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what's in your toolbox

What’s In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr

by Annie Werbler

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

When home is also a workspace, it has to function for all things and all people concerned. Llubav Choy Duerr, a prolific textile and surface designer with her own line of whimsical stationery, won our first-ever DIY contest way back in 2005. Since then, she’s been busy building A Brooklyn Home for Family and Creativity, and setting up a studio for all her artistic pursuits in her Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment. As warm and colorful as her home is, we couldn’t wait to unpack some of the cozy corners carved out for her craft. Here, family and work inspire one another constantly just by coexisting. When Llubav gets stuck on an idea, she can switch gears and come back to it with renewed perspective from hanging out with her kids. We’re so excited to pull all the fun stuff out of storage and take a tour of Llubav’s windowed niche, offering endless tools and vision. —Annie

Photography by Karin Bruno

What’s in your toolbox?

​In my toolbox I have my most important tools — my brushes (some of them are over 17 years old), lots of gouache tubes (my favorite medium to work with), watercolors, color pencils, great mixed media paper, rulers, scissors, a stapler, glue, black Sharpies (thin and thick tips), empty yogurt containers, and salt shakers. Oh, and glitter — lots of glitter!

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel ____________.”

​Well, because I don’t have a studio yet I have to say that… When I’m in my creative nook, I feel radiant!​

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

What is on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?

​I’m fascinated by Henry Darger’s work. I love his colors and compositions. I’m also a huge fan of Taschen books, especially Cabinet of Natural Curiosities and The World of Ornament. ​I also enjoy looking at Frida, Matisse, issues of Bloom Magazine, and a book I can’t read (it’s in French) but drool over at bedtime — it’s called Papiers Dominotés. It has exquisite photos of endpapers from the mid 1700s to the early 1800s.

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

How do you keep yourself organized?

​I make lists, lots of them, and sometimes have way too many flying around. I also use a big monthly calendar. I enjoy writing things down and crossing them off as every task is done. Sometimes ripping my lists gives me satisfaction. It’s weird, I know.

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

I would like the ability to fly so I could travel the world on the weekends. :-)

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist, maker, or designer?

​Don’t burn bridges, and be nice. The design industry is so large yet so small, and everyone knows each other. My piece of advice to a young artist would be to not burn bridges and take some business classes. I wish I knew more about the business side of things — could have saved me lots of tears.

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

How do you combat creative blocks?

It’s hard when this happens. But, good thing it doesn’t happen often, and when it does happen I simply remove myself from my corner and come back to it a couple of days later. Good thing I have kids to keep me entertained and help me get inspired just by the little things they say and do.

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

Where do you like to look or shop for inspiration?

I enjoy looking at my most prized possession, a collection of stationery I began collecting at the age of seven. Girls at Catholic school would buy stationery pads and then trade them, kind of like Pokemon cards. I’ve traveled with it all the way from Peru. It’s the one thing I could not part from when my family left Peru. Also, for the past 18 years I’ve been keeping binders of tearsheets and color copies of magazines, postcards, bakery bags that inspire me or trigger an idea. And the shops I love to go to for some eye candy are John Derian and ABC Carpet & Home.

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

If you could peek inside the studio or toolbox of any artist, maker, designer, or craftsperson, whose would it be and why?

​It would be William Morris. I would love to see what tools he used and what was on his inspiration board when creating those exquisite patterns.

What's In Your Toolbox: Llubav Choy Duerr, on Design*Sponge

What’s on your inspirational playlist at the moment?

Dark Was the Night
The Walkmen
Animal Collective
Joy Division
Simple Minds
Fleetwood Mac
And, always Michael Jackson in the mix

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