Maker City KC

Together, They are Strong: Meet Tigersheep Friends

Sarah and Colin Walsh are Makers. While separately, they both create art for a living, Sarah being represented by Lilla Rogers Studio and Colin working as a full-time illustrator at Kansas City’s own Hallmark, together they have created a brand called Tigersheep Friends. As Tigersheep, the two design prints, enamel pins, pillows, hats, t-shirts, and other handmade items inspired by bright color, old-school movies/characters, pop culture, synth-pop, hip-hop and rap, anything 80s, Bruce Lee, mythical creatures, powerful women, animals, good food, whiskey, each other, and tacos.

Growing up, Sarah always wanted to be an artist. Colin wanted to be Michael J. Fox. They had jobs including 4H Camp Counselor (Sarah) and grocery store bagger (Colin), then both worked in the restaurant industry, creating art in their spare time. The two met when their worlds collided at Hallmark. They worked on the ‘kids team’ as in-house designers/illustrators together, but didn’t fall in love until years later. They are now married with a daughter and son of their own and just moved out of a home studio in their basement to a gorgeous, light-filled building in The Crossroads where all of the creative magic happens.

Sarah says Lilla Rogers, her agent and one of her creative heroes found her on Pinterest in 2012. It was serendipitous because Sarah had just bought Lilla’s book, “I Just Like to Make Things” and was looking into making a change. Lilla Rogers is an illustration agency representing some of the very best artists internationally for over 20 years. Since 2012, Sarah has illustrated more than 15 books, including children’s books like Hats of Faith (introduces readers about the shared custom of head coverings). The Tiny Blessings Series (sweet and simple blessings that encourage thoughtful gratitude), and Herstory (celebrates 50 inspiring women who changed the world). She has designed for brand-name stores like Crate & Barrel, Land of Nod, Blue Q, Hallmark Baby, Nordstrom and more. Her illustrations have been featured in The Guardian, Chronicle, on Papyrus greeting cards, and in Usborne books, to name a few.

When asked what their favorite collaboration has been, the two state they loved working on a windowscape for the Lawrence, Kansas-based store Wonder Fair (if you haven’t checked this store out, you must!). They designed large plants in pots that had faces on them, as well as tiny dinosaurs. Colin then laser cut the designs out of wood and they had painting parties together until all were finished. The two encourage each other daily with their personal ideas and art-direct each other on the regular.

Sarah says she loves what’s happening with the Maker Movement in Kansas City and states, “KC Makers are really supportive of each other and super positive. We love the maker crew here. We also want to give a shout out to KC folks who buy from local makers. Without you there wouldn’t be a maker movement in KC!”

One of the hardest parts of being creatives and juggling so many hats is finding time for Tigersheep Friends. Some advice from the two: Even if you’re scared, do it anyway. Also be prepared to work really hard. A huge level of sacrifice comes with being self-employed. When you feel like partying and having fun like the rest of the world, you might have to work. That’s why it’s super important to love what you do because you’ll be doing it a lot. The Walsh’s hope to be a positive force in the world with their art.

You can find Tigersheep Friends at Midcoast Modern, Wonder Fair and at The Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair’s Valentine’s Pop-Up next Saturday, February 9 at Parlor in The Crossroads (1707 Locust Street)!