featured crafter - beth hartman-peters - the bird & elephant

me_1 Hey everybody! We hope you are all having a happy and craftastic summer. Our latest featured crafter is Beth Hartman-Peters of The Bird & Elephant. This curious moniker might ring a bell to those who have coveted or purchased Beth's handmade children's clothing and toys, and more recently, her adult clothing. Whether it's a teething ring, plush tee pee, bib, or tank top, the quality of Beth's handiwork and her keen eye for striking fabrics and designs is undeniable. Beth relocated back to Lynchburg, Virginia  from Nashville, Tennessee after earning a BFA in Photography. Her creative roots stretch way back, though, down a long line of people who work with their hands. It's nice to think that the quilters and seamstresses, painters and drawers, gardeners, welders, woodworkers, and bakers in Beth's family played a part in the formation of her creative spirit, and Beth poignantly expresses this connection in the recent interview we had with her. Read on to learn more about this neat human being.

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How did you get started?

There was this little thing called ‘nesting’, combined with the birth of my first babe, Elijah, and a longing to find comfort and calm in my new role as mom, all the while being many miles from family. I found that doing handwork (sewing) reconnected me to my memories of my own childhood, and my grandma, whom I loved and missed dearly. So, I started sewing, crocheting and knitting little things for my son before he was born. I wanted to give him a few special pieces I hoped he would someday cherish. And, I was hooked! I started making appliques from the random sketches in my journals, learning what worked and what didn’t. I began making so many of these little hand-embroidered appliqued one piece bodysuits (1z’s) that I decided to try and sell a few at local art & craft fairs. I had given up my full-time position at an art college as a photo department manager, so I needed to find a way to make an income from home so I could be with my son. And things evolved from there. I’d like to say that I was/am a bit of a tomboy, so this sewing thing really caught me by surprise.

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Where do you find inspiration?

The fabrics inspire me, and of course my children. I was/am very interested in human development from the beginning years. When I was about 8 (give or take), my nephew (then 11 months), had his first open-heart surgery. I remember my sister brought home this notecard that had doodles in red and black ink, made by a nurse to help comfort him. I made something similar for Elijah when he was a newborn and it did soothe him. I looked more into sensory development and human development to better understand what my little one may be experiencing, to try and understand how he may be feeling. It really helped with my parenting and I try to incorporate those concepts into my work, like visual movement & contrast in my blocks.

I’m also heavily inspired by colors found in nature and southwest folk art (hence the new sugar skull blocks)!

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What's your studio playlist?

That depends on the mood. I definitely rely on my Pandora stations to drive a feel home. I find that I work best and have less uh-ohs when I’m listening to music without lyrics and more of a meditative sound. Currently:

Rufus Cappadocia

American Native prayer

Buddhist Monks

A little reggae, DJ Shadow,

Old Crow Medicine Show, for days when I really need to get moving

I also love The Cure (Fascination Street, love the bass), Moby, The Clash, and listening to the Charlottesville College Radio Station. I do listen to NPR throughout the day, too.

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Where is your studio?

My studio is one of the bedrooms in my house. It’s the perfect size, with great windows and built in shelving and dresser with a desk top for my computer. It’s so awesome to be able to work on something new, photograph it a few feet away, tether my camera to my computer and check exposures, etc. I have never been so lucky with studio/shop space! When I need to screen print, I take over the kitchen/dining area when the kids are away or late at night after everyone is asleep. But once we finish renovating the 1st floor, we’re going to do some work on the basement so I can have a really nice print shop there (and of course my husband will get his band room/recoding space, too).

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

I sketch, pick out new fabrics, or watch documentaries on other artists and crafters. Sometimes I start with the fabrics and a pair of scissors to see what opens up. I also rummage through my old bins full of reject prints, etc and see if anything strikes a nerve. And when I’m really anxious about coming up with new ideas, I take a drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway, maybe do some hiking or splashing in the creeks with my kids. Getting out of the studio environment is definitely great for sparking new ideas.

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

I love documentaries, especially about arts & crafts (Art 21, Arts & Crafts in America). I also love glass blowing, so I’m super excited to see videos about glass artists like Dale Chihuly and there was another called Degenerate Art that I really liked. And PBS is great, too. When I work, I watch Netflix. I get on kicks. I watched The Tudors and have since been very much into movies about the monarchies, social classes…period pieces. I can’t say that I’m a fan of big movies or tv shows (our tv is still in storage). I rarely have time to read, so I’m not a big blog follower and I gave up reading anything that requires my strict attention.

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You have a time machine. What place in time would you choose?

This may sound boring, but honestly, I’d like to go back to the time when I was around 8, back to my grandma’s sewing room where I would find her sewing on an old pedal Singer. I loved the sound of the air pushing from the machine, the smell of the machine oil, and the way my grandmother's hands would gently stop the metal wheel to reposition the needle. Both calming and meditative, I would just sit quietly running my hands through a large tin of buttons, dividing them by color, size, texture, and shape. I sometimes would sit and help both grandparents with hand-quilting. We would all sit around the large frame and chit chat.

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Share a recipe - bonus points if there's a story behind it.

Okay, so I have this horrible thing called Alpha-gal and I’m allergic to mammalian meat (thank you tick bite!). I’m also allergic to milk/dairy and tomatoes!!!! My in-laws are always asking me what I eat, as if the only foods to eat contain those ingredients. Luckily, a close friend is Vietnamese and she taught me all about cooking in that style. And, I love those flavors. We don’t have a real stove/oven right now and I’ve mastered cooking on a 2 burner, but I am limited to cooking styles. So lately, I’ve been trying various grilling recipes and the one here is amazing! I think I’m making a big dish of this to take to the next family gathering of in-laws.

Grilled Thai Shrimp (Emeril lagasse)

Ingredients 24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deviened 2 cups coconut milk 1/2 cup lime juice 1/4 cup Thai fish sauce 4 tablespoons sriracha sauce (I used a garlic chili paste instead) 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (omitted it as I can’t find any here) 1 tablespoon lime zest 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon minced ginger 1 tablespoon kosher salt 6 (6 or 8-inch) bamboo skewers Vegetable oil, for oiling grill

Directions Place the shrimp in a large, 1-gallon re-sealable food storage plastic bag. Place the rest of the ingredients (coconut milk through salt) in a non-reactive medium bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the marinade over the shrimp and seal in the bag. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally to ensure even marinating. Soak bamboo skewers in warm water while you marinade the shrimp.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and skewer 4 per skewer and set aside. Brush the grill lightly with a bit of vegetable oil and place the shrimp on the grill. Cook the shrimp for 3 minutes, basting with the marinade as it cooks, then turn and cook for an additional 3 minutes, while basting, on the second side. Serve while hot.

Found here:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/thai-marinated-skewered-and-grilled-jumbo-shrimp-recipe.print.html

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

I want to eventually design my own fabrics so I can fully brand my work and eventually have it manufactured in the US so I can do more creative planning, hand over the patterns and explore new things (pottery, glass blowing, travel, woodworking, anything to do with metals, jewelry…..) I love doing large scale pinhole photographs, and at some point, I hope to pick up on a project I started a while ago and maybe get back into some gallery shows. I loved organizing pop-up secret shows and would love to do some here.

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

I have two creative sides: the fine artist/photographer/installation conceptual artist and the one who creates for the B+E, so my influences are vastly different. For the B+E side, I think Andy Goldsworthy is a big influence. His dedication to the process of the making is amazing and as zen-like as the final photograph. And of course I love the makers of the past: quilters, wood turners, furniture makers, seamstresses, potters. They created such amazing pieces. My first (and only) graphic design instructor was big on the KISS: keep it simple stupid. KISS is the one thing that I remind myself when creating new things, and I think that has been a huge influence in my work.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Introvert

Thinker

DIYer

compassionate

mom

Tell us something funny that happened recently.

Everyday there’s something funny, but I don’t know if others would get the humor. One of the funniest things that is recurring is the change in my 3 yo daughter’s voice when she’s trying to get our attention. She has a tiny little voice with the lispy, rolly letters, but when she’s trying to get our attention, her voice turns into this loud, very clear, Bostonian sounding manly voice: “Hey guys!” Wish I could attach sound to this.

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How do you find balance?

Crow pose? Yoga is a huge help, both physically and mentally, like remembering to breathe deeply when things get hectic. But balance?  My husband and I are blazing a trail as we go. We are learning what works and doesn’t. We remind each other daily to take time with our kids, because our kids are growing fast and we want good, solid, love-filled memories for them. It’s hard, but it’s getting better. We do eat really good, healthy foods, and when we fall off that wagon, we do notice a drop in our organization and a serious loss of balance. We’re getting ready to do a basic detox, so I hope to get things recharged really soon (I have a big project with new ideas I hope to release in time for Fall and my husband will be a big part of the production….fingers crossed!)

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

Why, yes!

The Bird + Elephant evolved from a PBS Nature show on elephants. Aside from the baby ele cuteness, I became fixated on the birds perched on the ele’s backs. Not just the birds, but the relationship between the bird and the ele, I guess it’s the conceptual artist in me. The sight was very calming and just beautiful (I was pregnant and overly weepy at this time). To me, the elephant provided safety for the bird and perhaps a new way of seeing the world, in much the same way that my Elijah opened my eyes to a new way of feeling. The Bird and Elephant just seemed perfect as it represented my love and affection for Elijah and the new relationship we created. I would have never started this business if it had not been for him. Actually, I don’t think I had a direction in my life until I became a mom. (Sidenote: Elijah pointed out the other day that B = Beth Bird and E = Elijah Elephant….preschoolers!)

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What's your typical day?

Wake with 2 kiddos snuggling. COFFEE, feed kids, kid crafts while I fix their breakfast or while I eat and fix my coffee and check esty for sales/convos/emails. Outside time (weather permitting), they play in the pool (2 foot tiny inflatable) and I tend to my little garden. Lunchtime, then kids have quiet time (reading, learning games, free play), naptime, maybe for 3 yr old. Afternoon they get to watch a show or 2, or play pbskids.org or something. Dinner. Bathtime. Storytime. 9 pm might be the 1st time I really get to sew. (these are summer hours, btw).

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We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

Vietnam &/or Thailand

What's your favorite local haunt?

Home

What advice to do you have for other crafty businessfolk?

Embrace downtime! Use that time to tidy up, start new ideas, etc.

Love what you do! (golden rule?) Because making something you don’t like over and over again is the biggest drive killer.

This business takes heart. When I first began in this, I was a bit uncertain what I wanted to do, how to do it, and I experimented a lot.

The bulk/case price might look tempting, but don’t take the plunge when you’re first trying new things out. Do a couple samples, get feedback, then take the plunge if the demand says go. I know a lot of people who went over their heads because the case price was cheap, but they ended up with boxes of unwanted stuff.

If you'd like to follow Beth's work, check out her Etsy shop and her Facebook page.

april featured crafter - marley ungaro

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Well, hello! April just flew right by but we have just enough time to end this month on a lively note. Marley Ungaro is our featured crafter for the month of April, and quite fittingly so. Her work epitomizes the best parts of spring -renewal, color, excitement, positivity, and life. Marley uses a variety of mediums, including paper, acrylics, and watercolors, to create detailed and vibrant works of art. Her colorful depictions of animals are favorites at Kitsch. Whether on pillows, onesies, kitchen towels, bags, or prints these adorable creatures have so much personality they seem to come to life the longer you look at them. Marley is a loving mother of two, who also happen to have the creative gene. In fact, we are lucky enough to carry some of the cute and clever greeting cards Marley created with her kids. Everything Marley makes is infectiously positive, and big surprise, so is she. To learn more about this super talented lady, read our fun little interview with her!

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How did you get started?

I wanted to be a stay-at-home-Mom when my daughter was born (over 15 years ago), so I kept busy being a wife, Mom, and creative soul, by starting my own company from home. I started taking on commission work from family and friends, which carried over to word-of-mouth work. I started designing and manufacturing my own art calendar and note card line in 2004 and have kept it going (with a decent following) ever since. I’ve added a “Mommy & Me” line that includes my children’s art and our collaborative work. I still do commission work on the side, along with design work, and many other odd artsy jobs.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in SO many things. I work from home, so I live in a beautiful home that has become a work of art itself. I am inspired daily by my surroundings. I love to work in the yard and gardens, so nature constantly inspires me. Everything around me is beautiful and has some artistic movement to it!

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What's your studio playlist?

When I paint on canvas with my acrylics, I love listening to Italian guitar music, or music from movie soundtracks like Memoirs of a Geisha or Out of Africa. It really depends on what I’m painting or my mood. Honestly, when I’m working in my studio and pressing towels, I usually have on a favorite TV show, like my new favorite from the BBC, The Paradise. Oh! The clothes and the setting are so beautiful!

Where is your studio?

My studio (in this home) is in our garage. I have an office inside the home. I took over my husband’s garage; and he built on to the shed outside in the back yard. I have a wonderful large space and just added some huge vintage wood cabinets from an old suit-makers shop from Newport News. They are fabulous and perfect for my fabrics and all of my paper supplies.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

Honestly, I am rarely ever in a creative rut. With creative children at home, I’m constantly listening to their creative thoughts and find myself having to learn how to organize my creative thoughts instead of digging myself out of a rut!

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

I do watch a lot of good TV (and good movies, when there is one). I LOVE old Doris Day movies. I love the clothes, the furniture, the clean language! I also love period pieces, like The Tudors or The Borgias. We actually made my son a huge castle from that time period with real hardwood floors. It has a real drawbridge, loomed rugs, and a wizards room with bottles of potion lining a wall shelf.

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You have a time machine. What place in time would you choose?

Seeing as I adore the 16th Century…what do you think?

Share a recipe - bonus points if there's a story behind it.

Black Bean Salsa

Party Favorite...every time!

11 oz can sweet & white corn mixed, drained

15 oz can black beans, washed & drained

11 oz can mandarin oranges (reserve juice)

1/2 orange pepper, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

4 green onions, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4-1/2 cup RED WINE VINEGARETTE by Wishbone

Cilantro to taste

Mix & add reserve orange liquid.  Serve with nacho chips!

*I usually triple or even quadruple this recipe so I can keep some at home for the family (kids love it too).  Go ahead and use a whole pepper where it calls for half, even if you are making a single recipe.

The story behind this recipe…I usually make this recipe for parties, or for my art home shows. I have so many people ask me about this recipe that I actually put it with one of my pieces of artwork and printed it on towels to sell. If they wanted the recipe, they’d have to buy a towel!

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

My dream project would be to build or renovate a Frank Lloyd Wright home on a large open space looking over the water…with a small vineyard somewhere nearby. That’s not asking too much.

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

I love Frida Kahlo and her work. Paul Gauguin has always impressed me.  I am attracted to the works of Amedeo Modigliani. I also like many artists that are living that are close friends. The list is too long. God is my creative idol!

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Describe yourself in 5 words.

I am…happy, loving, driven, joyful and encouraging.

Describe your work in 5 words.

My work is…colorful, happy, whimsical, unique, and diverse.

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Tell us something funny that happened recently.

My 11 year-old son and I were at Lowes buying gardening supplies. He saw a bag with insects on it. He asked what “that” was. I told him it was a grub. I explained that they lived in the ground and they could actually bite, or pinch. Later that day, we are digging a hole to plant a beautiful weeping cherry tree over our koi pond. I said, “Look, Grey…a grub!” He instantly starts screaming like a 4 year old little girl, with his hands clinched next to his face and his knees marching up in the air like he’s river dancing on speed! I just stood there looking at him…”What in the WORLD is wrong with you!” He ran off screaming and crying. He never got within more than 3 feet of that daggon’ grub. That was funny.

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How do you find balance?

I spend most of my ‘free’ time with my family and keep a very open communication with them. They are my biggest support system. This keeps me very balanced.

Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

My company name is MY name, so there really isn’t a story behind the name; however, the logo has a heart in it. There is a story there. Many years ago, I started seeing hearts everywhere I went. Mainly in nature: bushes, trees, the sky, the concrete, etc. To me, it’s always been a constant reminder, from God, that He is watching me and is proud of me…that I’m doing the things I’m suppose to be doing. I’m encouraged even more when I see those hearts!

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What's your typical day?

Oh my…I check to see what orders I need to ship off from my Etsy store. I check my email to see what my stores need (I have several stores that carry my things), so I’ll make sure I have all of the supplies I need for the week. For example, if I need to press 100 towels for a store, I have to make sure I print out the designs, cut them out, heat the press, fold the towels (while I wait for the press to heat up), press each towel, tie my ribbons and tags on each towel (or bag them), price them (for some stores), and check them off of my inventory list. I have to make sure I have enough ink, paper, towels, etc. for the following week or month. This is just one order, for one store. I have art shows, and many other stores or orders to fill. And that’s just for towels. I have prints, note cards, canvas totes, pillows, art maps, laminated placemats, art journals, and several other products that I love working with. I do work from home, so I make sure my home is kept up as well. I have lots of pets that I tend to (another inspiration), so that also keeps me busy each day.

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We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

My gorgeous hubby and I are going to Italy! Finally!

What advice to do you have for other crafty businessfolk?

1-      Be your own boss. Go into business for yourself (if you can).

2-      Make sure you are doing something unique. These days, everyone thinks they can be crafty, so the craft sites are oversaturated with so many trying to do ‘it.’ If you do have something unique, then GO FOR IT!

3-      Take time researching online for the best prices for your supplies. Don’t be afraid to ask other crafters for their advice. I have had several people ask me where I got ‘this’ or ‘that’ and I am happy to share. I would hope someone would share with me if I needed help!

4-      Make sure you are truly supported by your loved one(s) before you get started. That’s the best secret to success!

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These questions are silly. I'm going to tell you something else...

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” The golden rule actually ROCKS!

Thanks for letting me share with you!

xoxo, Marley Ungaro

www.mungaro.com

You can also follow Marley's work on her Facebook page!

march featured crafter -- laura fisher -- prayer monkey

DSC_0009 Hello All!

So we're cutting it a little close, but this month's featured crafter is Laura Fisher of Prayer Monkey! Laura is a masterful tamer of wire -bending, twisting, and turning it every which way into beautiful jewelry and home decor. Many a customer stares in awe at her work, wondering how she coaxes the tiny, delicate wire into such intricate patterns. All decide she must be a patient woman. Patient she is, and wonderfully kind too. It comes as no surprise that Laura is also a skilled gardener, with a degree in landscape design. She's doing some pretty awesome things with her green thumb, but we won't give it away. If you'd like to learn more about this intriguing woman, read on, friends, read on...

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Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Laura and my company is called PrayerMonkey. I live on the south side of Richmond with my husband, two dogs, and four cats. In addition to having my own crafty business, we have an urban farm called Citygarden on the reclaimed vacant lots situated next to our house. Most of what we grow is for our own consumption but we do provide hard to find veggies and herbs for a few Richmond restaurants. Generally, we barter our goods for such things as delicious loaves of bread. I also recently joined the Richmond Craft Mafia. I’m pretty excited about that.

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How did you get started?

I started crocheting with yarn when I was 8 and had broken my arm right before summer break. They needed a way to keep me occupied, so a babysitter taught me how to crochet. Much later on, after suffering a knee injury that pretty much ended my horticultural career, I decided to start crocheting with wire to see if I could make a living that way.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in many places. I like fiddling with traditional crochet patterns and seeing how they translate into wire crochet. I think my degree in landscape design helps me with symmetry and color. Planning a layout for a garden bed isn’t too different for me than planning a layout for a necklace.

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What's your studio playlist?

Hmmm…My musical taste is all over the place and so is my playlist. Gary Numan, Sparks, Thee Oh Sees, Grinderman, Baxter Dury, Dan Deacon, Magazine, Buke and Gase…

Where is your studio?

I work out of my home. I usually do my crocheting in the living room. I have a good seat with lots of light in there. It also allows me to watch old movies while I am crocheting. I do have a studio proper in a spare bedroom where I put my pieces together and handle all the other aspects of the business. My dining room table is my photography studio.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

If I’m in a creative rut, I try to take my mind off it by going to the gym and just blanking out or taking a nap which is sort of my way of meditating. Having the garden outside is great because I can pull weeds or plant a plant. Anything to divert my attention from the task at hand, even for a little while, makes all the difference.

You have a time machine. What place in time would you choose?

Europe during the world wars would be kind of cool. Seeing how people lived during that type of war time. How they coped with it. Also, maybe 1970’s NYC during the advent of punk rock.

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

Ruth Asawa and Blanka Sperkova are both amazing wire artists. Saffron Johns is a woman in Bulgaria that makes the cutest wire crochet jewelry that never fails to make me smile.

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

Why, yes there is! When I was a gardener for the city of Richmond, I found a statue of a monkey in a fez, reading a book, in a tree in one of the parks I took care of. I took it back to the shop with me and one of the guys asked me if the statue was one of those prayer monkeys. I wasn’t quite sure what a prayer monkey was supposed to be but I liked the name.

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What's your favorite local haunt?

I’m not sure I really have a favorite haunt. There is a dive bar down the street from me called The Forest that my friend and I meet at once in a while for “Tots and Bloodys”. We eat tater tots and drink big girl Bloody Marys and blow off steam. The waitresses call you “Hon” there.

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What advice to do you have for other crafty businessfolk?

I could offer so many different nuggets…I guess one of the important things is to be serious about your business if it is a business. If you are being crafty as a hobby, that is one thing but remember, once you take it into the professional realm, many things change. You really do have to step up your game in every way possible; a good product, clean pictures, and a tight image.

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Well that's all she wrote! If you'd like to see more of Laura's work and all the amazing things she can do, peruse her Etsy shop, and become a Facebook fan. She is working on a pretty nifty blog too!

february featured crafter - lindsay mays of silent orchid studio

1891018_10152262555772463_1856242002_n Hey there, friends! This month's featured crafter is another one of our very first at the shop, Lindsay Mays, of Silent Orchid Studio. We are particularly proud of this talented woman as she was recently featured in Art Doll Quarterly Magazine. Lindsay's meticulously detailed plush toys are truly works of art. Her playful and nostalgic interpretations of sideshow freaks, cult classic and folkloric figures never fail to conjure smiles and curious admiration. In fact, Lindsay's work has earned quite the following at Kitsch, particularly during the holidays -we can't seem to keep her Krampus ornaments on the shelves! We're so glad Lindsay chose to share her work with us, and it's about time we learned some more fun facts about this quirky gal. Check out our interview with her as well as some links to keep up with her awesome work!

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How did you get started?

My mom taught me to sew when I was little. In 2007 I started making plush toys for fun, robots and monsters and other things I couldn't find in stores. I posted them in my online gallery and people started asking for their own. A couple of years later I made it my full time business.

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Where do you find inspiration?

Old movies (especially horror and sci-fi films,) illustrations from vintage children's books, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. Sometimes just wandering around flea markets or thrift shops and finding weird vintage nick knacks and pretty old fabrics will spark something.

il_570xN.448665233_ooh8 What's your studio playlist?

Right now I'm listening to Amanda Palmer, Siouxsie Sioux, Pinataland, and Nouvelle Vague. I also love the podcast Welcome to Night Vale.

Where is your studio?

I work out of my apartment in the Ghent neighborhood in Norfolk...not far from Kitsch :) My place is tiny, so my studio is also my living room. But I have enough room for my desk, sewing machine, and my craft supply stash. A lot of my work is spread out on the floor.

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

Mystery Science Theater 3000. It always helps to clear my head and put me in a good mood. For inspiration, I love Tumblr. It's kind of addictive and I always find something cool and interesting.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

Shouldn't that be "when?"

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

Wayne White (painter, sculptor, puppeteer, animator) is one of my idols. He does everything and has so much creative energy, I would love to be able to work like he does. Mister Finch, a fiber artist who makes amazing soft sculpture animals from antique textiles. Mary Blair, who did concept art for Disney and illustrated children's books.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

quiet, geeky, goth, maker, collector

60229_10151272207332463_374860_n Describe your work in 5 words.

Soft and cute, but weird.

il_570xN.463500031_5lke What's your favorite local haunt?

The Naro Theater and Naro Video. I'm a movie geek, so Naro Video is my Mecca. And sitting in the theater's balcony watching a film (new or old) is one of my favorite things.

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Well that's all folks! If you can't get enough of Lindsay's work, follow her on Tumblr and Facebook, or peruse her Etsy shop.

why take a class at kitsch?!

There are a million reasons to take a class at Kitsch and we just thought we'd name a few. Peruse this delightful list (in no particular order), get inspired, and register for a class today...

You can reunite with your kid self for some good old-fashioned arts and crafts.

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Sometimes it's nice to forget about your worries and focus on creating something beautiful for a while.

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Whether you're new to the area, or just looking to expand your friend horizons, classes are a great way to meet other creative people -and creative people are nice.

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It feels pretty darn good to say, "I made that."

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Classes are an opportunity to surprise and challenge yourself.

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Craft is art and art is therapy.

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Kid-friendly classes are an enriching way to get a break from your little ones and for your little ones to get a break from you.

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Craft classes are for girls AND boys!

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For all you menfolk, craft classes are an unconventional way to meet some women or bond with the woman in your life.

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You can finally complete that project you found on Pinterest.

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Because a communal crafting session can lead to amazing new ideas.

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So are you ready to sign up for a class? We hope so! We post our schedule all over the place, including our blog, Facebook page, and flyers scattered through out the neighborhood. Stop by the shop or call 757-961-9855 to register today! Gift cards for classes make great gifts too!

january featured crafter - richard dooling - wood turner

RGD_me012514 Well hello there, friends! We hope your 2014 has gotten off to an excellent start. Once again, Kitsch is getting a bit of a makeover and is looking mighty fine. In the midst of beautifying the shop and replenishing our very depleted post-holiday inventory, we took some time to learn more about talented wood turner, Richard Dooling. This charming and funny fellow is responsible for the beautiful, hand-turned, hardwood bud vases and bottle toppers we just recently began selling. The graceful curves of Richard's pieces are a testament to this man's mastery over and respect for organic materials. His bold color choices and often playful shapes make these eye-catching pieces the perfect addition to Kitsch's crafty arsenal. If you'd like to know more about this craftsman, take a moment to admire Richard's work and read the lovely little interview we had with him.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in natural forms and that’s part of what originally brought me to working with wood. I also find inspiration in the work of other artists and artisans. The Internet is an amazing resource for ideas and techniques.

What's your studio playlist?

Jazz, classical, rock – you name it. I listen to a lot of NPR including Jae Sinnett, Paul Shugrue and This American Life. I have hearing protection on so much that often it’s just silent and I’m good with that.

Where is your studio?

I have a small shop overlooking the water. The view is great! It’s about the size of a one-car garage so it’s tight but it works.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

Just go into the shop and do something – anything.

When I headed a business art department and one of the artists was having a hard time with a project I used to say, “Do what you know and then see where you are.” Sometimes the rut is simple inertia so I just get moving.

There’s always something that needs to be done in the shop and I usually come up with other ideas once I’m out there. I often just put a piece of wood in the lathe and start turning. Sometimes having no predetermined direction can reveal new and unexpected avenues.

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

I don’t go to a particular book but rather typically choose either philosophy, science or escapist fiction to re-charge.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

Forward!

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

I would like to build all the furniture in a house of my own design.

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

There are so many great woodworkers that I can’t say I have any particular idols. Maybe it’s more like I have too many idols. I am especially drawn to contemporary design as well as the Arts and Crafts movement.

My first interests were in drawing and painting and those influences are the foundation for what I consider to be aesthetically pleasing.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

My wife offered up: smart, funny, tenacious, detailed, engaging

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Describe your work in 5 words.

Meticulous, whimsical, organic, textural, tactile

Tell us something funny that happened recently.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum . . .

How do you find balance?

That’s what the shop does for me. I’m not a happy camper when I go too long with no shop time.

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

I’m in the process of getting my site up but the name is 7 SIDEWALKS. It’s a reference to an idea I have about making a living from multiple sources rather than one main job. The number 7 is meaningful in many contexts and it feels inclusive to me.

What's your typical day?

Atypical.

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We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

Paris, France. There’s an awful lot of art I haven’t seen and a lot of food to be eaten. Something that struck me when I visited Paris is that it is a city of neighborhoods. It exists on a human scale with no massive skyscrapers dwarfing everything else.

What's your favorite local haunt?

My wife and I like going out with friends to try new restaurants. Good food, good wine and good conversation makes a great evening. We have a few places we go to occasionally but we don’t go anywhere exclusively.

december featured crafter - ashley grove of fairview place

FP_studio4 This month's featured crafter is the multi-talented Ashley Grove of Fairview Place. This little lady's charmingly detailed felt food look good enough to eat and her brooches add a touch of bohemian class to any outfit. Ashley also has a keen eye for crafty treasures, particularly paper ephemera, which she fashions into unique greeting cards. Kitsch's craft supply section is filled with many of her fabulous finds. Not only is Ashley a talented crafter, she's an amazing graphic designer and community activist. She was instrumental in the planning of Better Block and even designed the awesome map guides for both events. We are happy to know Ashley and to sell her creations in our shop. Get to know Ashley and read this mini interview!

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Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! Thrift stores, estate sales, a walk in a new area of town, blogs, talking with other creatives, children, my failed (and successful) art attempts, cemeteries, traveling, vintage books, magazines, maps and anything printed. I am an absolute pack rat, so I hoard all kinds of treasures even if I don’t need them at the moment. Weeks, months or years later, I find them and am completely inspired all over again.

 What's your studio playlist?

Anything from Jay-Z to the Beach Boys, Against Me! to The Black Keys. I have also recently started all the Cheers episodes (thanks, Netflix), which is absolutely amazing.

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Where is your studio?

My boyfriend was gracious enough to give me the guest bedroom of our new home use as my studio (even though he’s the one who works from home). I haven’t quite finished decorating yet, but just love spending time in here. I can finally nerd out with all my labeled storage boxes and color-coordinated felt. I have a proper place to store my “in-progress” and “finished” works, along with tons of space for all my packaging – you’d be surprised how much room the felt food containers take up!

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 How do you get yourself out of a creative rut or clear your mind?

A call to my momma, a run, an episode of Cheers, a few minutes on www.ohhappyday.com, a flip through my look book (a binder full of images I’ve been collecting since high school, i.e. Pinterest before Pinterest), a long drive or a delicious beer.

 Share a recipe - bonus points if there's a story behind it.

My grandma’s coleslaw. It’s been at every meal since I can remember and people who loathe coleslaw just love it. 1 head of cabbage, 1 green pepper, three celery stalks, 1 white onion, 2 cups sugar, ½ cup vinegar. Put all the veggies in the food processor. Stir in sugar and vinegar and let sit (at least) overnight. Season with salt and pepper. You’re welcome.

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

I’d buy a big old house and remodel the entire thing. I’d fill it with textiles and treasures from all around the world, then pile in all my closest friends and family for a jamming house party.

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

Honestly, some of my dearest friends. Shawn Barkdull, Emily Gansel, Krissi Xenakis and Adrienne Grove are some of the most talented, supportive and inspirational souls I’ve ever met. In the category of souls I have not met, Charlie Harper, David Carson, Ellen Lupton and Annie Leibovitz fit the bill.

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Describe yourself in 5 words.

Driven, thoughtful, resourceful, patient, clever

Describe your work in 5 words.

Quirky, whimsical, playful, nostalgic, charming

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

I was home a few years back and helping my mom clean out my grandmother’s house after we moved her to a nursing home. It was a difficult time, as she was a huge part of my life and inspiring in so many ways (afterall, she’s the one who taught me to sew). As we were going through her things I found myself in love with it all. The retro knitted scarves, the beautiful Fostoria dishes, the scary handmade clowns, the timeless Mickey Mouse watch, and the boxes and boxes of vintage craft supplies, I knew all this goodness was the essence of my grandmother…and the love and appreciation of all things – new, old, handmade and scary - she instilled in me, inspired me to name the shop after her. Fairview Place is the name of the street she lived on.

We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

Machu Picchu. Can I have my tickets, please?

What's your favorite local haunt?

The DAV Thrift Store on Virginia Beach Blvd. Nice book selection, great clothing finds and they always play terrific music!

Social Media Stuff:

Blog: http://fairviewpl.blogspot.com/

Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/fairviewpl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FairviewPl

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/fairviewpl/

Gift Buying for Everyone!

These gift guides are always so hard to do - We love everything that graces our shelves for different reasons, and with 140+ great makers, crafters, and artists bringing us new and unique items, it's virtually impossible to narrow it down. So, here's just a small fraction of our favorite things for the varied people on our gifting list. You really can find something for anyone! localhe

Locals spread far and wide(a reminder of home)

Anchor Hook by Willway Forge Monkey's fist knots by The Perch Shop Virginia Pillow from Dreamfly Kitsch sticker ;) Magnetic Virginia from That's What She Said Art Norfolk Signage Alphabet cards from Sarah Erickson Hello from Norfolk cards from Paper Freckles Norfolk Print from Maple and Belmont Norfolk Tote from Twittering Bird Norfolk necklace from Jonathan Plante Virginia necklace from a.scarletaudio

The audiophile: Local music from Logan Vath and the Green Boys(we have a few other great local acts to check out as well!) LP and wooden box by Angie Van Dyke Santa card and La Lune print from Horse and Hare Vintage book notebook from Dragonfly Papers Cigar box lamp from Gregg Damantibohemian

The Bohemian

Wolf print from Butterpop Studio Deer card from Holly Camp Cards Crocheted jar vase/candleholder from By T.Alyse Moon shrine from Tracy Delisle Brooch from Fairview Place Recycled leather bag from Tree Fairfax Bead and wood necklace from She Make Recycled suede headband from Sophia's Lament "Arabie" perfume from Modern Atelier Leather and chain earrings from Ashton Keeley China and crocheted wire ring from PrayerMonkey Hanging airplant from Glass Gardens Cactus in recycled mug from Fines Herbs Wooden elephant from Angie Van Dykemodernguy

The Modern Man

Infinity Scarf by Itsy's Designs Beer Holster from Joab Ryan Red Rooster Roasters Funky Chicken coffee Red Nun Ale soap from NoFo Soap Let Curiosity Kill Me koozy by Karen Freidt Belt buckle and bottle opener from Willway Forge Buck Christmas card from Paper Freckles "Beer is Proof" quote button from Artlife Silver and security envelope cufflinks from Ugly Kittie Redeux Bowtie from Anykind

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A Hint of Goth Zombie dog clip from Poochtags Feather, bone and bullet necklace from Creeper Designs Siamese twins doll and Krampus ornament from Silent Orchid Studios Krampus Christmas card from Horse and Hare Poe mini shrine from Tracy Delisle Dog ring bowl from Maja Bality Silver wing ring from My Precious Studio Octopus tentacle necklace from Ey Glass Skull earrings from Mermaid Out of Water Black flower necklace from a.scarlet Monstacozy from Shlii Bow earrings by Salvaged Love

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The Hippie

Hula Hoop from Hoopwright Fractal pocket mirror from Kelly Dietrich Designs Jaques Cousteau quote print from Robyn Banxx Flower pin from Fines Herbs Feather shirt from Impressed Patchouli soap from Roses Ridge Farm Slouchy beanie from By T.Alyse Peace, flowers, feather and bullet casing necklace from Creeper Designs Mushroom snack bag from Zerlina Crafts O'Helyeah natural chocolate chip granola bar Crocheted earrings from Hearthside Farm Wise Tattoos, stickers and headband from Silver Tree Creations Trivet and coasters from Fiesta Fibers Wooden mushrooms from Bees Knees Studio

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The Creative Kid

Felt hotdog set from Fairview Place US map placemat from Marley Ungaro Kid sized apron from The Plaid Hedgehog Crocheted doll from The Kauffeshop Norfolk tshirt from Twittering Bird Leopard Hat from Krispyworks Find it puzzle from Crochet it Baby Crayon roll from Little Oneders Teepee tooth fairy pillow from The Bird and the Elephant Yokai shoulder bag from Tyffylyn Seams Dreamcatcher from Jessica Vann

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The Hostess:

Hand balm from Roses Ridge Farm Glass flower by Joshua Solomon Fabric napkins from Itsy's Designs Handrolled beeswax candles from Willow Creek Apiaries Handturned bottle stoppers from Richard Dooling Spearmint and lavender tea from Seven Oaks Lavender Farm Bowl by Rick Nickel Block printed tea towel from Horse and Hare Salvaged wood vase from Steve Alperin Soy candle from Lilac Ave baby

The  New Parent:

Minky and cotton blanket from Itsy's Designs Teething necklace from Baby Love Bib from Little Snuggly Bug Wetbag, fingerless mittens, legwarmers and bow tie from Little Oneders Diaper pad/wallet from Krispyworks Rainbow Shelf from Senor Huevos rattle from Happy Felties Snuggly gnome from The Burbs Bandana bib and Teether by The Bird and the Elephant Hand dyed muslin swaddlers and burp cloths from the Ninja, the Superhero and the Princess

Holiday Hours!


Wednesday, November 27th
, 11-3
Thanksgiving, Closed
Friday, November 29th, 11-7
Saturday, November 30th(Small Business Saturday)10-8
Sunday, December 1st  - December 9th, 11-7 Tuesday - Saturday, 12-5 Sunday
December 10th - December 22nd, Tuesday - Sunday 11-8
Monday, December 23rd, 11-8
Tuesday, December 24th, 10-2
Christmas, Closed
New Year's Eve and Day, Closed

December 7&8 - It's Our First Vintage Pop Up Shop!

vintageweb As some of you may know, we've expanded our space and now have more room for classes, parties and other events - such as being able to work with some of our favorite collectors  to bring the handmade goodness that folks have come to expect from us and great vintage finds under one roof! The Kitsch Studio will be filled with clothing for women, men and kids, plus excellent housewares and accessories from:

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With Lavender and Lace is a sweet little brick and mortar shop nearby, brimming with reasonably priced yet stylish clothing and accessories for creative minded people.

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 ModFolk specializes in quality mid-century modern housewares, art and tableware - a find of theirs was even bought by the meticulous set designers of Mad Men for Don Draper's apartment!

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The Damn Yankee has the menfolk covered with carefully selected, high quality menswear - all made in the USA. lil_milli_logo_square Lil' Milli Jayne searches all over for for the sweetest goods for your tiny vintage king and queen(or one you know!).

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Dreamfly is the vintage goods side of Vicki, a Kitschette and maker of the popular Virginia Pillows - the same eye for detail and aesthetic that makes her stitchery so lovely goes into curating her collecting!

So come on out and get that holiday list all checked off Saturday, December 7th, 11-7 and Sunday, December 8th, 12-5!

september artist spotlight - joshua solomon

blowing waynesboro1 (1) This month's featured artist is the talented and personable  Joshua Solomon of Solomon Solutions. According to Josh, "in 1999, while visiting Santa Barbara, CA, a serendipitous encounter with a gypsy led to his introduction to glassblowing." Since then, Josh has produced some amazing works of art through the medium of glass. His use of fluid forms and vibrant colors is a pleasure to behold -hypnotizing really. You can find some of his smaller glass beauties at Kitsch! If you'd like to learn more about this interesting and truly authentic fellow, take a gander at the questions he was kind enough to answer for our inquiring minds...

Where do you find inspiration?

I’m inspired by the natural world, art history, other glass artists and glass itself.

What's your studio playlist?

I’m not the most active DJ when I work. I’ve been known to work in silence because I forget to put something on. My default go to jams include: Toots, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Ravi Shankar, Gustav Holst, really, pretty much anything with soul.

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Where is your studio?

I don’t have my own studio; in order to keep costs down (glass blowing is extremely energy intensive) I rent time/volunteer for access. Currently I work in two studios: Trinity Studios in Waynesboro, VA and the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio right here in Norfolk.

How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

I’ve designed a certain amount of evolution into my process. This flexibility keeps me trying new things. I rarely find myself in a rut. I experience creative speed bumps at times; they help in reminding me to take my time.

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

I read all the time. Books have always been my choice of escape. My Favorite authors this year are T.C. Boyle, H.G. Wells and E.O. Wilson.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

The future…or a potential future if that’s what it’s called, say 125 years….2138. I think we live in tumultuous times and I’m curious to see how everything shakes out: globalization, climate change, population explosion, food and water, etc.

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Share a recipe - bonus points if there's a story behind it.

It’s my guac, Joshamole. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s always good. My secret is lots of lime juice (keeps it from turning brown, and aids in texture). One lime for each Avocado. Just the right amount of diced red onion (this depends on who you are…and who you’ll be talking to) Kosher Salt, Fresh Black Pepper and Fresh Cilantro.

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

Giant cells. Animals, plants, fungus, microbes….I love the micro world, it would be brilliant to make it giant in perfect detail. Just imagine a brain cell or a virus 2 stories tall made of glass…

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

Influences: Brancusi, Boccioni, Matisse, Gonzalez, Entner, Littleton.

If I had to pick an Idol I’d have to say Duchamp.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

articulate, funny, sincere, talkative, beardy

Describe your work in 5 words.

dynamic, bright, expressive, organic, composed

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How do you find balance?

One foot in front of the other

What's your typical day?

Unpredictable, generally starts with yogurt, hopefully there are some laughs in the middle, and usually ends with reading.

We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

Christmas Island…whenever those crabs get on the march

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What's your favorite local haunt?

Strawberry Fields, I sometimes go there twice a day…I think I have a gelato problem.

These questions are silly. I'm going to tell you something else...

Creativity only gets you part of the way. A strong work ethic and strong community support are critically important to my success. Thanks to all of you who support my endeavors.

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If you're a fan of Josh's work, which we're sure you must be by now, then become a Facebook fan to keep up with his glass work!

Getting to Know Marissa from Studio Posy!

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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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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!

august artist spotlight.

Jesse MacKenzie, this month's featured crafter, is the creator of ANYKIND, an amazing line of vintage-inspired accessories. The moment her purses, pouches, bow ties, and hair bows made their way to the shelves of Kitsch, they became some of our best sellers. Indeedy, there is truly something for everyone in this gathering of vintage and hand-printed fabrics. The popularity of ANYKIND is a direct result of  Jesse's love for her craft and keen eye for detail. Even her tags are pretty -too darn pretty to throw away (in fact, they make great book marks)! Since moving to Norfolk in October of 2012, this humble craftswoman has become a much loved member of the Kitsch family -always willing to offer a helping hand when we accidentally overstretch our crafty selves. Check out the interview we had with Jesse and get a peak into her beautiful and quirky world...

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Where do you find inspiration? I get so much inspiration from vintage fabrics - the texture, colors, patterns. I hunt all around for fabric, and when I find a really awesome one, I already have an idea what it's going to turn into. Even when I can't go looking or haven't had much luck, I love looking online. There's a site that shares a huge library of vintage textiles from Philadelphia University - http://thedesigncenter.tumblr.com/ - I love looking at their collection.

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What's your studio playlist? This summer it has been: Deerhunter, Kurt Vile, covers by Walk Off The Earth, and the songs "Ways To Go" by Grouplove and "From The Valley To The Stars" by El Perro Del Mar

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Where is your studio?

My studio is in the second bedroom in our apartment in Ghent. It has so much natural light and white walls filled with pictures that inspire me. I'm incredibly lucky to have a whole room dedicated to making things. It helps my productivity so much to be able to spread out and have my supplies organized and easily accessible.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut? By going somewhere - thrift shops, book store, cafe. Just separating myself from what I'm doing resets my mind, so I can come back with a fresh mind. If that doesn't work, I clean and redecorate some part of our apartment - it really inspires me to have something new to look at and make our apartment feel homey.

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Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind. I have watched (or listened to) a lot of TV shows since I started my business and began working at home. Having something to listen to really keeps me productive and helps with the repetitive steps of making things. The two shows I always go back and watch over and over are Breaking Bad and Freaks and Geeks. I usually don't go for action-y, crime-related shows like Breaking Bad, but I couldn't love this show more. The show is so well thought out and the characters are amazing - and while that is in no way related to bag making, it really inspires me. I do love a good high school show, and Freaks and Geeks is my favorite of all time. It's only one season, but that one season never gets old. It's my comfort show.

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What artists influence your work - who are your creative idols? These people get me really inspired and excited to create things: Justin Wallis of Milkbbi, Hollis Brown Thornton, and Annie Bukhman of Gift Shop Brooklyn. Justin Wallis's work just really makes me happy and the attention to detail in his drawings inspires me. Hollis Brown Thornton's art makes me feel nostalgic, I love the subject matter he chooses, and they're so colorful. Annie Bukhman's bags are so simple and gorgeous - it really inspires me that her brand is so cohesive - everything is different but it goes together.

Describe your work in 5 words. simple, useful, vintage, durable, happy

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Tell us something funny that happened recently. This is funny now - not so much then. I was on a plane from Austin to Norfolk, and I was dozing off. All of sudden there was a huge amount of turbulence and the place dipped really, really hard. I was so startled that I automatically grabbed the girl's hand who was sitting next to me. Total stranger. Luckily she was nice and started chatting with me….but after that I couldn't get off that plane fast enough.

Is there a story behind your blog/shop name? I wanted a shop name that was one word and wouldn't limit me if I ended up wanting to make other things. I also wanted to make things that would appeal to and be useful for lots of people. So I kind of created my own word - anykind - that works for all of that.

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What's your typical day? I don't really do the same thing at the same time every day, but every day I try to: design and sew what I need to get done that day, take care of other tasks that come along with a handmade business, keep up with apartment cleaning, go to Zumba, take photos for my blog (wellitsokay.blogspot.com), have some time with Douglas if he's home, cook something good, and take a walk around our part of town.

We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going? Tokyo - I want to see the street fashion, buy all the crazy toys, and get really lost looking around.

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What's your favorite local haunt? The Public House - maybe it's because it's one of the first places my husband Douglas and I went to when we moved here October 2012. But we really love going there. Douglas is gone a lot because of his job in the Navy. But when he comes home after being away for a while, we like to devote a night to walking to the Public House, relaxing, eating some good food, and being together. Those times also help make it my favorite place.

These questions are silly. I'm going to tell you something else... Over the past two years, we have lived in Athens, GA, Charleston, SC, Saratoga Springs, NY, and, since October 2012, here in Norfolk. I never thought I'd live this many places so fast, but it's been, for the most part, filled with really great experiences. For obvious reasons, working from home and having my own business is fairly easy to move from state to state, but doing something creative and doing craft shows really helps with meeting people and learning about a new place. It's been amazing seeing the different creative communities we've come across.

where we've livedCheck out Jesse's super sweet blog, well it's okay and visit her etsy shop. There are so many pretty things to see!

july artist spotlight.

This past week, we had the pleasure of hosting a class with instructor, Jackie Ashley. It was so fun! This adorable and talented young woman is the mastermind behind, Shlii, a collection of freakishly cute, kawaii-style plushies and other original works.PicMonkey Collage Jackie's meticulous and lovingly hand-crafted yetis, ninjas, and other happy little critters grace the shelves of Kitsch, although they never seem to stick around too long. Recently, we had the pleasure of learning more about her. You, too, can gain some insight into the life of a dedicated craftswoman by reading this fun little interview.

Where do you find inspiration?

I’m a very visual person, so I find my inspiration from artwork, fabrics, and animation. I love browsing through deviantArt during sewing breaks. I also find that the cartoon “Adventure Time”, movies by Studio Ghibli, and anime shows greatly influence my work.65056_416816475054705_1454118833_n

What's your studio playlist?

Music is extremely important to me during my creative process; I usually draw new doll designs while listening to my favorite artists. My studio playlist consists of Andrew Bird, Camera Obscura, Architecture in Helsinki, DeVotchKa, Fleet Foxes, The Last Bison, and the list goes on.970739_497632500306435_1427780169_n

Where is your studio?

My studio is located in my home in Norfolk, VA. Early in our marriage, my husband surprised me on our anniversary with the studio space. He’d been working on the room for weeks but wouldn’t let me see what he was doing! When I opened the door and saw all the work he had done for me, there just aren’t enough words to describe my overwhelming appreciation of his support.1045251_505018062901212_1026777796_n

How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

I have yet to experience a creative rut. My problem is actually the opposite. I have so many ideas pouring out of my head, but there just isn’t enough time or I can’t afford the supplies. I make sure to write and sketch out every idea, though. So far I’ve filled three sketchbooks.sketchbooks

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

My current creative heroes are Hayao Miyazaki, Pendleton Ward, and Chelsea Bloxsom. Hayao Miyazaki has an amazing imagination and co-founded Studio Ghibli, Pendleton Ward is the animator and screenwriter who created Adventure Time, and Chelsea Bloxsom is the creative genius behind Love & A Sandwich.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Quiet, Misunderstood, Short, Goofy, Dreamer

Describe your work in 5 words.

Cute, Quirky, Creepy, Soft, Playful

Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

My shop/brand is called “Shlii”, and I often get asked where the word came from or how it’s pronounced. My husband and I used to play ice hockey, and since our last name is Ashley, the team called him “Shlee” and I was “Little Shlee”.

My goal is to spread some sort of happiness, a smile, or a giggle, with everything I create. That is the true reason why I started sewing toys and why I keep sewing.PicMonkey Collage1

If you'd like to learn more about Jackie's work, check out her Etsy shop and become a Facebook fan!

Art! Tommy Mitchell

tommy 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

-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.

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-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) TommyMitche11.tumblr.com

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!

a field trip to seven oaks lavender farm.

IMG_0063 We recently had the pleasure of visiting Seven Oaks Lavender Farm in Catlett, Virginia. This delightful family-run farm has been in operation for eight years. In addition to offering a pick-your-own season throughout the month of June and into the beginning of July, the folks at Seven Oaks Lavender Farm fill their gift shop with a wide array of lavender-filled culinary and bath and body products including honey, jam, jelly, tea,  lotions, candles, and oils to name just a few. A number of their products can be found at Kitsch! Seven Oaks Lavender Farm was a magical trip. Here are some snapshots from the fun day...

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june artist spotlight.

At Kitsch, we love us some creative tag teams! Last month we spotlighted the duo behind Horse & Hare, and now June has led us to another husband and wife team, Derek and Kimberly Munn of Maple & Belmont. Derek and Kimberly have truly mastered the art of hand lettering, bringing new life and character to the written word. Kitsch has been lucky enough to carry their greeting cards, prints, tea towels and pillows, and we're always excited to see their next great design. PicMonkey Collage1

This past week we had the pleasure of hosting their hand-lettering workshop, which was a great time!

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We look forward to offering more classes from this awesome couple -hopefully as early as July. In the meantime, here is a fun little interview we had with Derek and Kimberly. It just makes us love them all the more...

Maple & Belmont was born out of a dream to create stationery and other paper products with our own two hands. So we rekindled our love of screen printing and got to work. Our stationery features charmingly, witty designs that explore our visual voice through hand-drawn illustrations and typography. We strive to bring our patrons a quality only found in short-run handmade products. Currently, we specialize in cards and miscellaneous paper goods, but we are starting to branch out into other stationery products including stamps and textiles. We also offer custom design work along with calligraphy services.

Where do you find inspiration?

Our fascination really began when we lived in Brooklyn. The old signs, building façades, and barrage of old ephemera we'd find at The Brooklyn Flea gave up plenty of fuel for the fire. Now that we're back in Virginia, we're pulling from local references. Looking to Richmond, even though neither one of us smoke, we both love the once mighty tobacco culture that was there. We have a small collection of tins from the turn of the century that have some amazing lettering details. We also find inspiration in old sheet music, packaging, and wooden crates.

What's your studio playlist?

We really have a great grab-bag of music we play, but lately it's been about Macklemore/Ryan Lewis, Daft Punk, and Santigold.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

We live near so many great coffee places (Fairgrounds, Stella, and Cure), often times a good walk, some caffeine, and conversation restarts the creative engines. We'll share some new ideas, stare into each others' eyes for a bit, then talk about what's working and if it's a good idea to try something completely different. If coffee isn't an option, our two dogs (pug and mini-dachshund) always want to play. A quick game of fetch or just a snuggle session helps get our brain off the task at hand.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

DEREK: Noble historical interferences aside, I'm going back and seeing some dinosaurs. I know I could be eaten or get some crazy paleo-plague, but I don't care. Anyone that says differently has lost touch with their inner 5 year old.

KIM: Ditto on Derek's answer. That sounds awesome.

Describe your work in 5 words.

DEREK: Write your mom a letter.

KIM: The old is new again.

How do you find balance?

We're both designers, so it's actually tough for us to put it aside. We admittedly have to get better at carving out "No Work Time". We try to get out on the weekends as much as possible. It's going to be much easier now that the weather is warmer. Spending time walking either along a beach, in the Dismal Swamp, or even the neighborhood (Ghent) is where we balance out.

MB-Studio Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

We were on a long road trip a few years ago and Derek just happened to blurt it out as a good idea for a name. We're both originally from Newport News, and Maple & Belmont is the combination of our two childhood addresses. Kim grew up on Maple Avenue downtown, and Derek grew up on Belmont Road in midtown. Putting the two together captured the idea of something warm, genuine, and sentimental. Both places made us into who were are today, and both places will always be home for us. Despite those places being very specific for us, Maple & Belmont very much embodies the idea of home being where you make it. It's where you belong.

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We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

That's awesome!! Thanks Kitsch peeps, peace out…If we could go anywhere hmmmm... It's a tossup between a European tour starting in Barcelona or a trip to Japan.

What's your favorite local haunt?

We were just talking about this with friends the other day, and the Hampton Taphouse is our place. Even though Norfolk has the original, we're still drawn to this gem in downtown Hampton. The beer menu is always on point, and the food is by far the best of any bar. Yeah, we said it. The specials never disappoint, and the regular menu is a pillar of hunger satisfaction. It's a good place for a date, to take your parents, or get rowdy with a huge group of friends. We do all threes there. To top it all off, the music that comes through is always great. And do yourself a favor and try their Sunday brunch menu.

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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!

Bigger and Better...soon

Hey everyone who happens to be just stopping by, and sorry for the pictureless post! We are closed today and tomorrow(4/30 and 5/1) to sneak all the goodies 2 doors down to a larger space and turn the "old" space into something super cool! Tune in later for some great announcements, more art and handmade love! Same Craft Channel(well, 2 doors down), Same Craft Time!