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My thoughts on Copycats (and why we need their creative voice)

May 21, 2015

Emily Jeffords photo by Chris Isham

This post is a bit of a rant and a bit of a plea.  (There.  You have been forewarned).  ;)

The theme of the week (year?): people stealing creative ideas and calling them their own. Please, please…. if you are truly an artist (in whatever medium) please respect the struggle and the hard work that other artists have done to arrive at their craft.

Put in your own time, study the work of others (especially the masters), and create something fresh, new, and original.

We need *your* voice – not a replica or variation on someone else’s.  If you are tempted to copy the work of someone else and market it as your own, please think twice.  You have the creative energy to create something remarkable – to say something with your medium that needs to be said.  Do not waste that opportunity echoing someone else.

Your perspective is just as valid as anyone else’s – so show it to us!



I wrote a post about not being afraid of copycats a few months ago, and it still rings so true, but I cannot stand by and watch my friend’s hard work, my own art, and the art of other hardworking makers be replicated by others. Whether by a small scale hobbyist or a big company, stealing is wrong no matter what.

So here is what I ask.
If you see someone’s artwork being replicated or even strongly “inspired by” please stand up for the true artists – the one who put in the time and effort to arrive at that beautiful place.  It can be as gentle as a comment “Beautiful!  Looks like so-and-so’s Painting!” or “Wow!  my friend ____ created something just like this!” — just so people will know that the creative community has strong supporters, people notice, and that stealing is never ok.  At the very least, please let the artist know and he/she can deal with it more heavily if needed.

If you have created something that is inspired by another creative, please give them credit.  They have earned it and you will only look better for being both honest and well researched.  The creative community is quite small, and we are learning that we must stand up for each other.


I know there is a fine line between inspiration and copying, and that there really is nothing new under the sun – but when you feel deep down in your heart that something is crossing a line, call that out and/or make it right.  



Ok, my little rant is over, but I hope it will empower you to be ethical, helpful, and supportive of those who are working hard, struggling daily to refine their art.

If you are an artist – please speak up!  Create! The world needs your voice and your voice is powerful and beautiful.



Emily Jeffords, struggling artist.
Beautiful photo by Chris Isham

Spring Studio Day – and what it taught me about quietness

May 14, 2015

Emily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve Nettles

There are days that fill my mind and heart with tasks – all of them are good, right, exciting, and appreciated, but they are hectic and cloud my actions.  I often loose the ability and time to reflect of the goodness of the past because the present has so filled my attention.


I don’t know about you, but I am the kind of person who needs to be really deliberate about taking a break and reflecting on the beauty of the past or I will march on, full speed ahead, living solely in the moment, steam-roller nipping at my heals.


I was so, so grateful to put a pause on life this past weekend, to refresh my soul and recharge my imagination.   Three beautiful women came together, amidst the hustle and crazy in their own lives, and held a “Spring Studio Day” at the most magical artist’s home in Athens, GA.  The home and gardens, owned by painter and sculpture Lamar Wood, are over 100 years old, and the richness of the place was literally palpable.  I felt it the moment I drove down the winding, bumpy, tree-draped driveway.


We spent the day wandering the grounds, gathering greens from the cultivated gardens and wild things from the woods, making beautiful light drawings using Cyanotype photographic techniques, styling and photographing beautiful vignettes, enjoying delicious meals created with organic, local fair, and talking about the philosophy and purpose of creativity and life.  It was deep and beautiful and I found that the more space I gave to my thoughts, the more I had space in my mind for meditating, praying, and inspiration.


Quietness has that effect on a busy mind.  I need more of it in my life.


Thank you Paige French, Rinne Allen, and Eve Nettles for hosting this beautiful and powerful day.  I am so thankful.

Emily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve NettlesEmily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve NettlesEmily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve Nettles Magnilia

Emily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve Nettles

“You will create something undeniably beautiful – something that will surprise you.” – Paige French

Emily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve NettlesEmily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve NettlesEmily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve NettlesEmily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve NettlesEmily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve Nettles Emily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve NettlesEmily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve NettlesEmily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve Nettles Emily Jeffords Paige French Rinne Allen Eve Nettles Magnilia

Painting Workshop Lookbook

April 2, 2015

8 brushes2Hello!

I have absolutely LOVED having painting workshops in my beautiful studio over the past couple months!  We get to talk about color, brushstrokes, line, movement, how oil painting actually works, and, most wonderfully, create something new alongside new and old friends!

Workshops are the perfect place to try something new and, hopefully, pick up a few new skills.  The energy in the room, everyone painting, experimenting, feeding off of each other’s joy, is so contagious.   I hope that comes across in these photos because you can nearly taste the beautiful vibes in the room.

There will be two or three more workshops this year in Greenville, SC.  If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for my email list!  I’ll send details as they are available.

For now, soak up the inspiration through these photos.

All photos were taken by my talented intern, Haley Hughes.  …I totally lucked out with this girl!  She’s going places, y’all!  

92 brushes 5 11 brushes3 flowers2 food1 food3 Liz&Emily2 MePainting1 MePainting4 paints1 paints2 paints3 paints5 space2


What is Creativity? Makers Summit Recap part 2

March 20, 2015

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Yesterday I shared the wonderful thoughts of Nathan Bond of Rifle Paper Co. (which you can read here), and today I am SO excited to introduce you to two of the most wonderful women I have talked with in a long, long time.  These ladies are creating such good work and are so powerfully true to their ideas and vision.  I walked away feeling so inspired by their spirit and words…  you’ll see what I mean:


Jeni started her first ice cream company many years ago.  The company failed for a variety of reasons, but that did not dissuade her from pursuing her passion (the art of flavor and quality).  She regrouped and relaunched her dream as Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream which has spread across the nation and into many hearts — and good heavens, it is splendid ice cream!!


I loved listening to Jeni talk about creativity.  While our creative outlets look quite different (paint / milk + sugar) our thought processes and love are very similar.

creativity is:

– thinking inside the box – not outside.  Creativity only works when there are problems to solve & parameters to work within.

– active

– remembering and learning from practice/failure/success

– not radical. focus on a small group of well executed ideas that will add up to something grand

– brave.  instincts should be listened to

– moving forward

– not a lone genius.  Creative success is built on the successes and failures of many.

– made of 99 failures & 1 success

– seemingly impossible.  But do not be afraid of someone else’s brick wall.  Their limitations are not yours.

– love.  it’s about following your passion and making that love contagious

– impatient

– not personal.  when you fail, move on.  don’t dwell in failures and ignore those who do. also, don’t cling to your successes.

– imagination

– work

– building your own world and enjoying its pros and cons.

Rachel Faucette runs a hugely popular blog, Handmade Charlotte, has collaborations with pretty much every large brand you can imagine, and works with companies (like, you know, Martha Stewart, HP…).  But, also, she is generous and kind.

She gave us some very tangible steps to take if we’re serious about pursuing this thing.  So helpful.

– Be awesome

– Be generous

– Share your brand unapologetically

– Set attainable and yet lofty goals for yourself

– Put things on the calendar and actually do them

– Invest in your social media presence and following

– Make asks: ask for 1-3 things each day

– Create advocates out of your followers

– Be your biggest fan

– Always say thank you – because, as we all know, you do not get here by yourself.

The inspiration in the space during this whole event was completely palpable.  I would highly recommend attending The Makers Summit next year.  If you feel like your brand is off to the right start but you know there are places if could grow or develop – then this is the place for you.  This awesome event (and a few others) are put on by the Indie Craft Parade in Greenville, SC.

Photography by Jivan Davé

Why I Fight for Beauty (my journey from the 3rd world to the studio)

March 19, 2015


We will be known by the problems we solve.

I grew up in the Middle East and in North Africa.  Beautiful, beautiful places, rich with history, but depressed with poverty and unrest.  My mom bought extra baby food each week for the homeless mother who came to our door often, starving, asking for food for her little one. We talked with the old man without legs but with kind eyes as he held out his little tin cup, asking for pennies. I played soccer with the street boys (well, really, they played circles around me and I watched in amazement). I was dressed up in magnificent wedding attire and was invited to be part of the most spectacular wedding ceremony – because I was an American. I have seen lepers, met with elderly people in the lowliest of living places, been a part of a society that is, in many ways (but not all) so very, very different from the one I live in today.

While I am mixing colors on my palette in a lovely studio, I know there are people praying for just a scrap of food. I have gone through many moments of guilt with this thought in my head.  Why do I do this work?  Is it of any value?

The undercurrent of this sentence, “we will be known by the problems we solve” reminds me to continually notice the things that need to change in the world, in my community, and in my own life, and to work hard to improve the failing parts.

My tools of creativity and beauty-making are not a waste and they are not silly or frivolous. They are literally a picture of hope and grace. Every human needs beauty. We need to see that life is worth improving. Working to make those truths sink deeply into my heart, and sharing them boldly, is the most valuable thing I can personally do with my abilities during this chapter of my life.

While my work often speaks my messages for me, sometimes I need to look away from the canvas and pour some of that beauty tangibly into the lives of others.

It means that sometimes, even though my calling is to communicate the messages of grace, hope, and beauty through my art, it is more important for me to put down my brushes and make someone a meal, or spend time getting dirty with my little girls, or giving my hard earned money to someone who needs it more acutely than I do.

It means that the rainbow of paints on my palette can be used to not only lift someone’s mind and soul, but very physically bless someone in a tangible way.

That is powerful.

That dispels the lingering guilt that seeps into my mind whispering false thoughts about my work being only for the upper-crust of society; so very 1st world.

Beauty acts like water through the social classes. It is not bound by race, rank, or education.  It cannot be caged by the haves and the have-nots.  Beauty is free because it is somehow bigger than us.  Beauty represents resolution.  The chaotic and distressed things in the world have been put in order for our eyes to see or our ears to hear and something in our souls understands that this is good.  This is right.

Never stop pursuing beauty.

Prettiness and trends will fade away, but connecting with that thing that makes your heart sing – that is beautiful.

Fight for that. Fight to share that.


If you are interested in getting immersed in this idea, and are looking for an outlet to truly help people, may I recommend checking out the Plywood People.  They’re changing the way communities relate and are working hard to bring hope and change to the many social needs right here in America.

Makers Summit Recap: Rifle Paper Co. reminds us to focus on making good things.

March 19, 2015

16226471973_09099ae452_o ms416658834088_7b5475058a_b A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in a beautiful space, sipping good coffee, talking with some of the most creative people, and allowing all the good words and vibes swirling around my head to talk over and fill my mind with goodness. …this is what the Makers Summit does to people!

I had the honor of speaking on a panel along with some of my most wonderful friends and fellow entrepreneurs, but the conference was so much more than a speaking gig for me.  It was a time of deep connection – both with others and with my own ideas & dreams.

I was quite excited to hear from (and meet) Nathan Bond. You just cannot top the finesse and intentionality in the Rifle Paper Co. brand!  Anna & Nathan Bond have been a long-time inspiration for me and it was so good to see that the beautiful company is backed up with such lovely and generous people.

Also Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Ice Cream (literally the best ice cream on earth) poured down words of encouragement and inspiration. This lady is a true artist who cares so much about the quality of her product (obv) and the beauty of a good brand.

Rachel Faucette of Handmade Charlotte is not only the funniest person in the room, but also one of the hardest working, most experienced, and encouraging people I know.   This lady is a champion and I’m happy to shout her praises!

But now, enough gushing. I have some true goodness for you guys.   These were my personal favorite takeaways from the weekend – the moments that make me want to shout “Amen!   Preach!” …but of course I did not. I remained (mostly) calm (kind of).


From Nathan, I was reminded that you define your own success. You decide what is healthy, beautiful, and right for you. The best marketing strategy is to create the best product possible.

(In fact, I would say creating good work is the key to success.)


– That being said, you’re never going to be ready. Fear of failure will hold you back if you let it. You can and you will learn everything you need to, but don’t wait for that moment to come. You are better and your stronger because of your challenges.

– Understand how pricing works. Of course, there are clear-cut pricing guidelines, but don’t underestimate the value of a well-designed and beautifully made product. It has an esteemed value that has been earned on own merit. Price accordingly.

Imitation is a steep handicap, not a healthy business crunch and definitely not a smart move.  Collaboration should happen when both parties can grow, mutually benefit, and come up with new and beautiful things because of each other.


Ahh.  I clapped so freaking loud after this talk — and my head hurt a tiny bit from nodding so much (yep, I was that girl).  But I can’t help it.  After reading this, I’m sure you understand…

Tomorrow I will share Jeni’s thoughts on creativity + Rachel’s tips for growth.

Check out the speakers work and goodness here: Nathan Bond; Rifle Paper Co. Jeni Bauer; Jeni’s Ice Cream  Rachel Faucette; Handmade Charlotte  And many many more listed on the Makers Summit website.
The Makers Summit is dreamed up, created, crafted, loved, cared for, fought for, put on, and produced, by the Indie Craft Parade.  And I thank them for it.

Instagram Class for Artists & Makers

March 12, 2015



Hey guys!


Most of you probably know that I LOVE sharing my work and process over social media – and especially Instagram.

It has become one of my very favorite ways to bring my community into my studio, allow them to see the beautiful behind-the-scenes moments that I love dearly.  It has also become a powerful tool to grow my business.


My Story: In Jan 2014, I had 800 IG followers and posted a hodgepodge of images.  I began to think very editorially about my Instagram feed, posting photos that showcased the vision I had for my artwork and business.  Changing my mindset, understanding my goals, and focusing my aesthetic on Instagram led to 13,000 new followers in 12 months and resulted in thousands and thousands of dollars in artwork sales directly from my IG audience, many new friendships, collaborations with several large brands and designers, and, most importantly, a lot of personal clarity as to what my brand represents and what I create.


I was getting many requests from other artists and makers for an Instagram class, and I am happy to now offer one!

If you’re interested in joining one of these classes, sign up here:

Hour-long classes happen live, over Google Hangout once a month $40

My goal is for you to come away from this hour long class feeling refreshed, full of ideas, and with a clear direction.  Marketing your skills, artwork, and creativity can feel effortless and organic and Instagram is my personal favorite way to do that.


Tuesday, March 17th at 8:30 pm (eastern time)
Saturday, April 25th at 12:00 pm (eastern time)


I would love for you to join us!


Living Creatively without Fear (part 1)

March 11, 2015


I get asked pretty frequently about how I can post my work and my process so publicly online – how I can welcome people into my studio to paint along with me, and share all my marketing tips, packaging supply lists, favorite art materials, unique painting techniques…  really, I try to share anything and everything I can.


I do this, not to create clones of myself, and not to foolishly expose my work to copycats and thieves. I share because I am passionate & passion is pretty hard to stifle.
I share because for every one scoundrel there are 1,000 artists who are growing, trying new things, and are in desperate need of support.  If I can shine a tiny ray of hope, encouragement, or clarity into the sometimes-murky creative world, then the blessings far outweigh the risks.


The way I see it, living in fear of betrayal also equals alienation.


I am not afraid of being copied because the copier does not have my ideas or vision – and I put a lot of value in those two aspects of the creative process.
Copiers also do not have my hands.  My hands are trained and taught to move in a certain way.  And my hands will move differently than yours in the same way that your voice sounds different from mine.  I put a lot of faith in my hands.


Betrayal and being treated unjustly is concerning, but is not something to fear.  However, I am afraid of losing the beauty of community.  I am afraid that the walls of secrecy and fear we place around our work are harming not only those who are learning but ourselves.


Be cautious.  Know how to spot a scoundrel, but be generous to your community.  They will be the ones who support and nurture you when you need to grow and learn.  We all have wisdom.  Let’s share it!


(This is just the first post in a series of living the creative life without fear.  Stay tuned for more!)
Photos from my Instagram feed:

#30EJPaintings are complete! Woohoo!

March 2, 2015



If you have been following my Instagram feed over the past few weeks then you’ve seen the process, behind the scenes, and even a few sneak peeks of this project.  I took some time to paint several new paintings, to try new things, and to be willing to practice.  The beautiful thing about practicing is there is no audience.  It’s just me and my brushes, trying new things.  Sometimes practice feels effortless and exciting, sometimes it is ugly and tricky, but it is always helpful.
I worked on 34 paintings, finishing 30 of them.
27 of those will be available
 on my website at noon today (eastern time)!

Please check out the collection below!  
Thank you all for your support and for cheering me on during this challenge!  I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed creating them!


30EJp1 30EJp2 30EJp3 30EJp4 30EJp5

New Prints coming to Emily Jeffords Shop!

February 9, 2015

Fine art print artwork by Emily Jeffords Landscape Painting


It’s always exciting when I get to launch a new collection of fine art prints!  There are so many, many moments of effort, love, hard work, and thought put into each painting before it becomes a print, then working with the printer to make something truly special and of high quality is another round of passion and effort….

I love every moment and I’m SO honored that my artwork is living in people’s homes, adding a little more beauty and grace to their lives.

That is so special.

This collection is a long time in coming.  Thank you for all the emails requesting these prints!  You made my choice quite easy with your outpouring of love and affirmation!  Thank you all.  The prints that are currently in my shop will still be available as well.

The collection will launch tomorrow afternoon at 7:00 am (eastern time) in my print shop and in my Etsy shop.  And because Valentines day is fast approaching and I really like you guys, please use this 20% off coupon at checkout!  “LoveSomeArt”

And now, enjoy checking out the new additions to my fine art print collection.

prints1prints3Fine art print artwork by Emily Jeffords Landscape Painting


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