Collectively, we have probably never spent more time in our homes than we have this year. While vaccines are on the horizon, there’s no reason to believe our domestic confinement won’t stretch past the holiday season. That’s where Charlotte artists come in.
As so many of us have faced uncertainty and struggles in our lives — from losing jobs and loved ones to profound loneliness — our priorities have shifted as well. I have been careful and thoughtful in my spending, choosing to put my money in the pockets of local and small businesses whenever I can and selecting items that bring positive energy into my life.
The things that matter most to me in my home — aside from a full fridge, which inspires deep gratitude — have been the items that make me feel safe and connected to others. Art, plants, candles — items that bring peace and inspiration. Shopping online, as many have been doing all too often lately, it can be easy to lose sight of who is behind the items you are browsing.
I can certainly find a lovely little vase at the big-box store, something that will look nice but make me feel little, but that simply cannot compare to something crafted by the trained hands of an artist. What you get in return for this purchase is likewise much more durable, in both the quality and the joy it will continue to inspire. Not to mention, it still feels cool to have something not everyone else has.
I understand that purchasing art can often feel inaccessible for the everyday person, or like a frivolous expenditure. When it comes to the price of collecting, the reality is that anyone can begin an art collection by seeking out local artists. Their work is often affordable and your support can make all the difference for hardworking artists. It is hardly frivolous to invest in your community and place value on cultivating a space that supports your wellbeing.
Aside from sparking joy in your own life, as the holidays approach many are thinking about how to show love to our friends and family. What better way to do that than gifting something made with heart? They will receive not only a lovely present but unwrap a little piece of your love for Charlotte, too.
There are plenty of fantastic Charlotte-based artists to explore in online marketplaces like Etsy. They are creating work you can afford at any budget and shipping it all around the globe … or right next door. Check out some of these fantastic artists creating right here in the Queen City.
Charlotte-based artist Stacie Monday creates stunning paintings that, according to her Etsy bio, “seek to deconstruct the negative stereotypes of Black women with which we are bombarded on a daily basis.” Her goal for the paintings is to “cause the viewer to stop and engage in conversations relating to social constructs within our society.” Her compelling artwork features Black women in power and grace by utilizing vibrant color and abstract brush strokes in ways both beautiful and thought-provoking.
Monday’s work has an unmistakable artistic signature, so whatever piece you choose it is sure to brighten up the space in which it hangs and be a statement-making piece you will treasure, and love to show off. At her Etsy shop you can purchase high-quality poster prints as well as canvas prints at various sizes, an affordable way to buy original art and support an incredible local artist. Monday also sells her original paintings, if you can snag one.
I have a real weakness for paper goods and pencils, I must be honest with you. However, I think the lovely Good Postage shop would convert even the most stubborn skeptic into a letter writer. This mother-and-daughter-run boutique doesn’t just sell adorable paper goods, but Jane Manfredi, School of the Art Institute graduate (and the daughter of the duo), is responsible for all the artwork. Jane’s hand-drawn designs capture animals, everyday objects, zodiac signs and memorable moments with color and charm. Her designs are printed onto cards and postcards made of recycled paper, fit for sending love to all those whom you have missed this year. A wide range of Jane’s artwork are also available as larger prints, perfect for framing and gifting.
Looking for something a little extra to throw in a Good Postage card? You can’t do better than the hand-designed stickers, featuring images like a Café Bustelo planter, the sweetest kitten you’ve ever seen, and a basket of hot chicken. Also check out their handmade soy and coconut wax candles with soothing scents to calm your mind in these trying times. The candles even come with a complimentary vintage matchbook — a nice touch.
If your design aesthetic leans minimal and modern you will love the work of a local Charlotte artist who goes by Dusty Dangero, aka Dangerdust. The minimalist and naturalistic styles in watercolor, chalk and acrylic that you will find in her shop today are the result of an unintentional shift that occurred after she followed her own heart and sought what brought her peace and comfort. “I started out as a chalk and lettering artist, that was very elaborate,” Dusty says. “In recent years my style has evolved. I didn’t realize while I was doing it, but all of my work was created to feel at peace, to find some calm in this rocky, unpredictable world.”
You can capture a bit of this calm for yourself by purchasing Dangerdust’s affordable prints on fine art paper. One piece that resonates particularly in this trying year is a contained ocean scene, serene in its shades of blue and sweet yellow sun, accompanied by the words “Ebb & Flow” — a gentle reminder that all things come and go just as nature intended. A reminder that would look at home in almost any room. Or perhaps share your love for our local nature with the print “Take A Hike,” a modern Blue Ridge Mountain landscape in lush shades of blue and green.
A wall hanging is a great way to introduce some texture into your décor. Lily Delaire of Century Clay is a California native who now’s living and creating as an artist in Charlotte. She’s busy making exactly the thing your gallery wall is missing. Lily crafts handmade clay wall hangings that are both grounded and abstract. Fired in earth tones and neutrals they will go with nearly anything, and utilizing basic shapes and natural materials they bring a stylish harmony into your home.
Lily says she is “inspired by the colors and textures of nature, architecture, and ancient art,” and started her shop two years ago as “an extension of my desire to find and create pretty things in life.”
For the loveliest mugs, bowls, platters and all matter of functional porcelain ceramics, head over to Julie Wiggins’ online shop. Julie is a full-time potter here in Charlotte who has honed her craft the state and world over, studying ceramics at East Carolina University and traditional Eastern techniques at Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in China. The eye-catching and detailed geometric and floral designs etched and drawn into her pottery today reflect a woman in charge of her craft and with a distinct point of view.
Julie’s color palette of ivories, soft pinks and yellows, royal blues, and robins-egg blues invoke a sense of vintage while looking easily at home in your modern kitchen. Most of Julie’s pottery is dishwasher safe so you treasure it by using it frequently, a wonderful gift for a loved one to brighten up their kitchen. You may want to grab something for yourself while you’re at it to bring a touch of whimsy to your morning cup of coffee.
For the plant lover, or aspiring plant parent, the minimal and beautiful objects over at Made by Kippen, that are indeed made by a Charlotte artist named Kippen, are just what you are looking for. This Charlotte-based artist got started making candles, then making concrete containers for her candles, and now creates handmade planters, trays and home goods. All of Kippen’s pieces have her signature minimalistic aesthetic, favoring neutral tones and geometric shapes that are a suitable addition for any décor style.
One of the items I love is the Match Strike Cylinder, a chic concrete container for your matchsticks with a strike paper on the bottom — a perfect gift when paired with one of her handmade candles. Kippen’s planters are equally ideal for a coffee table or literally any surface, or wall with her hanging planters, in your home. Planters come in sizes small enough for your sweetest succulents or large enough to make a statement. Don’t let the clean line aesthetic fool you, whatever concrete gem you choose from Kippen’s wares will have been made by her individually — making each piece truly one of a kind.
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