Donna Allman


Portrait by Claude Fritsch. Fez, Morocco 1975

Donna has always had an eye for unusual beauty. A true bohemian, she has refined her sensibilities with travel in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Indonesia. Her love of textile design and fashion, lettering and graphic design all show in the unique objects she designs for Lilac Bow Yoke.  Here is a brief visual history of her creative life & work.


Settled for a time in a Neptune Beach, Florida beach community, Donna owned a shop which imported whimsical kites from all over the world. She worked with artists and friends to create a psychedelic brand identity in keeping with the times and the spirit of the little boutique by the sea. A pictorial description of Goin' With the Wind Kite Shop in Neptune Beach Florida
A move to the San Francisco Bay Area opened up the possibility for Donna to study lettering and the graphic arts. She served as an apprentice sign painter at Hamilton Signs for two years, learning painting and gold leaf techniques. After many years of study with world-renowned calligraphers, she worked as a freelance lettering artist and greeting card designer. Her clients included Marcel Schurman Co., University of Berkeley, Oakland Public Library, Tail of the Yak and Penny Black Stamp Co.
1985- 2015

Pictorial of Donna Allman's work as a lettering Artist in Berkeley, California

Donna was introduced to Michael Wild and Larry Goldman, owners of the Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland and became part of the restaurant’s creative fabric. She designed their house wine labels, menu cards, and logos, which eventually led to making art installations for party and holiday decorating. Donna has transformed their dining rooms with hanging sculptures made of metal harvested from olive oil cans, garlands of Slinkies and calendar pages, topiary trees covered with cocktail umbrellas: all beautiful things made from unexpected materials. Their collaborations are ongoing.

Pictorial of decorative art by Donna Allman for the Bay Wolf Restaurant

In 1989, Donna’s business was born when she embellished a sewing kit she was making for her daughter, Galadrielle with cloth covered buttons.  She developed an innovative printing and cutting technique which resulted in perfectly centered images in bright, exciting colors.  Over the next 15 years, alongside daughter, Galadrielle, Lilac Bow Yoke evolved into a diverse line of handmade products including fashion accessories and home goods. The pictorial buttons were joined by brass drawer pulls with pictures under clear lenses, candles covered in printed fabric, pushpins, magnets and hair ties, all decorated with artful images. With devoted assistance from daughter Galadrielle, Lilac Bow Yoke was represented at all of the major gift trade shows as well as at the Fashion Fabric Shows in the Apparel Manufacturers Market. Her business has been featured in several books including the definitive book about the art of the button, The Big Book of Buttons vol.1 and Victoria Magazine’s book, “The Business of Bliss.  In 2012, Donna became fascinated by the possibilities of printing on mother of pearl, resulting in her newest line of jewelry and charms. Galadrielle went on to write a book Please Be With Me, A Song for my Father, published in 2014.

Pictorial of Lilac Bow Yoke, Purveyors of Handmade Printed Product since 1989.