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Meet the Artists Behind Our Birdies x Minted Collection

We’ve teamed up with Minted to create a limited-edition capsule collection of beautifully embroidered shoes. Celebrating three female artists and their nature-inspired art of flora & fauna, these flats bring the wild inside. Get to know Julie Murray, Emilie Simpson, and Jessie Burch—the Minted women behind these wildly unique styles—and hear more about their work, plus what these designs mean to them.

collage of artist Julie Murray, closeup of her work, and embroidered black velvet flats

The Shoe: The Starling in Falling Fern 
The Artist: Julie Murray 
The Inspiration: Botanicals

Julie spends her days wearing many hats: artist, entrepreneur, and proud mama to a tiny girl gang in the Midwest. Her art is heavily influenced by the beauty and creativity she sees reflected in her daughters and their adventures together. Julie’s design for our Falling Fern shoe is inspired by a lifelong love for botanicals and sketching the intricacies she finds in every leaf and petal. Here, she tells us more about her work. 

How did you find your way to art? 

I have loved art for as long as I remember. As a child, I remember coloring for hours on end, stealing my mom's old film camera to photograph my stuffed animals and any other creative endeavor I could get my hands on. I eventually found my ultimate happy place in high school art class and went on to study interior design in college. My career eventually transitioned from interiors to graphic design, where I happily pursue illustration and hand lettering while raising my young family.

Do you have a favorite medium? 

While much of my work these days is digital, I love to paint with sumi ink. There is something about going back to the basics with a simple brush and ink that brings so much clarity to my creative process.

Tell us about your creative process. 

I find my creativity and craft to be like a muscle that needs daily exercise. I try to do one piece of work a day, at a minimum. It might not be a complete, portfolio-worthy piece of work. Some days, I sketch a doodle on the water bill while I make my girls lunch. But I've done my exercise, and I get stronger every day, and it becomes easier to jump into the next piece successfully.

Where do you seek inspiration? 

My young daughters and our adventures together give me an endless supply of inspiration—their innate creativity, the beauty, and the fascination they find in the mundane. They teach me that there are beautiful things all around if we just look for them.

What inspired you to create the piece being featured in this collection? 

I'm endlessly fascinated with botanicals. I worked for a wedding florist while in college and fell in love with the intricacies of each petal and each leaf. You will forever find me studying and sketching iterations of a leaf I find on a walk—it's my happy place.

"I love to use soft, hand-painted forms alongside more structured line drawings. For Falling Fern, which started out as a digital painting, the layering of these two techniques was inspired by the form itself: soft, delicate, detailed, structured, and strong at the same time.” –Julie 

Any unique process or detail callouts? 

Layering is a big part of my process: layer, layer again, and again, until you find the right formula to make something beautiful. 

What does it mean to you to have your work translated into wearable art? 

With a professional background in interiors, and my work as an illustrator, I'm used to seeing my work in the context of four walls or hanging in a frame. Turning this work into wearable art is something new—I'm excited to see my work "come to life" in this way. 

How does wearing this pair of Birdies featuring your work make you feel? 

So proud. Having something physically tangible that my young daughters can physically see, and understand, that I created is beyond fun to share with them. Plus, they’re effortlessly stylish and endlessly comfortable.

collage of artist Emilie Simpson, closeup of her work, and embroidered navy velvet flats

The Shoe: The Heron in Wild Zebra 
The Artist: Emilie Simpson 
The Inspiration: Her work on a larger animal alphabet series

Emilie is a fine artist and illustrator from the Toronto area. Using mostly watercolor and gouache, she creates imaginative scenes on paper that reflect her love for the natural world. Emilie’s zebra art for our Heron flat was part of an animal alphabet series she started working on after her daughter was born. Here, she tells us more about her work. 

How did you find your way to art? 

I have been making art for as long as I can remember, but I specifically remember getting my first watercolor set when I was around 12 years old. As soon as I started painting with them, I was hooked. 

Do you have a favorite medium? 

I work mostly with watercolor and gouache. I love the way watercolor can take on a life of its own, but it can be tricky to work with at times. Gouache has a richness to it, with a velvet-like matte finish when it dries. I find the smooth, creamy texture of gouache really satisfying to paint with. 

Tell us about your creative process.

When I have an idea, I like to write it down. I make a lot of lists of things I plan to paint. Then I begin researching and digging for inspiration, usually Pinterest or books are a good source. Sometimes I make a mood board, gathering images or color swatches and placing them together to see what works before I dive in. A few thumbnail sketches turn into a final sketch before I begin painting. 

Where do you seek inspiration? 

Nature, vintage botanical illustration, children’s books, vintage textiles, artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Henri Rousseau, Claude Monet, William Morris, anything from the Art Nouveau era.  My kids are also a big source of inspiration. My daughter loves animals, so she is always cheering me on and excited to see what I’m working on.

What inspired you to create the piece being featured in this collection? 

This piece was part of a larger series I started working on after my daughter was born. It was an animal alphabet series, painting an animal a day. It was a commitment I made to myself after she was born to keep up with my art practice, to carve out the time for it while adjusting to my life as a new parent. 

What does it mean to you to have your work translated into wearable art? 

It’s a really cool feeling. I have been wanting to have my art on wearable or functional pieces for a long time, so this is a dream. I feel honored to have been chosen for this collaboration. 

“I think the Birdies x Minted collection may inspire people to support artists and appreciate the work behind the art. It makes the item more special knowing that there’s a story behind it and that it was created with intention.” –Emilie

Can you tell us about a time when you, or your work, has inspired someone else? 

There was a time, years ago, when I was not in a period of making art and had sort of given up on it after my failed attempts at art school. I had no direction and was trying to figure out where I wanted to be in my life and career. I ran into an old friend and she made a point of telling me how much she loved my art in high school and how it deeply inspired her. Her sincere and heartfelt comments really surprised me and changed my outlook. Knowing it could create a meaningful connection to people made it feel more purposeful, and I knew it was something I had to keep up.

collage of artist Jessie Burch, closeup of her work, and embroidered taupe velvet flats

The Shoe: The Blackbird in Royal Perch
The Artist: Jessie Burch 
The Inspiration: Natural history illustrations

Jessie is a mixed-media artist living in the Pacific Northwest. She uses watercolor, gouache, colored pencils, found paper, and digital tools to bring life to her art. Her background in art history, love of research and reading, and fascination with objects of the past all inform her style and subject matter, including the natural history illustrations that inspired her bee-eater design for the Royal Perch shoe. Here, she tells us more about her work. 

How did you find your way to art? 

I’ve always been drawn to art and design. In college, I studied art history and interior design, but I didn’t start practicing illustration until about 5 years ago. Taking art classes in my community and online helped me to get into a more consistent practice with my own art.

Do you have a favorite medium? 

I like to work in mixed media—watercolor, gouache, marker, and colored pencil. I also love creating collage from found paper. There’s something really satisfying about piecing together a composition from “scraps.” I get the same kind of satisfaction from sewing quilts. 

Tell us about your creative process. 

I think my background in art history and design has informed my creative process immensely. I probably spend way too much time researching, but I enjoy it so much. 

Where do you seek inspiration? 

I’m definitely inspired by nature, and I love natural history illustration and botanical illustrations. I’m drawn to the decorative arts as well, especially antiques. I’ve always collected vintage postcards, packaging, and advertisements. I’m also inspired by fashion, architecture, and film. 

What inspired you to create the piece being featured in this collection? 

Definitely natural history illustration. I learned so much from studying them and imitating their style. 

“Royal Perch was created digitally, utilizing mixed media in drawing applications as well as Photoshop. It’s really exciting to have my work translated into a product in a way I never could have envisioned.” –Jessie

We hope you love this collection of Birdies x Minted flats celebrating strong female artists as much as we do. Which style speaks to you?