1.) Last week, I was delighted to be a guest presenter for young creatives at Camp Conroy, sponsored by the Pat Conroy Literary Center. It was my first time doing a craft workshop VIRTUALLY. We made found poem collages, like the sample I’m holding above. If you need a fun literary art project this summer, feel free to click the link under the picture and you can enjoy a mini tour of my studio, and the lesson I made for the campers, start to finish! :0)
2.) My Etsy shop will closed for a little summer break June 26 – July 2. If you send me a message through Etsy, I’ll try to respond in a timely-ish manner! (My physical studio is still closed for the time being.)
Here’s to good books, good poems, and soul-nourishing art. Stay safe and well, and see you soon!
Click here to see my promo video with sneak peeks of new items! Then join Nan Sutton on Facebook Live (via the Downtown Beaufort Merchants Association page) from 6 to 8 p.m. to join in the fun, and do some shopping from your comfy couch!
Greetings, Letter Lovers! Usually my little posts are peppered with photographs I’ve taken, but today I’m sharing a few from one of my wonderful artsyletters customers, Eileen.
One thing I LOVE about being an Etsy seller is the contact made with folks from all over the country, and around the world. Eileen hails from Connecticut, a state still on my to-visit list, even more so after our brief interaction.
She ordered several packs of note cards, saying that she works in a small library and their staff was sending notes to patrons during this time of quarantine. (How great is that?!)
Eileen shared these pictures in her very kind reviews, saying, “I work in a small historic library and during this shutdown we wrote notes to all of our patrons, and these notecards were perfect to use to check in with the patrons to tell them we miss them!” Obviously, thoughtfulness is abundant in Eileen’s literary world. (And maybe her review is one reason I’ve been mailing out several more orders of literary combo pack cards recently! :0) )
Eileen and I exchanged brief notes about our hometowns, as she is hoping to make it to Beaufort in the not-too-distant future when things settle down. (I am hoping so, too, as I’d love to meet in person.) She sent this gorgeous photo of the Bill Memorial Library in Groton, “built in 1890 as a library overlooking the Thames River and adjacent to Fort Griswold, which played a big part in the Revolutionary War.”
She added, “Our Library is tiny but beautiful, a true neighborhood library.”
I made a little online visit, discovering that founder Frederic Bill had been a schoolteacher, publisher and bookseller, and then a merchant. Years after he had moved on from the business world, he wanted to honor the memory of his two sisters, Eliza and Harriet, with a library. I love this description of his aim, that “in the volumes collected there may be found that which will tend to stimulate a high ambition, strengthen good resolve, cultivate the taste an afford pleasure to all who may read them.”
A little more website sleuthing suggests that this is the kind of place sorely missed by its community right now, I’m sure. Enticing programs for all ages are the usual fare, including activities for teens and story times for the youngest readers and listeners. Whenever I can make a Northeastern journey again, I will plan a Connecticut detour to drop in to this gem of a library!
(PS – Did I mention how much I love my customers? ;0) Such interesting, generous people – I am always learning from them.) –Thanks to Eileen for allowing me to share these pictures, and for the support in these challenging days.
Soon after moving to Beaufort, I stumbled upon some lovely, handcrafted, timeless jewelry right up my alley with a delicious business name –
Circa 1910. I discovered a little bit about its creator, the young and just-as-lovely Kayla. I visited Melvin the Mini Bus when Kayla took her jewelry show on the road, and noted from afar that she soon married her sweetheart and co-Melvin creator, Matt DeVito. And I noticed the business was expanding, offering unique vintage items online as well.
I kept loose tabs on their plans to open a brick-and-mortar shop in Beaufort. But it seemed they encountered hurdle after hurdle as red-tape strangled one location option, then another. And another. But this year I was delighted to discover that the new store going into the recently opened space just across from “my” parking lot on Scott Street was their business! And it had a new name, Amidst the Alders.
In a subsequent chat with Kayla, I learned this name was chosen because of the association of alder trees with Robert Frost’s classic poem, “The Road Not Taken,” which mentions a yellow wood. Kayla explained how alder trees are hardy and enrich the soil, helping to restore life after challenges. The embody resilience. When we had this talk in March, Kayla was just beginning to understand what an apt metaphor her business name truly was! And how it reflected her own personal story, which has included many challenges in recent years.
After pouring endless energy, money, time and talent into this glorious new shop, she and Matt opened the doors just in time for Spring. Only five days later, they had to temporarily close those doors because of the pandemic crisis.
They’ve hung on, however, and have been busy with online orders. And they are reopening TODAY for special pre-Mother’s Day hours, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Five shoppers at a time may enjoy the store under current guidelines. (Next week will begin a schedule of every other day; check their Facebook page for an update on hours.)
I wanted to share these photos from the shop for you to swoon over, but bear in mind, Kayla’s re-arranged the store a bit during this sequestering time, and they’ve added some more apothecary items and even a “Petite Flower Shop”!
If your taste runs toward neutral and rustic with lots of patina and natural charm, you will adore Amidst the Alders, whether you’re lucky enough to live here in Beaufort or whether you savor the sophisticated but earthy offerings online.
Congratulations, Kayla and Matt, & Welcome to the neighborhood…. Here’s to much success and joy!
When I saw this amazingly cool animated graphic to celebrate this week, I wanted to make something to celebrate the national treasures that are our public libraries. I had a few raw brass lighthouse stampings, so I made a couple of bookmarks to let them “shine.” (Click below the picture for a link to the listing.)
And, there’s Hoopla! :0)
I sure miss the open doors at my local branch, which I see every day when I go to my studio. But I’m glad folks are staying safe.
SO grateful for all the folks who work and volunteer in libraries across the country. We miss seeing you in person right now, but please know you are appreciated! I have the fondest memories of riding my bike through a couple of neighborhoods and around a lake to our town’s library in Maitland, Florida, many moons ago. (Sometimes I still visit it when in town!)
Do you have a particular library you’re grateful for?
**OPEN STUDIO HOURS UPDATE** (March 17, 2020) — Out of an abundance of caution, my physical shop/studio will be open by special appointment only for the time being. I’m married to a health care professional and don’t want to jeopardize care for his patients, or your health, or mine! We’re all in this together. My Etsy shop is open 24/7, and I’m always happy to mail items anywhere. Thank you!! –Robyn
**Thursday, MARCH 5 UPDATE** – And I thought yesterday’s weather was challenging! Storms are on tap all day today, so I will need to dart back and forth to tend to a nervous wee beastie doggie. I’d like to keep my sidewalk sign in one piece, so I’m just going to use today to get ready for First Friday. See you tomorrow eve!!