As the Dixie team is staring down a “Winter Storm Warning” in our little Southeastern corner of the country, we thought everyone could use a heavy dose of color and cheer brought to you by Dixie artist Alyssa ‘Aly’ Jill Harris who goes by the name Willa Heart in the illustration and design world.  Aly’s artistic mediums are widespread! While we are particularly fond of her painted artwork on our stationery, Aly’s embroidery, illustrations, and designs also make for one-of-a-kind pillows, clutches, and cocktail coasters as well.

Aly has shared images of her vibrant South Carolina studio space with us, and we cannot help but notice her love of animal prints and Staffordshire dogs that appear throughout her Dogwood Hill artwork. Continue reading for design details on Aly’s studio space as well as for insight into her creative process. We have also included some of our favorite Dogwood Hills that feature Aly’s artwork below. 

Tell us about your studio space! Do you have a favorite aspect of the room?

My studio space is a cute little room upstairs that I just started working out of. Up until a few months ago, I was painting and doing most of my work in the dining room. Now that I am actually in the studio, I love it. It is a small space and I have it filled to the brim with tchotchkes, art supplies, sewing supplies and all of my products. 

I love that everything is in one space now and that the walls are the perfect shade of pale pink! 

What are you currently working on for Dixie? 

I am just wrapping up Holiday 2019! I love a non-traditional holiday card so it was really fun coming up with some out-of-the-box holiday designs that will work for everyone! 

When do you work on your artwork?  

I try and stick to 9-5, but I tend to get distracted and end up working a few hours here, a few hours there. I do all of my painting in the daylight but love to draw and sketch at night in front of the TV. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

On an ideal day I wake up, go to the gym, come home and get to work. I like to do shipping in the morning so my lovely mail lady will pick it up and save me a trip to the post office. Then I will get started on painting or sketching or sewing or product development… It changes daily but I like to do the fun creative stuff in the middle of the day when the sun is nice and bright. I am a bit obsessed with sunlight. After I wrap up the painting or whatever I am doing, I switch to computer work. I start with emails and then normally have some editing to do. Then I make dinner and watch trashy tv. 

Where do you turn when you need to be creatively refreshed? 

Movies with pretty cinematography are endlessly inspiring. I love looking at photos of retro interior design and seeing how people decorated their homes. I have been super into wandering around museums lately too! 

What do you like to listen to when you work? 

I normally have a TV show going and listen to it… If it’s a really good show, it will distract me so I need the perfect balance of good/bad and mindless but also entertaining enough to keep my brain quiet. 

I am trying to listen to more podcasts or books, so I can maybe learn something but I seem to always end up back with the terrible tv I love so much. Learning is overrated anyway. 

Favorite Instagram account for artistic inspiration?

Oh this is hard because Instagram is filled with so many beautiful accounts! I few of my favorites are @Laurakitty, @lukeedwardhall, @stuffy_muffy, @thiswasfashion, @voguemagazine & @palmbeachthrifters.

Favorite Dixie product you have created?

I am super excited about the 2019 holiday cards, specifically these poodles that I painted! 

My favorite product that is currently available would definitely be the leopards (featured below and you can shop the entire collection here). I used them for our holiday cards and they were a huge hit! The envelope liner makes me so happy. Also, they make the most chic stationery set! Speaking of, I think I will go ahead and order some for myself right now! 

Studio Images Photography:: Tiffany Ellis Photo


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