Creativity Crusader // Lauren Ashe Carlisle James

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

It’s so festive and the perfect time of year to celebrate our creator, creative guru, and boss babe Lauren Ashe Carlisle James (not to mention it’s also her Birthday month!!). Lauren has always been a creative genius. From her childhood artworks to her adult career, company owner and parenting, she has always oozed fun ideas. The Olive Shoe started as a little blog in order to have a constructive outlet during a difficult life event for Lauren. It has since turned into this amazing company that has shared Lauren’s creativity with others en masse, sprinkling everyone’s life with joy who comes in contact with her creations.

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I met Lauren at a party in college. I was so nervous to meet her. None of my previous relationships had sisters. Drew was pretty vague about what she was like (per usual) so it made me even more nervous to meet her. But honestly, she was so sweet and welcomed me into her family right away without question. Lauren has always been there when I needed her and been a true sister. I am so thankful to have her in my life, family and as a role model to my girls.


When Lauren created the Olive Shoe, the complete vision was unknown but it has really blossomed to something amazing. Lauren really has done everything for the Shoe on her own. From the blog, web design, production creation, holiday events, spa products, etc… It all started as an idea on one of her lists and came to life through her creativity, passion, and hard work. This woman rarely rests and her plate is so full – but she still somehow manages to pump out amazing creative works. And even though we all know Lauren and have enjoyed her works over the years – here is a little more information that you may not know about her.


What is your name?

Lauren Ashe Carlisle James… I have always signed my artwork “LAC”, but I adore being Lauren James, too… So… I kept them all.

How old are you (if you are ok with sharing…totally optional)?

I turn 38 on December 15th

I was actually due on Christmas day, December 25th, but sometimes I can be impatient.

In what city & state do you live?

Anderson, SC


{Lauren and her amazing husband Van on their special day}

 Do you consider yourself to be creative?

Yes, I believe EVERYONE is creative. Parents are creative in their parenting – coming up with time-savers, problem-solving, creative storage, etc. Teachers are creative in their methods to help students understand required content. My husband is a financial analyst and even he has to use creative thinking skills. EVERYONE is creative in some way or another.  

What toys or activities were you drawn to as a child?

Painting, drawing, creating anything, crafting, playing outside, playing games, reading, gymnastics, dancing…is “everything” an acceptable answer?


What inspires you?

I’m inspired by every sunrise and sunset, fall leaves, people laughing, my incredible village of friends and family, coming across things that surprise me, things that make me feel warm and fuzzy…anything that makes me “feel”, honestly. Sometimes negative things can be inspiring too.


What do you do for a living?

I’m a graphic designer and a small business owner. I’ve worked in small business, non-profit and international manufacturing…the service industry, retail, event photography, and I even spent a couple of years as a preschool teacher. I have accidentally taken the “road less traveled” so many times that now I don’t know any other way to be. I also believe that “living” entails more than just a job with a paycheck, though, so I additionally identify as a creativity crusader, a wife, a foster mom, an aunt, sister, daughter and friend. I believe it’s incredibly important to carpe the heck out of the diem, and as my mom says, I try to squeeze every last drop of juice out of the day. Celebration is my ministry. Paper is my method.


Are you formally educated or self-taught? (or both)?

A generous helping of both. I am a graduate of the public school system, and I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Advertising from Clemson University. I took a few art lessons after school in 7th grade from the school art teacher, who taught me to “draw what I see” and to almost never throw the paper away…you can usually adapt your mistakes into something else. (also a great life lesson, isn’t it?) I wish I had taken a fine art class or 12 in college, but I didn’t. I did, however, have my Crayola watercolor paints and sharpie markers in my apartment and was known to stay up painting to Dave Matthews until 3 AM from time to time.  I’ve dabbled, and doodled, and drawn, painted and crafted…tried and failed, tried again, guessed, oopsed, and researched my way to the skillset I now own. I have also observed the crafts and skills of so many others: Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir…and more contemporary artists in a WIDE range of industries: Anna Hyatt Huntington – an American Sculptor whose Southern summer residence has been turned into beautiful gardens where we spent most Easters, Mary Engelbright – an illustrator whose calendar I’ve gotten every year since 1990, Susan Branch – a watercolor artist, writer, and brand, Kate Spade – a fashion designer and style icon, rest her soul,  and more recently I’ve enjoyed getting to observe, meet, work with, learn from and follow on social media, local and regional artists like Sue West, Dianne Simms, Bree Moore, Erin Hughes, Jessica Reynolds, Al Stine, and so many more…


How do you get un-stuck if you’re in a creative rut?

Take a break (sometimes too long of one)… Twyla Tharp said something about leaving something for the next day so you don’t start from scratch every day. That book really made me look at creativity and creative work from a different perspective.

How do you feel about your organization and time management skills?

My plate has been too full for some time, so my habits and skills look more like organized chaos thank organization most of the time. I’m actually pretty organized, but my skills can always use refining – in many areas!

Do you have a routine?

Absolutely. I believe some sort of routine is necessary to function in society.


How do you deal with stress?

Oh gosh… sing in the car, blast music really loud with the windows down, go for a walk, paint, think on my own, consult the Big Guy Upstairs, talk it out with my husband, or mom, or a trusted friend, throw eggs (not at people), do yoga…

If you have more to do than can fit in a typical day, do you get up earlier or stay up later?

I ALWAYS have more to do than can fit in a typical day…or week…or year(s)… LOL

I used to stay up later, but I have become a 4 AM worker bee. I thrive in the early morning hours while most of the world is quiet with my green tea and paintbrush. The hardest part is getting down my hallway in our old house without the floors creaking too much and disturbing the peace(ful husband sleeping).


How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

I HAVE to schedule a day every few months that is an unscheduled day (or at least part of a day) or I lose my mind a little bit. In this season of life, pretty much every minute of every day is allocated – for community service and commitments, my day job, growing The Olive Shoe, church, taking care of our foster children, their appointments and various needs, running personal errands, or scheduled extra-curriculars. Blocking off a half-day here and there – or the rare entire Saturday – is a necessity for maintaining my sanity.


What’s one piece of advice you would tell your younger self?

I wish I had been less concerned about my social life and more concerned about learning everything about everything I was interested in. I wish I had studied abroad.  I don’t have many regrets, but those are definitely two of them. I would also tell myself to figure out what you are really good at, what you love doing, and what combination of those two things can draw enough income to pay your bills. Those can be three very different things – BUT in some way, they almost always overlap. Pursue that.

And just for fun…

  1.      Favorite color?

I gravitate to yellows, aquas, pinks, and navy, and black and white as a pair in almost any pattern, some days red – cherry red, or cranberry, never garnet. I love a good, deep, lush green. I also love orange, for obvious reasons, and I do agree with Frank Sinatra: it really is the happiest color.

  1.      Describe yourself in one word.


  1.      The last thing you ate was…

An apple and some cheddar cheese.

  1.      A favorite quote you want to share?

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” C.S. Lewis

  1.      Do you have any party tricks?

I can say the alphabet backwards really fast. (Courtesy of my 4th grade teacher Mr. Porter)

Stay tuned next month! New crusaders are coming… so what MAKES a creativity crusader?

Crusaders can be any age and in any profession.

  • Creativity crusaders are passionate about what they do for a living or as one or more hobbies.
  • Creativity crusaders infuse creativity into daily life.
  • Creativity crusaders champion the cause for creativity in some corner of the world.
  • Creativity crusaders inspires others to be creative, think creatively and live a creative life.

I love celebrating people! If you would like to suggest a creativity crusader you know, please email me your suggestion, a little bit about the crusader and a couple of photos to I always love meeting new, creative, people!

Previously featured crusaders:

“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” – Henri Matisse

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:


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