Hand Made Designs
Started Business In: 2014
I grew up in Hampton Falls, NH and became an art teacher after studying art and education at the University of New Hampshire. After 10 years of teaching visual art both locally and internationally, I decided to return home in 2014 and began working part-time as a barista at the Market Square Bakehouse and rented an art studio space at the Artists’ Muse and eventually an apartment in town. It felt so great to get back into creating my own works of art and designing jewelry and stationery and receiving such a positive response to what I was finally able to produce. I started doing local farmers’ markets and craft fairs in the Fall of 2014. At this point, I have expanded to become a regular vendor at larger artisan markets from Boston, MA to Portland, ME and have begun selling my work at a number of boutiques in New England and Colorado. This “success story” is still very much in the early stages. I have to watch every penny, but I absolutely love what I am doing with my days and that to me is priceless.
This was a decision that happened for me organically, first working at the coffee shop, then with the art space, then my living space. I have found that Amesbury is a very close-knit community with an appreciation of the arts, of history, and of culture. The Amesbury Open Studios event in November of 2014 was one of the first markets that I ever participated in and was a guest vendor at 14 Cedar Street Studios and was enamored by the town and all that it had to offer. I think working at the Bakehouse was invaluable to establishing contacts and building relationships in Amesbury. After years of living and teaching internationally, it feels really great to be more rooted, to walk from my apartment to my art studio to the bank and the post office and local shops, to see familiar faces everyday and to have become invested in this community. My life is smaller, slower and more simple, in the best possible way.
Amesbury has been a wonderful place to have started my own business. It is an affordable little oasis that has become a destination for businesses and consumers while remaining true to it’s identity and history. For me, it has been invaluable to be near my home and my family, and to have the support of the Amesbury community, yet also have access to the larger commercial destinations of Boston, Newburyport, Portsmouth, and Portland, where I have started to establish myself and sell my work. I feel like Amesbury is the perfect balance of location, personality, affordability and opportunity.
I would take some time to investigate and attend the different opportunities, associations and events that Amesbury and it’s surrounding areas have to offer and to get connected and involved personally and professionally. As an artist, it can be a bit isolating to work alone in your studio, but there really are countless ways to be involved: the Amesbury Cultural Council, Amesbury Days, Open Studio Days, Gallery events at art galleries such as Blue Wave, Paula Estes and the Newburyport Art Association, and other local businesses such as the Bakehouse, Crave and The Noshery that support and highlight the work of local visual and performing artists.