The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman for inclusion in Utah State Today.
Utah State University student Lori Nawyn is a published illustrator and author who sells prints of her artwork at the Cache Valley Gardener’s Market.
Since opening her shop at the Gardener’s Market this summer, Nawyn has learned everything herself.
“Everything from manufacturing and marketing I’m kind of learning through trial-and-error,” Nawyn said.
The self-taught artist said she knew she wanted to be an artist when she was in 5th grade.
Nawyn entered an essay contest and drew a picture of a girl in her class and made a cover for it that said, “People should be friends,” and they were holding hands.
“I wanted to draw and make things that would touch other people’s lives,” Nawyn said.
Nawyn said her classmates responded really well to her book and she decided it was her dream to be an author and an illustrator.
Since then Nawyn has authored two inspirational nonfiction books for women, three cookbooks and a novel.
Nawyn’s illustrated books include “Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen” by Christi Monsen, a marriage and family therapist who wrote it after the Sandy Hook tragedy and gave the books to the survivors.
Nawyn also illustrated the award-winning motivational children’s book “What Are You Thinking?” by Valerie Ackley.
Nawyn said she recently decided to use her art for herself and open a store for her artwork called, “Life Dance Studio.”
“I just wanted to express myself more through art, I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” Nawyn said.
Nawyn now sells prints of her artwork on greeting cards, t-shirts and tea towels.
“People are really interested and respond well, so I like that. It’s a good feeling,” Nawyn said.
Nawyn and her family are looking to open a storefront on their property at the mouth of Blacksmith Fork Canyon in time for their Christmas line.
She said she would eventually like to teach painting and craft classes to kids, and re-open her hand-made doll collection, “Hearts and Hands Dolls.”
“We’ll just see where everything takes us, it’s just been a fun learning experience and to get input from people,” Nawyn said.