Larissa Sorek is a woodworking artist who has created unique pieces that bring together the essence of a room. Through her craft, she was able to bring her passion to life, all whilst creating her own business in the process. An entrepreneur at heart, an artist with her hands, a mother and wife she really is the epitome of a woman who has it all. Here is how she got there.
Tell me how you started Sorek designs?
I have always been looking to be an entrepreneur and do something related to the arts. I come from a long line of artists and female entrepreneurs. It’s something I always wanted but I just couldn’t find my niche. One day, we renovated our entire house, my husband and I, and I really wanted a sliding door for a bedroom. I was looking on Pinterest and online, and I was like, “you know what? I think I’m going to try making one.” I gathered all the supplies, and before I started I said to my husband, “I’m going to try this. I don’t know how it’s going to go. Here we go.” I just started putting pieces down and it just came to me and at the end, I looked at it and I said: “I think this is what I want to do.” What started it all is this door. This door has to go everywhere with me if I have to move.
Wow, that is impressive. How long did it take you to build your first door?
It took months of planning because I was so afraid of failing. I wanted a career out of it somehow, so I was really worried about disappointing myself. Building up the courage took months. The entire process probably took about two days.
What made you decide to finally do it?
We needed a door so I just had to start. I worked when it was day light out. I built and inner driveway. That was it. We ended up having a baby pretty much after making this door, so I was put on hold for a while. When she was three weeks old, my husband said get out to the garage, build something, see what you can do. Three weeks after having a baby, I was like “I don’t want to go do anything.” But I did, and it all went up from there.
If you have to credit someone to your success thus far and all your inspirations?
I definitely have to say Pat, my husband for sure and my family members. I also have had very supportive friends as well. I have a lot of artists and entrepreneurs in the family. If I ever have questions, they’re always there. I currently have a well-known painter my mom also painted years ago, a pottery artist, a graphic designer, and an aunt who makes cakes and runs a cafe in Berlin. Very influential women in my life. I’m very lucky.
I would love to know how your art came to life?
To me, this is like architecture mixed with design. There are so many parts to it. I was looking on Pinterest and I just thought, “ You know what? I can do this.” So my first door, I hadn’t really done a ton of research, so I was at home depot to gather supplies. Since then I have slowly found my style and realized that I prefer a more refined look. That’s just me personally since then, I have done a ton of leg work looking for a lumber supplier and what stains to use, different methods, all of that. It’s definitely a learning process and half of my time is making, while the other half is just researching and getting to know who’s out there and networking.
Do you see it as you would be the brand because you’re so much part of the brand creatively too, so as you grow and hire more people, do you see yourself as being the more entrepreneur on hands person or doing more of the woodwork behind the scenes?
I am happiest when I am in the studio making. That’s where I want to be. We’re packaging the two doors that I posted yesterday. They’re being shipped to Montreal. It’s a designer. Her name is Allison and she reached out to me back in December. This has been an ongoing project since December. A really great collaboration I’m really targeting the bigger cities. I would love to target Guelph, it’s a very artistic city, but definitely Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa.
I know this is going to blow up. I’ve never seen anything like it. What is your vision for the brand?
I am very much a go big or go home kind of person. I want to take this as far as I possibly can. I want to be working with designers and collaborating with them and their clients and making custom pieces. The collaboration part is really something I enjoy. I love getting to know people. Networking is something I am having a lot of fun with.
Do you see this going further than building doors?
I love doing doors and functional art. Definitely wall hangings, I think they’re my favourite. Wall hangings, coffee tables, barn doors. Anything involving interior design, I really really love interior design and just making a space your own. To be a part of that with someone is just a privilege in my eyes. I am hoping to keep up with doors and wall art but I think my aspirations are to be working with designers and architects to help create some incredible designs and spaces.
What’s coming up next with Larissa Sorek Designs?
I am currently collaborating with a local business called the Spring Mill Distillery which is based in Guelph. I am going to be doing a collection for them using their very own staves in each of the pieces which is just so awesome!
I also have an opportunity with a local brewery called Ward 1 which is owned by a dear friend of ours. They are hoping to open late summer and will be displaying some pieces available for purchase upon opening.
Is that your signature look?
I didn’t mean it to be my look or style. I definitely pull a lot of inspiration from the art deco movement, which I didn’t even realize that I did until I started stepping back and looking at my work and thinking “there’s definitely some art deco vibes going on here.” Now I’ve done more research, and I just love it. The linear geometric forms with bold colours. It really resonates with me and what I want to put out there. I also am starting to really appreciate the more simplistic but gorgeous look of Scandinavian designs. I can’t wait to begin creating pieces with that style.
Take me back a bit more towards your background before you started LSD.
I have always been looking for what I want to do. It feels like I’ve always been searching. I never really felt fulfilled. I’ve done everything from serving. I have a nursing diploma, I’ve worked in different healthcare jobs. I never felt the fulfilment. I did this, and now that I’m doing it, I describe it as knowing what I want to be when I grow up. I finally feel like I found “it” and what I’m supposed to do. I’ve kind of done it all and now I’m here. Things just kind of keep lining up in favour of me continuing this. I mean just you reaching out. Being part of a magazine was actually a goal I wrote down at the very beginning of this endeavour. I never expected it to happen so soon. I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason, whether you get it now or figure it out later. I’m very much things just happen for a reason, I’m going with it. Definitely, past careers have moulded me to be able to do networking, communicate with people. It’s all helped to get me here, I can’t regret searching for my whole life until finding it.
What kind of advice would you have given yourself to little girls who are going to be reading this?
Looking back, I definitely would tell myself to trust the process. I am very much a person who likes to have a plan. Not knowing the answers is very challenging for me. Even having a design, in the beginning I thought I had to have a design sketched out, and I have to put that down on my pallet, and it has to stay the exact way. I would get so frustrated because nothing would ever turn out the way I expected it was going to, so I definitely learned not to go into the studio with expectations. Just let things flow. That’s just part of my process. Every artist has their own way of doing it and you just have to embrace it. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Find your flow. I find my art is very emotionally driven. You can’t go into the studio thinking it’s going to go one way because, more often than not, it’s not really up to me, it just flows and you can’t expect things to go one way, because it does not. Just like life. I struggle a little bit with anxiety. Learning to let go has been difficult for me but in the best way possible. It’s very liberating. I’ll have a plan for something and my mind would just be like “No. It has to be this colour, do this. “ and if ideas pop into my head I say “okay, so I guess I am doing that way. Let’s try it.”
Tell me about you as a mother! You have two daughters.
I do. I have Mila and another daughter named Rayah. Pat’s her stepdad. It’s Hebrew for ‘friend’. They just have amazing names. I think the meaning behind the name is really important to me. She is six and a half. Multitasking, time management, those are all skills that I’ve acquired [by becoming a mother].
This inner confidence and this belief system that you have is very internal, but how do you keep yourself motivated all day.
It’s definitely a challenge. Everyone get doubtful. Negative feelings, they creep up on you. Because I have such a great support system, anytime I’m in one of those moments, they’re like, this happens all the time, you’re an artist, you’re going to have these moments, just push through and it’s so rewarding when you do push through. Because I want this so bad, giving up just isn’t an option. I finally found what I want to do. You have your moment or many moments, and then you have to push through and move on to the next challenge. You can’t give up. Chocolate helps too.
Artist statement: “It excites me to my core to be able to use such a rustic and raw material to create pieces with a refined and contemporary feel. I produce a unique form of art that allows me to combine my love for interior design with visual arts. Drawing inspiration from the Art Deco Era as well as my own emotions is how each piece becomes a reflection of who I am. Making both awakens and grounds me all at once. What an honor it is to be able to compose works of art that can bring joy and positivity to the lives of others.” – Larissa Sorek
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