the two creative paths by bringing in products and art of my own as well as from those fellow artists that inspire me and that i have met through my creative journeys.
how did you start making & selling?
i have always been making for myself but when i was working as an event designer, i realized that i could make products for celebrations using my illustrations. thus the cake topper was born.
what influences your designs?
there are a lot of things that influence my design. i love the art and design of the sixties and, of course, a lot of current day artists. traveling really kick starts my creative muscles and sadly, i haven't been doing as much as i would like to lately, but it's in the works. i am always looking for sources of inspiration and sometimes it comes from unexpected places.
what are you most looking forward to this year?
this year, i am working on getting more licensing gigs with my illustrations which makes me super excited for the possibility of my work being on a variety of surfaces. i also am working on developing more art and products using laser cutting. i would also like to create a line of block printed textiles. my biggest frustration has been that all of this takes me way longer than i would like, but you can't rush through the process.
what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started?
the way i approach business and life is to jump all the way in and don't look back. though i wouldn't recommend this for all people as it can sometimes lead to a bumpy ride. but my point is to figure out your approach and give it a 100%. make sure it is something that will make you happy but also has lasting power. as a maker, you need to be flexible and adjust to the market, bumps in the road and life. so be prepared and have a path but be ready to adjust that path as needed. i am also a firm believer in a work life balance which can be super hard as a maker but setting aside time to play, be social and enjoy life is critical to creativity, a successful business and a happy life.