I believe that the best art is made in community. There's nothing quite like being in a room with another like-minded artists when the ideas start flowing and ALL possibilities are on the table! As the conversations continue, ideas are fleshed out and plans are made. Then the creation begins, products are refined and reworked until something of beauty, truth and hopeful goodness exists in the work. Over the past few years I have had the joy of engaging in this process with some amazing artists. The work you see below is result of this community.
Author of The Green Ember Book Series
S. D. Smith lives with his wife and four kids in West Virginia, because it would be weird to live with someone else’s wife and four kids in West Virginia (or anywhere else, right?). The Green Ember series has spent time among the Top 100 Best-Selling authors on Amazon and the audio book hit #1 in world wide sales on Audible.
My work with Mr. Smith began in 2016 when he called on me to make rabbit-styled mugs to help support an online crowd sourcing Kickstarter campaign for his second book Ember Falls. After the warm reception for those first mugs the S.D. Smith team gave me permission to continue to make and sell the mugs on my online store. Desire for more mugs led to my helping support a Kickstarter campaign for the third book in the series Ember Rising and since then momentum for mugs continues to increase with no end in sight!
Glenn McCarty: Author
Glenn is the author of The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson, a wild and woolly middle-grade novel set on the American frontier and inspired by his love of novels like Tom Sawyer and Homer Price.
This tumbler was created in conjunction with the Kickstarter that helped launch Mr. McCarty's first book. It was a joy to get to know Glenn and to us an illustration by Joe Sutphin on these pieces.
Joe Sutphin: Illustrator
Joe Sutphin is an illustrator for kids books such as the New York Times best seller Word of Mouse by James Patterson, the Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions series by Sheila Garu and Raffie On The Run by Jacqueline Resnick. His artwork has also been featured in the New York Times, both in print and in a live Facebook interview from the New York Times.
The first collaboration with Joe revolved around inkwells and mugs with the author's logo. Mr. Sutphin designed the form of the inkwell to fit his personal tastes and he says the style of the logo mug is his favorite as well.
Next Joe and I brainstormed the concept for what he calls Adventure Mugs. These mugs adopted the same general form as the logo mugs and also contain original artwork by the illustrator. Each one has two illustrated "decals" that tell a story of one of Joe's original characters. Inside the mug you'll find a "secret" image. For example, the first mug in the series has and image of a cartographer mouse looking for landmarks one one side and shows him finding a pond with a fish on the other. Then inside the mug we've added a tiny map that is reveal only when the coffee or tea the holder is drinking is gone! Joe calls his personal Adventure Mug his "go to mug" for his morning coffee.
Kyra Hinton: Artist
Kyra Hinton is a Virginia-based artist, and stay-at-home mom living in the lush, green Roanoke Valley. Specializing in an ink technique she created and is developing, She is constantly exploring this art form (and others), pushing ever on towards new discoveries.
I make stoneware blanks for Kyra's amazing "inkscape" pendants that you have to see to believe. She makes them in small batches and sells them through her Instagram page and her website.
Gina Sutphin: Wood Turner
This collaboration occurred as a result of a need to create content for a session at the 2020 Hutchmoot Homebound conference. Artists were paired up to give and receive an unfinished piece. Each artist was to add to the piece they received creating a unique finished collaboration. Gina sent me a wonderfully turned wooden chalice. I sent her a bisque fired vase. I added geometric designs in paint to the wood piece. Gina added a drawing of a flower with underglaze pencils on the piece I sent to her. The resulting pieces were far more compelling than either of us could have created on our own.
Brian and Kelli Rowley: Growley Leather
After over 20 years in corporate sales, in 2016 Brian left all that to pursue a career as a maker. From their website here's a bit about why the Rowley's love leather so much. "Leather captivates us - the feel and smell of it, the movement it has when we work with it, the uniqueness of each piece. We love rolling out a new hide and envisioning what will come out of it. We design and build the best leather goods we can to come alongside you in your daily life, share in your adventures, and reflect your character."
The Rowely's approached me a while back about making some stoneware sections on a bracelet idea they wanted to produce. I jumped at the chance for this unique mixing of media. You can find them and more Rabbit Room related pieces here.