Getting to Know Marissa from Studio Posy!

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photo by kelsie mcnair

Kitsch is super excited to team up with fellow Norfolk business owner, Marissa Digirolamo of Studio Posy to offer our first class on the art of flower arrangements. Honestly, we can’t think of a more capable soul to teach this delightful class. Marissa’s floral artistry and love for her community earned her a recent feature in Distinction Magazine. We were thrilled when Marissa agreed to take time out of her busy schedule, pack up some of her precious cargo, and share her flowery wisdom with folks over at Kitsch. Seriously, what better way to begin your Saturday night festivities with some friends, a glass of wine, and an explosion of beautiful, mostly local flowers to play with? Plus, Marissa is a super fun person. Let this quirky lady -and your senses- guide you in creating a beautiful flower arrangement complete with a milk glass vase to take home and admire -or give to someone you love. Spend an evening with a pro and begin to cultivate a life-long skill. This class will take place on September 21st from 6 to 7:30 pm but the deadline to register is September 17th so hurry up folks! To learn more about Marissa and her wonderful shop, check out this little interview we had with her (because it’s fun getting to know people)!

Where do you find inspiration?

I find my inspiration equally in both nature and urban settings.

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What’s your studio playlist?

edith piaf/wu tang/pj harvey/yo la tango/kurt vile/sonic youth/tom waits; just depends on my mood

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Where is your studio?

Studio Posy is located in downtown Norfolk inside of the very beautiful and historic Monticello Arcade, between Plume Street and City Hall Ave.

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photo by kelsie mcnair

How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

Travel is always the best remedy to shake the blahs and reinvigorate the creative spirit.  If it can’t be a plane ride away, an afternoon at the beach or walking in the woods works, too.

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Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind.

anything by jim jarmusch, robert altman, wes anderson, and sofia coppola is always comforting.  the film ‘melancholia’ blows my mind.  i really don’t read any blogs anymore, and we got rid of tv.  instagram is my favorite procrastination.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

i don’t know.  i really like being exactly right here, right now.  michael j. fox taught me when i was a kid that you shouldn’t mess with time travel!

What’s your dream project – if you had all the time and materials in the world?

everytime i take on a new project, it feels like a dream project if i get to work with beautiful materials in a style i love, or like-minded people.  i love collaborating with other people.  there are so many smart, fun people around our community, it blows my mind!

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What artists influence your work – who are your creative idols?

too many to name!  cindy sherman.  mark rothko. keith haring. paul klee.  marcel duchamp. gorky, miro, francis bacon. ugh!  that’s so hard to narrow it down.  also, there are so many amazing florists out there that inspire me.  i really admire sarah ryhanen who co-owns saipua in nyc

How do you find balance?

with two kids- an almost seven year old and an almost five year old,  a shop, a pop-up shop (at With Lavender and Lace)lots of wedding/event jobs on the weekends, i’m not really sure if i ever find balance.  i just try to pick and choose my projects based on if i really think I’ll enjoy them.  i thrive on fun projects that push me.  My kids come first, so sometimes my shop hours can be wonky.  My Mom helps out a lot with the business- she is a business partner.  My best customers understand, and even seem to appreciate that my kids come first.  I greatly appreciate that.

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What’s your favorite local haunt?

I feel so lucky to live in a cool little city that is so close to the beach. That, combined with so many great gems around Norfolk. Kitsch (of course!), With Lavender and Lace, Nest Home, Lorak Jewelry, Cafe Stella, Smooth, The Birch, Chartreuse Bistro, Handsome Biscuit, The Naro, The Ten Top to name only a few— so much goodness! All locally-owned independent businesses. So good!

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…to learn more about Marissa and Studio Posy, check out this cool video created by photographer, Echard Wheeler, and become a Facebook fan!

Art! Tommy Mitchell

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We’re happy to show the work of an extremely talented abstract portrait artist for the month of July – Tommy Mitchell. Tommy was born in Biloxi, Missippi – drawing anything and everything around him from a very young age. Currently, he is a freelance artist, working on everything from tattoo designs to portraits to logos, here in the Hampton Roads area. We were struck by his blend of realism, pop, and surrealistic imagery. Each piece pulls from historical events and popular culture to create a portrait that goes beyond just a drawing of a person, but transfers a social statement of true emotion. Here’s more about him, in his own words:

Support Isn't Established Until Someone Believes In You

Support Isn’t Established Until Someone Believes In You

-All of the pieces in Kitsch are ballpoint pen, is there significance in that medium for you?

Definitely. When I was in high school this peer of mine said that her grandmother “only” draws in ballpoint pen to minimize her mistakes and from then on I’ve spent my years trying to master that medium. The choice of using pen over pencil not only heightens my attention to detail, but also minimizes my margin for error.

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-A lot of your pieces share themes like celebrity, being broken, and heart ache.  Is that purposeful or does it just happen that way?

Yes and no. I try to create things that are relevant to what I’m going through not only as an artist but in my personal life as well. As an artist, I create images as an expression of the fulfillment I gain from my surroundings, experiences and opinions. The challenge for me is to communicate these feelings in a visual medium. With simplicity and clarity as compositional goals, I strive to create and inspire finely-crafted, well-conceived pieces that will pull the viewer toward the vision I hope to share.

In creating expressions of my feelings and experiences in my portraits, the images take on a variety of looks. It is the detail within the subject that draws me to exploration. Countless hours go into the process of shading so the realism of the subject is almost photographic. I visualize images before I execute them on canvas. This pre-visualization enables me to better respond to my feelings of an event and create the desired image. My goal is to create the images I have visualized in my heart and let those images translate on the canvas to where the viewer can resonate with thoughts and experiences.

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-Which artists do you look to for inspiration?

I look to other artists for their work ethic. I believe inspiration is as far as the eye can see and deep as the imagination you draw it from. My father and sister are highly skilled photographers and being around their skill tuned my attention to detail growing up. However, drawing drew me in as being more personal and more reflective for what I wanted to share. As a self-taught artist, I study the works of tattoo artists, as well as artists in the field of drawing – exploring their creative choices and their mediums.

I Know Who You Are I Love You I Love Everything About You That Hurts

I Know Who You Are. I Love You. I Love Everything About You That Hurts

-Anything else that you’d like to say?

I am humbled that you’ve chosen me and believe my work should be showcased this month. It is important to me to display detailed work that viewers can appreciate for the aesthetic. I am very passionate about creating and would be honored to share it, I can be reached at InspiredInquiries@gmail.com. Admire. Aspire. Inspire.

You can find more of Tommy’s work at:

Instagram:@TommyMitche11
FB: Francis Mitchell (Artist)
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and please join us this Friday, July 26th, from 5-8 for a meet and greet with the artist at Kitsch – 803 Shirley Ave, in Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood!

May Artist spotlight.

Hey guys!

The past few weeks have been a whirl wind of paint, power tools, and saw dust as we work to dress Kitsch in some slightly bigger britches. We’ve been spending many late nights prepping our new and old spaces to hopefully become the crafty community refuge of our dreams. In the midst of all this excitement, we took some time to conduct a little interview with Kerry and Neil Stavely of Winchester, Virginia. Part of our Kitsch family since the very beginning, this dynamic duo work under the moniker of Horse & Hare, specializing in hand carved, hand-pressed linocut print making. You all may have noticed their handiwork on the tote bags, pinback buttons, notebooks, pillows, cards, and prints that grace our humble little shop. THEY ARE AWESOME.

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Before we get into our Kitschy interview, here is a brief but delightful bio we pulled from their blog:

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We are the Horse & Hare – also known as Kerry and Neil Stavely. Neil and I met back in the mid nineties in Memphis, TN at art school. We shared an affinity for Kurt Vonnegut books, punk rock music…among other things and give or take fourteen years later we’re still together. Neil is a tattoo artist by day and painter, printmaker by night. He hates hot weather and has not had his hair cut by a professional since he was a teenager. I am Kerry. I am the more sociable of the two of us. I am kind of a jack of all trades…mixed media, photography, graphic design, printmaking…I think I have a touch of ADD. I do like hot weather, hunting vintage and I get my hair cut on occasion by a professional.

Here’s what they shared with Kitsch…

What is the story behind your name?
Our name comes from the Chinese Zodiac. Neil is the Hare and I am the Horse – though there is some debate over whether I am really a Snake. Neil came up with it and he says that it’s the only one I liked. Some of the other names were “Balding & Co.” and “Mean Eyed Cat”.
Describe your work in 5 words.
Expressionist-Folk-Pop-Block-Printing
Where is your studio?
Our print studio is our kitchen but we usually carve in our living room so we’re constantly sweeping and vacuuming up linoleum and wood shrapnel.  We’re currently fundraising to finish our basement into a proper studio so, hopefully we will have our living space back soon!
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What is your studio playlist?
Depends on our mood. Recently we’ve been on a 60’s Soul/R&B kick….Bill Withers, Ike & Tina, Otis Redding but today as I write this we’re listening to X – Live at the Whisky a Go-Go on the Fabulous Sunset Strip
Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind.
Neil: “Life of Brian”  Kerry: Home renovation shows are my latest addiction for decompressing and vegging
For inspiration I  look at one of our former painting professors’ facebook feed. He posts nothing but art and quotes/literature. Also Ted Talks…lots of Ted Talks.
What artists influence your work – who are your creative idols?
Neil: Durer, Bosch, Gregory Gillespie, Max Beckman, Buddhist Mandalas
Kerry:  Kathe Kollowitz, Fritz Eichenberg, Willem De Kooning, Patti Smith
There are too many to name but I’m constantly inspired by fellow contemporary printmakers – Derrick Castle of Strawcastle on etsy, Erin Dollar of Cotton & Flax , Sean Starwars, Artemio Rodriguez…
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What’s your typical day?
For Neil it’s tattooing most days, then working on whatever projects we’ve got going on in the evening. Also, giving our dog Opal lots of love.
For me, I work at home doing freelance graphic design and work on Horse & Hare projects and business stuff (mailing out orders etc.) We also have an 11 year old daughter that takes up a lot of our time too.
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What’s your favorite local haunt?
Probably, Winchester Book Gallery. Just to hang or you can get a book or a record, rent a movie or catch some live music…and they carry our artwork!
If you want to get to know these amazing people a little more check out their blog, become a facebook fan, or peruse their etsy shop!
ALSO, support their dreams of a real studio space here!

April’s Featured Artist: Mallory Jarrell

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“Body Language”

With a mix of old and new, Mallory Jarrell makes collage art like no other (think Norman Rockwell, covered in tattoos and attitude.) A graduate of Old Dominion University, with a degree in printing and design, Mallory dove into the world of mixed media art after graduation. Having lost access to a printing studio, she began to work from home, mixing found mid-century advertising with hand painted and Photoshopped elements.

"El Grito del Lobo"

“El Grito del Lobo”

Covering a wide base of topics, many of Mallory’s pieces center around humorous depictions of cultural icons, ranging from Botticelli’s Venus to photographs of historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln.

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“Alternative Venus”

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“Honest Abe”

Many of her pieces reference current cultural obsessions:

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“Sacred Bacon”

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“Ehrmahgerd”

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“YOLO”

You can check out Mallory’s work throughout the month of April at Kitsch, and meet Mallory at her art reception on April 20th from 6-8:30pm.

There are lots of ways to keep up with Mallory online: Her website, “That’s What She Said Art”, her blog,  Facebook, and Twitter.

Featured Artist: Christine Rucker

After graduating from Pratt University with a BFA in painting and minor in Art History, Christine Rucker relocated  to Virginia Beach from New York. Multitalented, she has also received grants for her printmaking studies, been featured in many galleries in VA and NY, and currently assists in curating artist talent for Bean There Coffeehouse.11482_569550616397714_2102528511_n

A job at New York Central Art Supply helped to inspire Christine’s love of book making.  In 2013, she started Qistyneryeargh, selling her beautifully handbound books and limited edition print publications. Her books feature her own hand marbled paper, linen, vellum, and other wonderful materials.

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We were excited to have a series of her art on the walls for the month of March, including four mixed media works, “A Series of Monotonous Tings” and are very happy to offer her books for sale.

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“A Series of Monotonous Tings :: II” Intaglio, chine colle, pastel, foil 18 x 24 Image courtesy of her website

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“A Series of Monotonous Tings :: III” Intaglio, chine colle, ink, acrylic, oil, gouache, pencil, pen 30 x 22. Image courtesy of her website

To find out more about Christine and her work, visit her website at christineryeah.com or her facebook page!

New Art! Carl Floyd Medley III

This month’s artist, Carl Floyd Medley III claims to be able to draw, and has built a really good case for it. From the fast food icons to hip hop to Jesus, he uses his talents to bend pop culture in a wonderfully twisted way.  He’s our February artist and you should come check it for yourself…

Wendy the Bearded Lady, Colored pencil on paper

From Carl’s website:

Through his work, Carl Floyd Medley III attempts to confront his surroundings the only way he knows how; with humor. As a child of the 80s, Carl (b. 1981) grew up with a healthy mix of Choose Your Own Adventure books, cartoon merchandising and a family whose method for dealing with life’s trials and tribulations was centered around jokes. He now uses his foundation in realism to turn cultural references on their heads and create narratives ranging from absurd to heartfelt. By employing various techniques and mediums, Carl continues his journey to create encompassing experiences and ignite dialogues that lead the viewers to question, understand and even laugh at themselves and the world they live in.

He also loves blueberry cake doughnuts and doesn’t fully understand 0% financing.

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Big Ups to Crunch, Swag Pop, Screwball Wu-Ball

 

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Trophy: Yellow Battle, mixed media sculpture

 

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Trophy: Red Battle, mixed media sculpture

 

Batman

Batman, colored pencil on paper

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Bouquet, Oil on Canvas

 

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Jumbo Peanuts, acrylic on wood

 

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Mary from the Block, colored pencil on paper

 

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My Jesus Chain, colored pencil on paper

Carl’s work will be hanging through the month of February.

January’s Featured Artist, Victoria Weiss!

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There are some hauntingly beautiful prints of empowered women on the wall this month by a very talented lady. In lieu of our regular blog post, we link to an interview our friends over at Alt Daily have posted. Hopefully it will inspire anyone that’s really trying to balance art and life, and might even add a little girl power to your day! You can read it here!

Meet Your Maker and Field Trip: Willway Forge

fireIf you’ve been to the shop, you’ve probably noticed the metal anchors, belt buckles and railroad spike bottle openers among other super cool metal objects. Well, we went out to visit the guy we’re calling the MacGyver of Craft, Matt Sieber of Willway Forge. Most of his equipment and tools have been made by him out of salvaged and reclaimed bits, much like his art. Anvils made out of railroad track, old military surplus bits, even old skateboards are reused in the shop. We spent a lovely morning with Matt in his garage studio, chatting and watching him work horseshoes into hearts, nails into tiny swords, and other “useless” bits of metal into beautiful, functional pieces of art. We’ll let Matt speak for himself :)

“I am an Artist Blacksmith, I have worked with metal for many years, including 20 years (still on active duty) as an Aviation Metal Smith with the USNavy. I have been involved in artistry my entire life. Throughout my grade school years growing up in New England, I was very fortunate to have been involved several extra curricular artistic ventures. All of which have greatly influenced my direction in creativity and craftsmanship. I have been very fortunate to have come of age in a family interested in artistry as well as generous support for my creativity. My greatest satisfaction comes from the magic of shaping and creating metals into artistic designs and seeing them come to life in a finished product.”

The supply stash: rakes, horseshoes, nails, rebar, and whatever else he can get his hands on...

The supply stash: rakes, horseshoes, nails, rebar, and whatever else he can get his hands on…

How did you come up with Willway Forge?

“Well, its the street I live on. And my first thought was, ‘If I am ever lucky enough to be successful, folks will think they named the street after me.’ Lol..”

The Forge, made from a barrel and other reclaimed materials, the hood, bought from an other metalsmith.

The Forge, made from a barrel and other reclaimed materials, the hood, bought from an other metalsmith. To the far left is a small propane forge, used for smaller items. The blue bins to the right hold coal and coke to fuel the large forge. Above the bins sit the “twins” Danny and Arnold(Yes, from the 1988 classic Devito/Schwarzenegger flick…)

What’s your inspiration?

“All Metal artists young and old. Metal smiths of all types have interesting ways of getting things accomplished. All of whom have developed their own inventive ways to simplify rather difficult tasks. A good metalsmith can see the invisible and make the impossible happen. My inspiration comes mostly from the metal forms and items I acquire. They typically sit in my shop for a short and sometimes long period until the shape tells me what it wants to be. Then I do my part in the process to attempt to reveal its artistic design.”

To polish rough edges, the piece is put in the tumbler - Note the bike tires, skateboard trucks/wheels and old drill press motor used to make it...

To polish rough edges, pieces are put in the tumbler – Note the bike tires, skateboard trucks/wheels and old drill press motor used to make it…

What’s your typical day like and how do you balance a full time military career, a family(he’s got a lovely wife and two really sweet daughters) and still have time to create?

“1st, work my real job. 2nd (after work) Manage life with my wife, two wonderfull daughters and whatever needs done at home. 3rd hopefully find enough time to spend in the shop and get some projects worked into reality. More frequently those 3 items are juggled into no particular order. [Balance comes from] long hours and knowing when to stop. Sometimes I get so caught up in a project, I don’t hear what is happening outside the shop. Thats when I have to force myself to put out the fire and go see whats needed of me elsewhere and understand that if my work is not done this minute, its OK.”

Yes, this was made from discarded bits from his job as an aeronautical metalsmith. Here he's using it to stamp veins in a leaf.

This also was made by Matt,  partially from discarded bits from airplanes. Here, he’s using it to stamp veins in a leaf.

How do you break yourself out of a creative rut? What resets your batteries?

“Go camping. I didn’t realize this was what I needed until it happened. But while out there in the wilds, where the dealings of everyday life are nonexistent, my creative brain relaxes and takes a different look at things. [On a day to day basis, it's the] beach, and hiking trails. I like to have my day to day clocks reset with a vista and fresh air.”

To close out, here’s a little demo of how a tiny cowboy hat comes into being:

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A small piece of metal is heated in the forge – the green handled tools were all made by Matt to serve a specific purpose.

matthat3The hot metal is formed into a disc and then hammer molded in a die to create the crown.

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The brim is folded and crown formed into the telltale cowboy shape.

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While still hot, he uses a wire brush to remove any sharp bits and as a happy byproduct, some of the metal from the brush melts to the surface of the hat, giving it an antiqued brass patina.

As we were leaving, we wandered through the Siebers’ oasis of a backyard – from the home built firepit ring, to a covered patio, to a complete outdoor shower(Working with coal = too dirty to walk on the living room carpet) – all surrounded by pretty plants – his wife has a heck of a green thumb. Thanks, Matt for letting us visit! To find out more for yourself, you can find Matt online as well at http://willwayforge.blogspot.com/!

Artist Spotlight – Jessica Jones of Burnt Creative

Open up to page 30 of this month’s Southern Living, and up in the top corner, you’ll see a piece from this lovely lady – Jessica Jones of Burnt Creative out of Blacksburg. She is a great inspiration to other crafters/artists that struggle with lack of space(she shares her studio with her husband), and balancing life and career(she’s got a little boy and, along with making organizers, puts together a handmade and vintage outdoor market, and is in the process of opening her own boutique) We were smitten when we first got her application and she gave this as part of her bio:

1. Black is my favorite color. I know I know. Black is not a color. I don’t care.

2. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched Harry Potter. Which one, you ask? All. of. them.

3. I make sure I do at least these 3 things every day without fail: laugh with my son, deeply kiss my husband, and pull one weed in the garden.

4. My house is a never ending project and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5. My garden is a never ending project and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

6. I LOVE my 20yr. old GMC Sonoma long-bed pickup truck.

7. I collect children’s books, and not because I’m a mama.

8. My mom and my sister are my two biggest role models. Mom keeps me striving for self-improvement and Jillian keeps me laughing at myself.

9. Sour Patch Watermelons are the best candy in the world.

10. I <3 Buttons.

Felt napkin rings with embroidery and buttons, cloth napkins

11. My favorite thing to do on a Friday night is drink beer and play poker with friends. I promise I’m a girl.

12. I used to smoke. And about once a week, I wish I still did.

13. If I had 3 hours to myself on a sunny afternoon I would spend it sitting on my back porch with a stack of craft/design magazines, a Coke on ice, and a bowl of potato chips.

14. I get excited over thunderstorms.

15. I know the farmers who grow my food.

16. My milk comes from a cow named Ruby who spends her days in a field 45 minutes down the road.

17. When I’m stuck, creatively, I go thrifting. I also go thrifting when I’m bored, or need to get out of the house for a bit, or just because it’s daytime and they’re open.

18. I LOVE my neighbors.

19. I’m a night owl. I love the quiet and stillness of it.

20. Coffee.

Pencil organizer, paper tray, and pencil tray

Is there a story behind your shop/blog name?
Yep. Guy in high school was always calling me “burnt.” When I was brainstorming names for my business I wanted something that would make it easy to secure a domain name. “Burnt” kept coming to mind, but because I hated that guy, I didn’t want to use it. Finally, two months later, I still didn’t have a good name so I went with it and I’m so glad I did. It’s completely unique to me and it’s a fun story to tell when people ask.

What’s the process behind your work?
The artistry in what I do is in the fabric selection and coordination with accent fabrics and felt so I spend a good bit of time browsing through fabric stores.
As for the actual production, I assembly-line as much of it as I can. Cutting out the box pieces for 15-20 containers, then assembly, then priming them, then wrapping them, then lining them with felt. Makes the work go faster and I’m able to create containers in waves, which frees up my time for fulfilling custom order requests.

What’s your studio playlist?
Usually something mellow. I’m totally in to Sucre and Lisa Hannigan right now.

 

Where is your studio?
We have a very small house and my husband and I are forced to share an office/studio. Him with all his music equipment and me with my studio. I literally operate out of an 8′ x 12′ space.
Needless to say, a good portion of my time is spent keeping things organized and/or cleaning after failing to keep things organized.
Funny, huh? I spend so much time organizing and I’ve chosen to make organizers for a living. Funnier still is that I don’t even have my own set of the organizers I make.

What’s your dream project – that creation in your mind that if you had all the time and materials given to you to complete?
An outbuilding in my backyard that houses only my studio and a little reading nook with a cozy armchair or window seat. All the cubbies and bins and organizers and curtains would be hand made by me.
What a dream!

How do you balance?
I don’t.
I live by the creed “Fake it ’til you make it.” Only I don’t ever imagine I’ll make it.
I like the chaos though. It keeps me on my toes.

Magnets!

Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just helps clear the mind.
Two favorite blogs are…
A Beautiful Mess
The Bloggess

Movie…
Dream for an Insomniac

TV show I’m obsessed with right now is…
Castle

Book…
My go-to is Pride and Prejudice but for inspiration, I like Proust and Voltaire. The former for the flowery language and the latter for his dry wit.

What’s your favorite local haunt?
Lately, local to me, is a coffee shop called Lucie Monroe’s. (Christiansburg)

Round pencil organizers

What artist(s) influence your work – who are your creative idols?
Jessica Stockholder

Ninja or pirate? Cowboy? Princess?
No contest. Pirate.

In addition to Kitsch, you can find Jessica’s work here (you can also find out about the handmade and vintage market she organizes in Blacksburg- the next one being October 20th, also a great time of year to enjoy the western part of this gorgeous state of ours.) She also has an indiegogo campaign going to help her open her boutique of handmade and vintage items – if you want to see some vintage and handmade goodness come to the Blacksburg area, here’s the link to help her out!

New Art! Mike Morgan

For the month of July, Mike Morgan’s mind melting abstract drawings and paintings are gracing our walls. We’ve found people just standing in front of them, staring and getting lost in the intricate swirls and  patterns. His show will be up until the end of July, when we’ll be hosting a closing reception for him – stay tuned to our facebook page for details! From his bio:

“From Hampton Roads, VA, Michael Morgan mainly applies abstract expressionism,
portraiture, and surrealism. He studied art at Hampton High School
and Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD. His art has
been accepted into a number of exhibitions since 1997 with several
awards along the way. He is also currently the member of several
local art organizations including the Chesapeake Bay Art Association
and The Hampton Arts League, with pieces showing in several local
galleries and other venues. Michael’s primary media are pencil,
charcoal, and acrylic painting but he also applies pen/ink drawing
and oil painting. Michael has a wide range of tastes and interests in
various types of art. His work can represent the current state of the
outside world, how he sees it, and how it could possibly be…’I will
take someone or something familiar, such as a landscape or object,
and give an extra aura or aspect to it.'”

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