Laly Mille considers her home studio an intensely personal space, one that doesn’t see a lot of visitors. But when people do drop by, she says, something catches their attention right away: “An image, a feeling, the smell of wood, the peaceful, nurturing atmosphere that the presence of art creates. They breathe a little deeper and relax. There’s a beautiful, positive energy in this space; it is both grounding and uplifting—a little magical.”
Mille, a French mixed-media artist, has her studio on the top floor of her Loire Valley home. The quietest spot in the house has a skylight offering beautiful morning light that’s perfect to work by, plus beautiful views of trees and birds. The light illuminates the light gray walls, which serve as a backdrop to Mille’s artwork and art supplies, including paintbrushes, markers, artist crayons, paint, mediums, and canvases. Nature is evident in the studio as well. Dried leaves and flowers are scattered about, and small jars are filled with bouquets of feathers. A key studio component is an inspiration wall, which Mille calls a constant work in progress.
“There are images that I keep month after month, textures, photos, materials, and words that inspire me,” she says. “Nature is always very present. I keep adding, removing, and moving things around. There’s a big empty space in the middle where I can tape images and notes for particular projects.” She also uses the space to display works in progress, and adds, “Surrounding myself with the things I love, the things that intrigue and inspire me, is key to my creative process.”
To keep supplies in check, Mille relies on stock storage items like clear plastic bins and sturdy white shelves that make tidying up easy, leaving more time for making art. Two DIY pieces in the space stand out: a tall wooden rack that she and her husband built for storing canvases, and clever hanging storage for paint that was inspired by a Pinterest project. Acrylic paint tubes with small metal hooks hang on a found piece of a wooden crib. She likes that it’s mobile, and lets her see all the colors at a glance. “This way,” she says, “I’m constantly tempted to try something new, instead of sticking to my go-to palette.”
Mille once posted a photo of her crowded worktable on Instagram with the caption, “Sweet chaos.” The sentiment reflects her attitude about her working life as an artist. “Chaos is where creation comes from, right? I am naturally very messy and I’ve learned to be okay with it. When I start creating, I pull out materials, images, objects, text, and all my favorite art supplies, in a bit of a frenzy.”
This part of her process, she adds, is her way of inviting inspiration and serendipity: “Materials come together in ways I didn’t anticipate, color schemes appear spontaneously, words and images give birth to new stories. I give myself complete freedom.”
Laly Mille is a French mixed-media artist living in the Loire Valley of France. She finds joy in bringing beauty into this world through her art, and also in nurturing the creative longings of others through teaching soulful online classes. Visit her website at lalymille.com.
The Studio Spotlight article also appears in our March/April 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, along with Laly’s collage and paint techniques for creating beautiful abstract florals. Want to see what else is inside our March/April issue? View our lookbook preview for a special sneak peek at the mixed-media art and projects featured in this edition!