"In 2013 Leanne Shea Rhem returned to Toronto from a whirlwind tour around the world learning traditional textile techniques and studying various forms of art. This is when Leanne founded Gold & Ginger and began developing patterns and surface designs for accessories, fashion and stationery. These designs were inspired by an ongoing collaborative watercolour and pen and ink illustration series with her partner, Zac Kenny. Coming from a textiles background Leanne has been sewing, designing and drawing for as long as she can remember. She now serves as owner, creative director and maker at Gold & Ginger. Her product line is a labour of love combining her interests in animals, colour, pattern and urban environments. Leanne has a commitment to bring well made, thoughtfully designed, quality items to the market place and practices a collaborative approach to design where she enlists the help of artist Zac Kenny.
Everything is designed and sewn by hand in Picton, Prince Edward County where the couple now lives."
How did you get into your art/craft?
Ever since I was a little kid I played dress up and was creating things out of fabric and paper, I just never stopped.
What do you like to listen to while you’re working?
I love music but I love movies more, I find that while I’m working if I have a favourite movie on - it’s a way for me to gauge how long a certain part of my process has taken and if I’m on track for a productive studio day. BBC nature shows and Disney movies are favourites of mine.
Outside of your medium, what other types of art/design/etc are you inspired by?
My husband and collaborator Zac Kenny is and abstract oil painter, a medium and style I never really appreciated until I saw his work. The colours he uses are vibrant and inspiring, he has this magical way of telling a story and conveying emotion with strokes of colour that I’m sure I’ll never truly understand.
If you couldn’t be an artist/craftsperson, what would you love to be?
An heiress that got to travel to work and look at art in the museums and galleries of the world. That or a mermaid.. I’m not sure haha.
What’s your favourite thing about your city?
We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many creative people doing and making such awesome things from the creative menus and fresh food available to the artists and designers we have as friends.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
I’m tempted to say Florence, Italy because it’s my favourite city to visit but I think I’d miss Canada too much.
What do you love most about Canada?
Too many things. As a maker deeply inspired by nature I love the seasons and the range of landscapes we get to explore most of all.
Do you have a favourite book?
I haven’t had time to sit down and read anything in such a long time it’s embarrassing but one of my favourites is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
When you get some "down time" what do you like to do?
Down time hardly exists for me anymore but when I can carve out some time away from the studio it usually consists of travelling to a beach and napping in the sunshine.
If you could go to dinner with ANYBODY, alive or dead, who would it be?
Frida Kahlo, the authenticity, colour and autobiographical nature of her work are a constant inspiration to me reminding me to be honest with the work I want to make. I’d love to be able to speak to her and practice my Spanish.
What brand/artist can you not get enough of?
Helena of Here and Now Shop is one of my favourite makers to do shows with and to buy from. Her work stained glass jewellery is gorgeous and she’s just about one of my favourite smiley people
What’s one goal you’re working towards right now?
I’m currently pregnant and a business owner so I’m doing about 100 things at once while growing a human, if that wasn’t enough I decided to add 3 new patterns to the product line for the holidays! Our new patterns will be ready to launch mid-November, I can’t wait to show you.
What’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?
In my family we have a tradition that on boxing day we all stay in our pajamas, eat leftovers and have a movie marathon. It’s pretty much the best time ever.