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Meet This Maker: Elyse DeLisle Of @delisle.prints


Just as Elyse DeLisle and her partner, Amanda, were about to close on a Florida condo, they were faced with circumstances that would change the course of their lives.

The company Amanda worked for was rumored to close, and the couple began to wonder what they would do if this happened. So they backed out of the condo and began tossing around the idea of traveling the country in a trailer while taking their work on the road. Sooner than they thought, the reality of life on the road was within reach as they stumbled upon a 1986 Avion camper waiting for their personal touch.

 

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In just a few months they had refurbished the interior of their Avion, lovingly named Geraldine, and were ready to hit the road. From Florida to Southern California, @gerryontheroad has already proved to be the perfect home on wheels for the physical therapist and printmaker couple. Their work travels, and so too does their house.

Elyse recently divulged to Outdoorsy about how life on the road is an ever-changing source of inspiration, helping to fuel her business as an artist.

 

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On printmaking

Before living on the road, Elyse was a college lacrosse coach. She fell in love with the sport in college and went on to pursue coaching at the Division II and III levels. In addition to lacrosse, she’s fostered other passions.

“I’ve always loved working with my hands, whether that meant wood working, ceramics, or drawing. It wasn’t until I discovered printmaking that I decided to focus my attention on a single craft. I found myself coming home from work and creating pieces late into the night. I was spending more and more time learning the tools of the trade and dreaming up landscapes. It brings me so much joy.”

 

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Soon enough Elyse’s prints started garnering attention. People connected with her landscapes and the prints began to sell. Her printmaking business was born (and you can see her latest work @delisle.prints).

On their vintage Avion

Elyse travels with her partner Amanda and their two cats, Pig and Poe. So their rig had to be comfortable and customized for the whole family.

“We were looking for something that we could renovate and that was well made,” Elyse says. “We were originally looking at airstreams online when I came across this 1986 Avion, only about an hour away from where we lived. When we went to go look at it, we knew immediately we would have to jump on it and make an offer. It was completely drivable and livable, as opposed to a lot of older trailers we had seen that required a lot of expensive renovations. It just needed a bit of updating to the interior that would allow us to put our personal touch on it.”

With ample storage for her printmaking supplies—and even a customized kitty litter cubby for Pig and Poe—the Avion is the perfect mobile home and art studio.

 

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On artistic inspiration

Amanda and Elyse have made their way from Florida to California, driving across diverse environments in the process. For Elyse, it has pushed her printmaking.

“I love to create the landscapes I experience when I’m on the road,” she says. “I spend a large amount of my time outside and I’ll always have a sketchbook with me. Many of these sketches from hikes or time in the backcountry will be turned into prints. I love to offset the process of carving in a very small space, with first being totally immersed in the landscape that I’m creating.”

 

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Having a home that moves tends to shift one’s perspective of place. For Elyse, the sensory experience that comes with exploring a new locale is one of her greatest inspirations for creating and sharing her work.

“Places can have such deep and different meanings to people,” she explains. “Everyone has at least one place they hold close to their heart, that they can feel and smell and see when close their eyes. For this reason, I enjoy sharing my process of being in a new space from the start to a finished print. I hope that this common thread opens people up to getting outside, making their own memories, and caring more about wilderness.”

On itineraries

Before picking up and moving to a new location, Elyse keeps her ear to the ground for tips from locals and friends. Though the couple has a general idea of where they’re headed next, Elyse says “…nothing beats the excitement on someone’s face when they are sharing someplace that is special to them. We usually follow those leads.”

 

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On a typical day at the office

“I get up around 7:30 a.m., organize my small space for the day, organize incoming orders, and respond to emails,” she says. “The rest of the day depends on what day of the week it is. Monday through Wednesday is spent printing orders and then working on new prints. On Thursday and Friday, I do a lot of packaging so that I can get orders out before the weekend.”

“If I’m in the beginning stages of a new print, this frees up my schedule to go out and explore the surrounding area and gather new ideas. We are currently in Southern California, so I’ve spent a lot of time with my sketchbook in the San Jacinto Mountains and Joshua Tree National Park.”

On creating from the road

Developing a creative habit is hard enough, but add in the spontaneity of life in transit and sticking to this habit becomes even harder. But for Elyse, she utilizes the mobile life to elevate her art.

“Being on the road has allowed me to immerse myself in new communities and continue developing my craft,” Elyse says. “I often take art classes at the local art league if we are in a city for a few months and connect with other local artists.”

On what comes next

With much of the Pacific Northwest still on their radar to explore, plans to settle down are further down the road (pun intended) for Elyse and Amanda.

“When the time comes to choose a home base, I’ll more than likely move into a studio or, who knows, keep creating in the trailer,” she says. “My work and business are constantly evolving with the space that I’m in, and I think it’ll take a new, natural path when the time comes.”

 

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On life on the road

Elyse isn’t the first person to embrace RV life, and she won’t be the last. The freedom of life on the road continues to lure people out of their cubicles and into a wild world. For those who are fostering dreams of making their art into a business, or waiting for the right moment to put rubber to road, consider this sage advice from Elyse.

“If you sit with the idea for too long, there will likely be a million ways you can talk yourself out of it. Just say ‘Yes’ and figure the rest out as you go. Lean on the people who support you, ignore the ones who give you funny looks, and believe in your ability to problem solve and the truth that you have something to offer.”

 

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