I want to introduce to you all to the sweet souled Leah Spain.
This inspiring women follows her true calling by nourishing her soul and others through her beautifully colourful and memorable Mandala works of art. Through her business Lejasp she designs talisman Mandalas that are all hand drawn and hand made with love and care from her warming heart and creative hands. She inspires people through persisting on following her own dreams and giving them something to remind them that life is truly beautiful!
Here we chat to Leah about life before her business, the importance of creating and the meaning of Mandalas in this day and age…
SSC: So lets begin with a little bit about you. How would you describe yourself in three words? What is your favourite colour? And what is it that lights you up in life?
Leah: Very much a HSP, loyal and a deep thinker.
I’m always drawn to warm colours like pinks, oranges and earthy tones. My spark is ignited when I’m creating, whether it be art, healthy food creations or decorating my home… as long as I’m creating I’m in my happy place.
SSC: Tell us about your colourful and creative filled company ‘LeJasp’…how did it all begin and how did you get to where you are today? What has following this dream of yours meant to you?
Leah: I finished full time ‘office’ work after becoming quite unwell and hospitalised with a heart arrhythmia, I needed some time to rest my body. During this time off I found a love for up-cycling furniture. It was a cheap and creative option for furnishing our new home we had just finished ‘owner building’. With encouragement from my husband I tried to make a little business from it; I took my furniture to markets and also sold through Facebook. During this time I was getting advice on a 10 year old hip injury that had never healed, only to discover I needed surgery. The upcycling was put on hold while I rehabilitated. During this recovery time I re-injured my hip needing another surgery 6 months later and just before the 2nd surgery I injured my other hip which then needed surgery again 6 months after my second surgery, are you following? haha! So after 3 surgeries in one year it was time to quit the upcycling, my hips just couldn’t withstand the bending and moving that came with it.
I knew in my heart that I needed to be creative with colour. My soul was not nourished working in an office, it just wasn’t me… I wasn’t following my calling or being my authentic self. I started sketching ideas and had begun drawing mandalas to assist with creative thinking…. and voila!! There it was in front of me! I sketched an idea of a mandala pendant for the wall hanging from a rope, a little bit like a necklace for the wall and from there…..LeJasp was born (LeJasp is the first two initials of my full name). The idea was thought of in the February of that year, but LeJasp wasn’t ready for business until November. I just didn’t have the funds to purchase all the items required to start a business, so month by month I slowly saved and spent, gathering bit by bit. I couldn’t have done this without the huge support of my husband, he works so hard so I can follow my dream and it means the world to me.
SSC: What was is like growing up in the red dust of Broken Hill? How do you think this has influenced who you are today? And also your creative inspirations?
Leah: Perfect…I didn’t know better, but was there anything better than being a kid in the outback! Now that I look back I absolutely loved my childhood. Our family would visit our lakeside campsite almost every holidays, where we could roam free and climb trees. One thing that sticks in my mind is, we’d make crowns and bracelets from the weeping willow trees that surround the lake. My grandfather was a crystal collector, so he’d take us fossicking and to a small underground mine called ‘Daydream’, it sounds so magical doesn’t it? I most definitely think growing up in Broken Hill has shaped my creative thinking. There were alot of talented artists born from Broken Hill, Pro Hart being the most amazing. There was always lots of inspiration around, I existed in it without even knowing, WOW I was blessed!
SSC: LeJasp creates colourful mandala pieces to decorate the home and heart of the owner. What do you want people to feel when looking at your designs? What makes them so special?
Leah: I started drawing them intuitively without really knowing the deep meaning of this sacred art form. I have always been spiritual, from a young age I could sense presence, but never had any guidance until I moved to Melbourne and took classes, where I developed an understanding of the chakras and meditation. I have now learnt so much more about this special art and it’s roots. My wish for their new owner is to feel peace & harmony when they look at it, whether they be spiritual or not, just to really feel that life is beautiful.
SSC: The mandala is a very sacred type of art; can you explain to us its history and how it can assist people in their own wellbeing?
Leah: The mandala is a spiritual symbol, a Sanskrit word which means ‘circle’ and symbolically represents the universe. The circle of life, a never-ending life and all the beauty that comes within. It is very sacred to the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and the North American Indians, it has its purpose and is used in similar ways through each culture to evoke spiritual energy & healing through meditation. It’s a reminder to be within, within the universe and oneself. It can assist with one’s wellbeing by using it as a meditation tool, to seek harmony, wholeness and personal growth. I am yet to fully meditate upon my mandalas, but I think I do this subconsciously on a daily basis when I draw them, it’s very calming. Since starting this art form I find I have grown more inner peace & self love, maybe because of the Mandala effect and maybe because that’s what owning a small business has taught me.
SSC: Being creative and expressing yourself creatively seems to be something very important to you since you were a child, why do you think this has been so? And what do you believe is the importance in bringing creativity in our own daily lives?
Leah: It has been immensely important to me, maybe because I was afraid as a child to voice my opinion for fear of being shut down, so I expressed myself with creations made by hand instead. I see creativity in each person in different ways, my husband creatively makes a pile of clothes on our bedroom floor and I creatively fold them and put them away, haha! What I mean is each person has their own thing happening and if what they are creating satisfies their soul, then they should just go with it, one should see what they create daily as their truth, with the hope, to feel wholeness and enjoyment from what it brings.
SSC: What are some bumps you have had along the way in creating your business and how did you move through them ok? What has been the biggest lesson learnt in creating LeJasp?
Leah: One thing is self doubt, I have doubted my ability many times, but I just had to keep telling myself that I can do it, that I could use my creativity to build a little business. Like I said previously, I have grown more inner peace & self love, so this personal growth has assisted with the doubt, I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I also don’t compare myself to other creatives, this is my thing and what I do, and my soul is nourished doing it. Another little hurdle was the set up costs, I gathered slowly and got there in the end, but it wasn’t the end, it was just the beginning !! Yes, it was frustrating at times having no money to start my dream, but what it has taught me is patience and with patience great things can be created.
SCC: What top 3 tips would you have for aspiring designers /small business starters? What would you have liked to have known before you began?
Leah: Persevere, don’t look for external acceptance, do it to nourish your soul. Maybe I would’ve like to have known that it would be totally worth the tears and to trust that my path was right.
SSC: What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What would you like to achieve in the next 5-10 years?