Tea with Jeri.

I first came across the work of Jeri Landers when I saw her fabric designs several years ago. This lead me to her website and later her blog at Hopalong Hollow Gazette.Over the years we have become better acquainted but distance has not allowed us to meet, however let that not be an obstacle. Today we are taking tea together and invite you to join us, so pull up a chair and prepare to be charmed by this amazingly creative lady.

How do you take your tea and in what kind of cup do you like it served?

My tea of choice is Red Rose, a simple black tea. Since 1969 they have placed a small porcelain figurine inside the tea box, some are quite sweet, and I like the tradition. I take mine strong and very sweet, please. I love this tea cup, because it is covered in acorns.

If you could choose anyone, past, present or future, who would be joining us for tea?

Our tea party would include the writer James Herriot, (he would delight us with his marvelous animal tales), Anton Pieck, Dutch Illustrator and master of meticulous detail and perfect perspective... (Perspective is my nemesis; maybe he could give me a few tips). And last but not least, the beloved Beatrix Potter. How she would delight in the fact that her "little books for small hands" are still in print, over 100 years later! But, I would actually love to talk to her about her sheep, because I have sheep as well... in fact, one of them is named Beatrix.

Will you tell us a little about your background in art and design?

My only formal art training was an oil painting course, straight out of High School. I learned 2 things: Oil paints are very expensive and I do not like using them. We were required to turn in 3 canvases at the end of the class and I turned in 3 eggs. Really, I did. I painted miniature gardens upon the surface of blown out eggs using model car paints. My teacher was impressed and I passed the class. Aside from that, trial and error have been my constant guides. I probably do everything the wrong way, but it seems to work out for me.
Growing up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado was perfect for an animal and nature lover and I spent many years creating realistic wildlife art, until I discovered Traditional Folk art, and taught myself German and Swiss style Scherenschnitte and Early American - Painted Papercutting

This was a complete flip from realism, with a naive look and a folky feel. Over the years, I’ve utilized watercolor and papercutting for the basis of much of my work, including a line of greeting cards and lithographs. I also “grow” papercut gardens.

My art is an odd combination of folkart, realism and illustration. A few years ago, influenced by my love of beautiful storybooks, I wrote and illustrated a book about a character on one of my greeting cards, a rabbit named Hopalong Jack. During the year it took to illustrate the book, I wrote 8 additional stories and Hopalong Hollow was born. Nowadays, I spend most of my art-life working on these books, which is pure joy!

Where are you based and does it influence your work?

Twenty-one years ago, we bought a 40 acre homestead with a rundown century old farmhouse in East Tennessee. My husband and I have spent years bringing it back to life. We’ve filled the property with cottage gardens and all creatures great and small, everything from donkeys to peacocks. It is here that I get my inspiration, my models and my stories. It is the world of Hopalong Hollow.

What have you been doing/working on today?

I am finishing up a book illustration, here-

I hope that you have brought along something wonderful to show us, what is it?

We started with tea, so I guess we should end with another cup poured from the acorn pot. This is one of the latest illustrations I have completed for new book. Thank you so much for inviting me!

Thanks for coming all this way and for sharing your world with us. I hope it won't be too long before you visit again. Your work is a delight. I especially love your paper cuttings.