Stephanie Burgess loves to hear people say how her art makes them happy, and soon she may be hearing that more often.
Burgess creates Peace Poles, which she describes as a version of poles that tell a story and are displayed in homes and gardens. For years she had selected cedar posts and burned, carved and painted them with whimsical art and uplifting messages, then sold them at local art shows and farmers markets.
After being spotted by a local licensing agent, Burgess ended up at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in January. As a result of the event, Burgess' work is slated to go into a variety of stores across the country later this year, including the Garden Spot Nursery in Bellingham.
She's working with Studio M/Artful Home & Garden in St. Louis to create reproductions of her work. It's shaping up as a busy spring for Burgess, who will be going to store events and is expected to be on the television show "Evening Magazine," at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, on channel 5.
"While at places like the farmer's market I would have people tell me the art makes them happy, but they couldn't afford it in its original form," Burgess said. "It's was important to me that they be reproduced in our country, so it's been great to work with Studio M."
More than a year ago Burgess' work got the attention of Alicia Dauber of Licensing Liaison, who represents a variety of artists, including Bellingham's Ben Mann. She noticed a Peace Pole in someone's yard, then later at the Allied Arts Holiday Festival.
"I was immediately taken with her sophisticated and trendy style of art that was burned into wood and accompanied by a message of respect for the earth, family and community," Dauber said in an email.
It's a big jump from farmers' markets and art festivals to retail stores. Burgess said Dauber's help was essential in learning about the business side.
"It's a different side of the brain, but I really enjoy it," said Burgess, referring to the work that it takes to get into stores. "With all the traveling, I feel like I'm on the pulse of what's new; you can see what's going on around you."
The child-like, simple and gentle themes of the Peace Poles are what Burgess believes is a big part of the appeal.
"Everything is complex and much more intense today; I think people are craving something like this," Burgess said. "I positioned myself to where the art can be everywhere and love that it's happening."
The artwork is being made under the name Painted Peace, with original pieces ranging in price from $1,500 to $2,500. Burgess expects the reproductions to be in the $99-$199 range. The Painted Peace website is under construction, but her Peace Poles and other artwork can be seen atwoodfireandpaint.com. She also will be doing an artist signing at the Garden Spot on Saturday, June 15.
CULINARY CREATIONS OPENS IN FAIRHAVEN
Colleen Mitchell loves to cook, and she's bringing that into her new kitchen store.
Mitchell recently opened Culinary Creations in the former Pacific Chef space at 1210 11th St. in Fairhaven. The front part of the store will have a variety of kitchen products, but in the back she will have a food and drink tasting area. Along with local beer and wine, Mitchell will have food samples, eventually expanding the menu to offer sandwiches, soups and salads.
"While it is a kitchen store, I also wanted this to be a fun place to hang out," Mitchell said.
Mitchell formerly owned the salon Designers Touch and regularly did donation dinners for different organizations, including the nonprofit group Blue Skies for Children. One part of Culinary Creations has a used cookbook section where customers decide on the price of the book, with the proceeds going toward Blue Skies' Little Wishes program.
The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day. For further details about Culinary Creations, call 360-746-8425.
It appears Captain Jack Jr.'s Family Entertainment Center at 4176 Meridian St. has closed. Along with not being open last week, the company took down its Facebook page and website. Phone messages left at the center were not returned. The center, which had a pirate theme, video games and served pizza, opened last summer.
BelleWood Acres is gearing up for its Apple Blossom Festival, which takes place 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 27, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 28. Activities include train rides, tours of the apple orchards, music and family fun. Details can be found at Bellewoodfarms.com.
Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.