Who is Lea?

Lea Redmond is always looking for the poem hiding inside things: a salt shaker, a clothes tag, a hand gesture, a cloud. She crafts objects, designs experiences, writes books, and plays with ideas in her studio in Oakland, California. Infinitely intrigued by the way experiences can slip from the ordinary to the extraordinary, she endeavors to make things that hold this possibility. Her work invites people to interact with the tangible world of things not as “objects,” but as verbs – as rich experiences that can reconceive our relationships with each other, and with ourselves.

Lea founded Leafcutter Designs and the World’s Smallest Post Service in 2008 when she bicycled to Sweet Adeline Bakeshop in North Oakland and set up her tiny post office to transcribe letters for passers-by. These days, she and her team make and send thousands of tiny letters and packages all over the country and world, every year. The Leafcutter online shop now offers dozens of curious objects designed by Lea — about 1/2 of them are crafted in Lea’s studio and 1/2 made in collaboration with publishers. Lea recently added a “guest makers” section to the shop, where you’ll find kindred spirit objects from Lea’s creative colleagues.

Invite Lea to play!

Lea is sometimes available for lectures, collaborative projects, teaching and creative consultations of various sorts. You can watch some of her lectures near the bottom of Lea’s Studio. She’s kinda got a lot going on right now — there are a few new books in the works, and she’s jammin’ to finish composing her first Tabletop Show — but if you’ve got a really dreamy idea that involves her, she’d love to hear about it. She’s especially interested in creative interventions in work environments as a morale-boosting way to build community and enliven the work day. Email Lea to discuss possibilities.

Lea’s work has been exhibited at venues such as the Cheese Factory in Petaluma, CA, the 18th Street Art Center in Los Angeles, CA, and the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum, but lately she’s more interested in non-traditional “art” venues, such as sidewalks, grocery stores, and the postal system. She has given talks at Loyola Marymount University, the Surface Design Association, Laney College, Adventure Design Group, Indie-Cade game festival, and Chronicle Books. Before starting Leafcutter Designs and Lucky Penny Parlor, Lea curated an exhibit about the history of wool in the Pacific Northwest, taught a bookmaking and haiku class at The Edible Schoolyard, coordinated a creek restoration project at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and assisted a natural perfumer. She studied briefly in the MFA Social Practice program at California College of the Arts and holds a BA from Whitman College where she studied Continental Philosophy, Art, and Environmental Studies.

Lea grew up on the Southern California coast, snorkeling and beach exploring. When she was a kid, her parents would occasionally pull her out of school for a family day at the art museum. Lea’s mom taught Montessori and her Dad loved to sail. Learning to knit at age eight from her grandmother was pretty much the best thing ever. Lea went on to fall in love with the pottery wheel in high school, books in college, and writing soon after. When she’s not hiking in the Oakland redwoods or wandering through the Alameda Point antique fair, she’s working on projects in her storefront studio in Downtown Oakland.

Lea believes that even the smallest, subtlest experience can change the world.