Artist Spotlight: Genna Carter

We sat down with whimsical jeweler and clothing maker Genna Carter to learn about her unique recycled creations.

Tell us your artist story.

I have always loved creating things, even as a child. I always had some project I was making. By the time I was in high school, I had zeroed in on making jewelry. When I went to college, Virginia Tech, I majored in Art History and had a second major in Sociology. I would not talk about my studio classes and none of my friends even knew I was taking them until one day I walked into a political science class and had a very visible panic attack. My professor was absent and his GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant) was heading the lecture for the day. For weeks, this unbeknown GTA had been my nude male model for my studio watercolor class. Before he could notice me, my friends covered me and dragged me out of the lecture hall asking me if I needed help. That is how  I was discovered as an artist but I lacked the confidence to ever show my work to anyone other than other art professors and other artists. Flash forward to spring semester of my senior year and realizing that “starving artist” was going to be a reality, I switched the order of my majors and got my Bachelors in Sociology. I went on to get my Masters in Criminal Justice; I have a thing for serial killers.

Fast forward to life as a Mom with three kids… I start getting the itch to create again and pick back up making jewelry. Memories of my Grandmother’s button jar, zipper pouch, and other recycling efforts keep resurfacing. I began making button bracelets after a 2012 trip to the orthodontist lands me with a $5,000 bill for my oldest child. I worked in a preschool and a gym and both jobs did not annually total $5,000. Realizing I had three kids with three sets of crooked teeth and would be facing $15,000 in dental bills, I started selling jewelry at small church craft fairs and farmers markets. My business was officially named “Bracelets4Braces”. I have since become “justGenna designs” after paying for those three sets of braces in full. I should really expand “justGenna” to let people know I have paid for a flooded kitchen, a flooded ceiling repair, a washer/dryer, vet bills, year round soccer, college applications and donate 10% of everything I make to local charities, usually anonymously. “justGenna designs” has also expanded to designs that has included shirts and skirts made from recycled tshirts and neckties, gloves and scarves from recycled sweaters, signs made from salvaged wood, jewelry made from furniture industry remnants and from neckties. Every item I make is a one-of-a-kind. I love meeting people who connect to my work. My favorite item to create are my themed skirts and I live by the motto that “life is too short to wear boring clothes”. I have a very snarky sense of humor that gets me into trouble too.

What does being a part of Whimsical Women mean to you?

This will be my 7th year as a Whimsical. I do not take this lightly. My first year of shows I met a Whimsical artist. She encouraged me, gave me a sense of worth, became my friend and introduced me to this Whimsical Women Show. I applied and was juried face to face with one of the founders. I learned of the backstory of the show, the meaning of the show, and learned about women lifting one another through art. I learned about strength and courage in numbers and acceptance for who you really uniquely are. I felt accepted, understood and felt a community like nothing ever before. If I drive into a show parking lot and see a Whimsical magnet I immediately know I have a friend inside somewhere that will be support, kind, and a soul sister. Being a Whimsical Women is more than just a show. It is a verb to me. Whenever I am at other shows, I observe and when I find a woman who is unique, off the beating path, funky creative, kind and genuine I share the story about Whimsical Women like someone once did for me.

Where can folks find your funky, upcycled art?

I live in High Point and currently keep a busy calendar of shows from the Charlotte area to the Raleigh area. I have Facebook and Instagram and post where I will be each weekend.  I really enjoy meeting my customers face to face.  I did not get the same satisfaction when I was in brick and mortar. I have recently reopened my Etsy store for the online shopping.

Genna is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Nanette Gatti Davis

We sat down with whimsical jewelry maker and metal worker Nannette Davis to learn about her unique jewelry.

First off, can you describe in your own words what it is that you create?

I design and fabricate jewelry out of sterling silver, copper, nu-gold, brass and a variety of other materials. I love to do wire and bead work and often incorporate it into my pieces.

Tell us about your journey as an artist. How did you get started?

I am a North Carolina based artist and have been designing and fabricating in metals since 1991. After working with designers in Chicago I started creating my own collections. With training in Graphic Design and Jewelry Metalsmithing I combine my love of line, light, texture and form alongside a variety of techniques to create pieces that always seems to take on a tactile dimension in which one can see the layers of thought and manipulation of the materials that it took to get it into its final state. I have a passion for people, design in all forms, nature and nurturing. I am a metals design instructor at Sawtooth School for Visual Art.

Describe your favorite WW memory or moment.

My favorite memory of a Whimsical Women show is from way back on the farm. I had just moved to Winston-Salem from Colorado, knew no-one. A neighbor found out I was an artist and decided to invite me to ride along to go see this women’s art show “out at a farm”, I thought “WHAT???” I am always up for a good adventure so I joined her and a few of her friends. WOW…. Well need I say more… it blew me away, the setting was incredible, the women were kind and gracious, we spent hours there just talking, snacking, getting to know artists and buying art!  Still one of my best days yet! I told myself that one day I wanted to be part of this group, and life has brought me full circle!!

How can people find your amazing work?

I currently sell my work through Instagram and Facebook  (@NannetteDesign). I am also in the Davis Gallery Shop at Sawtooth School, and do several shows around Winston-Salem throughout the year.

Nannette is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Silo Knoll Pottery

We met up with whimsical ceramicists Casia Beck and Pam Taylor to learn more about their colorful ceramic art.

First off, what is Silo Knoll Pottery? Why do you both create?

Silo Knoll Pottery strives to create functional pottery that brings joy to each owner. We hand make and hand paint each piece, with aspects of nature, using contrasting colors and textures that are visually pleasing.    

Tell us a bit about how Silo Knoll came to be.

Silo Knoll Pottery is a team effort.  Casia Beck started doing pottery in high school. She can still remember the first day she sat down at the wheel. There is nothing like having your hands on clay and making something from nothing. As the years passed, Casia took classes here and there while her love to pottery grew more and more.  It was 3 years ago that she decide to do pottery full time.  At the time she was taking classes at Sawtooth School in downtown Winston-Salem.  As she got busy with shows she realized she needed help. Pam Taylor was in her class and Casia knew they would be the perfect fit team.  She asked Pam to come work for her and the rest is history.

They have been working together as a team for about 2 years now. Pam is a very gifted potter that teaches wheel throwing at Sawtooth. She got started in pottery as a way to have time to herself but soon that hobby turned into a passion.  The pair works together well because Casia loves painting and hand building pieces, while Pam loves to throw.  Their main influence for design is nature. Casia is constantly amazed at the way colors are arranged and displayed to give us joy. Her hope is that their pots will bring the same kind of joy.

What is your favorite part about Whimsical Women?

“My favorite part about WW is the people who come and support us. I have never been to a show where so many people support and really care about the artists. It is a joy and a blessing to be a part of the show.”

– Casia Beck

Where can folks find more information about your creations?

If you would like to see more of our pottery you can find us on Facebook under Silo Knoll Pottery or you can find us on Instagram @silo_knoll_pottery.

Casia & Pam are just two of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Tonya Ellis

We met up with Whimsical jewelry maker Tonya Ellis to learn about her process and craft.

First off, can you tell us what it is that you make?

I create leather jewelry using leather tooling and metal smithing techniques 

What has your journey as an artist looked like?

Started about 7.5 years ago when I saw a rather expensive leather bracelet in one of those oh so trendy magazines and thought, I think I can make that!  Gathered my supplies and everyone loved it, and I began taking orders. 


Over the years I’ve worked on growing my skills by taking classes at The Sawtooth Center and good ole YouTube.

What is your favorite part about Whimsical Women?

The people are my favorite! From the customers to the amazing women that run it. It’s the sense of community and knowing that your tribe has your back and always willing to help. 

Where can people find your amazing work?

The Arts Place of Stokes, Wanderlust Boutique, Instagram (@adorneddarlingjewelry), and Facebook.

Tonya is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Judith Long

We met up with Whimsical soap maker Judith Long to learn about her process and craft.

First off, can you describe in your own words what you create and what inspires you to create?

I have been handcrafting soaps and skin care products since 1998. In 2016, Morgan, my daughter, joined Long Family Farm, LLC after earning her Business Major at UNCG. We started with our Peppermint soap and have expanded to our current line.  Each soap or skin care product was developed with a need in mind: our shampoo bar, FACE soap, Judith’s unscented soap, etc.

What is your favorite part about Whimsical Women, or can you share with us a fond WW memory?

We love that Whimsical Women is a grass roots organization, started by Luli and Linda – in honor of their mother, that has grown to the hugely successful event that it is today.  In many ways, it represents each of us artists and our paths.

Where can folks find your soaps and bath products?

www.LongFamilyFarmSoaps.com – our soaps can be purchased online.  We also have a page on our website that list retail locations (we have 4) and our upcoming shows and events.  Click on the Locations page! And of course, you can find us at the Whimsical Women art show!

Judith is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Michelle Jarrett

We sat down with Whimsical artist Michelle Jarrett to learn more about her unique, upcycled décor.

In your own words, describe what you make as an artist.

I recycle old, found objects into sometimes useful, sometimes playful home and garden décor. I call it “funky folk art.”

Tell us your story. Have you always been an artist? How has your journey as an artist informed what you make now?

Creating is something that is part of my being. I have always made things by hand, recycling old into new. I love treasure hunting, wherever I roam, searching for pieces that speak to me. It’s an attraction, an energy, like a magnet to steel. Bits and pieces, I organically morph into my artwork. It is so much fun and I get so much joy out of my creations. I think it shows in my work with a wink and a smile.

Share with us your favorite part of WW, or a favorite Whimsical memory!

My favorite part of Whimsical Women is the people. It feels great to be around women supporting women in the things they love. They are truly interested in the process and appreciate the work that goes into our creations.

Where can people find your funky folk art?

You can visit my Facebook page, Funky by Nature GSO, and see my new work as well as my upcoming shows. You can also message me; you can purchase things directly from me or if out of town, I can ship it to you.

Michelle is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Toni Becker

We sat down with Whimsical artist Toni Becker to learn more about her striking, colorful paintings and other creations.

In your own words, describe what you make as an artist.

I am a mixed media, healing artist who loves working with a multitude of materials – acrylic paint, glass, wood, paper and recycled/repurposed items.  I create acrylic paintings with many layers, small painted magnets with hand drawn/painted images and empowering messages, recycled bottle cap earrings with mini paintings, mini canvas necklaces, glass wind chimes, hand bound dreaming journals, self-love boxes, and other art when the mood strikes. 

My artistic expression depends on what I’m being inspired by in the moment or my life circumstances.  Art serves a couple different purposes for me.  First, it’s my way of interpreting everyday situations, my emotions, and my connection with the world around me.  Secondly, I use art as a mode of healing, an outlet for navigating the challenges life presents me with, and my emotional response to all of it. 


My art is whimsical in design and an interpretation of my everyday life as I see and feel it.  Sometimes my art is an interpretation of the music I am listening to at the time, but in general it is my view on various situations occurring in my life as I am creating, how I feel at the time of creation, and what inspires me.  I am inspired most by nature which can be seen in a lot of the work I do.  My other sources of inspiration are music, culture, people, and BRIGHT, VIBRANT colors!

Tell us your story. Have you always been an artist? How has your journey as an artist informed what you make now?

In one form or another, I have used art to heal. As a little girl with the intention of feeling better I turned to my drawing paper. It’s there, I found comfort and healing scratching out little drawings and doodles. As an adolescent, in the moments of hurt and pain, I turned to the piano or my tenor saxophone leaving my drawing paper behind, the melodic notes soothing my soul and spirit. I stopped drawing and playing music for many years, but in 2002 while experiencing a great loss, my dear mother stepped in to help me heal. She decided to enroll me in a simple beading class that we could do together. Little did I know that her loving gift would lead me back on a path of creation, not only in times of healing, but also in times of joy. Art has been a vehicle of healing, self-discovery, transformation, and finding my voice. It has been in the quiet moments of creation, I have connected so deeply with my inner self and the divine. With that deep connection through art, came resistance, fear and self-doubt, but it also brought the deepest love, joy, and gratitude I have ever experienced, it’s healing power more than I can place into words. It has taken me a long time to realize that I should stop wrestling with myself and resisting the artistic path I have been called to do, and surrender. I’ve experienced uncomfortable gifts that have cracked me open and taught me to accept those gifts, trust the process, and surrender to the idea that I am only a small vessel trying to help those around me through art.


As an intuitive artist, most of my paintings are done by showing up to the canvas.  I start my process by pouring different colors on the canvas, and continue to build layer after layer.  My paintings have several layers, marks, words, shapes and textures until the final image emerges.  In general, I don’t have a beginning idea when I start, and listen to my inner self while exploring my feelings, the world around me, and what is inspiring me at the time.  The end result is quite magical on the canvas and off.

Share with us your favorite part of WW, or a favorite Whimsical memory!

I have been a participating artist of WW since the Spring of 2011 and have cherished each show.  My heart fills with gratitude when I think of each show, and the lifetime friendships I have made through this incredible art show.  I have a few WW memories that I hold dear in my heart, and I will cherish forever.  The first being the interview process with Luli.  I was so nervous and hadn’t quite embraced the idea that I was an artist.  Taking each piece of art out and telling her about each item, then spending the next hour connecting and sharing our journey in life was a memory I’ll never forget.  The next memory I hold dear is my first show with WW.  As a new artist, there was a special welcome from some of the women who had been doing the show for years.  It helped calm my nerves and made me feel so loved.  I’ve had some pretty tough life circumstances that have knocked me to my knees, but showing up for the set up at shows, being welcomed by the friendliest and loving group of women, and receiving a loving embrace made life so much easier. 

“Being a part of this show is something that words fail to describe.  I love all the funky art, the women that make it, and that I’ve made some great friendships through art.”

Where can people find your incredible, healing art?

Beyond Whimsical Women, my work can be found in local art/craft festivals around Winston-Salem, NC and the surrounding area.  My art can be purchased directly from me, or through one of the many online avenues I have.  I periodically send out a newsletter that shares where I will be locally selling my art, my art classes/services, and sharing my journey as a human through art.  Many times I have coupons for my newsletter subscribers.  I welcome commissioned pieces as well.


Etsy:  etsy.com/shop/artfullyhealing/
Facebook
Instagram:  instagram.com/empowerment21/
Blog:  artfullyhealing.blogspot.com
Other blog: whimsicaljewels.blogspot.com/
Prints: Society6

Toni is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Sue Bang

We sat down with Whimsical artist Sue Bang to learn more about her one-of-a-kind pottery.

Tell us your artist story. How long have you been creating? What has your journey been like and how has your process evolved in that time? And what inspires you as an artist?

I’ve been getting muddy in clay for as long as I can remember. I think I made my first “face ashtray” when I was about 8 years old, I’m pretty sure my Mom still has it!! I am originally from Canada and have moved around a lot since I came to the US after marrying my husband Kris. Everywhere we’ve lived I always sought out a studio to work in clay, either hand building or wheel throwing. About 15 years ago I decided it was time to have a studio at my home. I am a very lucky woman as my husband is extremely supportive of my work, we worked together to set up a great studio with everything I needed. I can literally roll from my bed in my PJ’s to my wheel and get to work!


I have always said I could never be a production potter, someone who can make 100 of the exact same thing, I’d pull my hair out. So with my pottery you’ll find that most of my pieces are unique and one of a kind. I love texture and try to incorporate it and nature into all of my pieces. Pottery is meant to be touched and handled and I enjoy watching people pick it up and run their hands over it.

What do you love about Whimsical Women, or a favorite memory from a past show?

Whimsical Women brings joy to my heart for so many reasons. What I love the most is the warmth and love of all the Whimsical Women I see each year. The women in this show are not only talented artists but loving caring women. Most of them I only get to see once a year, so when show time comes its like visiting with long lost friends.

How can people find your amazing pottery (besides at your booth at the WW art show, of course!)?

I currently sell my work at art shows in the Raleigh/Wake Forest/ Winston Salem area. I also sell at Sugar Magnolias in historic downtown Wake Forest. So if you’re ever in Wake Forest be sure to visit Sugar Magnolias for some wonderful art and a glass of sweet tea.

Sue Bang is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Ann Potter

We sat down with Whimsical artist Ann Potter to learn more about her colorful fiber art.

How long have you been making your art?

It has taken me a while to call myself an artist. I started out as farmer. My family had several llamas, then more llamas, then a few sheep, then angora mohair goats, then alpacas. So, what to do with all that fiber? I birth, raise, and shear my own animals. I wash and process the fiber, dye it, spin it, and then make unique items of clothing from it. I stick mainly to smaller items such as hats, scarves, cowls, and shawls. I love color and texture, so my clothing items tend to be unique and colorful. Perhaps, at times, over the top! So after I was spinner, and a fiber processer, and a dyer, and then making all these things, all of a sudden, I realized . . . I am a fiber artist! Working with all fiber is my happy place. I find it very relaxing, meditative, and fun.

What do you love about Whimsical Women, or a favorite memory from a past show?

Whimsical Women has been a special part of my life for many years. My children were in Luli’s Kindergarten class! I remember when the shows were at Ellen Bonnet’s home and there were 5-8 vendors. I love that the show has grown and that we continue to be able to honor Luli and Linda’s dream of honoring their mother.

How can folks find your beautiful, unique pieces?

I sell items from my beautiful farm at the base of Pilot Mountain and at several small shows a year. However, I save my best for Whimsical Women! My first love.

Ann Potter is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

Artist Spotlight: Beth Sykes Shaffer

We sat down with Whimsical artist Beth Sykes Shaffer to learn more about her eclectic and original art.

How long have you been making your art?

I started making windchimes 10 years ago when I retired. Great grandad was a blacksmith – so I feel like I have metal in my veins! Love learning new skills at Sawtooth in WS! I make silverplate and enamel jewelry as well. Tried my hand at robots last year. I love to pick up everyday items and see them differently. If I live to be 200 – I won’t have time to learn everything I am interested in!

What do you love about Whimsical Women, or a favorite memory from a past show?

Last year was my 2nd WW. I am honored to be included in such an amazing group of WOMEN!!!

How can folks find your beautiful, unique pieces?

My work can currently be found at The Joyful Jewel in Pittsboro & Tiny Greenhouse here in Greensboro, NC. I am on Etsy, Instagram, & take custom orders, as well.

Beth Sykes Shaffer is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.