Open Studios 2018


Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville does a very cool thing every year called Open Studios, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Artists all over the city open their studios and invite the community inside to see where they work. Every year, I end up scheduling a craft show that conflicts with Open Studios, so I never get to do it. This year, however, I was excited to have well-timed free weekend so I could experience the self-paced tour with my husband!


It’s so inspiring to see artists at work in their space. I love the piles of crusty paint tubes, the unfinished panels stacked in corners, the works in progress on the easel, and of course the final product matted and ready to hang. Buying work straight from the artist is also very rewarding because you’re making a connection with the actual person who created the piece you love, which isn’t always possible at a gallery. This weekend we added six new pieces to our collection. Can’t wait to hang them!


I would love to participate in Open Studios one day as an artist. It would be so much fun to welcome people into my workspace and share my process in person. However, our home is just not set up for that - the different workspaces are spread out all over our house - but we’re hoping to move sometime soon and set up our ideal workshop, so perhaps in the future this dream will be realized. Till then, here’s a short video tour of my studio.


Share What You Know

I’m a big believer in this simple statement. I’ve learned a great deal from others and I’m always happy to share whatever I can. If you’ve ever contacted me to ask about my laser cutter, tips on opening an Etsy shop, or are curious about needle felting, you know this to be true. In the coming weeks, I have several unique opportunities to share my skills and experience with you!


Needle felting workshops:

I’m teaching two needle felting classes this summer at Greenville Center for Creative Arts. Each session is suitable for any experience level (ages 8+). The first class (June 9th) will focus on 3D needle felting, and the second class (June 30th) will focus on 2D felting. All materials are provided. Space is limited and registration opens Friday May 5th.

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The State of Making online summit:

Are you an artist, small business owner, or just curious about the maker life? I highly recommend checking out The State of Making, which is a yearly conference made possible by Academy of Handmade. I’m one of the speakers on Day 1 (Thursday, May 3rd) and I’ll be talking shop and sharing what I’ve learned about the Etsy economy, diversifying your income streams, and keeping your chin up when you’re having a down year. Registration is FREE!

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Artist in Residence Daily Documentaries:

I’m starting to pack my bags (which are mostly full of art supplies) in preparation for my upcoming South Carolina state park residency. This amazing opportunity is giving me the chance to live in a beautiful state park for a week and create a body of work inspired by my surroundings. I’ll be sharing photos and going live on Instagram and Facebook daily, as well as posting a video journal (WIFI permitting) on YouTube so be sure to subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss an episode. You’ll get up close and personal as I explore the park, create art in real time, and you’ll see the ups and downs of my creative process. The work created during the residency will be exhibited in mid June at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC. 


Indie Craft Parade 2015

The 6th annual Indie Craft Parade was this past weekend, and as always, it didn't disappoint. Far from it! This highly competitive, well-organized regional craft fair showcases 80 artists and brings out 6-7,000 attendees in Greenville every September. I was pleased to participate once again this year, and just as in years past, it was one of my best shows ever. How does that keep happening? This particular craft show is just THAT good!

My Indie Craft Parade 2015 booth setup

I saw so many familiar faces, people who have been coming to my booth year after year. I always enjoy seeing "vintage" Once Again Sam jewelry in the crowd, pieces I made several years ago, still being enjoyed. That's probably the coolest part of the weekend - having happy customers come back again and again.

This is a big weekend for my business, so I spend a good chunk of the summer preparing for it. I'm proud to say, this was the first Indie Craft Parade when I didn't run out of bags or dollar bills. In previous years, I vastly underestimated how many shoppers would come through, so I'd double up on supplies the following year, and of course the number of customer would double up too, so I still had the same problem. Not this year! I took $150 in singles, and over 500  paper bags (which I hand stamped one by one) and it seems I finally have a feel for just how to prepare for this show. It only took me 5 years to get it right! 

Here's the rundown of my weekend in numbers, just as I shared last year, plus a peek inside my shopping bag at my fabulous finds. I always enjoy supporting other artists, and at a show like this one, you truly have to restrain yourself! There is so much talent, so many gift ideas, so many splurges to consider. In the end, I brought home items from 12 other artists. 

My 2015 Indie Craft Parade purchases will full artist list below:

1. Origami flowers by Paperform

2. Mixed media block art by Heather Murphy

3. Ceramic bowl by Daniel Bare

4. Paper wall art by Paperform

5. Lip balm by Hello Soap

6. Weaving on woodblock by Twenty Two West

7. Mixed media assemblage by Jon Andrews

8. Wood block paintings by Sunny Mullarkey Studio

9. Brass stud earrings & ring by Melting Sun Apparel

10. Print by Elizabeth Foster

11. Painted wood sign by Olive + Grey

12. Handbag by Hawks & Doves

For the love of used books

I’m a bookworm, and I’m thrifty, so it’s no surprise I’m a big fan of used books. The Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale occurs annually here in Greenville, SC, and this past weekend I scooped up more than my fair share of reading material (but hey, it was only $10 to fill up a giant shopping bag, so yeah...that’s my excuse). This outstanding event is put on my the Greenville Literacy Association, a non profit organization that collects all kinds of used book donations, then hosts this enormous sale each summer to raise money to help increase literacy levels here in the Upstate.

This year, I walked into the book sale with my tote bag as I have done the last 4 summers, and promised to limit myself to 5 books this year, but since it was the last day of the sale, it was only $10 for as many books as you could fit into a grocery bag, so I didn’t hold back. I picked up a stack of new novels (full list is below), art books, tourism booklets, and even a few vintage nature books I’m planning to use for some collage type of stuff in the future. All in all, a pretty good loot!

- The Activist's Daughter by Ellyn Bache

- 700 Years of Dutch Cartography

- Blue and Other Colors by D. Paul Reynolds

- Halfway House by Katherine Noel 

- What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn

- Trunk, a Love Story by Michael Perry

- The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

- The Book Shop by Penelope Fitzgerald

- My New American Life by Francine Prose

- Paper is Part of the Picture

- Apples of Gold (compiled by) Jo Petter

- This is Not Chick Lit - Original Stories by America's Best Women Writers

- The Dove in Bathurst Station by Patricia Westerhof

- The Forrest & The Sea - from LIFE Nature Library