Artist Spotlight: Jessica Skinner

We sat down with whimsical potter Jessica Skinner of LouLouBelle Pottery to learn more about her colorful, sophisticated ceramics.

Tell us about what you create.

I make ceramics for the home using a combination of wheel thrown and hand building techniques.  The majority of my work focuses on functionality and I love to bring bright colors together with sophisticated style. 

Give us a taste of your “artist’s story.” How did you become the potter you are today?

I fell in love with pottery in a summer ceramics class in 2015. Since then I have had an endearing obsession for it. The feel of the clay brings me closer to nature, which  is the inspiration of my work. The abundance of colors, shapes and textures fuel me. The best part of being an artist is that there is always something new to try with my techniques and styles are constantly evolving.  

How long have you been a part of Whimsical Women?

This is my first year participating in the Whimsical Women show. I am very excited to join this tribe of creative women as this group is legendary!

Where can folks find your colorful ceramics?

Most of my work is posted on Instagram and Facebook @louloubellepottery, along with  a small offering on my website

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

Artist Spotlight: Kathleen Simon

We sat down with felt artist Kathleen Simon to learn more about her colorful, organic felted pieces.

Tell us a little about your process and what you create.

I create colorful, organic felted works through a process called wet felting. A friend introduced me to wet felting and I was immediately hooked.With the never-ending varieties of wool, silk, and bamboo fibers each piece turns out very unique.

My vessels and wall hangings are definitely organic with the interactions of colors being the main theme. Adding locks, beading, leather, and driftwood completes each piece. In addition silk and nepps are always in there somewhere.

The sparkle and glamour of my scarves and flowers brings out the glitzy side of my personality. Everything I make that is wearable is made with as little wool and as much soft tussah silk and still hold firmly together for years.

Can you share a bit about your “artist’s journey?” Where do you find your inspiration?

My real ‘artistic awakening’ happened 38 years ago when I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico for the first time. As if the colors in nature were not enough, every artist caught my eye with their use of color.

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

Artist Spotlight: Melissa Vickers

We sat down with sewist Melissa Vickers to learn more about her sewing and success with “Mama Llama Originals.”

Tell us a little about what it is you create as an artist?

I am mainly a sewist.  My favorite medium to work with is fabric.  I sew all different types of goods, such as handbags, weighted blankets and lap pads, small accessories such as sunglass cases, tissue holders, coasters and more.  I also like to create art with alcohol inks when I have the time to play and experiment.

What is your process like, and how did you get started with sewing?

I began sewing around 9 years ago when my first daughter was born, hence the name Mama in my company name.  I am original from Bolivia, that’s where the connection to the Llama comes from.   I started sewing handbags as gifts and many people loved them and suggested I started selling them.  I began by using upcycled interior design fabric samples and created a signature look.  Around 2 years later I had my second daughter and had to take a break from creating in order to return to full-time motherhood.  Just recently, in the past 2 years, I have picked up sewing again and have decided to really push myself and learn more.  I continue to make handbags, which are my favorite things to create because they are wearable pieces of art in my opinion. 

“I am an interior designer and I love colors and fabrics.  I am always inspired by what combinations I can make work together.  My favorite thing about being an artist is creating beauty in the world.”

What is your favorite thing about Whimsical Women?

My favorite thing about Whimsical Women is the community.  All of the women who participate are amazing and talented artists.  And the women who come to shop really and truly appreciate the event and the artists themselves.  There isn’t another show like it in the area in my opinion that has quite the same following and loyalty.

Where can people find more of your work?

I have a website, Mama Llama Originals. I’m also on Facebook at Mama Llama Originals and on Instagram @mamallamaoriginals.

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

Artist Spotlight: Ashleigh Parks Mabe

We sat down with crochet and fiber artist Ashleigh Parks Mabe to learn more about her wearable, colorful freeform fashion pieces.

Tell us a little about what it is you create as an artist?

I focus primarily on Freeform clothing and accessories. A good portion of each piece is made from hand spun yarn, that I spin on my wheel.

What is your process like, and how did you get started with crocheting?

I’ve been crocheting for roughly 20 years. I started making freeform pieces around 6 years ago, I needed a little bit more excitement than your standard patterns. In the last few years I have started spinning my own yarn. I have been fortunate enough to meet people with similar interests who have helped me develop my own skills as well as providing local sources for wool. This includes Enno Farm, Soil Dancer Alpaca Farm, Mama Gnome, and Mitzi Britt (all in Stokes County).

“When I start a new piece, I have no idea how it will turn out, but I take a lot of inspiration from nature, Victorian clothing styles, and religious iconography.  As far as being an artist goes, creation itself is part of the reward, but I do find joy in the happiness my work brings others.  Seeing someone like my work enough to wear it is always an unexpected pleasure.”

What is your favorite memory from a Whimsical Women sale or event?

I’m currently looking forward to my first Whimsical Women show – so none yet!

Where can people find more of your amazing crochet fashions?

I have pieces at Wildfire Tattoo Studio in Walnut Cove and The Art’s Place of Stokes County. Also, I am a finalist in the Made in NC Awards for Our State Magazine. You can Follow me on Facebook at Madame Malena’s Market of Wonders or Madame_Malena on Instagram. 

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

Artist Spotlight: Jean Denson

We sat down with felt artist Jean Denson to learn more about her wearable, colorful felted art.

Tell us a little about what it is you create as an artist?

I make felted items, using merino wool, alpaca, mohair fiber, dog hair and other fibers to create wearable, usable and artistic felted items.  No two felted pieces are alike, each felted piece has unique characteristics of color and texture even when I create the same types of items.  

What is your process like, and how did you get started experimenting and creating with felt and fiber?

I started felting when I took a wet felting class at John C Campbell School 3 years ago to make felted shoes (the most expensive pair of shoes I’ve ever had!). The process of taking fiber (various types of hair), laying the hair out to create a felted piece, then turning the hair into fabric is fascinating to me!  The felted piece can be made by using water and agitation, or by using needles to make a fabric.  The possibilities are endless!  I love to make wearable items, such as ponchos, scarves and hats, but I also enjoy making 3d animals as well as 2d pictures.  Color is one of the factors that inspire me, I love color!  And I love to experiment with different textures. 

What is your favorite part about Whimsical Women?

Whimsical Women is such a fun show, the artistry is varied and so beautiful.  It’s a tribute to women artists and I feel so honored to be a part of the Whimsical Women community!

How can people find more of your funky felted art?

I don’t have a website or a dedicated Facebook page to showcase my felted work, but I can be reached through messenger on Facebook  or by email to buy or have a commission piece done.

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

Artist Spotlight: Barbara Campbell

We sat down with potter Barbara Campbell to learn more about her nature-inspired ceramic art.

Tell us your “artist’s story.” How did you come to make art and what does your process look like?

The Wood ‘n’ Potter started to take form ten years ago when my husband Bob and I retired from our corporate careers.  Although I have been making pottery for about 20 years, I expanded my pottery to a more serious art.  Along with thrown pieces, my focus has been to refine by hand-building technique.   Lately I have been working in series.  I’ve created a hummingbird design, a dragonfly design, and a bird nest design.  All my pieces are from original designs I create.  Some pieces are a collaboration with my husband who is a wood turner.  I might make a vase and Bob will create a unique base.  Since retirement, I have had the opportunity to travel extensively.  I am inspired by the places I visit and often include the natural elements from my travels in my designs.  I believe my love of nature and my ability to translate this passion makes me the potter I am today.

What is your favorite part of Whimsical Women?

Although I have been a member of Whimsical Women for a number of years, this will be my first show.  Over the years I have participated in  a number of festivals and the best part is the camaraderie with other artists and the opportunity to tell customers about the pieces I made.  The connection between the customer and me is important to me.  I have had pieces go to other countries and I have had pieces commemorate special occasions.  All this inspires me as an artist.

Where can folks find your amazing ceramic art?

You can find pictures of my work and a calendar of festivals where you can find me on my website:  I also sell my work at The Coffee Mill in Lewisville.

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

Artist Spotlight: Denise Yost

We sat down with alpaca farmer and fiber artist Denise Yost to learn more about her colorful fashion she creates.

Tell us your “artist’s story.” How did you come to make art and what does your process look like?

I became an alpaca farmer seven years ago. As an alpaca farmer, I spend an entire year ensuring herd health, perfecting nutritional programs and breeding for excellent genetics before I’m able to reap the rewards for my efforts. It is usually during shearing day as I watch this amazing fiber roll off that I am inspired and decide how it will be used. Once skirted, tumbled, picked and washed, the fiber is carded and sometimes dyed.  Fibers are then matched to silks, vintage lace, and a multitude of other fibers and embellishments. Once laid out, the first process is always wet felting. Sometimes, the process continues on to include needle felting through our fiber loom. 

What is your favorite part of Whimsical Women?

My favorite part of the Whimsical Women Art Festival is having the opportunity to find that special person who wants that special piece of wearable art and loves it as much as I do.

Where can folks find your amazing alpaca fashion?

My pieces are often available at our farm store, at Design Archives Emporium in downtown Winston-Salem or by watching the calendar on our website for other shows we plan to attend. You can also watch what’s cooking in the fiber studio by following us on FaceBook at Rita Dee Farms or on Instagram.

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

Artist Spotlight: Linda Palladino & Liz Kaplan

We sat down with well-known whimsicals, Linda Palladino (one of the original founders of WW with her sister, Luli) and Liz Kaplan (former WW Executive Committee member), to learn more about their amazing glass and metal art.

Tell us a little about what you do as artists.

We work with glass (Lizzie) and metal (Linda) and enjoy combining the delicateness of the glass with the sturdiness of the metal. Our work together is inspired by nature, objects we find, and treasures people share with us.

Tell us your “art story.” How did you get started in art, and how did your journey lead you to the work you create together today?

Linda’s Story: I began working with metal and welding after my Mom, an incredible artist herself, died. My sister, Luli, took up woodworking, and together we “created” our way through the grieving process. We began Whimsical Women as a tribute to our mom and her creative nature. We wanted to share our journey with other women who, like us, never had seen themselves as artists, but just wanted to take the chance and share their creativity. Whimsical women was born out of our grief, but has brought us more joy than we ever imagined. My metal work has evolved over the years, but the raw materials remain mostly found objects and recycled metal material.

Liz’s Story: My journey into the art world was much different. I saw the energy and fun that went into the art Linda and Luli created, and I wanted to know that feeling—-even though my parents never encouraged me to pursue anything artistic. I have always been intrigued by glass—the texture, the vibrant colors, the way the world looks through colorful glass. So I created a stepping stone made of glass and concrete to put in Linda’s backyard art show, and then was terrified to bring it to the show. The sisters took it, sold it, and I was hooked.

Working Together: Several years ago, Liz and I decided to “marry” our two mediums, and see what happened—-we were blown away by the limitless possibilities we could see when art pieces included both metal and glass. We have found that two heads and hearts of a forty plus year, amazing friendship are better than one at this point in our lives. While we will sometimes create pieces on our own, we much prefer working together.

What is your favorite WW memory or moment?

Linda: The giddy excitement—a Christmas morning feeling, the colorful tents and displays, and mostly the way that this show seems to bring out that community feeling among the artists. Whimsical Women has gone through many changes over the years, but somehow we have managed to keep that feeling alive, and that makes me happy.

Liz: I love Saturday morning the day of the show (around 5AM) when it is still hard to see. Just standing there and looking out over the ghost tents. It gives me a feeling of awe. Then slowly but surely the show comes to life. I love seeing the sun (yes sun, no rain please) start to shine, the tents open up, and the artists beginning to display their work. I love seeing artists greeting each other and the food arriving. I love feeling the energy flowing and watching the musicians setup… the sounds and sights of a Whimsical Women show once again getting ready to happen. There is nothing quite like it, and I will always remember those moments.

How can people find your incredible art?

Though we have no etsy shop or facebook page, most people who are interested in our art contact us the old-timey way: by phone or email.

Linda and Liz are just two of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.

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.