Sarah Meisinger, Owner of En Liten Svensk (A Little Swedish) Shoppe in Roseau, wrote this blog post about area Artist Liesa Brateng Hanson. You can see Liesa’s work at En Liten Svensk Shoppe.
I have a confession to make.
When I was a young girl looking up to the older kids as my role models, I secretly admired our multi-talented artist for this month’s feature. If you grew up in Northern Minnesota in the ’80s or you followed Roseau athletics, you are very familiar with Liesa. I expect that when she reads this, she will respond in the most humble way, waving off any attention or accolades. It’s clear to those that know her, she has many talents which include sewing and design. Liesa is a gifted seamstress and her fabric choices are always eclectic, charming & beautiful! I’m so thrilled that our love of Roseau has brought us back together through our collaboration at the Shoppe.
(A sampling of Liesa’s Minky blankets & bibs at the Shoppe ~ adorable and sooo soft!)
(Some of Liesa’s most recent sweater mitten creations.)
For January’s artist story feature, I asked Liesa a few questions about her creative journey and what inspires her. Here’s what she had to say:
S: When did you start creating? Who are your teachers and what inspires you?
Liesa: I started creating things when I was quite young. Growing up on a farm in the wintertime you learn to find things to pass the time. There wasn’t much for TV service during my elementary years and we did not have all the technology gadgets that keep our youth entertained today. So you found ways to keep yourself busy. Some of my creative genes I come by naturally. I grew up with parents and grandparents that were always making things. My grandma Phyllis and my mother were always knitting or sewing something. Phyllis had a special design that she created for mittens. Must be why I like to make mittens 🙂 My dad is also a crafter. He weaves rugs out of recycled fabrics. It’s a skill that is on my bucket list and hope to learn in the next few years. There was always some type of crafting project around the house. For Christmas it was guaranteed that at least one of your presents would be homemade.
(More recycled sweater mittens ~ charming & functional!)
Liesa: I have dabbled in several crafts like knitting & crocheting, but my favorite activity today is sewing. The funny thing is my mother had a heck of time to get me to sit down at the sewing machine to even learn how to sew when I was younger. I would rather be out in the barn feeding the cows and brushing my horses. Maybe I don’t recall all my youthful memories quite correctly, but I believe my mom threatened me into sewing. One of my all time favorite things to do was showing my cows and horses at the Roseau County Fair. Every summer that was the big event and you couldn’t wait for it to happen. Basically my mom said if I’m going to bring my animals to the fair I also had to take part in the sewing exhibits, too. So yes, I painfully worked on 4-H sewing projects. Even worse, I had to wear the clothing I created in a clothing show! Looking back now I have to laugh at those memories, but also thank you mom for making me learn how to sew.
S: What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
Liesa: I am always constantly thinking of ways to make things better. Often times I see things out there that I really like, but then think, ‘hey, this would be really cute if you added a pocket, or these colors would look nice together for that design.’ I find it fun and rewarding to take something and re-purpose it. It kind of feels like Christmas when you can’t wait to see what is in your present. When making my crafts, it is exciting mixing and matching colors and coming up with new designs. Once I make choices, I can’t wait to see what the final product looks like.
(Minky Blankets are a favorite for gift-givers, especially aunts and grandmothers!)
S: Are there things you’ve created that are your favorites? If so, what are they?
Liesa: My favorite thing to make is hockey sock mittens. I like putting colors together for local teams. Hockey moms love to show their team spirit. I have several pairs that I have made for myself, mostly in East Grand Forks colors. However, my new favorite is maroon and gold so I can cheer for our daughter and her teammates on the Concordia hockey team.
(Hockey sock mittens always grab customer’s attention ~ truly creative!)
S: Do you have any other creative projects planned?
Liesa: After the mitten season I plan to design and create yoga bags. I worked on a few this summer and it was a lot of fun mixing and matching colors. Not only do I want them to be attractive, I want them to be functional. I have a few new design ideas that I can’t wait to try!
(side note: Liesa created a yoga bag for me last summer & I love it!)
S: Anything else you’d like to share?
Liesa: I have been a Social Studies teacher and coach for over 25 year in East Grand Forks. My husband Roger is also a teacher in East Grand Forks and we have three daughters. Emily our oldest is in her last semester of RN schooling, Tessa is at UND working on her secondary education degree and Tiffany is a Concordia student plans on teaching elementary school.
Thanks, Sarah for sharing your blog post with us!