Can you believe Christmas is only 12 weeks away?? I mean, that may sound like a long time, but I’m pretty sure that it’s going to sneak up on all of us FAST! So, I’m making a pact with myself this holiday season: I’m going to practice what I preach - I’m going to SHOP SMALL. As a small business owner, I know how truly meaningful and valuable it can be when people commit to shopping small during the holidays. Transparency time: last year, my fourth quarter (October to December) sales accounted for 56% of my overall sales in 2018. That’s over HALF! I’m serious when I say that your dollar makes a difference in the life of a small business owner because I’ve experienced it first-hand.
In an effort to positively impact the lives of my small business/creative friends, I’m going to compile a list of some of my favorite places to Shop Small this Holiday Season to share with all of you, and I’m going to make every effort to only purchase gifts from small businesses this year. I know that may seem like a tough undertaking what with the convenience of big businesses out there offering free 2-day shipping and all, but trust me, it’ll make more than just your gift-recipient happy! I’ve got a manageable list of businesses for each category (promise not to overwhelm you!), and I’ll release them here on the blog every Wednesday from now until Christmas. I’ll share my picks & how you can access these businesses to make purchases yourself. So, join me in this challenge, won’t you? Shop Small with me!
Shop Small Holiday 2019: Art
I’m beginning my first installment of Shop Small Holiday 2019 with our artists because many of them offer stunning commissions, but their deadlines are EARLY! As in, I may have actually missed a few already, But, not to fear, many of these businesses also offer stock work and beautiful originals or prints you can buy right off their websites. Let’s shop!
Business Name: Elaine Burge Art
Owner: Elaine Burge
Location: Based in Riddleville, GA; work available for purchase online
Instagram Handle: @elaineburgeart
Offerings: fine art on canvas, art-inspired colorful jewelry, commissions
What They Have To Say: “I like to think I celebrate life with paint. I hope to capture happiness and wit and wonder with my brush strokes. It makes me happy to layer complimentary colors that create an emotion of their own. I thrive on color combinations and shapes that together produce form. I like to use water in my layering to show the viewer the process in the steps I take. I try to grant myself a certain freedom to enjoy the act of painting, rather than focusing on the end product. Most of the time, I have no idea what my work will look like until it's finished. There is always a moment when I know I can't make it any better. Then, I call it complete. I paint because I have to, and I'm grateful I get to every day!”
My Personal Favorites: Barefoot in Sunflowers; Yours; Running with Flowers (Elaine painted an incredible 48x60” abstract of pheasants for above our bed last year, and I’m obsessed with how well the colors compliment our room and bring it to life!)
Business Name: Ellen Catlin
Owner: Ellen Catlin
Location: Asheville, NC; work available for purchase online & at Broth Lab in Asheville locally
Instagram Handle: @ellencatlincreative
Offerings: fine art on canvas and paper, commissions
What They Have To Say: “Ellen Catlin is a contemporary american painter and sculptor working in Asheville, North Carolina. Originally from North Florida, Ellen was raised on a sailboat circumnavigating the world with her family. She went on to receive her BFA in painting from the University of Georgia and made her way up and down the east coast before settling in Western North Carolina. In her work she explores memory and experience, and how they manifest themselves in a person. An origin story is her keystone. In her own take on storytelling, she focuses on subconscious pairings, dusty recollections, and the translation of those feelings you can’t quite identify into a mark. Each brushstroke and color have a distinct and representational purpose which, in the end, culminates into a story told. She also paints plants. Her work can be found in private collections in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta, Detroit, and more.”
Business Name: Hannah Betzel Fine Art
Owner: Hannah Betzel
Location: Athens, GA; work available for purchase online
Instagram Handle: @hannahbetzelfineart
Offerings: fine art works on paper and canvas, jewelry, prints, stationery, art-printed clothing, painted ornaments, commissions
What They Have to Say: “Hannah works and resides in the charming Five Points neighborhood of Athens, Ga. She paints in her home studio and is known for her cheerful, colorful abstracts and has a tendency to explore other styles as her curiosity requires. Experimenting and expanding her skill set is a big part of what inspires new bodies of work.
A self-taught artist, Hannah has a passion for creating art that lifts the spirit and inspires others. She is a lover of fashion and interiors and is always searching for ways to incorporate art into everyday life. For paintings, her medium of choice is acrylics on canvas and she loves to experiment with gouache, ink, watercolors, collage, pastels, and charcoal. She finds switching back and forth between mediums keeps her work fresh and inspired.”
My Personal Favorites: Silver Surfer (I purchased a piece from this series last Spring & love the size + colors! My fits so perfectly styled on my bookshelves - plus, perfectly priced for gifting!); Mirror Pose; Frosting On My Fingertips
Business Name: Kate Waddell Art
Owner: Kate Waddell
Location: Columbus, GA; work available for purchase online & at Gregg Irby Gallery in Atlanta, GA
Instagram Handle: @katewaddellart
Offerings: fine art paintings on canvas, prints, stationery
What They Have To Say: “I was born and raised in Columbus, Ga and then ventured on to the fairytale city of Charleston, SC where I attended the College of Charleston & earned my degree in Studio Art. After my first painting class at the college, I left very discouraged and was sure I'd never paint again. Thankfully, my professor, Tony Csavas, encouraged me in my different style and is one of the main reasons why I kept painting. I got a painting studio a few months before graduating from college and haven't looked back since! I called Charleston home for seven years & have just recently moved back to my hometown of Columbus, Ga. As a follower of Jesus, I am so thankful that He has intertwined my life with art. It is my hope that with every painting, our eyes are drawn to the grand creator, Himself. I am currently painting out of Mill District Studios. Feel free to email me to come by the studio and visit!”
Business Name: Katie Jacobson Art
Owner: Katie Jacobson
Location: Columbus, GA; work available for purchase online
Instagram Handle: @katiejacobsonart
Offerings: fine art paintings on canvas, commissions
What They Have To Say: “My eye is very sensitive to light and color. I am inspired by light and it’s aesthetic relationship with color in mundane scenes. With oil paint as my central medium, I enjoy painting people, animals, landscapes, and still lifes. My paintings evolve around the evanescence of time and the uniqueness’s of short- lived experiences and moments. They develop as light advances on its object and in its environment. My paintings are an opportunity to visually intake the unacknowledged, yet distinguishable, beauty of entity.”
“For as long as I remember I have expressed myself through art. My grandmother, an artist, had me painting and drawing as soon as I could hold a paintbrush. Born and raised in Columbus Georgia, I continued on to the University of Mississippi where art grew from passion into a personal connection and commitment. I spent 5 years moving around to different cities, and earlier this year decided to move back to my hometown, Columbus GA.”
Business Name: Lauren Bolshakov Fine Art
Owner: Lauren Bolshakov
Location: Charlotte, NC; work available for purchase online
Instagram Handle: @laurenbolshakovart
Offerings: fine art works on canvas, linen, and paper, artwork skirts
What They Have To Say: “I’m an artist and dancer living in Charlotte, NC with my husband and daughter. I've been painting professionally since 2009. My works have been collected internationally and featured in such publications as Better Homes & Gardens. Currently I’m focusing on figurative and abstract works, primarily in mixed and water based medias.
My art is inspired by movement, by nature, by dance, and by connections. Being a visual artist as well as a dancer of Argentine Tango has made me extremely aware of negative space, of good lines and of the idea that you can communicate in many ways without saying a word.
I love soft colors, strong lines, balance, and playing with different mediums and surfaces to evoke a feeling. I have always worked in water media, loving the fluidity of the paint and the challenge of making the unpredictable predictable, and also have always incorporated charcoal into my work. While these two things are consistent in my art, I try to always explore, play with, and be adventurous when developing new ideas.”
Business Name: M Studio
Owner: Mary Margaret Monsees
Location: Savannah, GA; contact Mary Margaret for custom work
Instagram Handle: @mstudio
Offerings: acrylic and resin paintings on wood panel, works on paper, commissions
What They Have To Say: “Born and bred in southern Georgia, I cannot remember a time when art was not a part of my life. My family highly values creativity, and I spent my childhood and early adult life immersed in the world of art. I studied art history at the University of Georgia, working in galleries throughout my time in Athens and spending a summer taking studio art classes abroad in Florence, Italy. After college I went on to study a different art form: architecture. I earned my master’s in historic preservation in Charleston, South Carolina, because I wanted to understand this tangible art form that people interact with on a daily basis. The degree intersected my love of history and art perfectly, and it greatly impacted my vision as an artist.
After graduate school I watched from my 9-5 desk job as the once exclusive art industry shifted seemingly overnight with the influence of social media and its ability to create and sustain independent artists. With the encouragement of friends and family, I picked my brushes back up and reunited with my identity as an artist. My business is in its infancy, and the transition has not been without its share of growing pains, but at the end of each day, I can say I have spent my time painting, and that fills my soul.
I currently have three series in the works: Resin Flower Studies, Flowering Trees, and Bridal Bouquets. All three series intentionally share a theme of flowers. I believe that everything I need to study and improve upon as an artist can be found in one, single blossom: composition, line, color, shadow, and depth. More importantly, perhaps, it is hard not to smile when you look at a flower.
I am at the beginning of what I hope will be a long pursuit of painting. Thank you for brightening my path with your presence and emboldening this dream of mine.”
My Personal Favorites: I’m obsessed with her commissioned resin flower studies! I’d love an entire wall filled with them a la Lavin Label
Business Name: Well & Wonder Artist Collective
Owner: Mollie Creason
Location: Louisville, KY; collective available for purchase online
Instagram Handle: @wellandwonder
Offerings: works in watercolor, oil, acrylic, mixed media, drawing, collage, and ceramics
What They Have To Say: “Well + Wonder curates an online collection of original art by emerging Southern artists, at prices fit for collectors at all levels. Welcome."
From Mollie: “I started collecting original art in my late 20s when I became more interested in investing money in my home rather than buying the latest pair of Tory Burch boots. Don't get me wrong, I still very much enjoy nice Tory Burch shoes and clothing but I now more clearly see the value in investing in my home. My husband and two young children and I moved into our (hopefully!) forever home 2 years ago and have slowly been chipping away at making it our own.
Art that I have collected over the years has so effortlessly fit into gallery walls in the foyer, children's bedrooms, our formal dining room, etc. All this art tells a story - pieces that my Mother gave me from her trip to Japan all over my dining room; a Dorothy Shain bikini in my children's bathroom that reminds them of the beach, my favorite Paige Follmann figurative oil painting in my foyer (her first series of these types of paintings that now have a cult like following!); my son's portrait painted by Chattanooga artist and friend Liz Lindstrom; a bright yellow Susie Bettenhausen abstract over our sofa in our informal living room where our kids lounge everyday (yellow they say is the "happiest color"); an abstracted landscape diptych by Adele Yonchak over my mantle that has my favorite bold colors in it - yellow and orange, that ties my entire living room together; a commissioned watercolor in our kitchen of our first home that we brought our babies home to; a pair of EMYO floral paintings that are painted on thick hand cut wood from her farm in Tennessee that remind me of the south - rustic, simple, durable, resilient-- yet painted on these wood panels are soft southern flowers - very feminine and delicate. How does it get more Southern than that?
Before I could afford "real" art I purchased studies from artists that they would have never sold - pieces that are on paper that they do as a practice, a starting point before they begin a large scale painting. I have these hanging now in my bathroom. They still bring me such joy. I have the first painting I purchased by a Southern artist that is now an established artist, Lulie Wallace, hanging above my little girl's "big girl" bed. These are only a handful of pieces in my beloved collection. I could go on and on about the art in my home, but the cool thing about it all, more than shoes and more than draperies and handmade pillows is it all tells such a great story. Each piece was created by an artist with the intention that it would be sold and one day live as part of a greater collection. This is what Southern art means to me - the story that it tells and not only how I connected with it but what I have passed onto my family and others that come into my home. As a Southerner, that is so important to us. The stories we tell, the friends we meet, the community we make.”
Follow along with me on Instagram as I share any purchases I make with small businesses this holiday season, and use #MFFshopsmallchallenge to join me (or if you think there's a small business I should highlight)!