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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spotlight: Masha Laurence, the Antique Fashionista

I don't know if I've ever shared my love of Etsy with you (if not, allow me to now: I ♥ Etsy!).  So, in the weeks leading up to June, when I was contacted by Masha Laurence, a Jane-lover on Etsy, who wanted to donate some of her insanely incredible Jane-inspired original artwork, the answer was a resounding yes!yes!yes!

So I would like to introduce you to Masha!

Book Rat: What is it that inspires you about Regency and Victorian literature?
Masha: I simply love love stories.  What attracts me in my favorite Regency and Victorian books, or any others for that matter, is the love story/ happily ever after, the chivalry, the high morals that always prevail and beautiful, beautiful language.

BR: How did you start Antique Fashionista?

Masha: My parents worked in a theatre and I spent most of my growing up years watching them and people around them create costumes and sets.  My mom also was a museum fanatic and we went to art galleries all the time growing up.  So naturally when I read books I would always have the costume in mind, if I couldn't picture it  I would look it up in movies or pictures.  My mother in law noticed that I loved to draw dresses and advised me to do it for a living.  I took her up on it and now I get to do something I truly love.

BR: Which is your favorite Jane Austen piece/character/book/etc?
Masha: My favorite Jane Austen book is Persuasion because it kind of reminds me of my own love story :), but I do favor Mr. Knightley as a male lead.

BR: What's your creative process like?  How do you go from a quote or a thought to a beautiful finished product?
Masha: Hmm, creative process...  I read something ( or watch a movie), see a quote or situation I absolutely love and decide I just have to paint it.  I go and look at pictures on the internet of fashion plates, old paintings etc. and make a ton of sketches.  Than I come up with the final one and put it on watercolor paper.  Than I paint it, often combining  ideas from fashion plates with my own.  Even though I primarily work in watercolors I love to add a little touch of acrylic paint, so that you can feel the lace when you touch it or see the gold shimmer.  I also like to write the quotes with pen and ink so that they look more authentic, or just put the text in the background so that it looks like you painted on an old letter. 

BR: What's the future hold for the Antique Fashionista?

Masha: The future I hope holds many more projects to come.  I love taking private requests, it gives me a chance to step out of my comfort zone and work on things that are a bit different from what I would normally do.  I hope to have a line of quote greeting cards, maybe even stationery one day.  And of course just paint paint paint many other things.  The more books I read the more things I want to paint.  My biggest dream is to design costumes for a real period drama  :)

BR: Thanks for sharing the love, Masha!

And boy did Masha share the love!  Just look at this beautiful bounty of Janeswag!  It is fantastic, is it not?   And I just bet that you, my lovelies, want to get your eager kid-gloved hands on it.  Yes, I thought so.  So make sure to peek out from behind your fan often, because Masha's work is going to be highlighted throughout the month, and these lovely bits will be making their way to new homes -- maybe yours.


  1. The clothes are a huge factor as to why I love books set in Victorian times. Masha is really talented. All those designs are absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Oh my word. I'm in love. And her name? Perfection!

  3. These are beautiful! Thanks for donating your work, Masha!

  4. I really like Marsha's work--the cards and bookmarks are lovely. Must keep in mind for my Austen friends this Xmas!


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