After completing her yoga teacher training and seeing the impact yoga has on people across ages, bodies, and life experiences, New York-based Libby Nicholaou launched Setu, an inclusive yoga community. “Ultimately, the issues of diversity and the social impact of yoga stuck with me. I wanted to create a community and a space that supported all people who wanted to practice and bring others in who feel left out.”
As she began branding the operation, she used Women Who Draw, an open directory of female illustrators, to find a collaborator. There she connected with Loveis Wise, an illustrator based in Philadelphia, PA. Loveis’ vibrant, colorful style is a great fit for Setu, and we were excited to take her illustrations to print on a custom Scout Book. We worked with Libby and Loveis to create a gratitude journal, to be shared at Setu’s events, sold via their site, and for sale here in Loveis’ shop. Loveis has since illustrated the cover of the New Yorker Magazine and was a keynote speaker at the WeMake design conference in 2018.
We asked Libby and Loveis a few questions:
What inspired you to choose a gratitude and affirmation journal for this project? Have you had an personal experience using these tools for mindfulness/wellness?
LN: About a 1.5 years ago I started keeping a gratitude journal, which has now turned into a gratitude + affirmation journal. At the end of each day, I write down my gratitudes – these can be anything from having a really delicious cup of tea to a relationship with a friend. I write down as many as I can think of and it always makes me happy. So many incredible things happen each day and it’s easy to forget. When I take the time before going to bed to remember them, it helps me sleep better.
LW: I was inspired by the notes that I usually write to myself or to my loved ones to affirm their good deeds or even sweet things to be grateful and appreciative of. Now that I have a handier tool to keep them all binded together, I love using my journal on a daily basis.
Why is an analog tool valuable for the Setu community?
LN: Yoga teachers love to disconnect from technology. Even though we have to use social media to share our practice, we need time to turn inwards. We also love to reflect and manifest by writing things down or drawing them on paper. Writing can be a form of meditation too. It allows us to explore deeper aspects of our lives and observe ourselves.
What’s your favorite tool for drawing?
LW: It’s hard for me to choose a favorite but when I’m in the mood for creating a strictly analog image, it’s between colored pencil & gouache. Other times when I would like to draw digitally (& quite quickly), my Surface Pro 4 & Photoshop are super helpful!
What was unique/fun/challenging about collaborating to bring this gratitude journal to life?
LN: Loveis’ Setu illustrations are a big part of what emotionally connect people with our community and keep them excited about it. With the book, it was fun seeing her consider our original logo in a new way. I love the texture she added and the new color palate. It is always easy to work with her because she is so talented. And the end product is a delight!
We announced the books online Friday January 26, the day before our first Setu teacher event and gave them out at the event. We are selling them in our online store. The books are meant to support the person using it so they can then support their community.
LW: I enjoy being able to create illustrative products and seeing my work out in the world! I especially appreciated how this journal can be used as a tool to set everyday reminders of gratitude.
Huge thanks to Libby and Loveis for collaborating with us on this project, and for taking the time to share the story of Setu.