Artist Interview: Hanni Liliedahl

posted on October 19, 2017 by
hanni liliedahl

We are so happy to feature Hanni Liliedahl (who has been on our staff for 8 years) in our most recent Artist Interview! Hanni and her husband own the fabulous artisan shop Lilify, which is about to turn five. Don't miss Lilify's fifth birthday celebration on Saturday, November 4th from 2-4pm, featuring the release of their new line with Kristina Santiago plus cake, wine, and jazz!

Tell us about the subject matter/content of your work?

I own an artisan shop. My shop features a careful collection of goods in a specific palette and marries heirloom with modernity. Sourcing and acquiring a select assortment of gifts, wares and adornments requires consistent research, an ability to be timeless while aware of trends and acknowledgement of a gut affinity for a certain piece or product. Most importantly, I love working with independent makers – being a part of their process and being able to showcase their product.

Tell us about how you work/your process.

I get to adhere to the seasons, what sells, and my whim.

About how many hours/day/week do you work?

I work (pretty much) everyday. When I was getting started I never allowed myself to stop. Some of my goals/needs outside of my career were undermined by my inability to properly allocate downtime. Through the journey of becoming a Mother and reducing my client responsibilities, I have become fully aware of the necessity of balance in remaining buoyant, relevant and inspired.

How do you navigate the art world?

I operate within a niche market.

What inspires you? What do you read, listen to, look at, watch, eat, smell…?


travel – especially within cultures and countries wherein there is an emphasis on traditions that are beautiful yet austere


Wabi Sabi - the Japanese belief in "beauty that is incomplete "


my home state of Alaska

humans - particularly women - who are simultaneously soft and strong






magazines like Dwell, Domino and Design Anthology

blogs like The Design Files, ESTliving and SF Girl By Bay


other shops

other makers

What else would you do if you weren’t an artist (or just when you aren’t making art)?

I have no idea. When I was a little girl in Alaska, before the internet, there was an artisan shop in town. On my Mom’s birthday, or for a special event, my Dad would take me to the shop to choose something handcrafted, something special. The shop had signature gift wrapping and I fondly remember my anticipation when on birthdays, Valentine’s Day and graduations there was a present waiting in that wrapping. In high school, I started working at that shop. I went to college in New York but I returned to work in the shop every winter and summer break. I opened my own shop, Lilify, in 2012. The other day, a father and daughter came in to choose something for the Mom/wife’s birthday. I realized that I had started gift wrapping presents for this family when the daughter was a little girl - five years later she is now quite the young lady.

Tell us about your education and background. Self taught? Mentors? Art college? Lessons? Internet? Combo?

I graduated from a four year college because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. At my Senior Thesis Seminar, my peers were debating a very serious topic with passion and abandon. I was staring at the wall wondering what year the paint color had been chosen. To compensate, I apprenticed under designers I admired in cities, like New York, and countries, like Japan and South Africa, recognized for their perspective and composition.

Best advice you ever got?

If you love what you do, you will never work.

What am I most grateful for?

That my parents taught me to have both roots and wings. That my in-laws are the best cheerleaders you will ever meet. That my husband is my rock and that he is so da** funny. That my son is engaged and enthusiastic and that he is so da** funny. That my friends are lovely and giving and inspiring. That I live in a place that I love.

Any feed back on the value of YAC?

Being true to yourself and to your talent is a challenging task at any age, but particularly in your teens. Having a sanctuary like YAC allows for young artists to make high school and college not just tolerable, but triumphant.

Motto that I live by:

“I always try to balance the light with the heavy - a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.” – Bette Midler

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