"My focus is to enhance lives by creating designs of beautiful color and composition, while maintaining impeccable quality of product.  I hope to bring about a sense of inner harmony and celebration to individual lifestyles through my work.” 


Joan Blackshear’s hand painted textiles feature an artistic blend of stylized Asian and Contemporary influence from Nature’s patterns, colors, and textures, resulting in a sense of elegant simplicity and unique individuality. 

Born on Hawaii Island, Joan Shipman Blackshear has an island family history dating back four generations.  “I have always been inspired by the exotic and colorful floral influence surrounding me.  My great aunts would bring silks back from Asia, and as a young child I was in awe of the unusual colors and exotic patterns.  I was also inspired by my mother, who had an Asian flair in both fashion and home décor.  I knew early on that my work would one day be influenced by those special memories.”

Joan graduated from Woodbury University, Los Angeles, in the early 1970s with a degree in Fashion Design.  For her final senior class project, she interviewed and sketched a women’s clothing line for designer Sue Wong (Malibu Media).  Upon completion of the project, Wong hired Joan as her assistant.  A few years later, she designed for several upscale Los Angeles fashion houses, including her own, Joan Blackshear Designs, Inc.  With sales reps in five U.S. territories, her silk, cotton, and linen sportswear/dress line sold to over 300 stores across the U.S., Canada, and Australia.  In the early 1980’s Joan worked with the legendary Jean Louis (Jean Louis Couture, Beverly Hills), whose clientele included countless Hollywood stars, president’s wives, and society notables.


Joan began experimenting with silk painting in 1984 and immediately knew this to be her “niche”.  She designed a geometric, floral, and Asian inspired silk and leather belt collection, which sold out in a two-day trunk show at Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills.  Next came a 50-piece silk scarf collection featuring Southwestern and Southseas influenced designs.  After working fifteen years in the L.A. fashion industry, she hired a sales representative to handle the line, and moved back to Hawaii in 1987, where she found exotic flora and fauna most inspirational. Later that year she met her husband, businessman and artist Jim Leech, and the two discovered their artistic and business values blended well. 

Backed with her extensive knowledge of French draping and pattern making, Joan soon added an upscale collection of colorful boldly printed women’s silk resort wear. She applies some of the techniques to her work today.  “To create different effects, I constantly experiment with various surface design techniques such as stencil, block print, resist, discharging color, watercolor, and Shibori, the traditional Japanese art of “shaped resist dying”, whereby fabric is folded, bound, tied, pleated, or wrapped and compressed before it is dyed.  The palette of hand mixed paints and dyes ranges from sorbet pastels to rich jewel and deep vegetable tones."

In 1996 Joan Blackshear Design Company was selected from more than 60 other companies to feature its products on four Wheel of Fortune television game shows when it filmed on Hawaii Island.  That summer and again in 1998, Joan’s colorful silks were worn on professional models at the Sony Global Marketing Partners’ Conference held on the Hawaii Island.  The outfits were featured in the “shooting” areas where 1000+ convention attendees from around the world viewed the vibrantly exotic designs while trying out the new camera and video equipment.  In 1997, Honolulu Magazine (Dec) selected Joan’s silk apparel to be worn on models for “Sunken Treasure”, a 6 page layout featuring jewelry from Cartier, Christian Dior, and Tiffany & Co. 


In the late 1990’s, Joan designed a collection of hand painted silk HOME DÉCOR products, featuring Wall Hangings and Table Runners for home and office.  This has become the focal point of her work.  Collected by many, the line has been displayed and sold at numerous fine galleries, museum stores, and gift shops throughout the United States, including The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Honolulu Academy of Arts.   With exciting new patterns and palettes on combinations of silk, linen, palm fiber, and more,  Joan Blackshear creates an eclectic and richly visual feast for the eyes, spirit, and soul.