Coloring Spirit paves a new path for artist and accessories designer Meg Delagrange

Meg Delagrange emerged from a colorless world and into a vibrant life as an artist and accessories designer in Denver. From growing up in the Amish community to discovering art therapy and living in Japan, her painful and exhilarating experiences led to her life of creativity and new purpose. through its brand, coloring spiritshe sells her symbolic paintings, painted bags and clay earrings.

“I would say my brand inspires others to live life with a sense of curiosity,” Delagrange said. “It’s about discovering what’s outside your box, finding joy and practicing gratitude. To me, that’s how you can live in color.

Growing up in a colorless world

Delagrange grew up in the Amish community, where creativity was not valued and being a girl put her at a disadvantage. She lived an isolated and controlled life that did not offer many opportunities for a young girl interested in painting and poetry.

“You can be a kid growing up in this culture and have no contact with the outside world,” Delagrange said. “It was probably unusual that when I was 5 I asked my dad for a set of paintings because I had never seen art.”

Eventually, Delagrange got hold of colored pencils and used them as an outlet for his imagination. Even still, her childhood was affected by sexual abuse and domestic violence, which she speaks openly about now as an abuse survivor. She was featured in the documentary Peacock, Sins of the Amish, which raised awareness of the hidden issues of abuse in Amish communities. This project was extremely important to her, as she aspires to see changes in the way communities deal with situations of violence.

“It sheds more light on my painful past. I think people watching it might become aware of the darker side of the culture I come from,” Delagrange said.

Meg Delagrange, Colorant Spirit, Shelby Moeller

Although living in an isolated community caused her trauma in hindsight, Delagrange still has a deep appreciation for the culture and the family she came from.

“You could say that the lifestyle itself is art since art is so subjective. Now looking back, I can see how much art there was in the way my grand- parents were gardening or in the way food was prepared,” Delagrange said.

After being shunned and excommunicated from the mainstream community at the age of 21, Delagrange left everything she had ever known and integrated into mainstream American society. She described this transition as an awkward and terrifying time for her.

“I didn’t have a language for my emotions or what I was going through at the time,” Delagrange said. “It took 5 years before I recognized that it was a bit traumatic to be thrown into a world where I knew nothing.”

It was at this time that art became a great source of healing for Delagrange. When she began to invest time in painting, she got lost in the sets she created and saw in them her first form of therapy.

“Art was a way to silence the voices in my head and do something with the pain inside of me, rather than just carrying it,” Delagrange said.

Find your voice

Meg Delagrange, Colorant Spirit, Shelby Moeller

Despite her initially uncomfortable experience of entering the mainstream world, Delagrange found her footing as an artist in Japan a few years after being excommunicated. There she created a series of works which she presented at art exhibitions, including design partyAsia’s biggest art event.

Delagrange ventured to Denver after becoming a single mother and soon found a small cooperative gallery where she could sell her art. She advanced her career by earning a design certification and working as a UX designer and creative director for an agency. Subsequently, she had the opportunity to create a leather bag business with her cousin called Urban South.

Urban Southern was a huge hit. The brand was invited to New York Fashion Week and was featured on FoxNews and in Magnolia Notebook. After being invited to show her products at NYFW, Delagrange designed the circle-shaped leather bag that she now paints her designs on today.

“In my mind, I saw a large circular bag coming down the track and I thought to myself, this has to happen,” Delagrange said.

Meg Delagrange, Colorant Spirit, Shelby Moeller

In 2020, Delagrange decided that painting the bags would be his pandemic project. She calls them “voice bags” because of what the design symbolizes to her. Having grown up in the Amish culture, where women are not allowed to have a voice, she never wants to take the voice she now has for granted.

“Working on these bags, I reframed these stories that I told myself. I released limiting beliefs and found more of my own voice,” Delagrange said.

Meg Delagrange, Colorant Spirit, Shelby Moeller

A voice is not the only common motif in Delagrange’s work. She is also intimately linked to the poppy flower, which she presents in several of her creations. The first time she saw a poppy as a young girl, she was fascinated by how delicate and bold it could be at the same time. She conducted research on poppies later in life and found that her admiration for them had deepened. One fact she learned was that a poppy flower can contain 10,000 to 60,000 seeds inside, which she linked to her life course.

“It tells me I have unlimited potential,” Delagrange said. “I can flourish wherever I am planted. But I also recognize that I am delicate and fragile, so I also have to take good care of myself.

For this reason, Delagrange collaborated with the artist and art teacher Erin Scobey to create intricately designed poppy earrings in polymer clay. She is passionate about partnering with other women like Scobey so she can share the joy of creating beautiful work.

live in color

Meg Delagrange, Colorant Spirit, Shelby Moeller

As she saturates Denver’s accessories market with her painted bags and poppy earrings, she’s also embarked on a family mix with her husband and their 5 children. She and her husband recently started a blog called Blended mix. Life.

“We’re an interracial family, so it’s been part of my color life journey,” Delagrange said. “They are such a big part of who I am and they influence everything I do in one way or another.”

Delagrange is currently working on new designs for her painted bags and is excited to explore new series and ideas in her work. She’s also finding new ways to share her story, use her voice unapologetically, and empower other women to do the same. His work can be discovered on instagram and the Spirit Website Coloringwhere his art and accessories are also available for purchase.

All the photographs of Shelby Moeller.

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