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Friday, May 13, 2011

Featured Interview of Artisan of Handmade Items: Gail of Shabby Cottage Studio

This week's featured interview is Gail of Shabby Cottage Studios.

Here are some of her recent creations:

Learn the above digital technique at a worshop she's offering, that I'm actually taking. Can't wait!

Pretty impressive, huh!?! Well, let's learn more about her.

Tell me about your blog, store, and workshops.

Shabby Cottage Studio was a blog first, back in the days when a lot of people weren’t even quite sure exactly what you did with a blog. I thought I would use it as a marketing tool for my then EBay offerings. But I quickly learned that a blog is much more important than simply a marketing tool, that it can also be life changing. A blog brings you the opportunity to find like minded souls, make new friends and discover connections you would never have had the opportunity to make otherwise.

I opened my online store basically because I’m a bit of a control freak ;-) and was tired of others telling me how to run my business. It seemed only natural that the store and the blog would work hand in hand. I wanted a place where I could offer supplies I found I liked, and also used in my own work, to other artists and crafters. I wanted a little spot in the virtual road where I could also sell my own art.

I used to teach painting and missed teaching but also at this point in my life was living the rural life with no prospective students within reasonable distances. My dream of offering online workshops planted a seed and one day I realized I didn’t want to just offer my classes. I wanted to offer something more. I knew what it was like to want to take classes and not be able to afford to travel to live workshops. I had taken some online classes with PDF style teaching and discovered that was not my learning style. I wanted to SEE the action. I knew that videos were the wave of the future on the Internet. All those ideas came together and jelled into Creative Workshops. As of this moment we have close to thirty class offerings. I’m very proud of Creative Workshops and its teachers.

I also have another project in the working, a little collaboration with my friend Cristina Zinnia Galliher and we are hosting the first ever online art fest called Artful Gathering. [Tracy's note: I'm taking some wonderful art classes from Zinnia over at Roses on My Table.] We have gathered sixteen artists, each with their own video workshop all in one place for 6 weeks starting July 16, 2011. And we have another project in the beginning stages of planning.

How long have you had an interest in shabby cottage decor and your current artistic endeavors?

I’ve loved the shabby d├ęcor for at least the past twenty years and will never grow tired of it. It speaks volumes to me because it is warm and accessible and can take many forms. I’ve been working at artistic endeavors even longer but for financial gain I have been doing something artistic for, again, at least 20 years or more.

How did you get started? Did you start by experimenting around, or did you take a class and go from there?

I have always dabbled in many art forms on my own but the first day I took a painting class in 1993 it seems my fate was sealed. I became a creating maniac and painted 7 days a week for years.

Are there any particular mediums you like working with?

Oh gosh, I love so many, it would be hard to call one my favorite, but I will say these days it is fabric calling the tune for me.

Is there anything you eventually want to get in to and master?

No nothing in particular, I am at an age in life where I want to just play with everything that moves my heart and not worry about mastery.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I truly have no spare time. Between the online businesses, my husband and I rent space in an antique store and sell shabby style furniture, either rehabbed by us or built by my hubby. Sometimes when I find an extra day here or there without any pressing need I try to get into the workroom to create something for me.

What's a question you wish I would've asked? (And please answer that question).

Well that’s a toughie isn’t? LOL Let’s see, you didn’t ask me if I love what I do. And my answer would be yes. Most days. ;-)

What are ten fun facts about you?

I love to laugh and love people with a good sense of humor.

I make up silly nonsensical songs and sing them to my dog and cats.

I talk to my dog and cats as if they are human and am sometimes disappointed when they actually act like a dog or a cat.

Peonies, Roses and Hydrangeas are my top 3 picks for flowers.

I love old, rusty, crackly, peeling, and worn.

I love white ironstone and thick white plates.

I love working digitally to create; the magic often takes my breath away.

I was born on the 5th day of the 5th month in the ‘50’s so number 5 is my favorite number.

I can’t carry a tune but I love to sing.

I am a chocoholic but simple chocolate, none of that chocolate on top of chocolate on top of more chocolate for me.

Please list your website, blog, and/or shop urls.

Shabby Cottage Studio

Creative Workshops

Shabby Cottage Studio Blog

Shabby Cottage Studio Etsy Shop

Artful Gathering


  1. Oh my gosh, I didn't see this interview with Gail of Shabby Cottage Studio earlier! She is one of the most wonderful and creative people I know!!! I am the Artist in Residence for her studio and she is awesome--I hope everyone will go visit her--she's amazing!!!

  2. What beautiful & intricate work!! Takes me back to my victorian decorating days ~Kriss~